What truly is a REALLY BAD IF game? 25% of games didn't make the cut!

So I announced this jam on a whim last month, and it started some conversations, and people submitted games.

And so now, it’s time to play them and see whether they are truly terrible or if they need to be disqualified. I have harsh criterium that are completely subobjective and totally opaquetransparent!

Ans, if you think I am completely wrong in my assessment, do say so!

Let’s find out what makes a game REALLY BAD IF!

See the results

As a note: not all entries are listed on the IFDB, as requested by the participants.

I will be using the Random filter to choose my next game to play (except for the first ones cause itch.io is currently down…)

Current decisions:


Coincidentally, I just uploaded mine to the Archive and made an IFDB page :slight_smile:

(I am a little worried it might not meet your exacting criteria on first blush).


It is already disappointingly hilarious… :joy:


Let’s get cracking!

'Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, by Mike Russo

'Steading of the Hill Giant Chief is a short fantasy parser game where you play as a wizard just back from a beating by a giant. Though your ego is a bit bruised (and maybe your body is too), nothing will stop you from defeating those perfidious creatures… you just need a new plan and get ready.

Using a (very) limited list and ample hints, the puzzles are fairly easy to complete. You just need a good weapon, a fitting costume, and maybe a potion for extra help. Some of the commands even do extra steps (like taking an ingredient will also put it in the cauldron). Always a bonus point for including a cat and letting us pet it.

On the other hand, some objects are not always quite obvious (like the exact ingredient listed somewhere else but that general descriptions) or not described (though, they don’t really matter, so that’d OK). But if you read the responses properly, it isn’t really difficult to go around it.

Finally, the writing. It’s fantastic. It hits just the right balance of hilarious, but in that kind of old TTRPG/Fantasy game style. I didn’t even finish the intro that I was already laughing so hard. It was so much fun, I was disappointed to see it end so quickly!

Why it is not a REALLY BAD IF game?
~ It’s actually a pretty fun short game. NOT EVEN ONE BIT BAD!!! Hum Hello?!?!?! did someone submit this to the wrong jam???

Why it should be considered REALLY BAD IF?
~ Apparently the source code is truly awful and should be hung as an example of bad coding practice. Inform people, please back this claim?

Final decision: DISQUALIFIED
The game is just too good :joy:

Transcript: SoHGc.txt (22.2 KB)


Can verify. Certified bad!


Yay, thanks for the review! The disqualification is a fair cop :slight_smile:


I just played it this morning, and I feel the same way! It passes the Can You Pet The Cat test better than 95% of good games, let alone bad ones, which IMO makes it Game of the Year. I try to assume good faith, but entering such an objectively good game in this jam feels like an intentional provocation… :thinking:

I’m not an Inform person, but IMO, the main crime on display is that the whole game is an elaborate set-up for a single bad pun on the titular programming crimes. (I started getting suspicious when the game let slip that every room was a single item. :P) Which is certainly “shaking my fist at the author” bad, but is it really “bad IF” bad…? (Then again, maybe I fail to appreciate the gravity of the programming crimes.)


Can you post the source code here? Looks like Itch is down for me.

EDIT: Never mind, forgot about IFDB.

EDIT: Haha thanks Manon, but you’re 2 seconds too late.

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It’s also on the IFDB page of the game :wink:

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Oh it’s not a bad pun, it’s a godawful pun! I had the idea for the programming thing first and then my subconscious threw up the pun when I was brainstorming a theme and it made me laugh and laugh :slight_smile:

(I put in more details in the chat if folks are interested!)


RIGHT?!?!? It has no right being this good :joy:

I am a big proponent of Word crimes, extending it to Code crimes, so I do vibe with the whole tee-hee look at my monstrosity of code vibe right there.

But if the code actually works, even if it is not good practice, does it make truly a game bad? :thinking:
I too have done questionable things with the code of my past games …

I truly expect many participants to be charged with this crime on this thread! I also have been accused of making a good game myself :scream:

Is this jam going to have the highest proportion of disqualified entry???


If even the organizer herself is entering good games, then it’s no wonder—the rot goes all the way to the top! :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:

Is this really a Really Bad IF jam? I’m beginning to suspect it’s been a Really Bad “Bad IF” jam all along…


or, winner of the Incredibly-High-Overhead Dad Joke ribbon. Or you could throw the word Disqualified in there, too.


NEXT on our Terrible IF journey, we’re moving from the text-only type-y type of IF to moving sprites and visual, wiiiiiiith…

the village tour by Tabitha

the village tour is a micro linear visual novel, made by the author in 2 hours, as their first VN attempt. It follows Kel and Yaan on a village tour, spearheaded by the former, while the latter doesn’t seem impressed (is he even a bit whelmed?). Through the short exchanges, you will see different part of the village, displayed in the background, with unnecessary focus on a small characteristic of the spot or impossible settings. It also ends abruptly.

The way the game is set up is absolutely absurd, from the background use to the (lack of) conversation. I couldn’t help but read Kel’s lines with the most sincere and upbeat tour guide voice, trying to make the most boring attraction interesting. Also Yel falling for no apparent reason made me laugh.

