Tell me about your game! (IFDB Awards)

I wanted to make a space for authors to share why they think their games should be nominated for IFDB awards. I played a lot of IF last year, but I know I missed plenty of strong games. Go ahead and link your game, and let us know what to expect and which awards you think are most appropriate, to keep in mind as we play! I’ll go first:

In my opinion, A Thousand Thousand Slimy Things is the strongest game I’ve released to date. It tells the story of a desperate fight for survival while stranded in the middle of the ocean, which quickly takes a Lovecraftian turn. It was built in Twine using custom CSS/JS styling, and boasts a full original soundtrack, graphics, and multiple endings.

In the competition it was created for (a non-IF game jam), ATTST came first in two categories (Atmosphere and Writing), third in another (Gameplay) and fifth in the last (Use of Theme) out of 14 entries. In addition, it received the highest overall star rating in the competition (as voted by other entrants). On IFDB, it’s my highest-rated game despite being the second least-played.

As an author, I find extended dialogue the most challenging part of IF to write, and a lot of this game revolves around long, complex conversations. I also did significantly more complex Twine styling and effects than I ever had before. It was written in just about a month, and required me to grow as both a writer and a programmer very quickly to get it in on time—and I think that growth and that effort comes through in the final product.

I think A Thousand Thousand Slimy Things would be appropriate for:

Feel free to use this first post as a template, or use some other format! Tell me about your games!


Just to be clear, is this space exclusively for authors to advocate their own games, or is it open to folks advocating for games authored by others?

No big deal either way, just suspect some authors won’t self-advocate for various reasons.


I’d be happy to advocate for my game, but I think @DeusIrae has that covered over in his thread :wink:

(Mike, you know you don’t have to nominate us for everything, right?)


I’m hoping for authors to advocate for their own games (especially because one of the things that sets these awards apart in my mind is that that’s explicitly allowed!), but if there’s a game you didn’t write that you think deserves awards, I’d like to hear about that, too!


Excellent idea! But we might have a Who will go first"-situation again?! :grin:

Looking at the rules, I am pretty sure this is allowed: “Authors can post about their own games (for instance on intfiction) as long as doesn’t encourage people to break the rules (such as telling people to vote for your game even if they haven’t played it).”


I had hoped me going first might break the ice :sweat_smile: but I do get why people might be hesitant to follow suit.

It is! I even checked with @mathbrush to be certain!


This is directly from the official rules:

  • Discussion of games on merit is allowed and encouraged.
  • Authors can post about their own games (for instance on intfiction) as long as doesn’t encourage people to break the rules (such as telling people to vote for your game even if they haven’t played it).

I’ll go next ! :smiley:

This is kind of hard to boast a bit about your own games… Also because it’s hard to choose which one to write about…

I would like to push forward my first entry to the IF Comp, The Thick Table Tavern (TTTT), and
The Trials and Tribulation of Edward Harcourt


TTTT is one of the biggest and most complicated game I’ve ever created, in terms of gameplay, visuals, or coding. Built in Twine, with custom styling, you incarnate a bartender in the aforementioned tavern in an unnamed fantasy world. Every day, you mix drinks and interact with customers, in hope to gain enough coins to fulfil your dreams.
Submitted to the 2022 IF Comp edition, while it was not to the taste of every players, it was praised for its polished visuals (during the mixing drinks component, the player is faced with a fully designed (and stacked) designed bar). Through creating this game and the feedback given, I have grown a lot more during that last half of the year as a creator than since I started messing around in Twine. And it shows here :stuck_out_tongue:

I believed it would fit the most the categories Outstanding Use of Interactivity (Player - Author) and Outstanding Twine Game (Player - Author) !


But the strongest entry I may have this year might be The Trials and Tribulation of Edward Harcourt, a project created in tandem, between me (coding) and MelS (writer, his IF debut :P). It was also put together in Twine.

This game is the product of love for gothic horror (MelS’s especially), of all the coding lessons I’ve learned the past years, and of a bored brainstorming session for RPG story ideas during one evening between MelS and I.

With its minimal styling, a dark ambiance, and a sprinkle of puzzles, this Lovecraftian mystery ranked 3rd at the EctoComp in the Grand Guignol Category.

