Monthly Archives: April 2014

Joey Jones on Best Implementation

Joey Jones is the co-author of philosophy romp The Chinese Room, and Calma post-apocalyptic tea-drinking simulator. Interested in pushing the boundaries of parser fiction, he was behind the meta-fictional IFDB Spelunking and is currently working on a much expanded re-release of the adverb-only blank verse game, Danse NocturneHis interests include literature, foraging, and the abolition of paid employment.

The finalists for Implementation were Trapped in Time, Depression Quest, their angelical understanding, Coloratura and Robin and Orchid.

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Carl Muckenhoupt on Best Puzzles

Carl Muckenhoupt was the creator of Baf’s Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive, one of the first websites devoted to IF during the 1990s and the ancestor of IFDB. In 2001, he wrote The Gostak, one of the more extreme experiments in IF. Today, he works as a programmer for Telltale Games.

The Best Puzzles nominees for 2013 were Captain Verdeterre’s Plunder, Coloratura, and Threediopolis.

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Iain Merrick on Best Technological Development

Iain Merrick discovered the IF community back when Curses was the hot new game, was a hotbed of discussion and the IF Archive was on, and he’s been hanging around ever since. He wrote an HTML-TADS interpreter called HyperTADS and a Glulx interpreter called Git, which seemed like a good name at the time. And no, he hasn’t finished writing Tourist Trap yet. Right now he’s working with Steve Jackson and inkle studios to bring their Sorcery! gamebook series to Android.

The finalists for Best Technological Development were Twine 1.4, Versu and adv3lite.

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Paul O’Brian on Best Individual PC

Paul O’Brian was editor of the IF review zine SPAG from 1999 to 2005. He’s written hundreds of reviews, including reviewing (almost) every IF Comp game from 1996 to 2004. As an author, he’s a two-time winner of the IF Competition and received the Best Use Of Medium XYZZY Award in 2002 for his game Another Earth, Another Sky. But what has he done for you lately? (Well, he did write you this review.)

The only finalist for Best Individual PC was Coloratura.

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Deirdra Kiai on Best Story

Deirdra “Squinky” Kiai created the IGF-nominated stop motion musical extravaganza, Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings!” (XYZZY Award winner, Best Supplemental Materials), and is also responsible for The Play (XYZZY Award winner, Best Story), Impostor Syndrome, and Life Flashes By. They are currently in graduate school at UC Santa Cruz, where they are working on an intentionally awkward computer-assisted interactive theatre performance with audience participation.

The Best Story finalists were ColoraturaHorse Master, Solarium and ULTRA BUSINESS TYCOON III.

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Jimmy Maher on Best Puzzles

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.

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Wade Clarke on Best Supplemental Materials

Wade Clarke is the author of Leadlight (IFComp Golden Banana Winner 2010), Six (2nd in IFComp 2011, XYZZY winner for Best Implementation) and Ghosterington Night (Winner of Ectocomp 2012). He has produced cover art for Fan Interference, Ted Paladin and the Case of the Abandoned House and Threediopolis and music for Andromeda Apocalypse and Kerkerkruip. He has betatested a good number of games and written 100+ reviews on The Interactive Fiction Database. Wade’s homepage is at

The finalists for Best Supplemental Materials were The Sixth Sleep18 Cadence, Coloratura, Depression Quest, Dominique Pamplemousse and Hill of Souls.

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C.E.J. Pacian on Best Individual NPC

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 Companion and Horse Master.

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Yoon Ha Lee on Best Writing

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, 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.

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The Pseudo-Official XYZZY Awards Reviews, 2013 Edition

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.)