The Ryan Veeder Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction

It is my privilege to announce the First Quadrennial Ryan Veeder Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction.

I was inspired to inaugurate the Exposition after playing several games that I did not like. My hope is to encourage the production of games that I do like, by conducting an Exposition of games devised solely to please me—an Exposition for which I am the only judge.

A complete introduction to the Exposition, including the rules and schedule, can be found at I will cover only the basics here:

It is gravely important that I do not know who any of the Exposition entrants are. Otherwise, I will be unable to judge the entries with total impartiality. To maintain my ignorance, I will be sequestering myself in the following ways:

Discussion of the Exposition can therefore flow freely here and on Twitter, as long as each tweet about the exposition includes the #rvexpo tag. The Exposition can also be discussed in other online contexts as long as it is conducted in a mindful manner, by following the precepts of spoiler culture with which you are no doubt familiar.

I understand that it is my responsibility as well to avoid viewing materials that could compromise the anonymity of the Exposition, and so a certain share of that mindfulness falls to me. There are two sides in this contract to which you and I have both acquiesced.

This arrangement entails that all communication with me, including clarification questions, submissions of intent to enter, and ultimately game submissions, must be accomplished via a third party. That third party is the Stewards of the Exposition, Emily Boegheim and Jenni Polodna. It is their charge to respond to all your questions, confirming answers with me if necessary. They can be contacted at They may also answer your questions in this thread, if they feel so inclined.

(I am led to understand that this forum was made to endure a prolonged debate of IFComp’s rules having to do with authors publicly discussing their work during that competition. I am very much concerned that some person may interpret the rules of my Exposition as a snide commentary on or a parody of this issue. Such a person’s interpretation is incorrect: The only purpose of the Exposition is to entertain me.)

Your intent to enter must be submitted on or before January 18, 2016, so that I know how many dolls to make as prizes. Your entry must be submitted on or before February 28.

I think that’s everything.

  1. Please say this is not a joke, because regardless of my personal inability to make games, the fact that there is a comp which awards plush dolls is a beautiful fact to exist and I would like for it to be factual and existent.

  2. So the maximum is 99/100?

(ed: 100th post, good timing to be asking about that…)

The web site ( says: “I am being absolutely serious.”

Obviously there is a Last Lousy Point, in the classical sense of “nothing explains how to get it”.

Are pseudonyms permissible?

Sounds like fun. Any chance of, say, a list of games/things you currently like?

You read the part where Ryan has blocked himself from seeing this forum, right?

I’d assumed that the Stewards would answer questions here on the forum; maybe I’m wrong?

@Merlin, Ryan did post on the rules site:

I did see that, although it’s a bit vague. I guess “optimism” does narrow it down, given the number of pessimist, nihilist, existentialist and otherwise angsty games I’ve seen lately.

I think you can get a sense for what he likes by playing his games. Also you can listen to his podcast or look at his IFDB ratings to see what games he’s ranked highly.

Well, you know, sarcasm and the internet, I wanted to be sure!

Hey, I don’t know anything about nihilism, but existentialism is totally not mutually exclusive with optimism. Existentialism can be a very cheerful worldview!

I can confirm without consulting Ryan that he is being absolutely serious.

Would you like me to request further clarification on this?

Ryan says yes, but you must use a pseudonym that can’t possibly give him any clues as to your true identity.

I must confess I am filled with intense curiosity about what these games were. Emily, is it alright if you ask him about this?

Did Ryan just backhandedly diss all the IFComp entries?

Sidenote: reading the first post in this thread got Queen’s “Let Me Entertain You” stuck in my head. Thanks a bunch, Ryan, you person who is totally not reading this right now you.


Interestingly, Arrow’s paradox says that the only ‘fair’ voting system is a dictatorship (with a very limited definition of fair).

The IFComp judging rules, maybe.

For competitions with more than two candidates! Important qualification. (The classic voting model for a two-horse race works fine.)

But if you want to talk about preference voting, start a new thread. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure that’s what “backhandedly” means.

I like where this exposition seems to be going. Maybe that’s because I’m in a similar position. A couple of recent games (one of which was The Beginner’s Guide) made me realize that I wanted to take a break from games that cast guilt upon the player, because they could be too good at it. “Optimism” is a pretty good word for what I’d like to see instead.

So, I can’t say if what I’d like to see is exactly what Ryan Veeder would like to see, but I look forward to the chance that it’s close. [emote]:)[/emote]

Well, we could infer a certain backhanded position: Some of the IF Ryan Veeder has played recently might have been “good” IF, but he still didn’t like them.

I think that’s just a claim of subjectivity, spun an unfortunate way. If Ryan weren’t willing to say that “it’s good” and “Ryan Veeder likes it” were different metrics, then this exposition would look especially arrogant. Whether or not some arrogance remains here anyway, I take this self-awareness as a good sign.

Maybe that’s true in practice, but probably not by intention. Keep in mind this part of the opening post:

I think certain opinions of IFComp rules will directly correspond to opinions of the rules of this exposition, without much exaggeration or inversion. For instance, I hope to find events where open-source stories can participate, but both IFComp and this expo require authors to refrain from releasing early, so I guess they’re not what I’m looking for. (Not that they need to be.)

Isn’t this the sort of thing where, if you think about it too long and too seriously, it stops being fun?