I think it would be most appropriate in the Outstanding Horror Game category (Player - Author).


I hope I’ve done this correctly :stuck_out_tongue:
Anyway, I’m going to check out the polls, see if I’ve forgotten some game too.


Hi, my name’s Phil and my game last year was my debut game Crash. I think my game is best in the Outstanding Spaceship Repair Game category. Whoo! I got some votes in Outstanding Science Fiction Game! More than I thought I would get, so I’m happy.

Anyway, can’t stay, must work on my Spring Thing entry.


The game I released in 2022 was This Old Haunted House for the 2022 ECTOCOMP “Le Grand Guignol” event. You are the skeletal host of a home improvement show, and you work with your producer and a pair of guest stars to design a haunted house that will best satisfy your viewing audience. Although this was written in Inform 7, it plays out more like a choice-based game, as the game presents you with a series of decisions to make about the contents of each room, and your decisions combine to determine the character of the resulting house.

I have some frank thoughts about the merits and flaws of this game hidden behind this text. There are spoilers; I write way too much about the game's origin. It's long.

First, let me say that I am proud of this game, because that might not be apparent from the criticism below. I set goals for my design, I met them, and no matter what other flaws it has, at least it isn’t incomplete or (obviously) buggy. Even if playing long enough to get a good ending is monotonous, a straightforward path to that good ending exists. These characteristics are enough to set it head-and-shoulders above a majority of the games for which I am credited on IFDB.

Let’s talk about those flaws, though.

I was expecting to hear this question a lot: why bother to make a game on a platform with a robust world model when I don’t really seem interested in modeling the world?

It’s a fair question; Ryan Veeder famously wrote that “the most fundamental component of the parser IF experience” is “walking around, or simply occupying a simulated space.” Despite simulating one space and spending effort to describe another, This Old Haunted House prohibits walking around altogether. The only movement to occur is when you leave the studio, ending the game. This isn’t meant to be an Inform abuse or other gimmick, so wouldn’t a proper Inform game make full use of the opportunities afforded by the language?

To answer that, I have to explain: This Old Haunted House isn’t a proper game, nor is The Exigent Seasons, my release from 2021 which used much of the same code. These are puzzles wrapped in varying degrees of extravagance. They’re not even especially good as puzzles:

You have ten switches. Each switch can be set to one of three values. Use trial and error to figure out the possibility space that these switches represent—this setup could have as many as 59,049 outcomes. Fortunately, these games reduce that range to a mere 33 outcomes. At least TOHH only asks you to find one specific outcome†, even if it’s coy about what that outcome should look like. The best ending for The Exigent Seasons requires that you get every possible outcome, and it even chides you for resorting to the “>CHEAT” command.

† Technically, you also need to pick the two main choices for each of the ten rooms, and you need to pick neither choice at least once for any room.

I feel like I should explain. In the mid-to-late 2000s, I was frustrated with the alignment systems in PC and console RPGs. This feeling had been percolating for a while, but it really came to a head in 2007: that was the year we had Mass Effect, Infamous, and especially BioShock, which dared to ask players whether they wanted to save little girls or harvest them for power-ups. Even D&D’s twin axes of good-vs-evil and law-vs-chaos seemed too reductive.

What if, instead of evaluating on one or two axes, we evaluate on five axes, each of which was perpendicular to the others? What if, instead of saving a little girl or killing her, we ask “do we let little girls play with knives, knowing they might hurt themselves but allowing them the opportunity to learn lessons for themselves and maintain their independence?” Or “if our little girl breaks the rules, but she does it for a good cause, do we let it slide for the sake or morality, or do we resist allowing the ends to justify the means?”

I’d developed a methodology for scoring questions like these for a personality test based on Magic: the Gathering colors back in 2005, but the idea of using this as the model for a morality system became something of a fascination. I spent the next decade+ conceiving a white whale project that I’m still trying to figure out, but rather than continue chasing something beyond my reach, I thought I’d start making smaller games to explore the parts of the project that actually interested me.

