The Results for IFComp 2022   3 comments

IFComp, the interactive fiction competition, has been running since 1995. The 2022 running has just ended, and you can check out the results here.

(Unfortunately, at the very moment I’m writing this, all the links as well as “cover art” pictures have broken, but that should hopefully be fixed soon. I will link directly the games I’m talking about.)

Congratulations to the winner, Brendan Patrick Hennessy with The Grown-Up Detective Agency! (Playable link here.) The author also did fabulously in 2015 with his release of Birdland.

Unfortunately, I can’t give much analysis of the game because I haven’t played it yet. As has been typical for several years running, while I randomly sample some games I never quite manage to pick whatever happens to be first. But my favorite game of IFComp that I did have time to play made it in second, The Absence of Miriam Lane by Abigail Corfman:

You play an investigator helping a husband who remember he has a wife, but does not remember his wife; not missing in a memory sense, but in a supernatural sense.

Sometimes people give pieces of themselves away.

Sometimes they give too much and who they are wears thin.

They become an absence. A hole in the world.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say the exploration mechanic works in a terrific way for the plot here; you start by searching for the absences, which are simultaneously poignant and hair-raising.

There’s plenty of other things worth your time, but since I’ve been playing an extremely long old-school text adventure, I should point out in 8th place we have an extremely long old-school text adventure.

This is a sequel to Jim Aikin’s game Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina from 1999, so has a similar feel to Ferret of a long-dusty project being returned to.

Your daughter’s prom dress has been ruined, and the Stufftown Mall has a replacement; however, the entire town is in celebration of the win of the lacrosse team, so the mall itself is mostly abandoned, and high shenanigans and many, many, puzzles are needed to be solved in order to make it to the fashion boutique and victory (!?).

IFComp is meant for two-hour games; while you can enter a game longer, it needs to be judged on the first two hours of play. This definitely needs more than two hours of play; I’ve only scratched the surface.

Just to summarize, here are links to play the three games online, plus a fourth one I’m tossing in just for fun (another parser game called According to Cain which got 6th; “Using an alchemy system, observation, and your wits, you must discover the untold truth about Cain and Abel.”).

Play The Grown-Up Detective Agency online

Play The Absence of Miriam Lane online

Play The Only Possible Prom Dress online

Play According to Cain online

Posted November 19, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

3 responses to “The Results for IFComp 2022

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  1. I just finished playing through The Absence of Miriam Lane based on this recommendation, and I concur it was a marvelous experience. Highly recommended for other readers here to try.

  2. I beta-tested for Jim Aikin, so let me know if you need some spoiler-free hints. I think it’s an outstanding puzzle fest, but not very fitting to IFComp’s limitations. Hopefully it does better at the XYZZY’s!

    • The thing it reminded me of was when Adam Thorton entered Stiffy Makane: Apocolocyntosis (which is massive) into a competition meant for games that were tweet-sized (TWIFcomp)

      He used some weird compression program that used whitespace that was _technically_ 137 characters but was actually something like a whole gig in space

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