Winners of the 2021 IFComp

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1st place

And Then You Come to a House Not Unlike the Previous One

Cover art for And Then You Come to a House Not Unlike the Previous One

B.J. Best @bjbest60 bjbest60@gmail.com

Title: Infinite Adventure

Year: 1986

Genre: Adventure

Summary: Wander through an apparently infinite number of spooky mansions, solving a basic puzzle in each one.

ForgottenGames.com rating: ★ ★ ★

Two hours • Parser-based

This work also won 1st place in the 2021 Miss Congeniality Awards.

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 8.16
Votes Cast 82
Standard Deviation 1.65

2nd place

Dr Horror's House of Terror
A horrifying tale of the restless dead and their world of unspeakable evil!

Cover art for Dr Horror's House of Terror

Ade @psyhivegames mikepreston99@outlook.com

The Grave cannot hold them...Nothing human can stop them...Torn from their tombs to terrify the world, the cravings of their undead blood made them kill...kill...KILL!

Feel the chill of the crypt in your veins as you experience the petrifying mysteries and demonic puzzles of Dr Horror!

Dare you enter his House of Terror?

Comic Horror • Longer than two hours • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 8.08
Votes Cast 50
Standard Deviation 1.37

3rd place

The Song of the Mockingbird

Cover art for The Song of the Mockingbird

Mike Carletta serialoffenderif@gmail.com

A ruthless outlaw.

A kidnapped dancer.

A singing cowboy.

A long dance of death in the Texas sun.

You're unhorsed and disarmed, but you still have your wits and your guitar. You can only hope they'll be enough.

Singing cowboy western, puzzle-based, merciful • Two hours • Parser-based

This work also won 2nd place (tie) in the 2021 Miss Congeniality Awards.

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.96
Votes Cast 49
Standard Deviation 1.09

4th place

What Heart Heard Of, Ghost Guessed

Cover art for What Heart Heard Of, Ghost Guessed

Amanda Walker beachwalkera@gmail.com

Margaret, are you grieving

Over Goldengrove unleaving…

Come home to Goldengrove, a beautiful old house haunted by a lost soul. Uncover the secrets of your tormented past in a tale of unrequited love, jealousy, violence, betrayal, and vengeance.

"What Heart Heard Of, Ghost Guessed" is a puzzle-driven, parser-based gothic horror story with a unique command set.

Gothic horror • Two hours • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.90
Votes Cast 48
Standard Deviation 1.14

5th place

The Libonotus Cup

Cover art for The Libonotus Cup

Nils Fagerburg nils.fagerburg@gmail.com

“You? Win the Libonotus Cup?” Sammy scoffs. “I'd be impressed if your ship even makes it to the starting line tomorrow morning, let alone Portobello.”

“Aye,” you say, “me ship may have taken a beating in that last raid, but I'll bet ye 500 doubloons I can still beat you to the finish line!”

You'd better get to it, the race starts at dawn and your ship isn't exactly seaworthy at the moment.

Puzzly pirate racing • One hour • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.76
Votes Cast 49
Standard Deviation 1.15

6th place

Off-Season at the Dream Factory

Cover art for Off-Season at the Dream Factory

B.J. Best @bjbest60 (writing as “Carroll Lewis”)

As in orcish thought you stand.

An hour and a half • Parser-based

This work also won 2nd place (tie) in the 2021 Miss Congeniality Awards.

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.52
Votes Cast 50
Standard Deviation 1.27

7th place

The Golden Heist

Cover art for The Golden Heist

George Lockett and Rob Thorman george.lockett@gmail.com

Co-written by: Rob Thorman

The domus aurea. The Golden House.

Nero built his crowning marvel, the greatest folly of his reign, on the strength of your father's genius. And then he cast him aside.

It's time to get your own back. And, hopefully, a vast amount of gold.

Break into the Golden House during Emperor Nero's birthday festivities in this comedic historical heist caper.

// If you would rather read faster than the text animation speed, you can click in the window to jump the text ahead to the next choice point. //

(Semi-)Historical Adventure • One hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.46
Votes Cast 61
Standard Deviation 1.58

8th place

4x4 Archipelago

Cover art for 4x4 Archipelago

Agnieszka Trzaska @agat_writes irimion@gmail.com

Adventure waits for you in a procedurally generated Archipelago! Discover strange new lands. Make a fortune from trading. Swing a Really Big Sword at a dragon. Fight wild beasts – or turn them into your allies. Meet the puffins (if you're really lucky). With dozens of possible enemies, quests, and items, no two visits to the Archipelago are the same.

Cover art and in-game map art by Sarah McMenomy.

Fantasy RPG • Longer than two hours • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.42
Votes Cast 64
Standard Deviation 1.52

9th place

You are SpamZapper 3.1

Cover art for You are SpamZapper 3.1

Leon Arnott @webbedspace

DISTINGUISH TRUTH AND SCAMS IN OVER 130 UNIQUE EMAILS • PROTECT THE INBOX FROM URBAN LEGENDS • EXCHANGE WITTY REPARTEE WITH YOUR PLUGIN COWORKERS • CROSS SWORDS WITH A DEADLY EMAIL WORM • LEARN WAY TOO MUCH ABOUT YOUR USER'S FRIENDS

2000's workplace dramedy • An hour and a half • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.38
Votes Cast 64
Standard Deviation 1.81

10th place

A Paradox Between Worlds

Cover art for A Paradox Between Worlds

Autumn Chen cchen.intfic@gmail.com

It is the year 201X and you are a teen online. The Nebulaverse fandom has been your safe place, and it is about to be torn apart.