The Exigent Seasons was the first of those games: the player deals with a progression of crises in a fantasy city, and the game tells them what kind of ruler they were based on those decisions. A morality system, surgically extracted from the game it was designed for and forced to hang by itself. It was little more than a proof of concept. The prospect of implementing all the fantasy elements was too daunting, and besides, I wanted the player to approach these questions with a degree of detachment, so I created a frame story in which the player is hanging out with an RPG-enthusiast friend who is reading from an article in a legally distinct and non-infringing version of Dragon magazine. I’ve been in similar situations plenty of times, so now I was writing from a position of familiarity.

In its original context, the morality system is a tool for player expression and customization: you pick options to exert ownership over your character or to demonstrate a novel approach, to indulge a power fantasy or to solve problems in a way that would feel more satisfying than the manner in which they’re usually handled. Without more “game” for the system to react to, though, The Exigent Seasons just felt like that personality test again, and lampshading it with the frame story didn’t help. Players would try it once or twice, shrug, and walk away. There wasn’t enough of a story for the player to invest in to give them the intrinsic desire to achieve a particular result using the morality system.

I understood this on some level, but I tried to weasel out of adding more story by forcing the issue extrinsically, instead. “Figuring out the morality system is the point of the game,” I told myself, and so I made it the player’s objective: get all the outcomes. Rather than being a tool to identify and express yourself, the morality system was transformed into a maze of trial-and-error. Again, I was subconsciously aware that I had created a miserable and repetitive experience, and I tried to mitigate this by adding a proc-gen radio station injecting hopefully-funny song titles periodically, and by having your friend provide a running monologue about the game you’re playing, its setting, roleplaying in general, etc. The fact that I ran out of steam and stopped having him provide unique dialogue for the last third of the game should have been a red flag, but I was too impressed with the way all these systems were interacting successfully to recognize the problem. I planned to release for IFComp, but then doubts about eligibility due to the way I’d handled testing made me withdraw and publish it outside.

So much for The Exigent Seasons.

A year later, I was disappointed with the response The Exigent Seasons had received, and I blamed this on releasing in the middle of competition season. While this game’s chance had passed, it occurred to me that I could take the core systems and reupholster them with a new theme. It would be a huge undertaking, but it would give me the opportunity to make the player’s overall goal less awful, and I could focus on a smaller competition since I recognized that this still wouldn’t be cut out to compete on the main stage, so to speak. I set my sights on ECTOCOMP, and This Old Haunted House was born.

This Old Haunted House isn’t quite a twin of The Exigent Seasons. TES presents crises in a random order, while TOHH defaults to always presenting the rooms in sequence. The radio in TOHH has a little more variety, while TES’s Trev has more total comments to make than Han from TOHH has. Getting every outcome without cheating will earn you the best possible ending in TES, but that’ll get you a special game-over in TOHH. There are probably more noteworthy differences, but I’d have to review the source texts to describe them.

None of that is enough to prevent This Old Haunted House from inheriting the flaws of its sibling. From its poorly chosen scope to its counterproductive objective design, it’s still just a proof of concept that got too big for its britches. I’m glad I made it, though: it works, even if it’s not very fun. It let me polish some tools I’ll use in some future projects.

Whew. That was a lot! Now to stop reminiscing about Inform projects and start thinking about Twine again…


My turn ;-p

My short game won a “local” Adrift jam and was beta-tested by two other people. I mention this as the distinction between comps and jams is not clear. Available for online play as well as
Mac/Windows/Linux (Android interpreter not very compatible unfortunately)

Qualities of this game:

  • Original topic: Being part of the German resistance in WWII
  • Short (first escape an elevator, then escape the building)
  • Best jam score in Puzzle Creativity, Fun Factor and Originality (jam info)
  • Good parser (at least I hope so but feedback is very welcome)

I wanted to focus on the German resistance which is rarely portrayed, include some challenging puzzles and provide a strong parser. You should love puzzles to like this game. It can be completed in only 41 moves but it is also cruel on the forgiveness scale. Online you must push refresh in the browser when restarting, which you no doubt will need. The game has a few hints but I don’t intend to publish a walkthrough any time soon. But feel free to ask for help.

Despite VERY hard competition, I think “WWII Elevator Escape” would be appropriate for:

There are links to everything on the game’s IFDB page: WWII Elevator Escape - Details

If you experience any kind of technical problems please let me know as a lot of work is going on now to make Adrift 5 games more easily accessible. Thanks!


