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1999 was a remarkably uneven year for interactive fiction. Though a number of highly praised longer games - such as Varicella and The Mulldoon Legacy - were released, it was generally agreed that the IF Competition entries were sub-standard, many of them suffering from their attempts to become the next Photopia (the groundbreaking masterpiece of 1998's IF Competition).

Like the previous year, the 1999 Xyzzy Awards were dominated by a single game: Varicella, written by Adam Cadre, the author of last year's award-winning Photopia. Andrew Plotkin, whose Spider and Web won five out of ten awards in 1998, also made an appearance with his Hunter, In Darkness.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that, for the second year in a row, a maze was nominated for (and, in this case, won) the Xyzzy Award for "Best Individual Puzzle". This is an anomaly, and should definately not encourage any newcomers to include mazes in their games.

Best Game

Varicella, by Adam Cadre
For a Change, by Dan Schmidt
Lunatix: The Insanity Circle, by Mike Snyder
The Mulldoon Legacy, by Jon Ingold
Worlds Apart, by Suzanne Britton

Best Writing:

For A Change, by Dan Schmidt
Exhibition, by Ian Finley
Lunatix: The Insanity Circle, by Mike Snyder
Varicella, by Adam Cadre
Worlds Apart, by Suzanne Britton

Best Story (there was a tie):

Worlds Apart, by Suzanne Britton
Aisle, by Sam Barlow
Common Ground, by Stephen Granade
Lunatix: The Insanity Circle, by Mike Snyder
The Mulldoon Legacy, by Jon Ingold
Varicella, by Adam Cadre

Best Setting (there was another tie):

Hunter, in Darkness, by Andrew Plotkin
Erehwon, by Richard Litherland
For a Change, by Dan Schmidt
The Mulldoon Legacy, by Jon Ingold
Winter Wonderland, by Laura Knauth
Worlds Apart, by Stephen Grenade

Best Puzzles:

The Mulldoon Legacy, by Jon Ingold
Lunatix: The Insanity Circle, by Mike Snyder
Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina, by Jim Aikin
Varicella, by Adam Cadre
Worlds Apart, by Suzanne Britton

Best NPCs:

Varicella, by Adam Cadre
A Day for Soft Food, by Tod Levi
The Frenetic Five vs. Mr. Redundancy Man, by Neil deMause
The Mulldoon Legacy, by Jon Ingold
Worlds Apart, by Suzanne Britton

Best Individual Puzzle:

The Maze in Hunter, in Darkness, by Andrew Plotkin
The Clone Puzzle in The Frenetic Five vs. Mr. Redundancy Man, by Neil deMause
Getting the Light Upstairs in The Mulldoon Legacy, by Jon Ingold
Stopping the Flood in For a Change, by Dan Schmidt
The Water Puzzle in Break-In, by Jon Ingold

Best Individual NPC:

Miss Sierra in Varicella, by Adam Cadre
Anatoly Domokov in Exhibition, by Ian Finley
Lyric/Echo in Worlds Apart, by Suzanne Britton
Princess Charlotte in Varicella, by Adam Cadre
The Wumpus in Hunter, In Darkness, by Andrew Plotkin

Best Individual PC:

Primo Varicella in Varicella, by Adam Cadre
The Cat in A Day for Soft Food, by Tod Levi
The Wife in Exhibition, by Ian Finley
Sarah in Winchester's Nightmare, by Nick Montfort
Unnamed PC in Aisle, by Sam Barlow

Best Use of Medium:

Aisle, by Sam Barlow
Hunter, in Darkness, by Andrew Plotkin
Six Stories, by Neil K. Guy
Varicella, by Adam Cadre
Worlds Apart, by Suzanne Britton

Related Links:

  • A list of winners and nominees is available at "Baf's Guide to the IF Archive" at http://www.wurb.com/if/award/3#271.
  • A transcript of the awards ceremony is available at http://www.eblong.com/zarf/award-transcript3.html.
  • And, as usual, all games are available at the IF Archive at http://ifarchive.org/.

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