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(Third in a series of six minicomps for 2009: SimComp, EnvComp, AbilityComp, NPCComp, SenseComp and GameplayComp).

The aim of AbilityComp (organised by David Fisher) is to create a game in which the PC has a special ability, such as invisibility or X-ray vision. The PC does not have to be a super hero (or even human), but the ability should figure prominently in the game. The PC need not start out with the ability.

The ability should be something abnormal rather than a "natural ability" (eg. not a bird's ability to fly), but an exceptional skill would be acceptable (such as a beautiful singing voice). The focus of the game should be on a single ability rather than several; the ability to "do magic" might be too broad for this competition, unless the PC's repertoire is fairly limited.

For further inspiration, see Wikipedia's List of comic book superpowers.


There was one entry:


  • February 1st, 2009: competition officially begins (though there is no rule against starting early!)
  • May 1st, 2009: submission deadline (midnight GMT).
  • June 30th, 2009: results and reviews by the panel of judges.


1. Entries must be in English.

2. Entries are not restricted to any particular IF language or platform, but it is highly recommended that a portable IF language be used (such as Inform 6/7, TADS 2/3, Hugo, Adrift, etc.). Judges will only be required to play games that they can run on their system. In the unlikely event that a game cannot be run by any of the judges, it will not receive a score.

3. The game length should be roughly one to two hours.

4. A walkthrough must be submitted with the game (to make sure the judges can complete it!). If you do not want the walkthrough to be publicly released, please write "Not for public release" at the top.

5. Works must not have been previously released, or include copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder.

6. A panel of approximately ten judges will score and write a review of each game that they are able to run on their system. Public discussion of games during the judging period is permitted (including authors and testers), but judges' scores and reviews will not be published until they are all ready.

7. The results will be announced when all of the judges have completed their judging; there is no time limit, but the judging period will probably be less than two weeks.

8. By submitting an entry to this competition, authors implicitly give permission for their entries to be uploaded to the IF Archive.

9. Any number of entries from the same author are permitted.

10. Remember to allow time for Beta testing! If English is not your native language, people are available to proofread your game as well (ask on the rec.arts.int-fiction or rec.games.int-fiction newsgroup).


At this stage, the judges will be J. Robinson Wheeler, Ross Presser, Greg Boettcher, D. J. Hastings, Eric Eve, Yoon Ha Lee, Lucian Smith, David Jones, Stephen Bond, Dan Shiovitz and Nolan Bonvouloir.

Judges may not also be Beta testers or enter a game in the competition they are judging.

Guidelines for Judges

The main judging criteria are:

(1) Is this a good game? How does it rate compared to the other entries?

(2) How well does the author make use of the special ability?

When your reviews and scores are ready, please send them to davidfisher@australiaonline.net.au. Feel free to make your reviews available anywhere else as well, but not until the competition results have been announced.

Scores range from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Half-point scores are permitted, eg. 9.5. The scores assigned by each judge to each game will be made public; if you would prefer your scores to be anonymous, let me know and we will work out some way to do that.

Games should be played until you feel you can give them a fair score and a full review; feel free to use walkthroughs if necessary to see the whole game. Reviews and scores are not required for games which you cannot run on your system.


Entries may be sent to dfisher at efs dot mq dot edu dot au any time before the deadline of May 1st 2009, midnight GMT. Remember to include a walkthrough, and feel free to include source code as well.

(If you don't receive an acknowledgement, try davidfisher at australiaonline.net.au instead).

Since the main aim is to produce new games rather than to be bureaucratic, if any author requires a (small!) extension to the deadline, please contact the organiser at davidfisher@australiaonline.net.au.

If there are problems with a game that require it to be re-submitted during the judging period, that will be permitted as well, but the scoring penalty for doing so will be at the judges' discretion.