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In Celebration of Interactive Fiction, the 2016 XYZZY Awards Go to…

It’s amazing how the XYZZY awards continue to, well, amaze… every single time. Been following this particular celebration of all things interactive fiction since 2014, and even when the entries were a slightly mixed bag, there were still a wealth of really interesting tales among them, just waiting to be read/experienced. One thing in particular that stood out this year was Abigail Corfman’s Open Sorcery, mostly for its unique blend. But do continue reading as that is merely one recommendation among many potentially thrilling finalists (and winners, of course).

Other noteworthy mentions would be the winner of Best Technological Development, which this year was awarded to one of my absolutely favorite interactive fiction engines, as well as Christine Love’s Ladykiller in a Bind (Best Use of Multimedia finalist); even if the latter might not be equally suited for all audiences. Alongside those two we find the usual suspects, spread across no less than thirteen categories, and I’ve taken the liberty of listing the lot below – winners and finalists alike – complete with links for easy access. So get to playing, won’t ya? Interactive is still the best kind of fiction, after all!

(Source: WinnersFinalists)

Best Game: Superluminal Vagrant Twin, CEJ Pacian
Finalists:
Cactus Blue Motel (Astrid Dalmady)
Detectiveland (Robin Johnson)
Foo Foo (Buster Hudson)
Open Sorcery (Abigail Corfman)

Best Writing: Take, Katherine Morayati
Finalists:
500 Apocalypses (Phantom Williams)
Cactus Blue Motel (Astrid Dalmady)
Open Sorcery (Abigail Corfman)
The Queen’s Menagerie (Chandler Groover)
Stone Harbor (Liza Daly)

Best Story: Foo Foo, Buster Hudson
Finalists:
Cactus Blue Motel (Astrid Dalmady)
Open Sorcery (Abigail Corfman)
Stone Harbor (Liza Daly)
Tangaroa Deep (Astrid Dalmady)
Three-Card Trick (Chandler Groover)

Best Setting: Cactus Blue Motel, Astrid Dalmady
Finalists:
Ariadne in Aeaea (Victor Ojuel)
Foo Foo (Buster Hudson)
Tangaroa Deep (Astrid Dalmady)
Three-Card Trick (Chandler Groover)
Worldsmith (Interactive Fables)

Best Puzzles: 16 Ways To Kill A Vampire At McDonalds, Abigail Corfman
Finalists:
Detectiveland (Robin Johnson)
Fair (Hanon Ondricek)
Inside the Facility (Arthur DiBianca)
The Mary Jane of Tomorrow (Emily Short)

Best NPCs:  tie, Cactus Blue Motel, Astrid Dalmady; and Foo Foo, Buster Hudson
Finalists:
Color the Truth (mathbrush)
Fair (Hanon Ondricek)
Foo Foo (Buster Hudson)

Best Individual Puzzle: customizing the robot, The Mary Jane of Tomorrow, Emily Short
Finalists:
Killing the vampire in 16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds (Abigail Corfman)
Sneaking quietly though the house in Detectiveland (Robin Johnson)
Delivering the metallophilic ice to the Robotics Lab in Inside the Facility (Arthur DiBianca)
Performing the Three Card Trick in Three-Card Trick (Chandler Groover)
Raise a world to the Galactic Accord (worldbuilding) in Worldsmith (Interactive Fables)

Best Individual NPC: the robot from The Mary Jane of Tomorrow, Emily Short
Finalists:
Dr. Sourpuss in Dr. Sourpuss Is Not A Choice-Based Game (P.B. Parjeter)
Holly in Foo Foo (Buster Hudson)
The mirror in Mirror and Queen (Chandler Groover)

Best Individual PC: BEL/S from Open Sorcery, Abigail Corfman
Finalists:
Good Fairy, Senior Detective in Foo Foo (Buster Hudson)
Frankie Petrio in Stone Harbor (Liza Daly)
Morgan the Magnificent in Three-Card Trick (Chandler Groover)

Best Implementation: Superluminal Vagrant Twin, CEJ Pacian
Finalists:
Fair (Hanon Ondricek)
Detectiveland (Robin Johnson)
The Mary Jane of Tomorrow (Emily Short)

Best Use of Innovation: The Ice-Bound Concordance, Aaron A. Reed and Jacob Garbe
Finalists:
Detectiveland (Robin Johnson)
Open Sorcery (Abigail Corfman)
The Mary Jane of Tomorrow (Emily Short)
Superluminal Vagrant Twin (C.E.J. Pacian)
Take (Katherine Morayati (as Amelia Pinnolla))

Best Technological Development: Ink
Finalists:
Improv
Texture, full release

Best Use of Multimedia: The Ice-Bound Concordance, Aaron A. Reed and Jacob Garbe
Finalists:
Detectiveland (Robin Johnson)
Ladykiller in a Bind (Christine Love)
Open Sorcery (Abigail Corfman)
Worldsmith (Interactive Fables)

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