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XYZZY Awards 2020: winners

Voting is complete on the 2020 XYZZY Awards, and the recipients of the Awards are as follows:

Best Game: Vampire: The Masquerade (Kyle Marquis)
Best Writing: Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale (Kreg Segall)
Best Story: A Rope of Chalk (Ryan Veeder)
Best Setting: Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale (Kreg Segall)
Best Puzzles: The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
Best NPCs: Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale (Kreg Segall)
Best Individual Puzzle: Leaving the house in The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
Best Individual NPC: tie: the parrot in The Magpie Takes the Train (MathBrush), and Kingfisher in Vain Empires (Thomas Mack, Xavid)
Best Individual PC: The doppelganger in Doppeljobs (Lei)
Best Implementation: The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
Best Use of Innovation: The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
Best Technological Development: Adventuron
Best Use of Multimedia: Crocodracula: The Beginning (Ryan Veeder, Harrison Gerard)

Congratulations to the winners!

XYZZY Awards 2020: final round

The results of the first round are complete; congratulations to our finalists! Voting is now open for the second and final round, and will remain open through October 3rd.

The XYZZYs use your IF Comp login; if you need to register an account with the Comp, or you’ve forgotten your account details, go here. You can log in here (you’ll get kicked back to the front page, but you are in fact logged in) and then vote here

(Anyone may vote, but you are asked not to vote for your own work, or to organise voters to support a particular game or slate thereof.)

The finalists of the Awards are as follows:

Best Game

  • The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
  • A Rope of Chalk (Ryan Veeder)
  • Tavern Crawler (Josh Labelle)
  • Vain Empires (Thomas Mack, Xavid)
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Night Road (Kyle Marquis)

Best Writing

  • Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale (Kreg Segall)
  • Limerick Quest (Pace Smith)
  • A Rope of Chalk (Ryan Veeder)
  • Scents & Semiosis (Sam Kabo Ashwell, Cat Manning, Caleb Wilson, Yoon Ha Lee)
  • Stuff of Legend (Lance Campbell)

Best Story

  • Electric word, “life” (Lance Nathan)
  • The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
  • Lore Distance Relationship (Naomi “Bez” Norbez)
  • A Rope of Chalk (Ryan Veeder)
  • Stuff of Legend (Lance Campbell)
  • Tavern Crawler (Josh Labelle)
  • Vain Empires (Thomas Mack, Xavid)

Best Setting

  • Ascension of Limbs (AKheon)
  • The Eleusinian Miseries (Mike Russo)
  • The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
  • Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale (Kreg Segall)
  • The Magpie Takes the Train (MathBrush)
  • A Murder in Fairyland (Abigail Corfman)
  • A Rope of Chalk (Ryan Veeder)
  • Shadow Operative (Michael Lauenstein)
  • Vain Empires (Thomas Mack, Xavid)

Best Puzzles

  • The Eleusinian Miseries (Mike Russo)
  • The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
  • JELLY (Tom Lento, Chandler Groover)
  • A Rope of Chalk (Ryan Veeder)
  • Sage Sanctum Scramble (Arthur DiBianca)
  • Seasonal Apocalypse Disorder (Zan, Xavid)
  • Stuff of Legend (Lance Campbell)
  • Vain Empires (Thomas Mack, Xavid)

Best NPCs

  • The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
  • Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale (Kreg Segall)
  • The Magpie Takes the Train (MathBrush)
  • A Rope of Chalk (Ryan Veeder)
  • Stuff of Legend (Lance Campbell)
  • Tavern Crawler (Josh Labelle)

Best Individual Puzzle

  • Cow tipping in Seasonal Apocalypse Disorder (Zan, Xavid)
  • Following the cat through the forest in Stuff of Legend (Lance Campbell)
  • Leaving the house in The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
  • Registering the game in Crocodracula: The Beginning (Ryan Veeder)

Best Individual NPC

  • Kingfisher in Vain Empires (Thomas Mack, Xavid)
  • The parrot in The Magpie Takes the Train (MathBrush)
  • Sassy Britches in Stuff of Legend (Lance Campbell)
  • Sister in Lore Distance Relationship (Naomi “Bez” Norbez)

