This year’s crop of games is large enough to be divided up into any number of categories by subject, e.g., RPGs, sci-fi, murder mysteries, or structurally, e.g., parser-based, limited-parser, hypertext, CYOA, etc. I’d like to propose a number of new and entirely arbitrary categories based on this year’s submissions. Please let me know in comments if I’ve gotten any of these wrong or missed some.
…mentioning cheese in some capacity (including in the context of Macaroni and Cheese): Eat Me, What Once Was, Absence of Law, Run Of The Place, Nightbound, A Castle of Thread, The Skinny One, The Castle of Vourtram.
….involving conversation with birds: 10 pm, Harbinger, Eat Me, Alice Aforethought, The Dragon Will Tell Your Future Now, Goodbye Cruel Squirrel, The Adventure of Esleralda and Ruby on the Magical Island, The Wand, What Once Was, A Castle of Thread, and kind of, The Owl Consults.
…with talking plants: And When I Squint It Looks Like Christmas, Eat Me, The Very Old Witch and the Turnip Girl, Word of the Day.
…with Dragons: The Dragon Will Tell Your Future Now, The Wand, The Wizard Sniffer, Run Of The Place, The Castle of Vourtram, The Adventures of Esmeralda and Ruby on the Magical Island, Eat Me (stamped on a barrel), Deshaun Steven’s Ship Log (mentioned in passing in connection with football), Rage Quest: Disciple of Peace (a rock formation resembling a dragon’s head). If serpents are grandfathered in, Swigian and Measureless of Man. If mentions in the credits count: Day of the Djinn.
…featuring phones. Portable: My Night, The Owl Consults, Absence of Law, Redstone, Measureless To Man, Fake News, Escape From Terra, Run Of The Place, The Murder In The Fog, A Beauty Cold and Austere, and of course, Mikayla’s Phone. Landlines: Ultimate Escape Room:IF City, 1958: Dancing With Fear.
…with a number in the title: 10 pm, 1958: Dancing With Fear, 8 Shoes on the Shelves, The Fifth Sunday, One Way Out, The Skinny One, Unit 322, What Once Was, Just Get The Treasure v0.9.1 (close but no cigar: Nyna Lives, Hexteria. In principle “one” occurs in Redstone and Mikayla’s Phone, but no.)
…involving time travel on college campuses built around huge, partially buried boulders in the quadrangle: Harmonia, What Once Was. No boulder was mentioned in Bookmoss, but presumably, Harvard could just buy one if it needed. I can’t vouch for the boulder part, but Will Not Let Me Go sort of involves time travel, or at least a flashback, on a college campus.
...with, at least putatively, shape-shifting adversaries: Just Get The Treasure v0.9.1; The Wizard Sniffer.
…on an island: Textcraft: Alpha Island, The Adventures of Esmeralda and Ruby on Magical Island, The Traveller, 1958: Dancing With Fear.
… stories with single word titles that don’t come up in typical dinner table conversation, based on epic sagas set in medieval Scandinavia: Tuuli, Swigian.
…involving exploring around inside a living body: Eat Me, Haunted P; within the brain: One Way Out.
…with robots: Charlie the Robot, The Owl Consults, Absence of Law, Run Of The Place, Fake News. If androids are included: VR Gambler.
…at least hinting of conspiracy: Charlie the Robot, Unit 322, A Common Enemy, Run Of The Place, Off The Rails, Word Of The Day, Black Marker
…with goblets, goblins, or both: Eat Me, The Wizard Sniffer, Just Get the Treasure v0.9.1., Insignificant Little Vermin
… speaking of TMWNMTK: Measureless To Man, A Castle of Thread. The ironic winner in this category is 8 Shoes on the Shelves, because I don’t know if it actually is about TMWNMTK.
I look forward to suitable icons being developed for IFwiki and new tags for IFDb.