I would like to present A Matter of Heist Urgency, a delightfully short cartoon-comedy parser superhero brawler. Though it only placed 34th in the IFComp, its post-comp release has improved the game tremendously. Don’t take my word for it – check out Scrooge200’s review or this thread.

You can read more about the feedback I received, the design challenges it posed, and how I responded to them and improved the game, in my postmortem and transcript analysis. (If you haven’t already played the game, exercise caution; both of these topics contain spoilers!)

Though it has already been nominated for several categories, I think it fits best in Most Sequel-worthy Game, since every single review to date has mentioned that they would play a sequel.

Given the disconnect between the positive reviews given by @mathbrush, @rovarsson, and other influential IF figures and its low IFComp score and IFDB rating, it could also be appropriate for Outstanding Underappreciated Game.


Hi, I wrote Admiration Point. It won 20th place in IFComp. It’s a slice-of-life anti-romance set in a near-future digital culture museum. This game was basically writing therapy as I dealt with a lot of obsessive thoughts I was having about a co-worker, and I recently found out (after writing my postmortem) that I suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Weirdly enough, I only captured a small fraction of that madness in this game. I work in an academic library, and I had been reading a lot of library thinkpieces, which inspired me to write library thinkpieces from the point of view of someone in the future. If that sounds boring, don’t worry, it’s skippable. But my cataloging coworkers thought it was really interesting!

A few people have voted for it for Outstanding Twine game of 2022, Outstanding Slice of Life game, and Outstanding Worldbuilding. It warms the heart of my weirdness to know that other people appreciated and even identified with my life experience that I turned into speculative fiction.


Hi I’m here to tell you not to vote for my game, specifically in the ChoiceScript categories (Outstanding Choicescript Game of 2022 - Player's Choice - an IFDB Poll and Outstanding Choicescript Game of 2022 - Author's Choice - an IFDB Poll). Right now it’s not in the lead for Players, but it is in the lead for Authors, which is a extremely minor but vexing injustice.

THROW. MARIA. OVERBOARD. is a fun supernatural historical fiction romp through Imperial Constantinople, and yes, it’s nice, you know, it’s got parties and sailing ships, but it was also written in four hours, is very unpolished, and frankly was not the best ChoiceScript game of the year by a long shot. It’s hardly five minutes long, the endings are anemic, and it is alltogether extremely rough. Don’t get me wrong! It’s a fun five minutes. There’s a strong dilemma. You know. It’s, like, good.

It absolutely ain’t the best of the year.

Unfortunately I think I’ve fallen victim to sampling bias of some sort, in that the vast majority of released ChoiceScript works are commercial, and the people who are voting in the awards aren’t necessarily the same subset of people who, you know, buy and read ChoiceScript games, but, seriously, there’s a lotta better stuff out there released this year - and if you voted for my game without playing at least a few other ChoiceScript games this year, I would ask you to abstain.

If you do, like, legit think my game’s better than, I dunno, Teahouse of the Gods (which is the last one I played) then, sure, vote for it - but, you know, you’d be putting mine up higher than I do if so. One can only get so much done in four hours.



Alright, since the Most Sequel-Worthy (Player’s Choice) category is currently tied, I’m going to go back on what I said before and plug our game!

Lady Thalia and the Rose of Rocroi is the second game in the Lady Thalia series, starring the eponymous heroine on vacation in France as her alter-ego Theodora Knight. While she’s ostensibly there as a social obligation, when she’s not attending yet another garden party there’s no shortage of beautiful women to chase and of course, expensive art to steal. But with a new thief in town and her (annoyingly attractive) Scotland Yard nemesis hot on her heels, this vacation may not be as restful as she planned…

There’s a few reasons why I think LTRR deserves to win Most Sequel-Worthy. One is that, as a sequel itself, I would hope my coauthor and I have proven that we can write excellent sequels. The other is that the Lady Thalia games are made in the tradition of works such as Sherlock Holmes and Arsene Lupin, with an engaging cast of characters to root for and ever-wilder schemes to watch play out. We hope people are looking forward to the currently-untitled Lady Thalia 3, and if they are I hope they feel our game deserves a vote.