imaginary games from imaginary universes   12 comments


Phase 1: Write a set of reviews for five games that do not (and possibly, cannot) exist in our universe. Send the list to my email (here) by December 13th, midnight EST. (To be clear, this means the midnight at the end of December 13th, not the beginning.)

Phase 2: You will receive a randomized list of five imaginary games created by other participants in the jam. You are to pick one (or more) and make

a sequel
a prequel
a fan fiction
a critical response game
a sidequel
a remake
a demake
a parody
an artifact of some genre category never before seen by humans
or if you are feeling bold and it is even practical, duplicate the game as described.

Send a link to your creation to my email (again, here) by February 7th, midnight EST.

Phase 3: Games / works / strange shining artifacts will be shared to the authors (not yet to the public) at which point the next phase will begin. In lieu of scores and ranking, you will be given a list of 3 other works to either review or make some other sort of response to. This response can be textual, audiovisual, a card game which reveals your criticisms through play, directions for interpretive dance, whatever you like. You are welcome to respond to more than 3.

On February 24th, all works will be uploaded to if-archive for public enjoyment.

Phase 4: All responses (to the largest extent possible), along with excerpts from the original works chosen by the authors, will be compiled in a physical book. (To be published off, unless there is some better choice decided before then.)


The main inspiration for this jam comes from the Tlön posts of Sam Kabo Ashwell. Those posts are good to read for inspiration (you can also read my own set), but do not assume you need to make your imaginings in the same universe. You are encouraged to create your own spaces.

Strong honorable mention goes to that one time immediately after the 1998 IFComp when Dave Coleman-Reese reviewed the 1999 IFComp entries.

You are welcome to think *way* outside the box. This is not a typical interactive fiction competition. Do you want to give directions for a multiplayer game only playable in person? A set of physical items printed via 3D printer which lead to an alternate reality game? A game where words on papers are taped to rocks and arranged carefully? Knock yourself out.

Of course, traditional parser or choice works are also welcome, but be sure to think about how things could be different if we removed all preconceptions from our universe and came from another.


Q: How long should the reviews of imaginary games be?

A: I was intending for them to be fairly short — 1 or 2 paragraphs long — but there’s no specific requirement. Given how the reviews are going to be used, leaving some details to the imagination will be helpful.

Q: Can I send game ideas for phase 1 that aren’t interactive fiction?

A: Yes, since the participants aren’t expected to duplicate them, although you should lean in the direction of interactive fiction.

Q: I missed the deadline for phase 1! Can I still enter?

A: Yes. You will still be able to get a list of imaginary games.

Q: Can I send more than 5 imaginary reviews?

A: Yes. I will choose 5 at random to send with the first batch, and any extras will be sent to latecomers (see answer above).

Q: In Phase 3 I received a game to respond to I wasn’t able to play!

A: Ask and I will send a different one.

Q: Can I be in the book from Phase 4 if I didn’t participate otherwise?

A: Maybe? I will let the participants vote on this later.

Q: I have a question you didn’t answer!

A: Ask it in the comments below, or email me if you like.


Thanks to Doug Orleans for error-checking the draft version of these rules.

Posted November 21, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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12 responses to “imaginary games from imaginary universes

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  1. Interesting. Also I haven’t written anything for ages and that is an uncomfortable state of being.

    When would participants be receiving their list of 5 reviews?

  2. Are entrants allowed to submit more than one game for Phase 2? You wording was slightly unclear.

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  5. Do reviews need to be submitted by midnight EST when the clock turns over to the 13th (i.e. midnight tonight) or by midnight following 11:59 pm EST on the 13th (midnight tomorrow night)? I apologize for asking so close to the deadline in either case.

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