ParserComp is the annual Interactive Fiction /Text Adventure competition for parser games (text games controlled by text input and output).
JUDGING will be done via the itch.io game jam system. You must have an itch.io accountto be able to vote on the games.
Main Categories (85%):
Supplemental Categories (15%):
THE OVERALL WINNER
Will be determined by a normalized average of the weighted categories above. The highest score wins!
What is a parser game?
A parser game is a text-based game where the player character is controlled primarily be entering text instructions via the keyboard, the results of which are also displayed as text. They're distinguished from choice-based games (like Twine games) where clicking on word leads to different text passages, by having free-text input which is parsed to produce an appropriate response. They genre was most popular and commercially successful in the 1980s (think Zork, The Hobbit , The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy etc.) and has kept a dedicated and loyal following ever since - the genre is still alive and well today!
Where can I find examples of parser games?
Can I enter my Twine / CoG / other choice-based game in ParserComp? What about my graphical point and click game?
Sorry, no - much though we love and respect those sorts of games, ParserComp is for parser games only.
My game is navigable by clicking key words - can I enter it in ParserComp?
Yes, as long as the main game mechanic is text input, parsing, and text output and the game can't be traversed purely by clicking on pre-defined choices to advance through passages of text. For example, a Gruescript or similar style of game would be eligible, a Twine or other purely choice-based game wouldn't be.
My game is a hybrid choice / parser / P&C game - can I enter that in ParserComp?
Yes, if the main control mechanism remains entering text instructions and receiving text output, and not just clicking words to advance through passages of text. Ask the organisers if in any doubt.
My game has sound effect, graphics, video, etc. - can I enter it in ParserComp?
Yes, so long as the primary game mechanic remains text input and output.
Is there a theme for this year's ParserComp?
No, games can be about anything and from any genre.
Are there any engines for creating parser games?
There are lots and they're free! Inform 6, Inform 7, TADS, Quest, and ADRIFT are long-established IF programming languages, and there are many others like Adventuron (a retro-style engine with modern capabilities), Gruescript (using a clickable keyword interface optimised for mobile devices), PunyInform (a variant of Inform designed for 8-bit platforms) and ZIL (the language Infocom used to write their famous text games in the 1980s). Check out the list here (filter the User Interface column for 'Parser'): https://www.ifwiki.org/Engine_List.
Can I use my use my own homebrew parser system?
Is adult / mature content allowed? Is anything not allowed?
Pretty much everything is fine, as long as appropriate content warnings are given where necessary (see rule 10).
Is there a limit to the length (playing time) of games allowed in the competition?
No - games can be of any length.
Who can judge / vote on the games?
Anyone with an itch.io account can vote on any of the games, except a) games that they beta-tested and b) their own games.
Is there a minimum number of games I need to judge to have my votes counted)
No - but please try and play as many as you can!
What are the voting categories?
There will be an overall best game category by which the winner will be chosen and sub-categories (to be confirmed).
Is there a limit to the number of games one person can submit to the competition?
Can I enter my previously released game?
No, entries must be previously unreleased. This also applies to beta-testing: it's fine to distribute your game privately for testing, but if you make it available on a public forum for testing (or for any other reason) then that constitutes a release and your game won't be eligible for entry.
Can I enter the full version of a game I entered into IntroComp?
Can I enter an English translation of a game previously released in a different language?
Is there an award program?
Yes. ParserComp 2022 will award an engraved 1st Place trophy to the winner of the Best Game category.
Where can I ask questions / get advice?
Ask in the jam community area or on the IntFiction forum (you can also DM the organisers there). The IF community is a very friendly and helpful one. The organisers can also be contacted at email@example.com.
1. Only parser games are eligible for entry into ParserComp. ParserComp defines a parser game as one where the primary input method is the keyboard, commands are typed in, the computer uses a parser engine to understand commands and then outputs text to screen describing the results. We acknowledge that wider definitions exist and are valid in their own right, but in the context of the competition this is our definition. 1.1 Clicking on key words is permitted, again providing the text input/output parser is the primary method of control and the entire game cannot be traversed by clicking on words. 1.2 Illustrative graphics are permitted. 1.3 Sound effects are permitted. 1.4 Voice input and output are permitted to aid and support players with any condition which would make keyboard usage difficult or impossible, but the text input & output system needs to remain in place as the primary control system.
2. ParserComp will run on itch.io and its game jam system. Therefore, participants and anyone wishing to judge and rate games will need an itch.io account.
