For those who aren't familiar, titles like Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series of interactive fiction or video games like VA-11 Hall-A.

There's plenty of similar interactive-fiction out there, some really though provoking and extremely well written.

The distinction here is that these are games where the story is front and center, and not so much the player's actions. The player just moves the story along, sometimes having an effect on the path or outcome.

Other examples of video games would be Out There Chronicles, Hotel Dusk, Steins Gate, etc...

More traditional media examples would include Choose Your Own Adventure books, Tales of the Arabian Knights, and The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

Here's some Wikipedia pages on the different formats:

Interactive Fiction
Visual Novels

  • Would this be like Goosebumps as well?
    – Skooba
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:28
  • Strangely enough I've never read Goosebumps, so I couldn't say.
    – Devar-TTY
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:29
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    Or like the game part of The 39 Clues? It's a book series and a game.
    – Mithical Mod
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:30
  • I think any trans-media should be.
    – Devar-TTY
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:30
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    You mean like Choose Your Own Adventure stories?
    – Catija
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:53
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    I honestly don't really know what these are. if they're a video game then I'd say no.
    – DForck42
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:54
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    Choose Your Own Adventure is a type of interactive-fiction.
    – Devar-TTY
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:58
  • @DForck42 - Do some research and you'll see what I'm talking about. I'm talking about both physical interactive-fiction and digital.
    – Devar-TTY
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:59
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    @rkalajian there just seems to be confusion as to what you're really talking about. "choose your own adventure" books and other written media would seem on-topic, but a video game doesn't seem on-topic to me
    – DForck42
    Jan 19, 2017 at 20:01
  • They're basically books but with more advanced illustrations.
    – Pavel
    Jan 19, 2017 at 20:42
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    If it helps - Arqade takes VN questions, and other video game questions. So you'd be doubling up in that regard.
    – user25
    Jan 19, 2017 at 21:46
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    @Ash - That's like saying that we shouldn't ask Sci-Fi/Fantasy questions here because we'd be doubling up on SFF.
    – Devar-TTY
    Jan 19, 2017 at 21:48
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    I'm not saying don't do it, but I am also pointing out that they do have another place that if they can't be asked about here, that they can go.
    – user25
    Jan 19, 2017 at 21:50
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    @Ash We can also flag for migration.
    – miltonaut
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:32
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question doesn't tackle an existing problem. Let's not anticipate not existing problems without a single example question associated with it.
    – Helmar
    Jan 20, 2017 at 15:31

3 Answers 3


I'm going to play devils' advocate here. I'm not sure I believe my own argument, but it's one that I think is important to, at minimum, meaningfully represent.

Literature was given the broadest possible scope at the outset, and it's our job to discover its boundaries. The default Tour really captures this:

Literature Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scholars and enthusiasts of literature.

The problem is, literary questions arise in many, many mediums beyond just books. "Literature" as a field has never been limited to just books - movies, video games, you-name-it have all been able to fall under literary critique.

A question about how Oxenfree constructs its horror is totally a valid literary question, because the content being analyzed presents a narrative that's intended to be meaningful. A question about how Fight Club (the movie) looks at self-imposed harm even in the face of great efforts to escape it would still be on-topic here, because it's a question about how elements of a story come together to present a point or argument, either visual or verbal.

I'm reluctant to cut off any media as "not literature" when, quite clearly, there's much more to the presentation of meaningful cultural discourse than books.

So, maybe in that sense, the best way to limit this might be broadly (and obviously, this would take some refinement) by whether it tries to present a narrative - whether it has a text at all. If it does, then maybe we shouldn't be so quick to remove it from the site.

I'm not saying we have to universally allow everything that has a text, and obviously it would take some refinement, but I think we'd be wrong, and it would be limiting, to preclude other forms of media that present equally valid and meaningful narratives and points.

  • 1
    I am not sure I agree with that either, but we could test it. I have upvoted it.
    – Benjamin
    Jan 19, 2017 at 21:34
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    I really like this. Upvoted. I'm going to wait until the discussion has fulled run it's course before choosing an answer, but this will likely be it.
    – Devar-TTY
    Jan 20, 2017 at 12:57
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    I'm not sure exactly what you're suggesting. Are you suggesting that questions about movies are on-topic? Jan 21, 2017 at 12:37
  • @TheBitByte Like I say, this is a devil's advocate answer. I do think, though, that it's deceptively difficult to argue that they're off-topic, in any way beyond "it doesn't feel right."
    – user80
    Jan 21, 2017 at 13:05

Edge cases shouldn't be determined until we're staring at 'em. When we get a question about this kind of medium, it may be very obvious that it's on topic or not, and if we've already decided about it sight unseen that'll be sort of awkward.

Let our scope definition emerge incrementally experience, one meta at a time as we encounter each instance in the wild. That's what Stack policy handling is best at, and it works very well.


A question about choose-your-own-adventure and interactive fiction that are told in the form of a story employing common literary devices are on-topic if the question about them would be on-topic otherwise. However, traditional video games even if they are plot-driven and surrounding the story are not on-topic.

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