Best Individual PC

  • The Demon in Vain Empires (Thomas Mack, Xavid)
  • The doppelganger in Doppeljobs (Lei)
  • Elizabeth Boldan in Sense of Harmony (Scenario World)
  • Ichabod Stuff in Stuff of Legend (Lance Campbell)
  • Magpie in The Magpie Takes the Train (MathBrush)
  • Open Sorcerer in A Murder in Fairyland (Abigail Corfman)

Best Implementation

  • 4×4 Galaxy (Agnieszka Trzaska)
  • The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
  • Limerick Quest (Pace Smith)
  • The Magpie Takes the Train (MathBrush)
  • A Murder in Fairyland (Abigail Corfman)
  • A Rope of Chalk (Ryan Veeder)
  • Several Other Tales from Castle Balderstone (Ryan Veeder)

Best Use of Innovation

  • The Cursèd Pickle of Shireton (Hanon Ondricek)
  • The Impossible Bottle (Linus Åkesson)
  • JELLY (Tom Lento, Chandler Groover)
  • A Murder in Fairyland (Abigail Corfman)
  • The Prongleman Job (Arthur DiBianca)
  • Sense of Harmony (Scenario World)
  • Shadow Operative (Michael Lauenstein)

Best Technological Development

  • Adventuron
  • Dialog

Best Use of Multimedia

  • Babyface (Mark Sample)
  • Congee (Becci)
  • Crocodracula: The Beginning (Ryan Veeder)
  • A Murder in Fairyland (Abigail Corfman)
  • Present Quest (Errol Elumir)
  • Sense of Harmony (Scenario World)
  • Shadow Operative (Michael Lauenstein)

XYZZY Awards 2019: final round

The results are in for the first round of the 2019 XYZZY Awards. Congratulations to our finalists!

Voting in the second round will be open through September 27th.

The XYZZYs use your IF Comp login; if you need to register an account with the Comp, or you’ve forgotten your account details, go here. You can log in here (you’ll get kicked back to the front page, but you are in fact logged in) and then vote here

(Anyone may vote, but you are asked not to vote for your own work, or to organise voters to support a particular game or slate thereof.)

Best Game

  • Crème de la Crème (Hannah Powell-Smith)
  • Skybreak! (William Dooling)
  • Turandot (Victor Gijsbers)
  • Zozzled (Steph Cherrywell)

Best Writing

  • Crème de la Crème (Hannah Powell-Smith)
  • The good people (Pseudavid)
  • Limerick Heist (Pace Smith)
  • Out (Viktor Sobol)
  • Speed Demons (Pleroma)
  • Turandot (Victor Gijsbers)
  • Zozzled (Steph Cherrywell)

Best Story

  • Crème de la Crème (Hannah Powell-Smith)
  • Dull Grey (Provodnik Games)
  • The good people (Pseudavid)
  • Heretic’s Hope (G.C. Baccaris)
  • The Missing Ring (Felicity Drake)
  • Out (Viktor Sobol)
  • robotsexpartymurder (Hanon Ondricek)
  • Turandot (Victor Gijsbers)
  • Zozzled (Steph Cherrywell)

Best Setting

  • Additional Tales from Castle Balderstone (Ryan Veeder)
  • Dull Grey (Provodnik Games)
  • Founder’s Mercy (Thomas Insel)
  • Heretic’s Hope (G.C. Baccaris)
  • Pirateship (Robin Johnson)
  • Ryan Veeder’s Authentic Fly Fishing (Ryan Veeder)

Best Puzzles

  • Chuk and the Arena (Agnieszka Trzaska)
  • Hard Puzzle 4: The Ballad of Bob and Cheryl (Ade McT)
  • Pirateship (Robin Johnson)
  • Skies Above (Arthur DiBianca)
  • Sugarlawn (Mike Spivey)
  • Zozzled (Steph Cherrywell)

Best NPCs

  • Crème de la Crème (Hannah Powell-Smith)
  • Heretic’s Hope (G.C. Baccaris)
  • Mental Entertainment (Thomas Hvizdos)
  • The Missing Ring (Felicity Drake)
  • robotsexpartymurder (Hanon Ondricek)
  • Zozzled (Steph Cherrywell)

