Hey, I was gonna make this thread! Well, I was gonna make a similar thread, after the the Comp was over, about why this year’s relative paucity of mini-comps might explain how this year’s Comp had such a low number of parser games entered. I’ve been thinking about this subject ever since Ectocomp, which has nearly as many entries as a mid-sized Comp and consists of more than half parser games to boot. I don’t have my reasoning worked out too well yet, but basically it goes like this: Mini-comps encourages productivity in one obvious way, by getting people to make games. However, they can also encourage productivity in other, subtler ways, by, e.g., encouraging a rusty programmer to brush up on whatever language they like to use, or getting a total newbie to do the same. Even if someone never enters a game, they might be so interested in the results that they’ll want to make one the next comp that comes around. And that’s not even getting into the added benefits a mini-comp has, like the extra exposure, or the relaxed standards as compared to the IF Comp.
2012 had the two big mini-comps, of course, and while 2011 may not have had any mini-comp that called itself such, there was still the two Speed-IFs, which generated a lot more conversation than Speed-IFs tend to (plus there was the larger than average Spring Thing, but admittedly that may have had more to do with Get Lamp). As for why Twine games weren’t affected by this, remember that they have their own community, which organizes game jams throughout the year. Plus, a choice-based game is going to have more appeal than a parser game at your Ludum Dares and whatnot, especially if you can just play the game in your browser.
Of course, this doesn’t account for things like burnout, and I can remember a time when it seemed like nobody could ever get a mini-comp off the ground (like, remember the guy who created all these different month-long mini-comps, and only three games were entered, total?). But in general I think having a couple mini-comps a year is a good idea, especially if they’re spaced out well.
To that end, here are some mini-comp ideas I would be willing to host myself:
- Another Speed-IF Jacket, which always seemed to me to be the most fun ones. I think I could pull this off the easiest, even though there’s a bit more work involved than your usual Speed-IF.
Prisoner Comp, themed after the old TV show. I’d prefer to encourage works that are thematically inspired by the Prisoner than stuff that’s just straight up based on it, more because that tends to create more interesting works than any straightforward legal reason. I’d also like to have a proper judging panel for this, if at all possible. I may make this a Gravity Falls Comp instead; in that case, I may just make it a general mystery/conspiracy themed comp and encourage works based on/inspired by Twin Peaks, Foucalt’s Pendulum, The Invisibles, et al, and would try to time its release with the premiere of the second season, whenever that is.
- Finally, the most complicated idea I have, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 40th Anniversary Tribute Album. I would definitely need some help with this one, and I can think of quite a few reasons it’d be hard to get off the ground. It’s too complicated; there’s a story we need to decide to what extent, if any, we’re going to follow; there’s the matter of figuring out what the hell the story’s about; and to top it all off, the most obvious release date of the day the album was released (November 18) overlaps too much with the Comp. Nonetheless I’d still like to give it a shot; if nothing else, I’ve got a killer idea for “it” and a serviceable one for “The Carpet Crawlers”.