XYZZY Awards 2021

Voting is open for the final round, and will remain open through December 17th.

I’ve linked all of the finalists on IFDB here:


This year had a very strong showing for a number of games that were entered in competitions, but didn’t win.

  • The Best Man, nominated for Best Game, Best Writing, Best Story, and Best Individual PC, despite coming in at 12th place in IFComp.

  • The Faeries Of Haelstowne, nominated for Best Game, Best Setting, and Best Individual NPC, which got 5th place in ParserComp.

  • The Libonotus Cup, nominated for Best Game, Best Individual Puzzle, Best Individual NPC, and Best Implementation, which got 5th place in IFComp.

  • What Heart Heard Of, Ghost Guessed, nominated for Best Game, Best Writing, Best Story, Best Puzzles, and Best Use of Innovation, which got 4th place in IFComp.

These games all got a Best Game nomination, even though the 2nd place IFComp game didn’t, Dr Horror’s House of Terror. (But it was nominated for Best Writing, Best Puzzles, and Best Implementation.)

The only other game to receive three nominations was Mean Mother Trucker, nominated for Best NPCs, Best Individual Puzzle, and Best Individual PC.

I’m always less surprised when comp-winning games perform well in the first round of XYZZY.

Congratulations to the nominees! All of these games look fantastic.


Just a heads up-- I went to vote and it said my votes were recorded, but at the top of the page I got this about 10 times:

Warning : Use of undefined constant vote - assumed ‘vote’ (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/inkydh/ on line 40

Not sure if that’s a problem or not.


I got that too, and seem to recall seeing it last year as well and someone saying it wasn’t a problem?


I got it too, but when I refresh the page it seems to have saved my votes (the games I voted for are selected in the dropdown thingys) so I assume everything is ok.


Mine says:

Votes successfully recorded. Thanks!

but below it all my fields are now blank, and when I try to refresh it warns me:

Are you sure you want to send a form again?
To reopen this page Safari must resend a form. This might result in duplicate purchases, comments, or other actions.

which sounds bad.

You can open the vote page in a new private browsing tab. If your previous votes are already filled in (as they were for me) I think you can safely assume they were properly recorded.


Just bumping this since we’re on the last day-and-a-bit to vote in the final round!


And the results are out: XYZZY Awards 2021: final results | The XYZZY Awards. Congratulations, all!


Whoa! Congrats to @AmandaB! Your games have become super popular over the last year, and it’s nice to see people recognize your hard work and creativity.

This reminds me of the year Blue Chairs won Best Game, even though it wasn’t first place in the comp; both games are very creative and more serious.


The 2021 XYZZY Awards are complete! Here are the winners; congratulations to all, and thanks to everyone who participated.

Best Game: What Heart Heard Of, Ghost Guessed (Amanda Walker)

Best Writing: Sting (Mike Russo)

Best Story: What Heart Heard Of, Ghost Guessed (Amanda Walker)

Best Setting: The Weight of a Soul (Chin Kee Yong)

Best Puzzles: Grooverland (Mathbrush)

Best NPCs: Lady Thalia and the Seraskier Sapphires (E. Joyce, N. Cormier)

Best Individual Puzzle: The hair swap, in The Libonotus Cup (Nils Fagerburg)

Best Individual NPC: Liz, in Sting (Mike Russo)

Best Individual PC: Marid, in The Weight of a Soul (Chin Kee Yong)

Best Implementation (tie): The Libonotus Cup (Nils Fagerburg); The Weight of a Soul (Chin Kee Yong)

Best Use of Innovation (tie): 4×4 Archipelago (Agnieszka Trzaska); Excalibur (J.J. Guest, G.C. Baccaris, Duncan Bowsman); The Last Night of Alexisgrad (Milo van Mesdag)

Best Technological Development: Gruescript (Robin Johnson)

Best Use of Multimedia: Fish & Dagger (grave snail games)

Congratulations again to the winners and nominees. See you next year!


Congratulations to all the winners! 2021 was a really strong year for IF and all of these games were fantastic. Bravo to everyone (winners and nominees alike) for making this such a memorable year.

Speaking of memorable - the other games in the Best NPCs category were fantastic, and I’m actually very surprised that Lady Thalia came out on top. Thanks to everyone for appreciating our game, and double thanks to @EJoyce for being an awesome coauthor.


Congrats to the winners! Many deserved accolades all around, very happy to see so much talent get recognized. Hopefully this list provides people a guided itinerary of exciting stuff from 2021 that’s worth checking out. And thanks to the organizers for running the awards again this year!


Congrats Amanda and all the other winners!

I’m also very humbled to have gotten the Best Writing nod – though to my mind Queenlash is the game that really merits it – and best NPC for my sister, which is surely the weirdest award a real-life person can win.


Congratulations everyone! A very worthy list of winners. Last year was a quality one for IF, and this looks to me like a fair pick of the best of the best. I’m also happy this last bit of 2021 business was finally wrapped up, in the nick of time, before the end of 2022!


oh wow, congratulations to everyone, thanks to the organisers and everyone who keeps IF going, and massive thanks to everyone who liked Gruescript!



Wow. This is the most unexpected thing ever. Like, EVER. I’m shellshocked. Thank you, everybody. I got some tears here.

I’ll say again that WHHoGG would not have happened without a veritable army of supporters behind it. I showed up here with zero coding experience, and the incredible amount of help and encouragement I got here made it happen. I could never have gotten it over the finish line on my own. Thanks again to everybody who helped with technical questions, who tested it (and tested it again and again and again), and who helped shape everything about it.


Asking for help is a skill unto itself, especially when there’s so much talent around here just waiting to be used. I think more people could take a page out of your book, Amanda. :slight_smile:

Congratulations on the very well-deserved win, and I can’t wait to see what you (and your army!) come up with next.


Congratulations everyone! Lots of strong entries this round!


Congratulations to all Winners! And to all Nominees! And a round of applause for yourselves, while we’re at it!

Amanda, you’re a rising star. I hope to read and play many more of your works in the years to come.

Chin Kee Yong, I’m very glad to see your piece was acknowledged. One of the most engrossing IFs I played in recent years.

Mathbrush, well deserved on the puzzle award. For me, your moving-stage-with-laser-fight was best individual, but great to have the entire puzzle collection prized.

E. Joyce and N. Cormier, you know I love Lady Thalia. And Melpomene. And both of them together…

Robin Johnson, thanks for helping close the gap between click and parser.

I haven’t played the other games yet, but congrats to you all!