I'd like to do a quick retrospective on all the other games of IF Comp 2014. It was a great year, with some really fantastic entries and amazing innovations, and tough competition. I feel like almost every game this year was the result of genuine excitement and investment in the craft of making games, and it was amazing to get to see that in action and be a part of it.
My own game, Creatures Such as We placed 2nd, by a very narrow margin in the 2014 IF Comp. I'm very grateful for that recognition: that this crazy idea for a complicated narrative would be so deeply enjoyed by players and would resonate and would serve as an inspiration.
Like last year, I did some reviews in the author's-only forum, but, once again, I feel like those reviews are better served staying in that private forum. However, I still believe that every game you play has something to teach, and so here are the games and what new innovations, or exceptionally well-done elements they brought to the table.
Hunger Daemon: Normalizing humor applied to themes of traditional lovecraftian horror.
Jacqueline, Jungle Queen!: Humorous adventure. Well-paced magical skills
AlethiCorp: Corporate website parody structure.
With Those We Love Alive: Creepy descriptions with just enough revelation.
Fifteen Minutes: Heavy exploration around a central, difficult puzzle.
Missive: Puzzles that do not gate gameplay, but rather enhance it.
Eidolon: A good sense of a slowly increasing creeping dread.
Krypteia: Beautiful allegory, amazing Twine text effects.
Tea Ceremony: Simplistic puzzle fun.
Transparent: Slowly meting out important information.
Enigma: Treating memories and story as the puzzle.
Venus Meets Venus: Instilling a sense of self-defeating fatalism.
The Entropy Cage: Having incomplete access to the story and to controls.
Raik: Different languages as conveying a different story and emotional state.
The Black Lily: I avoided this game, but I appreciated the game letting me know that I should avoid it.
The Contortionist: Incorporating a set of verbs as a standardized toolset.
Ugly Oafs: Pure puzzles.
Jesse Stavro's Doorway: I'm not sure that this introduced anything new, but it was made fairly competently.
Following Me: A solidly-implemented interactive novel.
Tower: Subtle hints at a secondary reality.
Paradox Corps: Pure timelord-ish fantasy fun.
Zest: Depressing apartment+job done competently.
Unform: A great depiction of a creepy mental prison.
Origins: two-sided influenced storytelling (would have been cool as multiplayer.)
HHH.exe: Creepypasta nostalgia game done right.
And yet it moves: I'm not sure that this introduced anything new, but it was made fairly competently.
Begscape: Social awareness presented without room for judgment about being the "right" kind of beggar.
The Urge: I also avoided this game, but I appreciated the game letting me know that I should avoid it.
Milk Party Palace: Absurdist humor that still presents clear goals and a clear sense of progression.
Icepunk: Exploration and a sense of progress.
Caroline: The creeping malaise of seeing someone wholly engrossed in a cult.
The Secret Vaults of Kas the Betrayer: I'm not sure that this introduced anything new, but it was made fairly competently.
Building the Right Stuff: The details that gave a sense of something being very wrong.
Excelsior: An interesting experiment in parser simplification and outreach.
Hill 160: Very detailed historical fiction.
One Night Stand: This game was not well done. This is an example of a very sexist game.
Slasher Swamp: Mapping as part of the puzzle. Oldschool encouragement to save often.
Arqon: Extra backstory in separate files.
Inward Narrow Crooked Lanes: Unapologetic, raw poetry.
Sigmund's Quest: Interesting exploration in different UI design.
Laterna Magica: Heavy focus on player introspection.