Best Individual Puzzle

  • Finding the good ending in Dull Grey (Provodnik Games)
  • Helping Madame Ping Ping with the séance in Zozzled (Steph Cherrywell)
  • Inspiring the artist in Zozzled (Steph Cherrywell)

Best Individual NPC

  • Kim Kitsuragi in Disco Elysium (ZA/UM)
  • The mother in Night Guard / Morning Star (Astrid Dalmady)
  • Pontiff Apocrita in Heretic’s Hope (G.C. Baccaris)
  • Turandot in Turandot (Victor Gijsbers)

Best Individual PC

  • Hazel Greene in Zozzled (Steph Cherrywell)
  • Leonora in Night Guard / Morning Star (Astrid Dalmady)
  • Sniff Chewpaw in Dungeon Detective 2: Devils and Details (Wonaglot)

Best Implementation

  • AI Dungeon (Nick Walton)
  • Dull Grey (Provodnik Games)
  • Pas De Deux (Linus Åkesson)
  • Pirateship (Robin Johnson)
  • Ryan Veeder’s Authentic Fly Fishing (Ryan Veeder)
  • Skies Above (Arthur DiBianca)
  • Sugarlawn (Mike Spivey)

Best Use of Innovation

  • AI Dungeon (Nick Walton)
  • The Ballroom (Liza Daly)
  • Dull Grey (Provodnik Games)
  • Flight of the Code Monkeys (Mark C. Marino)
  • Heretic’s Hope (G.C. Baccaris)
  • Pas De Deux (Linus Åkesson)
  • Pirateship (Robin Johnson)
  • Ryan Veeder’s Authentic Fly Fishing (Ryan Veeder)

Best Technological Development

  • AI Dungeon
  • Chapbook
  • dMagnetic

Best Use of Multimedia

  • Dull Grey (Provodnik Games)
  • The good people (Pseudavid)
  • Heretic’s Hope (G.C. Baccaris)
  • Mushroom Hunt (Polyducks)
  • robotsexpartymurder (Hanon Ondricek)
  • Wolfsmoon (Marco Innocenti)

XYZZY Awards 2018: First Round Open

The XYZZY Awards for the interactive fiction works of 2018 is now open for first-round voting. (Probably setting a record for the latest in the year; sorry about that.)

The XYZZYs use your IF Comp login; if you need to register an account with the Comp, or you’ve forgotten your account details, go here. You can log in here (you’ll get kicked back to the front page) and then vote here. In the nominee round, you can nominate two works in each category. You should not nominate works that you authored, and you should not direct voters to vote for particular games or slates of games.

The first round will remain open through the 19th of July (technically, with votes closing at 1 AM US-Pacific time on the 20th).

The full list of eligible games, harvested from IFDB with the help of juxi and Claire Furkle, is here; if there are any errors or omissions, please let me know (either at sam.kabo.ashwell@gmail.com, in comments here, or on Twitter at @XYZZYAwards or @tsawac ).

Below the cut are the list of works listed on IFDB which were not eligible for the Awards.

Continue reading

XYZZY Awards 2016, finalists and final round

Voting has closed for the first round of the XYZZY Awards. The final round will remain open through the 21st of July. You can login here, then vote here. (Once again, voting uses your IF Comp login, which you can register or recover here.)

A polite reminder: you’re not allowed to vote for your own game, and canvassing for votes – for purposes here defined as ‘any action which results in a large number of people showing up specifically to vote for a particular game or slate of games’ – is strongly discouraged, and may result in votes being discarded.

Without further ado – congratulations to our 2016 finalists!

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XYZZY Reviews Standards, Public Draft

As part of an effort to  tighten up the post-Awards review panel, I’ve drafted some standards. They’ve been through a private edit, but before we commit to them for next year it’s worth putting them up for public comment.

The alternative title of this might be The Rights and Responsibilities of the In-Depth Reviewer; if you needed to condense those to one line, it’d be ‘to be diligent and to be honest.’

(In other news, I’m also considering alternate titles, since ‘Reviews’ might give the wrong impression. ‘Analyses’ has been suggested, but though accurate, that’s kind of a clunker.)

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Oops.

Today someone pointed out to me that a) old comments on the blog seem to have vanished, and b) new comments weren’t showing up at all. Oh dear.

