Jimmy Maher writes The Digital Antiquarian, a blog chronicling the history of computer gaming with a special emphasis on text adventures and other narrative-oriented works. His work of interactive fiction The King of Shreds and Patches was co-winner of the 2009 XYZZY for Best Setting and is now available in versions for Kindle and Android as well as desktop. His book on the history of the Commodore Amiga, The Future Was Here, was published by the MIT Press in 2012.
C.E.J. Pacian is a time traveller from the 20th century and hobbyist game maker, probably best known for authoring Gun Mute (XYZZY Award winner: Best Puzzles) and Rogue of the Multiverse (XYZZY Award winner: Best Individual NPC).
The Best Individual NPC finalists for 2013 were Bell Park,Captain Verdeterre, Coloratura, Faithful Companionand Horse Master.
Yoon Ha Lee is the author of the IF The Moonlit Tower, which placed 4th in IF Comp 2002 and won the 2002 XYZZY Award for Best Writing. She also authored the StoryNexus game Winterstrike. Her short story collection Conservation of Shadows came out from Prime Books in 2013, and her fiction has appeared in Tor.com, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and other venues.
The Best Writing nominees for 2013 were Coloratura, their angelical understanding and You Will Select A Decision.
It’d be generous to call it a tradition, but the XYZZYs have a recurring thing wherein proven reviewers are recruited, then let loose upon the previous year’s finalists. Over the coming days, we’ll be rolling out a series of category-focused reviews from some of the best critics in IF.
The XYZZYs are by nature a rather insubstantial thing – we can’t offer nominees mantelpiece clutter or a red-carpet party, let alone fat stacks of cash. The respect and appreciation of your peers is all very well, but it’d be nice if it was embodied in something a little more, well, tangible. And being IF people, what could be more tangible than text?
A secondary aim is to promote focused, detailed writing about IF. Much of the writing done about IF is in the form of reaction reviews, often produced during the intense voting period of comps. While that’s valuable, it’d be good if there was more room for in-depth, focused writing, talking about aspects of a game rather than trying to summarise the entire thing.
(So why ‘pseudo-official’? To stress that the reviewers aren’t in any special judging position with respect to the awards. These reviews reflect the views of their authors, to which we’re merely giving a platform: they’re not the anointed positions of the Awards. They’re released these after the voting period at least in part so they don’t influence the outcome.)
(These reviews will, by their nature, be inclined to get spoilery. You have been warned.)