A Paradox Between Worlds is a game about fandoms, internet melodrama, and the stories we create for ourselves.

Slice of life / metafictional cyberpunk isekai • Two hours • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.37
Votes Cast 38
Standard Deviation 2.23

11th place

At King Arthur's Christmas Feast
An adaptation of the 14th century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Cover art for At King Arthur's Christmas Feast

Travis Moy moytravis@gmail.com

One Christmas at Camelot in charged a strange fellow,

a giant man all green, great axe in hand,

and called out a challenge in the court of King Arthur:

"Bequeath me one blow, behead me clean,

and then,

in one day and a year,

pay your price in blood red!

Come to my chapel queer,

to kneel and lose your head!"

Two hours • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.26
Votes Cast 31
Standard Deviation 1.68

12th place

The Best Man

Cover art for The Best Man

Stephen Bond

An hour and a half • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 7.13
Votes Cast 54
Standard Deviation 1.84

13th place

Sting

Cover art for Sting

Mike Russo russo2116@gmail.com

Six bees. Five bags of groceries. A four-pound dumbbell. Three sailboats. One twin.

Sting is a puzzleless parser memoir about ordinary days and unexpected interruptions.

Memoir • One hour • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.97
Votes Cast 65
Standard Deviation 1.68

14th place

Funicular Simulator 2021

Cover art for Funicular Simulator 2021

Mary Goodden and Tom Leather funicularsimulator2021@gmail.com

Every twenty years, the aurora appears over the crystal mountain. Are the celestial lights a miracle? A scientific phenomenon? Or a message from another world? Take a seat beside one of four strangers, ride the funicular to the summit, and unravel the mysteries of the aurora, the mountain, and each other.

Dreamy mystery • Half an hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.96
Votes Cast 68
Standard Deviation 1.51

15th place

Fine Felines
Have you ever wished you could breed cats for a living?

Cover art for Fine Felines

Felicity Banks @FBanksBooks fbanksbooks@gmail.com

You are a twenty-four-year-old who just inherited $10,000. Can you run a successful cat-breeding business?

---------------

There is a spoiler-filled Cheat Sheet option at the very beginning of the game for those who want to know how to achieve certain goals (or how to explore the paths not taken). It is impossible to get stuck anywhere in the game and there are no bad endings.

Although this game is intended for an adult audience, it is also designed to be kid-safe. There is no violence or sex of any kind (the cats become pregnant 'off-screen'). No cats or humans are hurt or killed, although the Bengal cats may catch a mouse (which you either "dispose of" or "deal with in a humane manner"). There is optional G-rated romance for any gender or sexuality (the player character can be non-binary although the romantic options are all either male or female).

Having said all that, the story is bittersweet in some ways as the protagonist deals with their mother's long illness and recent death, as well as being given a diagnosis of a disabling chronic illness.

I am disabled and have also received feedback from other disabled people.

Realistic • One hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.95
Votes Cast 55
Standard Deviation 1.72

16th place

we, the remainder

Cover art for we, the remainder

Charm Cochran @othercharm

it's been twenty-four days since everyone else floated up. you haven't been out since then; Momma doesn't like you leaving the flat without her, and the effort of getting down the stairs hasn't been worth it anyway. but you ran out of food days ago. your stomach is growling nearly constantly now. you need to find something to eat.

this game is best played full-screen in Chrome or Safari on a desktop.

Horror • One hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.87
Votes Cast 38
Standard Deviation 1.52

17th place

The House on Highfield Lane

Cover art for The House on Highfield Lane

Andy Joel the_pix@hotmail.com

The house at the top of Highfield Lane has always scared Mandy, though she could never say why exactly. Perhaps today is the day she should confront that fear!

This is in the style of a classic parser-based game. That means there ARE puzzles! But if you do get stuck, type HINT to go to a list of InvisiClues that get increasingly more useful.

A note about genre... I struggled here. The scenario is escaping the mysterious house that is warped in time and space, which is classic horror, but there are no walls running with blood, no nightmare monsters chasing you, etc. So "Horror... without the horror."

A note about compatibility... This game runs on JavaScript ES2015, and should work fine on any reasonably up-to-date browser. It has been tested on Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari; and on Windows, Mac, Ubuntu and Android.

A note about downloading... The game is designed to be played on-line, but you can download it as a .zip file if you prefer. It will need to be decompressed to play. Once unzipped, double click on the file "index.html".

Horror... without the horror • Two hours • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.79
Votes Cast 39
Standard Deviation 1.40

18th place

Finding Light

Cover art for Finding Light

Abigail Jazwiec

You remember fire and smoke when the raiders invaded the town, chasing you until everything went dark, but now you are alone, and Aurel is missing. You have to rescue him, no matter the cost!

It's a perilous journey though: one that a human may not survive... but perhaps a fox might.

Luckily, you are both.

Fantasy Adventure • An hour and a half • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.71
Votes Cast 42
Standard Deviation 1.14

19th place

Silicon and Cells
Machina Ex Deus

Cover art for Silicon and Cells

Nic Barkdull nicbarkdull@gmail.com

Co-written by: Matthew Borgard

Jaya Koto's plan was perfect: One big VR heist, and she'd be set for life. Too bad the city’s psychotically devout cybercops chose that exact day to screw with her.