Final note: this is the unhinged version of Blossom, NY.

Why it is not a REALLY BAD IF game?
~ Because I found it funny. I love a good bit of absurd.

Why it should be considered REALLY BAD IF?
~ There’s nothing to do. The story doesn’t really go anywhere. It stops when the action is really starting. Obviously underdeveloped.

Final decision: Not terrible. But also, not good.


I will take this as a Bad IF success :grin: (haha, glad you enjoyed it!)


Next on the why was this even submitted to the jam? (she thought starting the game, and regretting it after playing), we have a Python game that I ran on an online Intepreter because I couldn’t be bothered to find my Python program (I tried but it kept closing?!).

time for bed, by nl1234

time for bed is a relatively short parser game with a simple objective: get ready for bed. To do that you need to get into your pyjamas, drink a warm cup of milk, and brush your teeth. The map is pretty small: bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen. There are multiple endings and achievements to find while playing the game. It also has a fairly limited vocabulary (no synonyms).

On top of this, it’s got some pretty fun humour, that got my chuckling quite a bit. Like starting with the tutorial but not the game, doing the suggested commands, searching through the rooms. Something you’d definitely expect of that kind of simple, slice of life, chill puzzle game. Also, it was nice to get an obvious visual for when to press to continue and input the next command.

Except… I am not sure the game can be actually finished. On multiple occasions, I would get a server timeout or my window would just close mid-way through giving me a response (like wear pyjamas was impossible!). There are also issues of unresponsive commands (can’t examine/interact described objects), and some friction with the commands (can only put something in the microwave with the open microwave command).

Shaaaame… :confused:

Why it is not a REALLY BAD IF game?
~ While it was working, it wasn’t too bad for a parser, even with the limited commands and responses.

Why it should be considered REALLY BAD IF?
~ Obviously unplayable. There are errors in the code that breaks the game).

Final decision: Unfinishable. That’s pretty bad.


Already another one? Yes. Let’s squeeze one more before bed. And it has great potential!

You’re the Judge Now, Dog!, by Andrew Schultz

You’re the Judge Now, Dog! is a Twine game(??), partly meta, partly a joke game (duh), partly… I don’t know how to characterise it? a rant? a weird praise? It’s a bit all over the place. There are 5 endings, some more gruelling to get than others.

The whole game moves along with the whims of an unlikeable narrator, who really wants to talk to you about Buford Rootberg, and how amazing of a guy he is (and how much of a looser you are), in between weird rants about –spin the wheel to pick a topic– and pokes at your disappointing… well, evertyhing. You go through an interview (a bit humiliating), shove your face with Hot Pockets (no vegetarian options?!), and bomb the ratings of all the games submitted to the jam (obviously they deserved it!).

I am not quite sure what exactly happens next, whether your life turns upside down and goes through some surreal experience where you are granted the honour of meeting (again) Buford Rootberg… or if it’s just some weird dream because of your definitely poor diet (so many Hot Pockets!!).

The absolute worst thing about this game, aside from the infuriating narrator and his questionable takes, was the timed text. Absolutely awful. Every single line is timed (around 2s each) and you have many many lines to read per passage.
Also pretty bad? The links. In three different spots, your page is covered with links (one is slightly worse than the other), all of which you have to click to go through. Infuriating. My hand would like a refund, please and thank you.

For some reason, the audio wasn’t working (I tried downloading the game, opening it on different browser, used the toggle…) and some images were broken too.

And for the low, very low price of $7,734.40, you too can own the source code (or skip the pay button). It actually does some interesting things with loops, especially with the randomised placement of links in loops.

So, yeah… it’s pretty bad. As you’d expect.

Why it is not a REALLY BAD IF game?
~ It’s an Andrew Twine game. Those are always frustrating, but in a fun way!
~ Some lines were pretty funny. The passive-agressiveness made me feel right at home :joy:

Why it should be considered REALLY BAD IF?
~ Where do I start? Obviously: the timed text. Absolutely the worst.
~ I was robbed of the audio experience. (I really don’t know why, the code seems fine and the files are there, but no sound, even without messing with the toggle…)
~ Dislike the narrator, he’s the worst.
~ I feel like there is a pun somewhere with names that I am not getting and it’s making me sad.

Final decision: Hi, I would like to ask compensation for waiting and clicking so much. Who can I send my claim to?

(it should get the tag: source code is better than game!!)


Regarding my entry, it’s only over when you get the final question. Abrupt endings don’t count, it just needs a restart! I shall say no more! Oh, and good luck! :grin:


A lifetime ago, when I was writing games in ADRIFT, I was annoyed because people on the ADRIFT forum would nit-pick my games in unfair ways. So one night after drinking way too much beer, I wrote an intentionally bad game that I called “Invasion of the Second-Hand Shirts”. It featured items that weren’t mentioned in the room description, puzzles that would do different things if the same thing was done more than once, a title that bore no application to the plot of the game, a giant slug that played the guitar, and venus standing in a creek for like, no reason at all.


That’s appalling!

Everyone knows Venus is a saltwater creature, not freshwater.