Hey folks! I’ll try not to repeat myself too much from the initial Discord post that warranted this thread. (Link to the post here) but to briefly explain the proposal for those without Discord:
Rather than forcing judges to judge an increasingly-untenable numbers of gain jam entries, to have the community at large rank the entries in a series of polls broken down by cateogry (Graphics, Sound, Writing, Gameplay, Innovation, Gain Jam Theme, Kink). Points are awarded based on a game’s ranking in each category and the points tallied together over all categories to determine an overall “Community Score”. Entries that either meet a score threshold or simply the top scoring games move on to the Finals where they can be assessed in the usual vein by the judging panel.
The polling for each category would be kept simple - a random pairing of game entries and the user given the simple question “Which do you prefer for [poll category]: game A or game B?” This process is repeated with a different random pairing each time, for as long as the user continues picking winners from each match-up. Wins and losses for each game are tracked and the games ranked accordingly within the category (this video from Tom Scott does a great job of demonstrating the format, and was an inspiration for this idea.)
Ultimately the idea is to 1) lighten the burden on judges and 2) foster more community engagement. The former point I feel will need to be addressed at some point if the community, and subsequently the Gain Jam itself, continues to grow. The 40+ entries this year were largely unprecedented and I cannot see this number dropping next Gain Jam - nor, arguably, should it.
@Juxtaterrestrial raised some good points in the Discord thread that I will attempt to address here shortly but I do invite all to comment on and discuss this proposal!
(edit: also wasn’t sure if this belonged in the “Gain Jam” section or under “General Discussion”, please move the thread as necessary, mods!)