With no big score and the city’s security apparatus tracking her every move, Jaya's next step is to find out who's responsible and how she can get revenge. On her way to crack the police state, Jaya collects astounding transhumanist abilities, explores virtual worlds, and uncovers a conspiracy of manipulative oligarchs. Ultimately, this journey leads Jaya to discover the truth of what it means to be human—or something more.

Silicon and Cells is text adventure meets Metroidvania in a retro-futuristic cyberpunk setting with a large dose of parody. Choose bionic or psionic abilities to navigate Jartekan City and investigate its mysterious past!

Cyberpunk Metroidvania • Two hours • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.69
Votes Cast 16
Standard Deviation 1.61

20th place

The Last Night of Alexisgrad
A two-player piece of interactive fiction

Cover art for The Last Night of Alexisgrad

Milo van Mesdag @MiloMesdag m.mesdagwriter@gmail.com

The sky is dark. It is a time of mystery, change and struggle. It is a time of opportunity.

In this asymmetric, two-player piece of interactive fiction, you and your partner each take on the role of a leader of a great nation on the last night of a war. A war one side did not even know it was fighting. Will you play as the general of the King’s army, riding north to retake the lands that rebelled against the royal line hundreds of years ago? Or will you play the Dictator of the Republic, who finds herself abandoned in a city wholly unprepared for war, now apparently only able to decide what her last few hours will look like in the city that she loves?

Both have little doubt that the city of Alexisgrad will fall tonight. The question that both must ask is how it will fall.

Both you and your gaming partner will need a copy of ‘The Last Night of Alexisgrad’ in order to play.

Two-player, Experimental • One hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.63
Votes Cast 30
Standard Deviation 1.89

21st place

D'ARKUN

Cover art for D'ARKUN

Michael Baltes mail@michaelbaltes.com

Long forgotten proceedings have changed the coastal area north of Altenkirchen forever. Now, almost a century later, the proceedings have begun again. You're about to discover the sinister secrets of this place where the wild north sea meets the last tails of the headland.

Mystery • Longer than two hours • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.62
Votes Cast 34
Standard Deviation 1.77

22nd place

Goat Game
A Hollow-Horned Rumination

Cover art for Goat Game

Kathryn Li @yobel_labs kathrynliart@gmail.com

Empathy, entanglement, and an ethical dilemma.

Oh, and everyone is a goat.

One year after you land a research assistant position at Yobel Laboratories, a prominent biotech company in Aegis-Liora, the city must bear witness to a scandal that unfolds at your workplace.

Fable, science fiction • Two hours • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.56
Votes Cast 45
Standard Deviation 1.36

23rd place (tie)

Universal Hologram

Cover art for Universal Hologram

Kit Riemer slugzuki@gmail.com

Dreams are nothing but organic simulations.

In a computer-generated universe, the citizens of a far-future Martian colony begin projecting their consciousnesses out of their bodies using astral projection techniques in the hopes that doing so will provide meaning, or at least entertainment, to their simulated lives.

Science fiction • One hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.52
Votes Cast 46
Standard Deviation 1.87

23rd place (tie)

Grandma Bethlinda's Remarkable Egg

Cover art for Grandma Bethlinda's Remarkable Egg

Arthur DiBianca a_dibianca@yahoo.com

How do you break out of handcuffs when all you've got is an egg?

Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.52
Votes Cast 86
Standard Deviation 1.48

25th place

Beneath Fenwick

Cover art for Beneath Fenwick

Pete Gardner snackypete@protonmail.com

Fenwick is a serene, nineteenth-century township located deep within the wetland regions of western New England. Only a short drive from the storied academy known as Ealdian College, you have long been looking forward to experiencing everything this quaint, off-the-grid community has to offer.

It's not long before you realize something's amiss. The people in this decaying town are just... weird. And the school residences are over-booked, so why is your boarding house almost empty? And what's with that gardner outside? It's like he wants to tell you something, but can't.

It's a shame you don't get to see the college. In fact, most things don't turn out as you -- or any sane person -- would expect.

Beneath Fenwick is primarily choice-based but plays like a parser game.

(Updated: Safari bug fixed! Will now play on OSX and Apple devices)

Suspense, with horror overtones • An hour and a half • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.51
Votes Cast 35
Standard Deviation 1.54

26th place

Mermaids of Ganymede

Cover art for Mermaids of Ganymede

Paxton @sethpaxton spaxton0492@gmail.com

Trapped at the bottom of Ganymede's ocean, beneath a thick layer of ice, your survey ship has crash landed. Your crew has begun to see things swimming out there in the dark, and no one has ever made if off Ganymede alive. What will you gamble with to save your crew? Will you become a friend of mermaids, or will you seek out other powers along the ocean floor? Dark secrets await beneath the ice. How deep will you go?

Sci Fi • One hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.50
Votes Cast 42
Standard Deviation 1.53

27th place

Closure
An ill-advised sad teen heist

Cover art for Closure

Sarah Willson @swilllson sarahwillson@gmail.com

Kira hasn't been the same since the breakup. Now she's done something really reckless, and she's asking for your help to figure out what went wrong with TJ.

What else can you say? She's your best friend.

Texting adventure • Half an hour • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.36
Votes Cast 91
Standard Deviation 1.43

28th place (tie)

Ghosts Within

Cover art for Ghosts Within

Kyriakos Athanasopoulos hnioxos1998@gmail.com

The smell of damp moss fills the air. Wet grass and dirt surround you while you are lying face down on the cold forest floor. Your clothes are dirty, wet, and slightly torn in places. Your head's left side is throbbing, your heart is pounding irregularly, and your limbs have gone numb from the pain. You try to examine your surroundings, but the lighting is dim from your current position to do that. You try to stand up, but it feels way too exhausting. You try a second time with the help of a nearby fallen branch; finally, you manage to raise yourself from the ground...

