This is not about IF Comp

I didn’t vote. Actually, I only played three entries. But I did ship my prize to the prize chooser.

There are two reasons for this. One is shameful: I’m lazy, and when I start having a lot on my plate, I crash and burn and brilliantly succeed in doing nothing. That also happens when I have almost nothing on my plate. Actually, there is only a very fragile structure inside which I function. When something changes that structure a tiny bit, I become boring, pathetic, self pitiful, and useless. Oh, I also try to rationalize the consequences of this laziness to the best of my efforts, so hurray for that!

Now that I got that out of my chest, let’s move on to the above mentioned rationalization reason number two: I stopped knowing what to do when voting for a general competition. It all started with my first random entry: Gijsbers’ Kerkerkruip.

Kerkerkruip didn’t interest me. It’s not that I thought it to be bad, it’s just that it belongs to a party that, within IF, has no appealing to me. So, what to do? Score it low? I decided not to score it at all.

Second on the list was The Play. I kind of enjoyed it, and I felt ready to assign that enjoyment a number, which I did, and I was now a bit happier.

Thirdly, Pata Noir came crawling for my attention. Half way through it, it hit me: I had decided not to score Kerkerkruip, on the grounds of it being out of my “competence to compare” box, but I couldn’t compare Pata Noir to The Play any better. Sure, I could compare small things, like oxford commas and fragile characters, but not the whole thing.

Still reading? Well, I’m now going to talk about cartoons, so be warned.

A few years back, a friend of mine was in rage over the fact Rattatouille won Best Animated Feature Film over Persepolis. I asked her why, to which she replied “Persepolis is such a better movie!!!” Well, is it? How do you compare the two, when the only thing they have in common is that they’re not made out of sequential photographs? Heck, you can’t even compare the quality of the animation, since they rely on completely different techniques. So, is there any sense in such an award?

This overwhelmed me right in the beginning of the comp. How to compare those three things? How to compare a puzzle fest to an all-narrative piece? A parser thing to a non-parser thing? How to assign a number to whole package? And so I delayed my decision, and eventually the need to vote went away – because the Comp ended, of course.

This is not to say I suddenly found IF Comp to be useless. It is the biggest IF promoter out there, it gives authors a reason and a deadline to write their works, and it offers them a huge amount of feedback. On the other hand, I’m actually in love with the concept of thematic competitions, things a bit like IntroComp, in which a common ground, being it technical or content related, is expected and compared. Yes, more of those would be cool.

“Well, here it is, I’ve rationalized it to dust. Now I can keep on pretending laziness had nothing to do with it,” I end up saying.

“Well, ok, you stated reasons not to vote, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t explain why you haven’t wrote a line about any of the entries. You ended up not contributing to a single author’s work in any way,” I firmly reply.

“Oh,” I sigh in response, and then I hesitate for a second, and then I rehearse an intelligent reply only to realize there isn’t a quark of intelligence in it. I give up. “Yeah? So go fuck yourself,” I yell to myself, as I walk away, hands inside pockets.

The hands represent the shame. The pockets represent large amounts of text in which the shame tries to hide.

  1. Victor Gijsbers says:

    Great post — and I’m sorry to have brought these troubles onto you. :)

  2. Peter Pears says:

    Someone’s being a bit too hard on himself.

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