IFComp 2017: On the Eve of Many Many (Many) Entries to Play   2 comments

I wrote about IFComp in my last post. One popular game amongst followers of the IFComp is the “how many entries will it have this year” game.

It’s definitely more than 60 this year, which would make it the largest ever, as this blog post indicates:

When we wrote up the prize chart, we estimated there would be 60 entries. The actual number isn’t final yet — wait until Sunday! — but it’s safe to say that it’s higher than 60.

However, given last year had 58 entries (technically 60 at the start, 2 were disqualified), there are strong hints from this tweet (and elsewhere) the number may be much higher:

In the early days of IFComp, most people played every game and then posted their reviews on the rec.games.int-fiction newsgroup. Then came the year 2000, which saw a jump from 37 entries to 53, and reviewing everything got a lot harder. A fair number of people still did it, although the standard for most people what constituted a review was relatively short. (Paul O’Brian being a notable exception.)

In a way, the act of completion helps finish the the playing and reviewing in the first place. For the last 10 or so of my reviews from 2015 (53 entries) I started to feel the pain, but there were only! 10! more! and then only! 9! more! and etc.

Supposing the number is at, say, 100, the completionist approach just doesn’t work any more. What’s the best approach, then?

1. Randomize the list of games, pick the top 15 (or some other small fixed number) and stop. No rush, no pressure.

2. Randomize the list of games, start from the top, and keep going until time runs out. This is what I did last year and is still no pressure for a certain mentality.

3. Play everything, but only pick a couple highlights to write about. (This is typically what I see in the larger itch.io gamejams.)

4. Play everything, but make very short comments on each rather than longish paragraphs or essays.

5. Play what looks good from browsing the blurbs, and only review those games.

6. Team up with one or more people to split up the list (that idea was brought up here).

7. Stock up on high-energy drinks and skip sleeping for two months.

Any comments / suggestions / votes on what you think I should do?

Posted September 30, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “IFComp 2017: On the Eve of Many Many (Many) Entries to Play

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  1. Yup, definitely more than 60. I count a total of 79 entries at https://ifcomp.org/ballot . Reviewing them all by the November 15 deadline would require playing about 1.8 games per day on average.

    I may try to pitch in, time permitting, but will likely be only able to get through a fraction of the set. I will probably be using approach #5, except maybe replace “what looks good” with “what looks like a setting I’ve interest in.” I can tell at a glance some of the games’ settings don’t seem to be my jam, and also at a glance that some games intrigue me – all from the setting. So I’ll probably be doing that. (In particular, I’m intrigued to try playing as a grue; and the artwork for Behind the Door reminds me of Acheton, which similarly intrigues me.)

    • I notice also on a second skim through the list that the entries all have an “estimated playtime” listed, and often that’s significantly below the 2-hour maximum (sometimes as little as 15 minutes). So one possible approach, or tweak to another approach, is to play each selected game only for as long as its “estimated playtime” suggests, then stop and review.

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