Congratulations to Joey Pagano & Eva Khoury, winners for Best Game at NYU’s Global Game Jam!
This week IFComp 2016 announced the winners in their 22nd annual interactive fiction competition. After a seven-week play period, the entry with the highest average rating was “the noir standout ‘Detectiveland‘ by Robin Johnson,” according to contest organizers (while the game earning the lowest score was “Toiletworld.”) A special prize is also awarded each year — the Golden Banana of Discord — for the game which provoked the most wildly different ratings. This year that award went to “A Time of Tungsten” by Devin Raposo. (“The walls are high, the hole is deep. She is trapped, on a distant planet. Watched. She may not survive…”)
Source: IFComp 2016
Voting is concluding this week for the 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. All the games are available free online, and on November 15th the contest’s organizers will announce the game that’s received the highest average ratings. “This year’s contestants entered 55 original text adventures – a new record,” notes one technology blog, which argues that the annual competition provides a link to the history of both gaming and computers. New game-creating tools have “democratized” the field, and the contest may also ultimately lead game creators to explore even more forms of digital media.
For example, in recent years, a free text tool called Twine has exploded onto the creative scene, offering entry-level designers the chance to create their first text and hyperlink-based games with no coding required. Some of these games are as accessible as choose-your-own-adventure books, and others can be more sophisticated, implementing mappable space, objects that can change states, or graphics, sound and visual effects.
And Twine’s just one popular new tool – there are many other ways to build readable, touchable experiences for the wide, wide world. Most modern text games, whether parser-based or hyperlink-driven, can now be played in a browser tab, which means these competition entries can welcome any sort of player.
The Interactive Fiction Competition is an annual event begun by passionate hobbyists in 1995 to encourage both the creation and the discussion of new interactive fiction works (also known as IF). While the definition of IF has evolved in the years since then, the IFComp’s format and schedule have remained stable since the 1990s. Anyone can judge the entries on a one-to-ten scale, and the laurels go to the entries receiving the best average rating.
The people who participate in the IFComp include:
- Authors, who write the best IF works they can, and then submit them to the comp before the September 28 deadline (see the full schedule below). There is no entry fee, and anyone’s allowed to submit up to three entries.
- Judges, who, over a six-week period in October and November, play as many entries as they can, and give each one they play a score between 1 and 10. Higher numbers mean a better score; judges are otherwise free to use any scoring rubric they wish. A game’s final score is simply the average of all scores it has received.
Judging is open to the public (competition authors and organizers excluded); becoming a judge simply means creating an account on this website, and proceeding to submit scores for at least five entries during the judging period.
- Donors, who kindly donate prizes to each year’s prize pool. At the end of the competition, and starting with the first-place winner, authors take turns choosing a prize from the pool, which the donor will then deliver to the author via whatever medium is appropriate for it. (Donors are most certainly allowed to be judges as well.)
Prizes can be (and have been) anything from cash to books to food to professional services, and more. Donors declare their intent by emailing the organizer.
All competition deadlines specifically mean 11:59 PM, Eastern time, on the given dates.
- July 1: The competition website is open for authors to declare their intent to enter this year’s competition.
- September 1: The last date that authors can register their intent to enter.
- September 28: The last date that authors can upload their games to the competition site. Judges start sharpening their silverware.
- October 1: The games are released to the public, and the judging period begins.
- November 15: All votes must be submitted by the end of the day. The competition results are announced shortly afterwards. Prize choosing and distribution begins.