Monday, March 24, 2008

Videogame Guides, Rehash

It was basically decided, over time, that video game strategy guides do not belong on Wikibooks. There were many concerns and a few objections over this, but I think that the majority of Wikibookians really agreed that it was the right move. So, over time, the guides were phased out in a peaceable and civil way.

What we have now is a policy that says videogame strategy guides are not acceptable at Wikibooks. It seems simple on the surface of it, if we see videogame strategy guides, we work to have them moved to a more appropriate venue (typically StrategyWiki, where several former-Wikibookians are active members). However I worry now, in hindsight, that maybe the policy is too cut-and-dry. Let me give an example.

Today, a book about the board game "Dungeons & Dragons" was nominated for deletion. At least one person voted to delete the book, and then switched the vote to keep because Dungeons & Dragons is not a videogame and therefore isn't part of the blanket deletion mandate.

When we look at books about games in general, not just video games, we need to weigh many factors about that game and about the style of the book itself. Books which are completion guides or strategy guides with no educational value, probably don't belong on Wikibooks whether the game in question is a videogame or not. Similarly, a book written about a videogame does not necessarily need to be deleted if the book is well written and discusses more then just game play strategy. The quintessential example of this was a book (unfortunately, now abandoned) about how the game SimCity 3000 could be used to teach readers lessons about urban planning. