Announcing the Choice of Games Contest for Interactive Novels

Today we announce the Choice of Games Contest for Interactive Novels

Write and submit a game written in ChoiceScript for your chance to win publication on our Choice of Games line of interactive novels! Did you ever want to write a Choice of Games game? Now is your chance.

Deadline: January 31, 2018
And the author(s) must:

  • Be over the age of 18 as of January 31, 2018
  • Reside in the fifty United States or Washington, D.C., the United Kingdom, or Canada (except Quebec)*

Entries Must:

  • Be written in ChoiceScript, in English
  • Be at least 100,000 words long, including both prose and code, with a playthrough length of at least 20,000 words
  • Pass both Quicktest and Randomtest automated tests
  • Allow players to choose the player character’s gender

Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Original, Interesting Characters, 15% of score
  • Original, Interesting Setting and Plot, 15% of score
  • Conflicting Goals with Satisfying Endings, 15% of score
  • Balanced, Intentional, Interesting Choices/Options, 15% of score
  • Inclusivity, 10% of score
  • Prose Styling, 10% of score
  • Creative Stats, Consistently Applied, 10% of score
  • Length and Coding Efficiency, 5% of score
  • Overall, Judge’s Choice, 5% of score

[Learn more about the judging criteria and what goes into writing a Choice of Games-style game in our Games guidelines document.]

Learn more about how we outline games in our Outline guidelines document.

First Place: Winner will receive $5,000 and publication, including 25% royalties on sales of the published game.
Second Place: Winner will receive $3,000 and publication, including 25% royalties on sales of the published game.
Third Place: Winner will receive $2,000 and publication, including 25% royalties on sales of the published game.

To learn more, visit our Contest Page!
Full Rules

*Ineligible to enter? Email us at and tell us why. (For example, if you’re not a resident of the nations we listed, tell us where you reside.) We might not be able to do anything about the contest this year, but if we run the contest again, your feedback will guide our efforts next year. And don’t forget that you’re probably still eligible to publish a game under the Hosted Games label, which accepts authors of any age and from most countries in the world.


@Mary_Duffy, two questions if I may?

  1. Can the MC be a non-human animal?

  2. Assuming a game wins, would CoG publish it “as is,” (other than typos, copyediting issues), or would stylistic/substantive edits perhaps still be required before publication?


Great questions!

  1. I think as long as the gender requirements there are fulfilled, yes. I currently am editing a forthcoming COG game where the PC is an animal.

  2. That’s probably TBD. Obviously we would copyedit it, whether we’d do a substantial round of team full draft edits/notes before publishing isn’t something we’ve discussed at length. We would hope winning entries wouldn’t require substantial edits.

Suffice to say the game will be judged on how closely it matches our design aesthetic (see judging criteria) without us having to edit it.


Follow up: as we say in the contest FAQ, we’re not promising to publish the game as CoG at all, but we really want/hope to. If even the winner is not CoG quality, we can discuss with the winner whether to publish as HG or modify the game to make it suitable as a CoG.


Sounds good! This is a really cool idea!

I recognize the trade-offs (which CoG discusses in the link) versus submitting through the normal CoG submission route, but the Contest might be really appealing to those of us with full-time jobs because of the greater freedom to control month-to-month writing pace and only having to deal with self-imposed deadlines during the process.


I would be interested in doing this and it seems my WIP meets most of the requirements.

The only concern is that my MC is genderless but you pick the gender of the secondary character that joins you. Does that exclude it from this competition?

1 Like

If gender is effectively performative, then it would probably be an ok submission. We’d have to see. I would say, it’s difficult to manage that if you have any NPCs refer to the PC without proper pronouns but I guess you can use singular they.

Good luck to all those who enter! Thinking of all the WIP projects I follow, it’s funny thinking I may have been reading the winning project for awhile now.


We now we ask that you email us about ineligibility. I’ve hidden posts about folks who are ineligible to enter to encourage people to email us, so that we can have more information for future contests. Feel free to click Like on this post if you’re ineligible, so you can show it on the forum.

And remember, if you’re not eligible for the contest, you’re likely still eligible to publish a game under the Hosted Games label, which accepts authors of any age and from most countries in the world.


Interesting. Although I know games done through the CoG format have help with beta testing, I imagine that games being created for submission in this contest would not get the same benefit due to the fact that there’s no guarantee of your submission winning or becoming apart of the Choice of Games lineup.

So, are we allowed to have our submission beta tested through the forum? Is it mandatory that we do? If we were allowed to or it was mandatory to, do we have to label in the title that we are planning to submit the WiP into the contest?


We haven’t discussed this as a team, but I don’t see any reason why you can’t beta test it. It isn’t written in our guidelines that beta testing is mandatory and it didn’t come up as far as I recall in our discussion about the contest, so similarly whether you said it was a contest entry or not would be up to you.


Thanks @EmperorHeartless

I actually just popped on to ask this very question. I certainly hoped that beta testing wouldn’t disqualify a game from being submitted.

This contest is a wonderful thing. I wonder how many new submissions it will encourage? I imagine we’ll see a void of new games submitted from Oct-Jan next year. :slight_smile:

Good timing since NaNoWriMo just started.

I imagine that everyone will submit their contest entries for the Hosted Label, if it isn’t picked up by CoG. So really, it’s the added possibility of prize money that is the encouragement. Who wouldn’t like an added $5k/$3k/$2k before the first royalty check even arrives? :slight_smile:


I imagine we’ll see a void of new games submitted from Oct-Jan next year.

No I don’t think so. There’ll still be submissions from people not eigible and official games releasing I’d imagine.


Curious about one thing, would a current WIP be disqualified, or will CoG accept any entry just as long as the person submitting the game meets the requirements listed in the guidelines? I also assume that the submitted game must be complete.


Yes, submissions should be complete games!

Current WIPs which are otherwise eligible (country, age, etc, see FULL RULES) are fine, but note, we have explicitly laid out the criteria upon which entries will be judged. If you’ve begun a game, I recommend you study up on our guidelines doc above, and review your own work so far in light of those guidelines and the stated judging criteria.


I expect we will be publishing a number of Hosted Games throughout the contest period, for a number of reasons. Some people are finishing their games now, and will be finishing them in the near future, and those games wouldn’t be contest entries for basics like length, genderlocking, etc. We do publish a fair number of Hosted Games from authors in ineligible countries, and by authors under 18.

As I said below, you’re welcome to submit a WIP for the contest, but it’s advisable if you want it to be seriously considered that you rethink your work in terms of the judging criteria and game design docs we’ve laid out.


I have one general question: Is there a chance that more countries will be eligible in future contests?

1 Like

Possibly. We need to see how this one goes. Part of the reason it’s hard to do lots of countries is that different countries have different rules about contests and how they must be run. The short answer is, contests are actually very complex, legally speaking. We announced this contest today, but have been working on it for several months.


Lucid, I wanted to confirm something about the prizes…

@Mary_Duffy, are the $5000, $3000, and $2000 prizes just straight up prize awards, or are they advances on royalties?

Because if they are straight up prize awards, isn’t this better than the standard CoG arrangement where the writer gets a $7500 advance and then 25% royalties after the advanced has been ‘earned out’?