Three different paths unravel before you, and the choice is yours. But you wonder: Did I end up here by accident? Did someone else do this to me? Or are there unimaginable otherworldly powers at play?

Mystery • Longer than two hours • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.34
Votes Cast 32
Standard Deviation 1.98

28th place (tie)

The Waiting Room

Cover art for The Waiting Room

Billy Krolick @williamkrolick wkrolick@gmail.com

A haunted nursing home. A mysterious past. And life-or-death choices that actually matter. Can you solve the mystery of Back Hall before it's too late?

Horror • Half an hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.34
Votes Cast 41
Standard Deviation 1.51

30th place

A Papal Summons, or The Church Cat

Cover art for A Papal Summons, or The Church Cat

Bitter Karella @bitterkarella

The pope -- the holy father himself! -- has summoned you to Rome for a personal audience. But the Vatican is a massive, bustling city, full of twisting avenues and winding corridors and so many oubliettes, so what are you chances that you'll ever find the pope's office somewhere in this edifice?

This is a grotesque camp horror story inspired by the works of Franz Kafka and Kobo Abe. It contains content that is not appropriate for minor or sensitive players.

Horror • Half an hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.32
Votes Cast 57
Standard Deviation 1.67

31st place

How the monsters appeared in the Wasteland

Cover art for How the monsters appeared in the Wasteland

V Dobranov @vd_cheshire cheshire@ifiction.ru

“Moog, a new run! Quit fiddling with your irons and charge the batteries!” A printout of the waybill flutters down next to the big magnet I’m lying under. Releasing the wrench, which immediately sticks to the round plate, I grab the printout. Yep. Haul from the Enclaves to the Citadel, one refrigerated container, usual “do nots”: DO NOT raise the temperature, DO NOT open the cargo hull, DO NOT fall into the hands of the Nomads.

Another sunny day in the Wasteland. With a sigh, I scramble out from under the hovercraft and go to fight through the crowd at the charging station.

A chase on a post-apocalyptic Highway • Half an hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.29
Votes Cast 42
Standard Deviation 1.44

32nd place

AardVarK Versus the Hype
A Text Adventure of Garage Bands, Brain Slugs, and a Convenience Store

Cover art for AardVarK Versus the Hype

Truthcraze @truthcrazeIF truthcraze@gmail.com

November, 1997, somewhere in the suburbs:

Carpenter jeans.

Mixtapes.

Alt Rock.

A mind-controlling vaguely-citrus soda.

A beat-up 1989 Toyota Celica.

A gas station that sells snacks.

And the band whose name would echo through history, the world saviors/rockers: AardVarK

Light Scifi Thriller • An hour and a half • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.24
Votes Cast 51
Standard Deviation 1.80

33rd place

Cyborg Arena

Cover art for Cyborg Arena

John Ayliff @johnayliff contact@johnayliff.com

In the dystopian future, cyborgs have been stripped of their rights and treated as property. You find yourself owned by an entertainment company and forced to fight other cyborgs in brutal arena matches. Choose your badass cyborg body and your ridiculous cyberpunk weapon, and face off against your opponent in the Cyborg Arena!

Cyberpunk • Half an hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.21
Votes Cast 48
Standard Deviation 1.62

34th place

Second Wind

Cover art for Second Wind

Matthew Warner @MatthewWarnerVA mattwarner@matthewwarner.com

Journey across a post-apocalyptic wasteland to get medical help for your pregnant wife.

You and Lorraine live in Shelter 5. It's an airtight building in a radioactive desert. It's airtight to prevent exposure to werespores left over from the war and which would transform you into a mindless proto-human. When Lorraine goes into labor with your child, she needs a C-section, or they will die. The only doctor qualified to help is your ex-wife, Wendy, miles away in Shelter 4 -- and Wendy hates your guts.

Getting help before Lorraine dies of exhaustion will require escaping Shelter 5's confines, a perilous journey across a desert and bombed-out city filled with hostile weremen, and confronting your greatest nemesis: your ex. Your family is worth it, though. So put on your environmental suit and start running.

Science Fiction • Two hours • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.18
Votes Cast 28
Standard Deviation 1.42

35th place

After-Words

Cover art for After-Words

fireisnormal @fireisnormal

Resolve problems. Open Gates. Free Skycity. Go home.

A game where you explore a surreal floating city, in which all room descriptions, lines of dialogue, item descriptions and action text are a maximum of two words each. Custom interface.

Half an hour

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 6.04
Votes Cast 74
Standard Deviation 1.83

36th place

Hercules!

Cover art for Hercules!

Leo Weinreb @timelee9 timelee9@gmail.com

The man. The myth. The soon-to-be legend. Your cousin has tasked you with twelve impossible Labors, but nothing is impossible for the great hero HERCULES!

…so long as you remembered to bring your inhaler with you. Wait, did you not? Shit.

Oh Gods, is your eczema flaring up again? This is going to be one bumpy ride.

Mythological fantasy parody • Two hours • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 5.98
Votes Cast 40
Standard Deviation 1.46

37th place

Cygnet Committee

Cover art for Cygnet Committee

P.B. Parjeter pbparjeter@protonmail.com

The year is 2049. Your mission is to take down a military cult that has formed around Joan of Arc.

