What do the XYZZY's mean to you?

The XYZZY Awards boast a remarkable 27-year continuous tradition, a rarity in the ever-evolving digital landscape. This longstanding commitment to honoring excellence in interactive fiction speaks volumes about the enduring passion and resilience of the community.

These awards have weathered technological shifts, evolving tastes, gamergate, and constantly changing demographics, providing a stable anchor for creators and enthusiasts alike. This legacy is not just about recognizing present achievements; it’s about upholding a beacon of inspiration for future generations, showcasing the enduring power and relevance of interactive fiction in the ever-shifting currents of artistic expression.

In a space where it feels we are constantly second-guessing our continued relevance, things like IFComp and the XYZZYs ground us. They remind us of our legitimacy and provide something to individually aspire to as creators.

They make us feel less alone. I know finding this community, and then discovering the dizzying depths of its history, was a revelation. I know I’ve heard the same from others.

In short, the XYZZY’s mean an awful lot to me, and I suspect they mean an awful lot to many of you. I don’t know if they’ll last indefinitely, or 10 more years, or one, or if they’ll just unceremoniously end now, nor is it up to me either way, but if the worse were to come to pass…

I just want to acknowledge that they mattered.

Do they matter to you?


To me, the XYZZY awards are the voice of the community deciding what they want to record for the future in terms of their preferences and values.

The XYZZY awards help give people a sense of place in their communities; getting nominated for an award, or winning it, you can look back at past games with similar awards or nominations and see how you fit in in the great cosmos.

The large number of categories mean that a lot of people can get awards.

They are useful for job applications; at least in the past having an XYZZY award on your nomination was very helpful for breaking into paid game design or writing jobs.


When I was a silent member of the community for decades, the XYZZYs were a good guide for what I should play, although I never found it to be the best guide. Then I won one, and it was really nice, but I became absolutely positive that it was not the best guide. Honestly I think 90% of my peeps IRL don’t even know about my award, because the few people I told were like, “What’s that?” and I had to explain that it was an award bestowed by a few dozen hardcore IF nerds.

Now I think it’s just a fun excuse to argue about good games for a couple of weeks.


When authors that I admire win awards, I am very happy for them.


It’s sad to see them (probably) go. I feel about them roughly the same way I feel about the Hugo awards - they’re a great institution and I love the nomination and voting process, even if my favorites don’t usually win.

(Also co-winning one was nice! I don’t think it would have happened under normal circumstances with normal publicity, but it was nice.)


I missed something. No more XYZZYs? I mean, I do not want to do the work for them, but that is sad if true.


The XYZZY award means nothing to me (yet).

I think I must explain my IF background: I played IF back in 1980s and 90s, then not for some time, now being back to appeciate them again (and more than before). I don’t know or care much about competitions/jams and awards. I just happened to be randomly present and bored when the IFComp gala started so I decided to watch it and I enjoyed it very much.

Maybe I will grow more into the general IF scene in the near future. There is this forum which I love. But there’s much more stuff to get involved.


No idea. No direct indication of that, just getting very late in the year to fit it in still. Last year it started Nov 21st and ended Dec 22nd. If it starts much later, the results for 2022 will come out in 2024. I don’t know if I’d care, but some have expressed concern about whether it will be a going concern heading forward.


They’re a way of showing what is the best for the year. Just like the Grammy’s and the Oscars, they may not mean much to some because they don’t feel right or that is the most they could do - but it’s a really good way to acknowledge the greater games in a year and promote a game or yourself.

If the XYZZYs disappear, then that’s a lot of prestigious and fundamental IF stuff being unknit from the seam and it might cause damage. Also, being one of the longest game awards it feels a good way to show how long IF can stay comfortably for. If nothing happens I vote we host one anyway.


Insurrection might be a little premature, but I agree with the rest of your sentiments.


Ah, you’re right. By what I said I meant more “hey, guys, if you aren’t doing it, can we do it?” And less “siege the XYZZY castle and get out with the awards!”

Who knows, that might be what it ends up becoming.


I agree. I wasn’t aware that the XYZZY Awards were at risk of being retired, but they’re one of a very few annual pillars for the IF medium as a whole. I don’t know exactly how load-bearing they are, but it seems like a bad move to test that by knocking them out of the calendar. I hope they continue to run.


They mean nothing to me.


Glad to see a full range of opinions on display. :grin:


I don’t have much personal experience with them- but I did notice that people often listed if they had won one in their personal bios on social media sites, and usually the award would correlate with having a really good game, or body of games, even if it wasn’t to my personal taste. Sort of like a cool little nod of acknowledgement from people in the same club- even if you ran across them in wildly disparate situations, the fact that they knew of or had one themselves meant they were probably entrenched in the tight knit community here, and had put out great work- and I always thought that was sort of lovely. A bit like the little red accessories in The Night Circus to mark out devotees- a scarlet knit scarf means nothing to most crowds, but those who know, know- and there’s a camaraderie around it.


The XYZZY Awards are the one place where individual aspects of a work can be recognised. Most competitions or other awards effectively go to the best all-rounder, but the XYZZY Awards can go to the best puzzle/NPC/setting in an otherwise very flawed work. (In theory; in practice more people enjoy a good all-rounder and are less likely to play the very flawed one just to see the one diamond it might contain.)

They’re also the only place for technical achievements to be awarded in their own right.


There’s only one thing that can work otherwise: the IFDB Awards work as pretty much the child of the XYZZY Awards by taking on some of the roles (the best puzzle, etc.)


I suspect peeps are likely to give the XYZZYs some leeway if folks knew thar be rumbling under yonder surface even if not much can be seen atm.


I feel like you’re being modest; you’ve actually come up with some well thought out plans to improve the XYZZY’s, and got quite a few ‘likes’ on it, too:


Do you know something we don’t? :smiley: