Starting in 2011, a side-project of the Awards has been the Psuedo-Official Reviews. We assemble a panel of reviewers to cover the various categories of the Awards, focused on the qualities that earned the games their nominations. (We stress the pseudo-official bit because this isn’t a judging panel; the reviewers have no special influence on the awards themselves.)
There are a number of purposes for this. One is that the XYZZY nominees should be the best games of the year, and discussing good games is fun and useful. Another is that the IF review cycle is dominated by the Comp, with non-comp games often seeing far less discussion; as an important counterpart to the Comp, the XYZZYs are well-positioned to balance that out. Finally, feedback is valuable (if not invariably pleasant) to authors, and since a XYZZY Award or nomination doesn’t come with a physical trophy or a cash prize, it’s nice to add a little something to make your hypothetical award feel a little more substantial.
This year, rather than roll out all the reviews in a giant face-bludgeoning wall of text, we’re going to be leaping into the bold high-tech future of 2003 and publishing them in a blog, a few at a time. This is of course a cunning scheme to give our more laggardly reviewers a little more time to get things finished, but it’s also a more friendly format for everyone else.
Reviews will be linked to from here as they come out.