Note: The competition version below is for Windows PCs. There will be Mac and Linux versions available at https://pbparjeter.itch.io/cygnet-committee after the competition begins.

Sci-fi / military / surrealism • Two hours • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 5.94
Votes Cast 16
Standard Deviation 1.98

38th place

I Contain Multitudes

Cover art for I Contain Multitudes

Wonaglot wonaglot@gmail.com

You are Chandra Fitz, a young engineer serving on the cruise ship Prinzessin Anna Alexia. This magnificent ship is the first purpose-designed vessel of its kind, meant to take passengers not to an international destination of import, but on 'nowhere voyages' which meander about the sea like lost sperm whales. Critics decry this pastime of the wealthy, and although it is the target of some ridicule in the press due to its frivolity, the steam-powered Prinzessin is nonetheless a vessel of remarkable engineering and planning. Despite the controversy, the presence of a number of famous passengers has made this, the Prinzessin's maiden voyage, something of a sensation. All the world has been observing the ship, and at every port of call, reporters write enthusiastic articles about the lackadaisical cheer with which it wanders the waters of the Triton Sea.

Everything was going so well until last night, when the Bishop of New Elmee disappeared.

*For best results, consider downloading Quest to play the game file directly on your computer. You may encounter game-breaking hanging when textadventures.co.uk tries to load text in the online version. This is an ongoing issue with the site.

Horror-Mystery • An hour and a half • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 5.93
Votes Cast 29
Standard Deviation 2.23

39th place

The Last Doctor

Quirky Bones @SamirShotaro samirshotaro@gmail.com

In a walled enclave, a doctor does the best they can with very little.

Half an hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 5.76
Votes Cast 49
Standard Deviation 1.53

40th place

The Corsham Witch Trial

Cover art for The Corsham Witch Trial

JC Blair

Headphones blasting in your ears and the bitter taste of stale coffee clinging to your tongue you leaf through the heavy wedge of fraying files on your desk. The rest of your floor long since having abandoned ship for the night, your flickering screen and desk lamp are the only pools of light visible in the office. The request was both worryingly urgent and irritatingly cryptic: review a series of old case files.

Crime, Legal • Half an hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 5.73
Votes Cast 45
Standard Deviation 1.84

41st place

Codex Sadistica
A Heavy Metal Minigame

Cover art for Codex Sadistica

grave snail games @theiceberge hello@psberge.com

Your band has come to play at the greatest metal venue around: the Blood Furnace’s INFURNAL STAGE. There is only one problem: the act before you is—*shudder*—playing glam metal! And worse yet, they’ve gone way over the alotted time for their set! This is terrible. This is unacceptable! You must do something. Wielding the power of the ancient codex of metal, you must track down your fellow bandmates and reclaim the Infurnal Stage!

Rally your bandmates! Jam with your friends! Vanquish the vile Faramir Spidermoon and his glamrock thralls once and for all!

Sacrilicious Storygame With Some "Heavy" Puzzles • One hour • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 5.67
Votes Cast 48
Standard Deviation 1.70

42nd place

Starbreakers

Cover art for Starbreakers

E. Joyce eejoyce02@gmail.com

Co-written by: N. Cormier

You and four others are in a race for survival. Only one of you can win.

Science fiction; Puzzle • An hour and a half • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 5.64
Votes Cast 28
Standard Deviation 1.63

43rd place

My Gender Is a Fish

Cover art for My Gender Is a Fish

Carter Gwertzman

Magpies from the forbidden woods like to steal things: coins, jewelry, your gender identity. It's starting to get dark, so you'd better find your gender fast.

If only you could remember what it looked like...

15 minutes or less • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 5.56
Votes Cast 95
Standard Deviation 2.20

44th place

The Library
A textual nightmare

Cover art for The Library

Leonardo Boselli @1001avventura leonardo.boselli@youdev.it

When you read in the evening and a tale catches you, you immerse yourself in reading late into the night, until you fall asleep. It's night. You are reading the "Library of Babel" by Jorge Luis Borges. You imagine that huge collection of all possible books, some of which are been or could be written, but most of them nonsense, when... you notice in front of you a creepy guy who looks like Laurence Fishburne playing Morpheus in the movie "The Matrix". He glances at you with a pleased smirk behind his round dark glasses.

Surreal, humoristic • One hour • Choice-based

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Score 5.50
Votes Cast 34
Standard Deviation 1.72

45th place

Fourbyfourian Quarryin'

Cover art for Fourbyfourian Quarryin'

Andrew Schultz @anandrewschultz blurglecruncheon@gmail.com

After conquering Fivebyfivia to create a full Twelvebytwelvia in ParserComp 2021, your homeland is looking to expand again! The seven small bordering Fourbyfourias are just waiting to become part of something bigger and better and yet still tidily bounded, even if they aren't aware of it yet.

Your fast horse has died, and you're older, but you're more cunning. You'll need that cunning to coordinate allied bishops and knights and even their traitorous counterparts. Coups are stressful, sure, but four people banging around is so much less stressful for everyone (yes, even the kings you'll be deposing) than outright wars with thirty-two pieces on a chessboard!

Fourbyfouria features normal and hard modes and an in-game tutorial location.

Puzzle • An hour and a half • Parser-based

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Score 5.48
Votes Cast 23
Standard Deviation 1.47

46th place

Brave Bear

John Evans @Chaoseed johnevanscs@gmail.com

Your owner is in danger. They must be protected.

