Unofficial polls and discussion for the 2021 XYZZY awards (including tech development)

I’ve created IFDB polls for each category for the 2021 XYZZY awards (i.e. for games created in 2021). This is unofficial, and in no way connected to the actual XYZZY awards. These polls will have no effect on the actual awards, and categories of voting may be different than those I’ve represented.

Here are the polls:

I’ve also created this thread for people to discuss the Technological Development award, and any other awards should you prefer to talk here rather than IFDB.

I have no information about the 2021 XYZZY awards, but just wanted to help people remember games that they personally enjoyed last year. Thanks!


Some useful links:

IFComp 2021 games:

IFDB 2021 games:

Spring Thing 2021 games:

Ectocomp 2021 games:

Choice of Games titles released in 2021:

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ParserComp 2021 games:


Thanks for pulling these together, Brian! I was having problems with IFDB earlier but looks like it’s doing better now, so I was able to add some initial ideas.

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Thank you for giving us a place to gather all the ideas for XYZZYs.

It sure made me reminisce about the many great games 2021 has brought.


Thanks for everyone submitting things on the polls! I’ve added a couple but need to think more about it.

Does anyone have any ideas for technological development? I have trouble remembering what happened in 2021 tech wise, it feels forever ago.


I think Gruescript was released? Haven’t seen any games with it yet but seemed like there was a lot of interest that hopefully will lead to something.

Last Night of Alexisgrad’s multiplayer might also qualify?

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@nilsf 's custom engine is awesome. It seamlessly takes you from parser to choice, and a lot of reviewers commented on how great it is. I don’t know if he has a name for it, but I’ve been pretty impressed with what he can do with it.


The FrankenDrift interpreter and the Puddle BuildTools were released in 2021:


ElseIFPlayer Updated Interactive Fiction web player: ElseIFPlayer

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I released my if-decompiler/glulxtoc, but even I haven’t looked at it since then haha.


For games, there was also:
Puny Jam #1:

Puny Jam #2:

Text Adventure Literacy Jam 2021:

On the technical side, there was a lot of neat work being done on z-code interpreters for lesser known machines, although some of that blurred into 2022.



I don’t know who did it or why they’ve chosen to remain anonymous, but my vanity googling has turned up at least one: Gruescript Adventure


That is awesome!


Hey, how sad does it feel to bring up your own game into the discussion?? :frowning: :thinking: I remember some of the reviews highlighted some of my puzzles.


I don’t think there’s a rule against mentioning your own work, or even against campaigning for your own work (I’ve been searching google for the last few minutes about it). I’m not officially connected with XYZZY and neither are these polls. The actual voting might happen months from now, so what we discuss here isn’t super important.

The only issues that have come in the past have been from large groups of people voting only for one game and not for any others, and even then it was mostly a misunderstanding and that game was given a special award.

So, outside of asking a bunch of people who don’t know the other games to vote for just your game, I believe that there’s nothing wrong (in the rules) with mentioning your own work here or nominating it on the polls on IFDB.


Here are some non-comp games that haven’t been mentioned (mostly games that I’ve played and enjoyed):

Open Sorcery: Sea++ by Abigail Corfman

Overboard! by Inkle

The iCarly RPG by StamblerRambler

What Girls Do In The Dark by olivebranche

The Marsupial of Mathis Street by StamblerRambler

doomsday dreamgirl by Nadia Nova

Elsinore: After Hamlet by Lapin Lunaire Games

The Tree That Touched The Moon by Agnieszka Trzaska

willow blossoms by Meg Sharp

Cyberpunkdreams by Late Night Games

See also, Hosted Games from 2021: Upcoming Hosted Games Releases — 2021 - Announcements - Choice of Games Forum

Edit: For hosted games, I would suggest Relics of the Lost Age, Keeper of the Day and Night, Lux: City of Secrets, Donor, Kiss from Death, and Vampire Regent.

Edit: some more games

Winter by communistsister, Elliot Herriman

Anonymous Connection by moniker ersatz


This is an awesome list, thanks!

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I love Open Sorcery, but it was nominated for XYZZYs in 2016. I don’t know if it would be eligible again? Or is this a different game?

[NARRATOR: It is a different game…]


How did I not know that there was a sequel to Open Sorcery? I loved that game. Thanks, @cchennnn . Psyched to play.