After three intense and delightful weeks I have played every IFComp game I practically could. Admittedly, I did not go to the same lengths as @mathbrush to get to the last few ones, but I still got to play 77 games, more or less, and it was certainly a thrill.
The two games I unfortunately wasn’t able to try at all were Language Arts by Jared Jackson
and The Shadow Witch by Healy, both of which were distributed as binary executables (and neither for Linux). They both seemed very interesting, so I’m a bit sad about that. This was also initially the case with Río Alto: forgotten memories by Ambrosio, and although a online version later was published, it ran to slowly on my computer to be practically playable. Only slightly less problematic were the ADRIFT games; I did not manage to use the Linux interpreter, and the online runner was very sluggish. I was able to play through (and review) Treasure Hunt in the Amazon, as it was quite light, but eventually had to give up on both The Call of the Shaman by Larry Horsfield and Skybreak! by William Dooling.
One thing I noticed, looking back at my reviews, was that I was much more lenient with bugs and poor implementation in the beginning of this period, while my later reviews are much harsher. The reason I haven’t posted most of these reviews to IFDB yet is partly that I kind of expected my brain to do something like this, but also because I hope many of the games will get a good update after feedback from the competition.
And speaking of reviews, the review spreadsheet is truly an amazing sight! We’re approaching 500 reviews at the moment. How many competitions in other domains receive this kind of attention from their respective communities?
Although I most certainly will cast my votes now (and most likely hand out lots of stars on IFDB after the competition), I decided not to publish ratings for the games I reviewed. This was definitely a good thing, because I have retroactively changed my mind several times, based on new perspectives from new games. However, I would like to mention here my five absolute favourites from IFComp 2019 (excepting the two games I beta-tested, Frenemies and Gone Out for Gruyère). Here, in alphabetical order:
Clusterflux by Marshal Tenner Winter
A modern classic.
Hard Puzzle 4: The Ballad of Bob and Cheryl by Ade McT
It blew my mind.
Remedial Witchcraft by dgtziea
One of the most charming games I have played. I so hope for a sequel!
Sugarlawn by Mike Spivey
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
Zozzled by Steph Cherrywell
Masterful IF narration.
Finally, even though this year’s IFComp still have a few weeks left, I would like to say a heartful thanks to all authors, beta-testers, cover designers, reviewers and organisers. I’m generally not very fond of competitions, as they so easily tend towards animosity, but the serious engagement, good spirit and friendliness I have experienced here makes this something else entirely.