IFComp 2016 wrap-up

The Comp’s judging period has ended, but the results will not be posted for another day. All in all, it was a good year for the Comp, and also a large year: in terms of number of entries, it was the biggest Comp in the Comp’s history. I didn’t play all the entries to completion, but I did manage to play each one at least to a point where I felt comfortable casting a vote on it. Some time back, I set myself a goal of writing posts about half the entries, and I have done this. The ones I skipped were not necessarily the ones that I disliked, but just the ones that I felt I had little of interest to say about. But there are an awful lot of people writing reviews this year, and many of them have insightful things to say about the games I passed over. I particularly recommend Emily Short’s take on Take, a piece that baffled many, including myself.

My personal top pick of the Comp is 16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds, but due to the large number of entries, I don’t have any confident predictions about what will actually win, or even what will take the Golden Banana of Discord (the unofficial award for highest standard deviation of ratings). I take something of a personal interest in the Banana, because one of my own games holds the all-time standard deviation record. There are a number of strong contenders for it this year, due to all the formal experimentation and “But is it IF?” going on. My best banana guesses are 500 Apocalypses, Game of Worlds TOURNAMENT!, and Mirror and Queen.

It seems like there was an unusual tendency this year for games to come in pairs: there were two pieces about vampires, two about zombies (neither of which I’ve covered in my posts), two in steampunk settings, two in settings loosely inspired by Greek myth (both of them first chapters of a larger story), two about gaming tournaments, two where you oversee the development of an entire alien species, two that start with the line “You are a [type of animal]”. There were two Texture games and two Quest games. There were exactly two authors who submitted two entries! I suppose this is just the sort of thing that happens when the number of entries gets large enough, but if it all turns out to be hints towards another hat mystery, I’ll be really impressed.

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