IFWiki proposal: Changing "Games" to "Works"

(David Welbourn) #1

Hi everyone. I’m an admin on IFWiki (although I haven’t been very active this year due to personal issues, sorry about that), and I’d like to make a rather sweeping change to several categories and pages on IFWiki that currently refer to “games” and change it to “works”.

That would mean Category:Games becomes Category:Works, Category:ADRIFT 5 games becomes Category:ADRIFT 5 works, Category:Italian games becomes Category:Italian works, etc. etc. etc. I would also change the text of those categories so references to “games” would instead be to “games, stories, and art pieces” or “works of interactive fiction” as appropriate. I will create redirects so someone searching for “Inform 7 games” will find Category:Inform 7 works.

Likewise, some pages like “Recommended games” would change to “Recommended works”.

However, I do not wish to change references to phrases like “game mechanics” or “game characters” since such terms are still in general usage. Nor will I change the names of specific historical items that referred to IF as games.

One reason I want to make the change is because it feels more honest to acknowledge that not all works of IF are games in the normal sense of the word. Previously, I felt okay with using “games” in a more generic sense, the way “monsters” is sometimes used to refer to all NPCs in D&D, or the way we use “rooms” to mean any location. I felt fine with listing Photopia or Rameses as games (even though they’re really stories) or IF Art Show entries as games (even though they’re really art pieces) because I saw them as outliers; to me, IF seemed mostly about games.

The last few years of IF competitions have increasingly strained my long-treasured assumptions of what IF is. Part of me is rebelling, screaming internally that “these things aren’t games!” And I think part of why I keep thinking of IF as games is because that’s the word we keep using to describe them. So I think it’s time for me to bite the bullet, and make at least some of my internal complaining moot by making this change. If I start listing works of interactive fiction as “works” instead of “games”, I’ll no longer have any reason to mentally whine that something isn’t a darn game, at least when adding info to the wiki.

The Inform 7 website and its materials have already made an effort to be more inclusive on this issue. I think it’s time for IFWiki (and my own website, Key & Compass) to follow suit.

Whaddya think?



I support this suggestion. I think it would be helpful for the reasons you cite.



Even though I prefer game-y elements in general, I think “games” to “works” is a reasonable and good change to make, too.

Especially since even making or playing something intended as a game is, well, work.



I think this would be a great idea. And it does fit with how, well, the whole comunity describes itself as about Interactive Fiction rather than Text Games.

We could still have a games category for works that are actually games, though? Which, come to think of it, is like, 99% of the parser-based ones.
Of course, I can see this causing a fierce debate on some parser-games that are actually not very interactive at all…


(David Good) #5

I think it’s a good idea, but many game authors are also authors of IF books, game development systems or even extensions. Are those to be included under “works”?


(Harry Giles) #6

I really enjoy how games culture at the moment is constantly testing and stretching the bounds of “game” to a very satisfying breaking point, and I think IF has been doing that longer than any other genre of game. I love that some things I write might get called games rather than stories. I think a definition like this is less about the content of the thing at hand and more about how you position that thing for its audience(s). Do you want a reader of IFDB to believe they are about to play a game, a story, an art or a work?

Here’s a thing I read the other day that really stuck with me:

Less speculatively, will works be required to list anywhere whether they’re games, stories, experiments, artworks, all of the above, &c? Or will this just be implemented via the tagging system?

Also, at the moment, just as everything is currently listed as a game, everything also has, rather wonderfully, an “About the Story” section, whether or not it has a story. So everything is currently both a game and a story, even if it’s testing the bounds of story as much as game. Will that also become “About the Work”?


(David Welbourn) #7

It is not my intention to change the groupings of things, only what IFWiki calls them. I want books, authoring systems, and extensions, etc. to remaining in their current categories. I understand that “works” may well be too broad a name, whereas “games” is too narrow. (And I am reluctant to go with “games, stories, and art pieces” as the alternative for “games” because it’s far too long.)

Discussion on ifmud has proposed a couple alternatives, of which “IF”, “IF works”, “Works of IF” are the most palatable terms to use instead of “Works”. (At least, palatable to me.) Historically, I have avoided using “IF” in IFWiki’s category names because IFWiki is supposed to be about IF already, and specifying “IF” seemed redundant. But perhaps I need to reconsider.

So, variants to my proposal:

First, considering only the large category currently called “Games”. I don’t want to rename “Games” to just “IF”, but I will consider one of “Works”, “IF Works”, or “Works of IF” in its place.

Secondly, regarding all the subcategories, I would find “Hugo works of IF” or “Inform 6 IF works” to be a bit unwieldy (although I could be talked into those if really necessary). In these cases, I would like to go with either “Hugo works”, “Inform 6 works”, etc. or “Hugo IF”, “Inform 6 IF”, etc.


(David Welbourn) #8

I’m only talking about what IFWiki does (or should do), not IFDB. Perhaps IFWiki might want to tag various works explicitly as stories or games or art, but I’d like to table that discussion for another day.



Works is a good general category. IF Works would be redundant.


(Harry Giles) #10

Aw, sorry for the divvy mistake. Got confused in the theoretical puzzling and forgot what I was talking about. Happens.



I would say that “works” sounds fine. I prefer “games” myself, but I’ll admit that’s mostly a matter of personal preference.



It’s the least worst option, I think.



In my own head (and when it comes out in writing), I tend to refer to IF as either “games” or “stories.”

I think “works” works as an inclusive term. Hear hear.



“works” is a good label. Inclusive without being too non-specific for the purposes of IFWiki.

It seems there’s acceptance of this distinction but I think needs stating: Works OF interactive fiction, rather than Works ABOUT interactive fiction.


(Andrew Plotkin) #15

I think this is a good change. But I also want to note that there’s a context in which “game” is the aspirational category. We saw this in more mainstream-game-industry discussions where some people wanted to dismiss some works – some IF works – as “not games”. Meaning “We do not want to talk about these on a games forum.”

I hope it’s clear that that’s not the impetus for this change. But we should take notice of it, if only so that we can say “That wasn’t the impetus for this change.”


(Harry Giles) #16

Thanks, zarf. That’s a much more succinct way to say what I was vaguely hand-waving at.



I second the above.



Changing a noun to a verb is a great opportunity for unintentional oxymorons.




now we need a works of art category too :slight_smile: