The IFComp 2020 Best Reviews Competition (Feedback requested in post 38)

Based on feedback gathered in an earlier post, I’m announcing the IFComp 2020 Best Review Competition!

This is a chance for members of the community (including but not limited to authors) to express their gratitude for and appreciation of people who publicly review IFComp games.

Voting will begin on Nov. 29 and extend for 3 days. On Nov. 29, I will make a google form with all public reviewers listed. The names of public reviewers will be taken directly from this spreadsheet:, so make sure to add yourself to that spreadsheet if you want to be considered for nomination.

Voters will assign a score of 1-10 to reviewers in the following categories:
Best Coverage: This is for reviewers who you think did a good job covering many games in the competition. This reward is intended to reward prolific reviewers.
Best Individual Review(s): This is for reviewers who did at least one very good, in-depth review. This is intended to reward reviewers who write thoughtful, deep-digging reviews, even if they don’t post very many.

Reviewers are allowed to vote, but not for themselves, similar to the XYZZY Awards.

There will be a prize pool for this that anyone can contribute to. To begin with, I’ll seed the prize pool with three prizes I offered last year (these are just intended to be fun/non-serious, and I wish I could offer better prizes myself like cash, but others might donate more serious prizes):


  • $50 Steam gift card / gift credit (anonymous)
  • $20, deliverable by Paypal or Venmo (donated by RadioactiveCrow)
  • A gentle review of the reviewer’s reviews (donated by Mike Russo)
  • A handwritten letter of gratitude (donated by Mathbrush)
  • The prize recipient receives place in my next game as an Easter egg (donated by Mathbrush)
  • I’ll edit my IFDB profile page to say “[Prize recipient] is an incredible reviewer. Check them out!” at the top for one year. (by Mathbrush)

Because I have a slight preference for more coverage, prizes will be selected by the top winners in each category, starting with Best Coverage.

There won’t be any voting until the end of the IFComp period, to allow reviewers time to get their reviews in. Good luck!


The prize pools has been updated due to a generous donation. I’ll continue to update it (without posting on here after this first time) as the comp continues!

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Can we donate cash into a general prize pool to be chopped up among the top finishers? Similar to the IFComp prize pool?

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Feel free too! As the sole comp organizer, it would be helpful if you did the chunk chopping on your own (so if you want to offer 3 $10,000 prizes or 10 $1 prizes or 2 $20 prizes), and sent the prize to whom it is awarded. If this competition is successful, then we can build some architecture around it in the future, though!

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Put me down for a $20 cash prize, delivered by Paypal or Venmo.

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Got it!


By my judgement, you should get the Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing Reviews. What do you get?


I get the experience of playing awesome games!


How do you pull a link from IFDB directly to a review you’ve written?

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It’s not easy to do from the game’s page, But it is easy from your own page:

Just click “See the full review”.




Just a reminder that this is still going on! Good luck with reviewing!


That is 1) awesome, but also 2) embarrassing because I 100% lifted your bit for my contribution to the prize pool.


Oh no, Mike. I’m so sorry – I didn’t look at the prize pool and didn’t see that you had offered that.

I feel awful, I certainly didn’t mean to steal your thunder. I’ll fix this, sorry bud!

– Mike


Oh geez, I have no thunder to steal – please do your thing, it’ll be amazing! Just wanted to acknowledge that the idea was yours – you actually reviewed some of my reviews back in '02, which made me feel really excited as a newcomer to the community, and was also super helpful in seeing where I could improve. I’ll be able to bring way more depth to the one I’m doing so will still be cool. Anyway please don’t feel bad or be dissuaded!


Okay, I think now is a great time for people to start ‘reviewing the reviewers’. We’re close to the end of the competition and the reviewing period.

What reviews or reviewers have especially stood out in your minds? Who has done a great job of reviewing a lot of games? Who has done at least one great analysis?

I’d like to point out this review of SOUND as a particularly good analysis, even though the review is relatively short:

Whereas most reviewers, myself included, were left confused by the poetic abstractness, Wade was here able to reflect further than anyone else and present an impressively insightful review that made me re-evaluate the game.


@DeusIrae’s review of Fight Forever was both funny and insightful. I love how the insane resolution of the character’s age variable came up in every review of this game.


I really liked Victor’s review of The Moon Wed Saturn. Every time I think about writing a review I just want to write “What Victor said.”


Victor’s written a bunch of good reviews. The one that stands out most to me is his take on Saint Simon’s Saw. It helped me understand that game a lot better.