XYZZY Award Reviews

The XYZZY Awards blog has daily reviews coming out of each category of XYZZY nominees from 2012, which I’m really enjoying reading, and not just because it means coverage for some of my stuff.

These are subject-specific reviews, so for instance Carl Muckenhoupt writes exclusively about the puzzles of the games in the Best Puzzles category, with attention to their individual design, the kind of thinking required to solve them, the overall puzzle arc in a particular game, and so on.

And the reviewers are an all-star cast. Over in the Best Use of Innovation category, Aaron Reed (Blue Lacuna, 18 Cadence, maybe make some change) talks about how the link mechanics of howling dogs worked for him, and its context in the Twine revolution in general. In Best Individual NPC, indie game designer and IF author CEJ Pacian unpacks the way New Rat City plays with gamer tropes. In Best Technological Development, Dannii Willis — creator maintainer of the widely-used Parchment interpreter for browser play — covers StoryNexus, Playfic, Quest and Vorple.

In other words, this some of the most in-depth coverage of IF to come along in some time, written by subject experts and directed at the popular favorites of 2012. If you’re interested in what the IF world has been up to lately — including formats ranging from traditional parser IF to Twine to StoryNexus and one-off experiments — the blog is well worth following.

XYZZY Awards 2013 Eligibility

I’m reposting this, with permission, from the intfiction forum. I did not write this announcement; it is by Sam Kabo Ashwell. But it is about how the XYZZY Awards are changing to attempt to incorporate works that weren’t promoted to or didn’t originate inside the traditional IF community, and to avoid imposing unnecessary formal barriers to people who might be interested in having their work considered.

If that’s something you’re interested in, read on.

Continue reading “XYZZY Awards 2013 Eligibility”

Assorted News and Events

First round voting in the XYZZY Awards is open through April 15. This is a nomination round, and a list of eligible games, interactive fiction, CYOA and choice-based games of other types can be found on the website. There will be a second round to pick winners from the nominees. Anyone may vote, though you’re encouraged to have played several eligible games (ie, not to vote tactically just for one or two special favorites). But please don’t think you need to have covered all the eligible options to vote; it’s a really really long list and no one’s played all of it. The XYZZY Awards also now recognize innovation and technical tools released during the previous year, so if there’s a great interactive fiction language, tool, or piece of documentation you would like to recognize, feel free to write in your nominees.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 12.21.12 PM Second: now available are the three games entered in Spring Thing 2013. This year includes “Encyclopedia of Elementals” (Adam Holbrook, Quest); “A Roiling Original” (Andrew Schultz, Glulx); and “Witch’s Girl” (Mostly Useless, Twine). If you want to vote in Spring Thing, you’re encouraged to make a good faith attempt to at least try all three games, but there are no other requirements, and if you can’t get something to work on your platform, that’s fair enough. Voting is open through April 28.

Third: there now appears to be an interactive storytelling meetup group centered in Ottawa, looking at various types of content including hypertext, IF, and tabletop games.

On Comedy and Feeling

Jimmy Maher’s most recent SPAG editorial contains the paragraph:

Some of us who are very, very good are writing games like the generally acknowledged best game of 2007: Lost Pig. On the one hand, Lost Pig is nothing to disparage. It’s hilarious; it’s great fun; it’s honed and polished to the most beautiful shine… And yet, on the other hand, it disturbs me just a bit that, after twelve months and dozens if not hundreds of game releases, a game about a cartoon-style orc with pidgin English skills trying to recover a pig was the pinnancle of our achievements. Best comedy (if such a category existed)? Sure. Best game? That concerns me a bit. It’s not that the XYZZY voters were wrong. Lost Pig probably was the best game of 2007. But why was it the best game? Where are the IF games that, to paraphrase a famous old Electronic Arts ad, make us cry?

I disagree with the sentiment that comedy is a second-class form, with less potential to be Real Literature. Continue reading “On Comedy and Feeling”

Two small things

JayIsGames gave a brief mention to To Hell in a Hamper: the use of the cover art there is a good sample of how outside bloggers would like to be able to show off IF. (Not that I’m obsessed with this at the moment or anything.)

The XYZZY awards were yesterday! Congratulations to the winners and nominees.