Hugo Award for Best Game or Interactive Work

Folks here might be interested to know that the Hugo Awards† for speculative fiction yesterday more-or-less gained a new recurring category for “Best Game or Interactive Work”, after a long campaign by Ira Alexandre and others. has many more details.

This is designed as a permanent category, unlike the one-off “Video Game” category in the 2021 Hugos, which was previously mentioned in this thread.
That time, Scents & Semiosis got a notable number of nominations (see nomination stats p18); see here for the ultimate award outcome.
(Incidentally, Scents & Semiosis also made the Nebula 2020 Best Game Writing final ballot.)

The criteria for the new award are broader, and totally include interactive fiction in many forms:

An interactive work is (1) a game, or (2) a narrative or presentation in which active input or interactive play is an integral component of the work itself or where it impacts the outcome, narrative, or order of elements of the work itself in a non-trivial fashion, and (3) is not ephemeral, in the sense that the interactive elements of the work are accessible to participants through published or shareable artifacts, and the work is not an event requiring the participation of specific named persons.
[in Categories:] Best Game or Interactive Work. Any interactive work or interactive substantial modification of a work in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects, released to the public in the previous year and available for public participation in the interactive elements of the work in that year.

( discusses the rationale for and implications of the inclusion criteria at length.)

As I understand it, the first possible awards in this category will be in 2024; however, every Worldcon can add a one-off Hugo, and I’m told it’s quite common to use this power to make something like this happen early, so it’s possible that a similar/equivalent category will also be in the 2023 Hugos (although I have no information about whether this is likely to actually happen).

(Nitpicking: I say “more-or-less gained” because it still has to be ratified at next year’s Worldcon. I’m not a WSFS Business Meeting wonk, and thanks to ceb for detail, but this report of the meeting decisions links to the agenda. The category comes up for review in a few years, and has to be positively affirmed then; in 2028, according to this other meeting report.)

† no relation to the Hugo IF development system

[post edited to add credits]


Yup, saw that. This is good news.

(I was involved in the Nebula award discussion a few years ago; I have been observing this one from a distance.)

It’s worth noting that the 2021 Hugo was for “Best Video Game”. This proposal is for “Best Game or Interactive Work”. This will include tabletop board, card, and role-playing games. (This follows the example of the Nebula “Best Game Writing” category, which includes all kinds of games.)

As I understand it, the Hugo category will not include live interactive theater events like Sleep No More. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “Best Interactive Performance” category show up in the next few years, but that’s out of scope for this proposal.