The XYZZYs occurred

Warbler cakeI co-hosted a small gathering at my place to watch the proceedings on IFMud. The vaguely thematic snacks we presented were all handily superceded by Ruth’s gift of The Warbler’s Nest cakes. The homemade chocolate buttercream mixed deliciously with the spongy atmospheric dread.

As for the actual XYZZYs, Matt Wigdahl’s dinosaur-infused young-adult adventure Aotearoa ran away with it, racking up seven awards, including Best Game. Of Gameshelf writers’ nominations, Zarf’s Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home took home Best Writing, and he also nabbed Best Technological Development for Quixe. And I humbly report that my own Warbler’s Nest won the Best Story XYZZY.

I was a little sad that the ballot didn’t contain more nominees from outside the IFComp, particularly since 2010 saw many fine IF games released for Jay is Games’ Casual Gameplay Design Competition #7 at the start of the year. I suspect a recency effect; since the high-profile and heavily discussed IFComp happens late in the year, its titles are quite fresh in the minds of folks casting first-round ballots. I can speak for myself, here: only after I saw Stephen Granade’s excellent Fragile Shells on the final ballot did I realize that I hadn’t even considered it when submitting my own nominations, even though I loved it, way back in the mist-enshrouded days of last January.

I was interested to hear followup discussion, both at the party and on the MUD, about ways the XYZZY nomination ballot might present the year’s works other than the monolithic alphabetically sorted list it sports now. Perhaps double-sorting the list by competition (including “non-competition” as a category), and then by date, oldest-first? But, that’s a matter for next year.

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