XYZZY Award Nomination List

The diligent David Welbourn is in the last stages of compiling the first-round list for the 2012 XYZZY Awards. This is an increasingly difficult job, as IF increasingly gets published outside traditional venues; it’s therefore increasingly helpful for people to check his work.

Here’s the draft list. David is still working on it, but we thought it’d be better to bring this to your attention with a goodly amount of time to spare.

To help address the intimidating-wall-o’-text issue and encourage people to look at more of the nominees, David has thoughtfully linkified the list. If you suggest games we’ve missed, providing the links with them would help a great deal.

To clarify which games are eligible:

  • Games that are not presented as complete, finished, v.1.0 works are not eligible, until the year that the finished game comes out. (We can’t always catch this, and the difference between a completed Part 1 of a trilogy and the first third of an incomplete game is often debatable. But, for instance, Introcomp games don’t make the list. Nor should example code.)
  • A game counts as ‘published’, as a rule of thumb, if it lives in a place where it can reasonably be found. (This is one reason why we don’t generally list Playfic games, unless they’ve been released in another venue, or at least linked to from somewhere that we can reasonably find.) Again, we expect a lot of edge cases; still, if a game is technically published, but in the Internet equivalent of the locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard, we’re not counting it.
  • As far as CYOA goes, we are not trying to cover the entire CYOA universe; that’s too large and hazy a domain for us to try and cover comprehensively. The rule of thumb we’re going by (which is the one the awards have always used, more or less) is to include works that have engaged with, or have particular relevance to, the IF community. Once again, that’s a fuzzy standard and we’d rather err on the side of inclusiveness where plausible.

Looks good! 2012 has been a year of many prolific authors, with (and correct me if I’ve miscounted) Craig Dutton producing nine games, Porpentine and Charlie the Spiffy making eight, and Andrew Schultz, Bahri Gordebak, and myself with seven. It’d be interesting to see how many of these were longer games.

One thing I noticed: Bahri Gordebak’s name is misspelt in the Bariscebik entry.

Thanks and noted.

You’re a star for collating the list, David. Your note at the bottom of the draft page says there wasn’t a SPAG issue last user but there was one in December, but I don’t believe it gave any info on new games published that aren’t covered by other sources. Have you seen this article about playfic games: ( … h_playfic/)? Would that count as publishing?

CYBERQUEEN is a major release of mine from December 2012


five out of my eight are longer games, at least by my standards

That’s a very impressive list, and it’s great to see the genre going strong. I noticed Frankenstein isn’t there, which I can understand, but I thought I’d point it out in case it was oversaught.


Oh, and to remove my name from the confusion list: “The Colder Light” is correct, but I changed that between the first and second releases, and got confused myself a couple of times. But I definitely prefer “The”.


I’m curious: if Andy Baio implements a browse and search mechanism for Playfic (as he’s threatened to) will Playfic games then become eligible? If not, what are the other reasons for not included them that you alluded to?

Hmm… let’s see… well, you’re beating Spiffy in the length stakes (it is safe to assume that all of theirs are mercifully short). All of Bahri’s are short mood pieces. Andrew’s games are mostly short-to-medium, with Shuffling Around being quite long- his games’ puzzles tend to be quite challenging, which extends the play time. I’ve got two longish games (could take several hours), two less-than-fifteen-minutes and the rest fall somewhere in between I’d guess. I don’t know what the average length of a game published this year might be. Short, I’d imagine.

An obvious reason is that there’s a lot of material in Playfic, most of which is not really meant for public consuption. If they were all put into the nomination list it would be swamped with Hello Worlds, or someone would have to comb through the games and make a judgement which of them are notable or otherwise good enough to include, and that’s a whole another can of worms.

Also, my understanding is that Playfic games are eligible, even if they aren’t listed in the nomination list.

I don’t mean to derail the thread, but is there going to be a category for best accompanying materials? If so, I nominate the covers made by Marco Innocenti for Andromeda Dreaming, Tree and Star, and Andromeda Apocalypse.

Largely what Juhana said. A major use of Playfic is for testing, code examples and so forth. That sort of thing would bloat the nomination list if we included it all, and could make half-finished games ineligible for awards in the year that they’re actually finished.

What I’d really, really like to see out of Playfic would be a browse-and-search mechanism that included a way for authors to categorise their games: code example/exercise/experiment, public beta, general release. If we had that, I’d see no reason not to treat Playfic games in the same way as games published on IFDB or whatever. (Though I’d still greatly prefer it if completed Playfic games ended up on the archive and IFDB too.)

This falls under Best Supplemental Materials. (And no, we don’t have a first-round list for that; it’ll continue to be text-entry, I’m afraid.)

Pretty much, yes; we’re just making different default assumptions about Playfic games. If someone provides evidence that any given Playfic game was released as complete in 2012, it goes on the list.

I think the list should be kept lean, but any nominations not on it should still be accepted. The union of games on IFDB and the wiki would be all I’d bother putting on the list.

We’re still seriously considering the ‘only games listed on IFDB’ standard. We’ll review that after the 2013 awards are complete; if we decide to do it, we’ll do it promptly, so that nobody gets blindsided by a rules-change late in the year.

The absence of Frankenstein from the list seems like an unfortunate oversight, though it may simply be that it is in the TODOs marked at the bottom. Frankenstein sparked more mainstream discussion of textual interactivity than any other work this year, I think…


Yeah, it absolutely should be in there. The reason that it’s not there yet is that it’s not, presently, listed on IFDB or IFWiki. (Why not? Because nobody added it. Why not? Because ultimately, nobody is responsible for adding games to those sites; the author might do it, and if they don’t somebody else might, but it’s no sure thing. This is part and parcel of the minimal-gatekeeping, crowdsourced-curation model.) The list-compilation that DW does is basically a compilation of other lists; catching exceptions is what this bit is about.

Choice of Zombies (not to be confused with Zombie Exodus) by Heather Albano and Richard Jackson was first available in finished form in April 2012. It may have been overlooked because it was a contestant in IntroComp 2011, but the finished game wasn’t published until 2012.

Another reason why Frankenstein wasn’t on those lists might be simply because it’s iOS exclusive.

I’m not saying that justifies it. But it’s a factor.