The Interactive Fiction Competition (also known as IFComp) is one of several annual competitions for works of interactive fiction. It has been held since 1995. It is intended for fairly short games, as judges are only allowed to spend two hours playing a game before deciding how many points to award it. The competition has been described as the "Super Bowl" of interactive fiction.
The competition is organized by Jacqueline Ashwell. Although the first competition had separate sections for Inform and TADS games, subsequent competitions have not been divided into sections and are open to games produced by any method, provided that the software used to play the game is freely available. Anyone can judge the games, and anyone can donate a prize. Almost always, there are enough prizes donated that anyone who enters will get one. Because anyone can judge and participate in the competition, authors are required to make their entries freely available to play.
In addition to the main competition, the entries take part in the Miss Congeniality contest, where the participating authors vote for three games (not including their own). This was started in 1998 to distribute that year's surplus prizes; this additional contest has remained unchanged since then, even without the original reason for its existence.
There is also a 'Golden Banana of Discord' side contest; the distinction is given to the entry with scores with the highest standard deviation.
In 2016, operation of the competition was taken over by the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation.
The competition differs from the XYZZY Awards, as authors must specifically submit games to the Interactive Fiction Competition, but all games released in the past year are eligible for the XYZZY Awards. Many games win awards in both competitions.
The following is a list of first place winners to date:
A reviewer for The A.V. Club said of the 2008 competition, "Once again, the IF Competition delivers some of the best writing in games." The 2008 competition was described as containing "some real standouts both in quality of puzzles and a willingness to stretch the definition of text adventures/interactive fiction."