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.)