As is traditional, the Interactive Fiction Competition (or IFcomp, as it is generally known) has begun. Within the community it’s pretty well known (and obviously the entrants are very well aware of it) but since the readers of this site might not be keeping on the latest and greatest of what’s going on in Interactive Fiction….
Every year, there’s a competition of new interactive fiction creations. Currently run by Stephen Granade but with a bunch of people working to ensure things go smoothly, this competition is basically where the work of months and occasionally years come out to show their stuff, be judged, and then be crowned with a variety of awards after the judging period.
After the judging period, a ceremony is held online on IFmud, and all the winners are announced.
Walkthroughs are provided for easier judging, or you can play various ones and vote. It all depends how you want to go about it, if you decide to judge. There’s suggestions for the best ways to judge and how to approach it.
Or you can wait, as many people do, and see which ones win and play the winners. The winners list, while not perfect as a reference guide of what to play (obviously judges have biases like everyone else), it’s a very good initial first step.
A number of people play the entries and write spoiler-free summaries of what to expect.
Some people enter games to make a “point”, and obviously the play value may be reduced. Other creators, somewhat reknown, will submit games under pseudonyms so the stuff is judged on its own merits (although you often can tell a practiced hand is behind what you’re playing). And some people work for years on a piece and drop it into the mix and blow everyone all away.