Non-digital titles on IFDB?

I’ve been thinking about adding The Raging Tide by Edward Gorey and The Family Arcana by Jedediah Berry to IFDB for a while now, but I haven’t done it because they aren’t digital. But the inclination keeps nagging at me. So here I am to ask whether people think it would be okay or totally inappropriate.

There are a few non-digital entries on there already, like Trapped in Time by Simon Christiansen, which means there’s a tiny precedent, but just a tiny one.

I feel like including such works might introduce a few more people to IFDB. They’re very niche titles, so people searching for them online might discover IFDB and find adjacent games they enjoy too. In fact I’ve wondered whether it might be a good idea to list the old Choose Your Own Adventure series and things like the gamebooks entered for the Windhammer Prize.

Apologies if this topic has been covered before.

If we undertake to say “gamebooks and nonlinear printed work are part of IFDB’s mission”, that’s a lot of entries to add.

I’m not against the idea. In fact I like the idea. But it implies that some volunteer is going to spent a lot of time writing up CYOA entries – maybe now, maybe in an anticipated future.

(Existing gamebook database: )

I suppose the alternative is to stick to the current implicit policy, which is “include gamebooks if they have some tie to the existing IF community” (comp entries, etc).

Yeah, cataloguing every non-digital interactive work would be a very large undertaking. I didn’t have such a comprehensive approach in mind. I’m not sure it’s possible. Right now IFDB isn’t even comprehensive when it comes to digital IF. I’m more just wondering whether it would be inappropriate for users to add print titles to begin with. I don’t want to muddy or misuse the database.

Choose Your Own Adventure, for instance, is a long series. Adding every book would take a while. But it wouldn’t be as difficult to plug in the biggest titles like The Cave of Time, since that’s an IF cornerstone, and gradually fill in the rest.

Given that the total size of the IFDB is only 11M zipped, I don’t see much downside in adding a lot more entries (aside from the labor, but that can be crowdsourced and organic over time). The searching and filtering capabilities of the IFDB seem good enough that having another few hundred or even a thousand entries for all the CYOA/gamebooks in the world isn’t likely to feel particularly spammy. But I’m open to counterarguments…

[Footnote: that 11M doesn’t include images. I’m not sure how much space they take up, but I’d make a ballpark guess that it’s under 100M total? Which these days is still pretty trivial.]

IIRC, there was a PC version of Cave of Time, so that should be added anyway.

My only concern is that I wouldn’t want a scenario where someone is looking for, say, fantasy games and clicks on a fantasy tag and then all electronic offerings are buried in a multitude of gamebook options. A system where browsers have to specifically mark their searches non-physical seems counterproductive.

Hmm, I’m not sure how you’d work around that. Part of the idea would be to mix digital with non-digital, create some overlap between forms. If it’s okay to include non-digital stuff in the database, but not okay to have it turn up in searches, then it’s basically not okay to include in the database. Otherwise, if enough non-digital items are added, you probably would need to filter your searches more if you wanted to always avoid them.

It seems unlikely that electronic works would be “buried” by gamebooks in the IFDB; there are currently over 8000 entries, and new ones are added at a pretty steady pace. I don’t know exactly how prolific the gamebook/static-CYOA communities are these days, but I suspect they’re not any more prolific than the Twine community, given that they take roughly equivalent effort to make. And the vast majority of Twine games are not even in the IFDB (yet…).

I don’t think all non-digital entries need to be added just as a busywork task. Especially if the entry is just “title/brief synopsis/maybe a cover image”. Historically relevant and classic works like The Cave of Time (which became the basis of a CYOA trope) should probably be there.

If someone wants to review a specific work, that’s a great reason to add it.

New modern works that are easily obtainable or downloadable (free or for purchase) should definitely go up. I got a new copy of Romeo and/or Juliet as a Comp prize and I should totally do a review and enter it.

In fact, entries for classic and newer reference books could also go up, as they can get reviews, and might be relevant in a search for someone interested in the genre.

That might be call to add genres “non-digital” and “reference work” so they can be filtered in searches.

I would definitely agree with this approach.

I didn’t say they need to be added. I’m saying that, if someone adds them, we’re going to say “thank you!” rather than “whoa, slow down, you’re cluttering the database.”


Well, it seems we might not say “thank you!” if too many are added. At least that’s the sense I’m getting, that it’s okay as long as it doesn’t cause clutter. So I’ll most likely go ahead in the next few days and add the Gorey and Berry titles I mentioned. I’ll use a “non-digital” tag for filtering.