You are not a cowering toy. You do not shrink from darkness. Your bravery comforts and inspires. You are a Brave Bear.

Magical realism • Half an hour • Parser-based

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Score 5.46
Votes Cast 72
Standard Deviation 1.30

47th place (tie)

The Dead Account
When does "just doing your job" cross a line?

Cover art for The Dead Account

Naomi Norbez (call me Bez, he/they) @NaomiNorbez mninorbez@gmail.com

Per Hivekind's 12.3.14 Update, you are required to shut the account of dead users. As it is your first day on this job, you must only close one: Mike Stanvinchi's. How will those closest to him take it? Play and find out.

Made in 8ish days for the Interactive Fiction Competition. Also play the companion game, "Weird Grief", which is also in this year's comp.

Author's Note: Yes, I am a furry. No, I am not taking any other questions at this time. Thanks!

Realistic Fiction • Half an hour • Choice-based

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Score 5.45
Votes Cast 67
Standard Deviation 1.93

47th place (tie)

Wabewalker

Cover art for Wabewalker

Ben Sisk wabewalker0@gmail.com

You are trapped in an endless cycle of death and rebirth, reincarnating throughout Japan, only to be murdered once again. Most don't remember their past lives, and neither did you, until you catch a glimpse of your dead body on television.

Surreal Puzzle • Two hours • Parser-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 5.45
Votes Cast 11
Standard Deviation 1.08

49th place

Taste of Fingers

Cover art for Taste of Fingers

V Dobranov @vd_cheshire cheshire@ifiction.ru

Xianggang. Mere 20 years have passed and they don’t call the city its normal name anymore. Never was a fan of flying here.

Still, here I am: left alone in a foreign country, in the middle of a sprawling city, with no knowledge of its strange culture and the language, at a time when the world has suddenly decided to meet its unpleasant end.

Postcolonial horror • Half an hour • Choice-based

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Score 5.39
Votes Cast 46
Standard Deviation 1.58

50th place

Walking Into It
A random adult-helping-child teaching/learning moment

Cover art for Walking Into It

Andrew Schultz @anandrewschultz blurglecruncheon@gmail.com

How you win or lose matters. Well, how you lose. And how they win. Don't worry--there are only so many ways to let the kid win. It's a simple game. An adult did the same for you once, sort of. Time to pass it on.

This game should be runnable on any computer with Python installed. You need only extract files to a directory and run wii.py.

Puzzle • One hour • Choice-based

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Score 5.04
Votes Cast 25
Standard Deviation 1.66

51st place

How it was then and how it is now

Cover art for How it was then and how it is now

Pseudavid @pseudavid

Who would be asked to travel to the center of a disaster? Two smart people walking to the center of many disasters, including the disaster they made for themselves.

A story of real people in an abstract fantasy, with very light gameplay elements.

Fantastic • Half an hour • Choice-based

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Score 5.00
Votes Cast 52
Standard Deviation 1.86

52nd place

BLK MTN
An Interactive Novella

Cover art for BLK MTN

Laura Paul @laura_n_paul lauranpaul@gmail.com

A young man named Jackson drives through the southeastern United States in search of someone – or something – he calls “Bluebird” as he experiences visions of the historical past.

As you decide who Jackson meets and where he travels, the differences between times begin to merge into one, and “Bluebird” may finally prove herself to be real.

Surreal • Two hours • Choice-based

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Score 4.97
Votes Cast 29
Standard Deviation 1.92

53rd place

An Aside About Everything

Cover art for An Aside About Everything

Sasha

A girl has gone missing and He has set out to find her. Join Him on an adventure through fantastical and strange worlds in an effort to find the one closest to Him.

Adventure, surreal • One hour • Choice-based

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Score 4.84
Votes Cast 38
Standard Deviation 1.60

54th place

Infinite Adventure

Cover art for Infinite Adventure

B.J. Best @bjbest60 (writing as “A. Scotts”)

The Abort/Retry/Fail team is proud to present the famously lost INFINITE ADVENTURE. This game is a visionary pioneer in procedural text generation, randomly generating rooms, maps, items, descriptions, and puzzles for a text adventure set in a Victorian mansion. INFINITE ADVENTURE was available for sale for only one month through a Spring 1987 shareware catalog published in Cleveland, Ohio. After the author’s tragic, sensationalized death (his lover’s ostrich farm in Arizona remains a grim roadside attraction), all extant copies of the game were destroyed. According to our anonymous donor, this 3½-inch diskette was recently purchased for fifty cents at a garage sale in Appleton, Wisconsin. Requires DOSBox (recommended for Windows, download at DosBox.com), DOSBox-X (recommended for Mac and Linux, download at DosBox-X.com), or a similar DOS emulator or environment to play.

Half an hour • Parser-based

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Score 4.80
Votes Cast 35
Standard Deviation 2.08

55th place

Recon

Cover art for Recon

Carlos Pamies @_Pamies96 carlos.pamies9@gmail.com

Baltimore, 2058. Faro controls the city at will. The social and economic gap is widening bigger and bigger because of the imposed regime.

It seems like any other day. You, your beer and your faithful companion Blanco. But things start to go awry when your clan mate disappears.

Sci-Fi • One hour • Choice-based

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Score 4.69
Votes Cast 35
Standard Deviation 1.70

56th place

The TURING Test

Justin Fanzo jfanzo1@yahoo.com

The TURING project seeks to create the ultimate artificial intelligence to aid mankind in space colonization, and it is also too successful in this text adventure that sees the reader taking on the role of an MIT roboticist who must use the Turing Test to distinguish man from machine on the International Space Station. You are in a desperate race to save mankind and clock is ticking. Don't press the wrong button...

