I wrote a piece on the Best Individual Puzzle nominees from the 2013 XYZZYs. It is also an attempt to pull together some thoughts about how puzzles can be good in completely different ways and for different reasons — something I think last year’s spread of nominees demonstrates particularly stongly.
Meanwhile, Sam Ashwell has just posted a (long!) post about types of player agency in games. There’s lots there, but I’m especially interested in Sam’s ideas about the importance of author-player trust, and the effect that that trust can have on how well mechanics work for the player.
And speaking of off-site reading, it’s probably a good time to remind people about the Phrontisterion blog, which has a fair amount to say about IF despite not being aggregated at Planet-IF. It’s specifically taking an outsider’s view at the IF community and IF tools, from the perspective of people interested in Chris Crawford’s work.