Announcing the Second Annual Text Adventure Authorship Competition
Administered by

-=The Rules=-

The text adventure you enter must be winnable in under two hours. Judges will be asked to rate it after playing for that long. Please note that your game will NOT be disqualified if it exceeds this length, but judges may not see it in its entirety before rating it.

The entry may be written in any programming language, including any of the text adventure creation utilities available (such as TADS, Inform, AGT, or Alan, to name a few.) If your game is unplayable, then it won't receive enough votes to be eligable for prizes. (See Judging.)

This year, do NOT post your entries ahead of time. Jumping the gun is punishable by disqualification. Instead, you will need to send me your entries privately, either through e-mail (as a uuencoded file) or some other arrangement that you will have to work out with me. The entries must be received by September 30th, 1996. No entries will be accepted after this date.

Entries will be sent by me to on October 1st, 1996. Only entries uploaded by me will be eligible.

If you want your entry to be anonymous, then leave your name off it and email me that it's your entry. I advise a secret command that pops up the author and copyright message. Anonymity is not required, and I hope to be able to continue to do this in the future.

Speaking of copyright, all games must be entirely your own creations. You may parody established works, but you may not, for example, write a game based on Sherlock Holmes. This avoids the entire issue of copyright and the ethics involved.

All entries MUST be freeware or public domain. So don't enter a game you've worked on for 2 years if you don't want to give it away. No shareware, no donorware, no commercial products, etc. Only clear and free games.

Lastly, and this is a NEW rule, somewhat controversial at that. All entries must include some sort of walkthrough. By this I only mean that somewhere in the game package there must be explicit directions on how to play the game from beginning to end, and that this info must be available to the player from the very start of the game. A walkthrough is fine, as is a hint system that progresses all the way to blatant spoilers. If you like, you could even have an NPC take over for the PC if enough time has been spent on a single puzzle. I don't care how you do it, but do it. Any entry without something of this nature will be returned to its author, and the author will be asked to rectify the oversight.


The judging will be a 'People's Choice Awards' type deal for the most part. Everyone is able to vote. All you have to do is play every game that you are able to (you are bound on your honor to play as many as possible and give each of them an equal chance.) and then rate each game on a scale of 1 to 10, no decimal places please. The site to mail votes to will be announced later on this year, but it will not be me. I would appreciate receiving no votes, please.

Votes will begin to be taken on Oct. 15th, and must be in by Oct 31st. Shortly thereafter, results will be announced, and prizes will begin to be distribute to the winners.

Any game that does not receive at least 10 votes on it is removed from prize consideration.

The winner will be the game with the highest average score. Each winner will have a draft pick to choose a prize of his/her choice until there are no longer any prizes left. Tied entrants who both select the same prize will be decided between by a flip of the coin, the loser receiving his second choice.

Authors and official betatesters may vote, but must head their votes with the subject: "MISS CONGENIALITY VOTE" so that the counter is able to seperate them. These votes will be counted towards an author's best of show choice. The winner will receive a copy of "The Interactive Writer's Handbook", donated by me.

The Prizes This Year Include:

$75.00 cash, donated by Martin Braun.
"Creating Adventure Games on Your Computer", by Tim Hartnell. Copyright 1984, donated by Matthew Amster-Burton.The original sketch of the "Path to Fortune" map, donated by Christopher E. Forman.
A registered copy of "Lost New York" (which includes on-screen hints, a manual, and some goodies), donated by the author, Neil deMause.
5 copies of the book: "Computer Adventures - The Secret Art", donated by the author, Gil Williamson.
A PC copy of the Magnetic Scrolls Collection which includes Fish, Corruption and the Guild of Thieves, donated by Colm McCarthy.
"One-of-a-kind deluxe scraps of paper with stuff written on them" registered version of "The Light: Shelby's Addendum", signed, with hint sheets and maps, and a whole mess of scribblings that no-one in their right mind would ever want, donated by Colm McCarthy.
One free copy of "Avalon", assuming it's done by then, donated by the author, me, as if you didn't know.

Cecilia Barajas of Activision (Author of Zork Nemesis) has donated the following items:

A copy of "Lost Treasures of Infocom vols. 1 and 2." (to be awarded as a matched set.)
A copy of "Zork Nemesis."
A Zork Nemesis t-shirt

Andrew C. Plotkin (Last Year's Inform Winner) offers the awardee's choice of:

A) Dinner at a (pretty) fine restaurant in the Washington, DC area, with me, plus hours of fine conversation on the art of interactive fiction or other topics as desired.
B) $20.00 cash (US), plus I'll email you some of my old posts from r.a.i-f.

Lastly, assuming that:

1) We have at least 20 entries in the competition. (By that, I mean 20 valid, on-time, non-disqualified entries.)
2) At least 5 of the entries are done by female authors.

Then Christopher Forman will also award five free registrations of "Circle of Armageddon", Volume 2 of "The Windhall Chronicles".

That should do us pretty well for prizes this year. I think there are good odds of everyone getting at least a smaller prize. If not, well, I'll be thrilled to see a turn-out of over 20 or so entries.

Thank you to all prize contributors for helping to make this yeat's contest a reality. If you offered a prize but don't see it in here, then I've decided to try and save it for next year's competition. We have a nice bonanza of stuff right now, and I'd feel weird giving out multiple prizes to entrants. Maybe we'll have more entries than prizes, but considering all the generousity this year, it'll be a tough feat to pull off.

Finally, we have enough official betatesters. If you are entering and want to use their services to test your game, then you'd better get your game in to me soon (as in before mid-August).