Science Fiction/Horror • Two hours • Choice-based

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Score 4.67
Votes Cast 33
Standard Deviation 1.98

57th place

extraordinary_fandoms.exe

Cover art for extraordinary_fandoms.exe

Storysinger Presents eliana.antoinette.z@gmail.com

extraordinary_fandoms.exe tells the story of Pinecone, their friendships on Discordant, & how those friendships helped them through difficult times.

Content Warning: Discussion & Depiction of Abuse

Anime sprite in cover art is Creative Commons work by shida

Online slice-of-life • One hour • Choice-based

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Score 4.60
Votes Cast 43
Standard Deviation 1.66

58th place

RetroCON 2021

Cover art for RetroCON 2021

CRAIG RUDDELL craig8878@msn.com (writing as “Sir Slice”)

It's finally here, the convention you've been waiting for in Las Vegas, RetroCon 2021! Spend your time replaying some old retro games and do a little gambling while in town!

Some games will not display correctly unless using Google Chrome as browser.

Gambling/Sports/Card Games/Adventure

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 4.56
Votes Cast 27
Standard Deviation 1.89

59th place

The Miller's Garden

Cover art for The Miller's Garden

Damon L. Wakes @DamonWakes damon.l.wakes@gmail.com

When the miller died, he left his garden. And when the mill was torn down, the river changed its course.

Experimental • 15 minutes or less • Choice-based

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Score 4.45
Votes Cast 93
Standard Deviation 1.73

60th place

The Spirit Within Us

Cover art for The Spirit Within Us

Alessandro Ielo hi@jqrsound.com

THE SPIRIT WITHIN US is a psychological thriller & exploration game with four different endings based on the choices made during the game, leaving the player to decide the best course of action. THE SPIRIT WITHIN US follows natural rules. The player has only one life, and if the energy level reaches zero the player dies and the game ends.

It integrates a simple but effective "verb-noun" parser and a manual. The download for this game is a zip file containing executables for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of the contents, this game is NOT suitable for children.

Psychological thriller & exploration game • Two hours • Parser-based

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Score 4.39
Votes Cast 23
Standard Deviation 1.47

61st place

Unfortunate

Cover art for Unfortunate

Jess Elizabeth Reed @jex_ewizabee jesselizabethreed@gmail.com

Just because you aren't the most inherently talented fortune teller doesn't mean that you can't give fate a little push in the right direction.

Cover art by Katherine Uhlenkamp

One hour • Parser-based

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Score 4.38
Votes Cast 52
Standard Deviation 1.70

62nd place

What remains of me
An exploration of my old home in search for an objective in life, the way I observe the world, with thoughtfulness and humour.

Cover art for What remains of me

Jovial Ron

A dreamlike exploration of subconscious thoughts. You are trying to find an objective in life. It's circa 2010. People around you are living just the way they always live, but to the outsider things might look in disarray. Or perhaps there's more than just to win the game. Everyone could use some help.

Can you help, and in turn help yourself to get set on this journey, which in gamified terms is a literal journey.

An easy puzzle for you to get on a train takes you around this world, interacting and helping people, you might like some people, you might be confused by what they are doing, you could be from anywhere in the world, but here you feel like home.

A peculiar focus of the project has been it's interactions if you try to use everything on everyone. The game expands further in it's attempt to tackle the line between screwball humour and surrealism, but much of it has been kept out of this ifcomp submission to avoid unforeseen bugs and the worse enemy of an IF writer - spelling mistakes.

Parser based with a retro GUI written in Lua, press Alt + Enter for Fullscreen. Open Source and available on Github.

Explorative adventure with light comedy • Half an hour • Parser-based

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Score 4.29
Votes Cast 41
Standard Deviation 1.44

63rd place

Smart Theory

Cover art for Smart Theory

AKheon @AKheon

A strange, new thought system has been spreading like wildfire through schools and institutions - it has even taken over the university that you go to. What could this all mean? Perhaps we'll discover the answer as we partake in Dr. Paul Bother's (mandatory) crash course on Smart Theory.

Comedy • 15 minutes or less • Choice-based

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Score 4.28
Votes Cast 95
Standard Deviation 2.02

64th place

This Won't Make You Happy

Cover art for This Won't Make You Happy

Mike GIllis

Trek into the fearsome Caves of Despair in search of the Jewel of Happiness! Encounter grotesques and total weirdos! Collect all the shiny, shiny gems! All this and more in THIS WON'T MAKE YOU HAPPY——a sort of funny, sort of sentimental game by a real-life, non-fictitious comedy writer named Mike Gillis.

Experimental, Meta, Comedy • 15 minutes or less • Choice-based

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Score 4.24
Votes Cast 83
Standard Deviation 2.03

65th place

Enveloping Darkness

Cover art for Enveloping Darkness

John Muhlhauser, Helen Pluta marshall.muhlhauser@gmail.com

Co-written by: Othniel Aryee

Your brother is dead. Well, that’s what everyone tells you. He was taken by orcs when you were eleven, and since then, you’ve been living on your own.

Fantasy • 15 minutes or less • Choice-based

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Score 4.13
Votes Cast 79
Standard Deviation 1.76

66th place

Weird Grief
Mourning is hard. A story of grief, sex, and escapism.