3. You may use your own parser engine or any of the existing parser-based authoring tools to create your game.
4. Registration for ParserComp opens on 1 March. The submission window is from 1 May to 30 June 2022. 4.1 We'd like all games to become available for playing at the same time, after the submission window has closed, to ensure a level playing field for participants during a defined judging window. To this end, the organisers will: keep submissions hidden on the ParserComp submissions page until the submission deadline has passed and we expect entrants to: a) keep their game hidden, i.e. in draft, on its individual game page (over which the organisers do not have control) until as close to the deadline as practicably possible, and b) not promote or encourage players to find and play a game on its individual game page until the deadline has passed. We realise that entrants may be in different time zones and it may therefore be necessary to unhide a game on the individual game page several hours before the deadline; that is acceptable as long as the spirit of this rule is observed.
5. All entries must cost nothing for judges to play. Entries may not request payment in order to play through the game, require the player to view paid advertising, or make similar commercial demands of the player.
6. All entries must be previously unreleased at the opening of judging. ParserComp makes a specific definition of "unreleased" by which we mean that the game you wish to enter has never been widely distributed, sold, or made available for public play or download prior to the competition with the following exceptions: 6.1 Open beta testing is allowed in ParserComp. Requests for beta testers should be brief and to the point and should not be used as a means of promoting or advertising a game. Links to or files of beta versions of games should not be posted publicly as that would constitute a game release and would therefore disqualify the game for entry in the competition. Be sure to only provide such links or files to testers privately. There is no restriction on eligibility for entry into ParserComp regarding the length of time that a game has already been in Open Beta Test state. 6.2 Any game previously entered into IntroComp, but which is now complete, may be entered into ParserComp. 6.3 ParserComp considers a translation of a previously released game into the English language as a new work and therefore eligible for entry.
7. There is no restriction on the length (playing time) of a game entered into ParserComp.
8. All games must be written in English.
9. Entries must not use others’ copyright assets (including text, sounds and images) unless under Fair Use or with the express permission of the copyright holder. ParserComp will not be held responsible for any actions against game authors resulting from copyright infringement.
10. ‘Adult’ content is allowed, but entries must not contain anything illegal. They must not contain anything excessively, deliberately and grossly offensive unless such content can be absolutely justified in the name of art. Any form of hate speech is not allowed. 10.1 Games containing ‘adult’ content must contain a content warning giving accurate details of the relevant content both in-game and in any accompanying description and/or documents.
11. While you are free to talk about your entries in public, you should not attempt to influence judges’ rating behaviour or solicit ratings in any forums, on social media, or by any other means. 11.1 ParserComp reserves the right to request any post or promotional item which is deemed to break rule 11 to be removed. 11.2 ParserComp reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who refuses to remove any post or promotional item which, at the judgment of ParserComp, is in breach of rule 11.
12. Once the submission period has ended and the rating period begun, authors may only update a game for the purposes of bug fixes and not to add additional content or to further develop the game.
13. It is the responsibility of the game author to provide clear instructions (with download links) for any software needed to run and play the game including (but not limited to) the relevant interpreter i.e. Frotz, GLULX etc. Please do not assume that your audience (who will be judging and rating your game) know what software they need and where to get it.
14. If you are able to do so then please provide a downloadable copy of the game that can be run locally as opposed to launching from within itch.io. This is not mandatory and may not be possible depending on the engine used, but should be provided if possible.
15. Walkthroughs, guides, hints and any other support documentation is not mandatory but is extremely useful to players and judges. We recommend making such supplementary material available as part of your submission.
16. You are not required to submit source code along with your game, but may do so if you wish.
17. You retain the copyright to any games they enter and may do whatever you wish with your work after the competition ends.
18. The judging window for ParserComp 2022 is from 1 July to 31 July 2022. The organizers reserve the right to extend the judging window if necessary. Anyone with an itch.io account may judge the games, with the exception of beta testers:
19. Beta testers may not rate any game that they tested.
20. Entrants may rate other’s games, but may not submit ratings for their own entries.
21. There is no minimum number of games that a judge must play or prescribed amount of time that a judge must spend with a game before rating it. However, we expect judges to make a good-faith effort to play each game as intended (if possible, to completion) before rating it.
22. ParserComp reserves the right to refuse an author entry into the competition and/or remove any submission and/or discount a judge’s rating(s) if we believe (at our judgement) they are in breach of the rules or are not operating within the spirit of the rules and the competition.