For what it’s worth as a first-timer in Interactive Fiction and newcomer to the comp- I found out about it after devouring Emily Short and Sam Kabo Ashwell’s blogs! I love Fallen London, and stumbled across Short’s blog while digging through community groups dedicated to the game, and from there I happily set about reading all the wonderful reviews and theory posts they have. I ran across SpringThing in particular during a batch of reviews since both tag game competitions and other things on their blog quite well / have great archive access!
something that’s become increasingly obvious to me as a member of this community is the value of publicly accessible, archived conversation. If all this communication took place in a Discord server or something similar, I bet a large percentage of us newcomers never would’ve been exposed to IF (or at least, would’ve had a much harder time during our initial exploration of the scene). I absolutely love this forum and how members of the community are encouraged to blog, write reviews, etc
As a first time participant as well, I can attest that Emily Short’s blog is how I heard about Spring Thing She mentioned another competition last fall that I was too late to hop in on, so I kept a very watchful eye on her monthly link round ups (at the very least, it’s an incredible blog) and came across the Spring Thing announcement she made in…february? Maybe? And I declared my intent soon after that and started working on a game
I think another factor may be critical mass; most people enter IFComp because it gets attention from many players and reviewers. In the last few years, enough people are entering that now it’s a serious rival to IFComp for attention. Which is good, because IFComp was getting really stuffed; it’s so nice to see people finding alternative outlets. The list of games looks awesome!
I’m so glad it’s here! I’m feeling a lot better about this than I did about IFComp, but um, that might change when negative reviews start coming in. It definitely feels lower-stakes and less judgmental.
Speaking of the increased participation, it makes me feel a bit better about the decline in IFComp participation last year. It would be interesting to look at the sum of IFComp + Spring Thing participation…
Anyway, are we supposed to create our own IFDB pages?
I don’t think the way I got here was very typical or representative of most newcomers. I started with Space Quest games, being a long time fan and following remakes/fan sequels, etc. over the last 10 years or so. About 4 years ago I literally stumbled across a forum post on one of those fan sites referencing Jacqueline Ashwell’s website (thanks, @Jacqueline ) and was fascinated with the interactive fiction section. After reading through it, I tentatively dipped my toe into ifMUD. It is through the community there, and through reading numerous ClubFloyd transcripts, that I slowly became acquainted with the IF community at large. This last winter my employment situation improved drastically, offering me a stable income with a generous home life balance. With this change, I decided it was time to commit and started signing up for comps in mid-February.
I just started going down the list and hit “play” on the first thing that twingled me. It’s a relief that there’s no “randomize” button, because honestly I just want to play what I want to play. Since there are no rankings, I feel like that’s acceptable.
In IF Comp if you have a parser game with the play online feature enabled you can see transcripts and the first 20 you get are always half “I quit this game without typing a single command” (bad) and half “I quit this game after typing ABOUT” (somehow worse). So no worries, this is just what the audience does (I think many people eventually go back and actually play).
On author reviews, this is in the FAQ:
If I’m an author, can I review the other games during the festival?
“While we don’t have official rules about this, the community generally agrees that authors shouldn’t review the games of other entrants while the festival is still open, although a quick recommendation of one you liked is okay.”
Personally I’m not 100% sure this is actually where the community is currently at, and the proposed “only positive reviews during the festival” approach seems good to me.
Have you considered adding a “Looking for someone to play with?” link to the Spring Thing listing? Not sure what format would work best, but if someone were seeking a partner, they could leave a message there and someone else could answer them.
I’m curious if anyone plans to make a review spreadsheet (that I can obsessively refresh) like there was for IFComp. Or maybe a thread where we post reviews found in the wild just so authors don’t miss them!