Problem b) has been fixed, as far as we can tell. Problem a) is leaving us scratching our heads – there have been somewhat-similar issues in WordPress before, it’d seem, but the analogous things have known solutions which don’t work for us. Poking around on the backend has not found anything.

Anyhow. We apologise. If you’ve tried to post comments recently and failed, you should be able to do so now. We’ll see what we can figure out about restoring lost comments, but right now it’s not looking promising.

Eligiblity list for XYZZY Awards 2013

The list of games eligible for the 2013 XYZZY Awards has been compiled. Our list-compiler, David Welbourn, has the full list up at Key and Compass, together with notes on ineligible games.

This is the first year that we’ve applied the new standards, so it’s possible that we’ve made an error or two. If you notice any, now is the time to correct them; we welcome comment either here or in the intfiction.org thread.

First-round voting will open shortly.

Eligibility

It seems as though it’s important, given the changes, to lay out how XYZZY Award eligibility works as clearly as possible. So here are the principles we’re operating under: what exactly are the requirements for a game to be eligible for a XYZZY nomination?

Listed on IFDB.

In 2013, as an experiment, games eligible for the XYZZY Awards will be limited to those with listings on IFDB, the Interactive Fiction Database. Anybody can add listings to IFDB, including authors of a work; this requires a free account.

Exists.

If a game is listed on IFDB, but that listing contains no links to a place where it can be played, downloaded or purchased, it’s not eligible. We don’t require that games be uploaded to the Interactive Fiction Archive, but we strongly recommend it. IFDB already has a problem with games that were only ever available from a single location, and which have since become defunct.

This applies equally to games which were released and have since vanished without trace, games which were never actually published, and games which have incomplete IFDB entries with no links whatsoever.

Released as complete in the appropriate calendar year.

Released’ means that the work is available to the public, whether commercially or otherwise.

‘As complete’ means that it’s not a draft, an open beta, a demo, a 0.X version, an Introcomp release, full of Under Construction signs, or otherwise presented by the author as an unfinished work. (This doesn’t include installments in an ongoing, yet-to-be-finished series; we’re not here to judge narrative completeness. An otherwise complete game that ends with ‘To Be Continued’ is eligible.)

Again, there’s only so far we can go to check this: we can’t play every single game to completion in order to check if it’s really finished. We’ll do this with some games, particularly if there are other signs that may not be a finished version – but we can’t be omniscient, and if you want to be sure that your half-finished game isn’t included in error, it helps to be clear about it.

(If a game is posted to IFDB as incomplete one year, then gets updated to a complete version in a subsequent year, it may be easy for us to miss it. We recommend posting a news item to the game’s IFDB page – or not making IFDB entries for unfinished games.)

Interactive fiction.

This is a troublesome term; what it means is the subject of an ongoing conversation among IF enthusiasts. The organisers of the Awards feel that the XYZZYs should reflect that conversation, rather than attempting to define and police our own answer. However, it’s important not to mistake interactive fiction for a purely descriptive term: in this context, IF is not the set of things that are both fictional and interactive. (That definition would include almost all computer games, and a great deal besides.)

Historically, we used interactive fiction to mean parser-based, primarily-text, single-player games in the Infocom tradition. That term has been extended at various times to its neighbours, particularly text games with link-based interaction (choice games, hypertext novels, CYOA) and graphic adventure. That’s our baseline. We acknowledge that genres aren’t tidy and new forms emerge all the time (and a bloody good thing too), so works that have strong commonalities with those core styles are also likely to be appropriate, particularly if they aren’t part of an established style of game.

From recent usage, there’s a growing sense that ‘interactive fiction’ maps pretty closely to ‘text games’, shifting away from the graphic-adventure sense. (That also needs a bit of clarification, but nowhere near as much.) We’re not quite ready to adopt that sense this year, but that may very well be where we’re going; it would certainly be simpler.

We reserve the right to exclude games from consideration for the XYZZYs if we think they fall far, far outside the community understanding of what ‘interactive fiction’ means. Based on how IFDB is currently used, we don’t expect to use this often, if at all. If we do, we promise to consider it seriously, discuss among organisers, and be transparent about the decision.