IF Comp season has rolled around again; now in its twentieth year, the Comp has long been IF’s biggest event. This year there are 42 entries – not the record-breaking number I was expecting, but still well above average.
Jason McIntosh, at the end of last year’s comp:
IFComp’s main role: annual heartbeat, birthing many new text games. Rankings just a catalyst.
Ratings are, however, a really good catalyst, if only because it means there are lots of people playing and reviewing the same set of games at around the same time. A good enough catalyst to justify drinking from the firehose, for sure. As usual, I’ll endeavour to cover every game. You have been warned.
I typically include scores with reviews, and this year I’ve written up an explanation of how I assign scores. The increasing diversity and dispersion of the IF community* can lead to very different expectations about what a 1-10 score implies, so clarity matters. In theory the review should do that, but there’s only so much to be said about solid conventional design, for instance, even if it’s responsible for a great deal – whereas in the past I’ve had to restrain myself from dedicating several paragraphs to the socio-economic implications of the name choice of a minor NPC**. So the score’s useful as a balance.
If you haven’t done so, I strongly recommend taking a look at Emily Short‘s reviewing information, which includes some important community assumptions about reviewing.
It is also worth bearing in mind, if you’re a comp author, that Comp reviewers are not necessarily representative of Comp voters; every year there are games which are generally liked by reviewers but do poorly in the rankings, and vice versa.
* Really, we should retire that phrase and start calling it the IF diaspora or something.
** Consarn it, now I want to do this for the whole comp. I should really review my past concepts for Weird Comp Statistics; I always end up thinking of the good ones halfway through.