Cover art for Weird Grief

Naomi Norbez (call me Bez, he/they) @NaomiNorbez mninorbez@gmail.com

Mike Stanvinchi is dead. Juniper, who was in a polyamorous threeway with Mike and his spouse, Roger, must navigate her relationship with the surviving partner. But grief isn't always easy. . . Help her navigate it in the few days during and after Mike's funeral

Made in 3 days for The Interactive Fiction Competition. A companion game to "The Dead Account", which is also in this year's IF Comp.

Author's Note: Yes, I am a furry. No, I am not taking any other questions at this time. Thanks!

Realistic Fiction • One hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 4.10
Votes Cast 39
Standard Deviation 2.10

67th place

Kidney Kwest
Reinforcing lessons for children with kidney failure

Cover art for Kidney Kwest

Eric Zinda, Luka Marceta, Art by Kristina Ness

Auditions for the play are tomorrow but you've been left behind...without a costume. Oh, and you're having a bit of trouble with your kidneys.

You're going to need a little magic to take great care of your body *and* pull together something great to wear...

-------------

Kidney Kwest was designed for a Kidney researcher who wanted to find a way to reinforce to her patients (8-18 years old) a couple of key messages about a medicine they take and the foods they need to avoid. It is designed to be played while they are on weekly dialysis (roughly 3 hours).

Since many of these kids are unlikely to have played interactive fiction games before, it uses a new engine that understands full english sentences and doesn’t include most standard shortcuts from the interactive fiction world. “inventory” won’t work here, but “what am I holding?” will.

Fantasy puzzle • Half an hour • Parser-based

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Score 4.05
Votes Cast 37
Standard Deviation 1.80

68th place

Plane Walker

Cover art for Plane Walker

Jack Comfort jack.e.comfort@gmail.com

Set out on a dire mission through worlds with nothing but amnesia and intuition.

*Requires an interpreter that can display special characters

Science Fiction • Two hours • Parser-based

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Score 4.04
Votes Cast 48
Standard Deviation 1.57

69th place

The daughter
Who killed the first child born in millennia?

Cover art for The daughter

GioBorrows gioborrows@gmail.com

In the far future everybody is queer, immortal, childless and looks like hot 30 years old. The first daughter born in thousands of years is found killed under mysterious circumstances. As her native community grieves and is forced to grasp the concept of death for the first time in millennia, a logic worker from out of town is asked to investigate.

Cover by Phoebe Herring adapted from an image generated in VQGAN+CLIP using the prompt: "unreal trans queer rainbow craig mullins" Phoebe's IG: https://www.instagram.com/herringphoebe/ And ArtStation: https://www.artstation.com/phoebe_herring

_____________

Notes: The letter ɘ is increasingly being used for gender neutral language in Italian (ref: https://www.outcast.it/home/translating-the-cyberpunk-future), and as such, I've made the choice of using it for gender neutral names with latin roots in this future. Dynamic neopronouns implementation is not perfect. Mostly when it comes to subject-verb agreement (he/she are the most broken, don't @ me). I have tried to amount for as many as the 170 pronouns/form of address combinations, but I'd say there likely are some that I have missed (and I'd be happy to know about them, if you spot any and have time to let me know). Much of the piece was play tested, reviewed and completed after the competition started, and the submission updated. Which works for me as I mostly wanted to put out there and test a system that I detail below, but keep this in mind, in case you are interested at playing the most complete version (last update) or be fair in the competition (first typo-filled and incomplete entry, which I'm told can be downloaded on top of the games list page).

Spoilery notes: This is intended as a short form piece mainly examining the functioning of such a society and how they would relate to death on the close aftermath of it. Think of it as Twin Peaks episode 1. As such you will likely not find out who the killer is by the end of it, or exactly what happened. But you will get a different exposition-heavy ending depending on most of your choices throughout the piece. Based on your choices, the game makes assumptions on how much information on the mistery you'd be interested in, and delivers appropriately. So a player wanting to speed through the story, ignoring details of the mistery or hints on supernatural, and maybe focusing more on the characters and the world, might get a completely open and undefined ending, while a player investigating every detail of the investigation, might get more detailed explanations and get closer to a possible suspect. Thanks for playing!! If you're interested in providing some feedback beyond a competition vote, I'd be interested in knowing which ending you got, to help me figure out if the whole system works.

Queer Utopia Sci-fi • Half an hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 2.94
Votes Cast 52
Standard Deviation 1.61

70th place

The Belinsky Conundrum

Cover art for The Belinsky Conundrum

Sam Ursu samcelroman@gmail.com

As a top-secret agent Enhanced with cutting-edge neural implants, your job is to do whatever it takes to protect the national security of the United States. But when a celebrated scientist dies under mysterious circumstances, you are given your most difficult mission ever - assassinate an innocent family!

Just how far will YOU go in order to protect the world?

Thriller • Half an hour • Choice-based

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 2.73
Votes Cast 15
Standard Deviation 1.29

71st place

The Vaults

Cover art for The Vaults

Daniel Duarte admin@vaultsgame.com

Enter the world of Alexandria where some say is the center of all existence. Traverse through the world to find scrolls and unlock abilities, gather items and equip them onto your followers to try and save the world and its inhabitants!

Fantasy Roleplaying Card Game, Strategy • Longer than two hours

Play, download, or learn more about this game on the IFDB

Score 2.33
Votes Cast 24
Standard Deviation 2.11

The organizer of the 2021 Annual Interactive Fiction Competition was Jacqueline Ashwell.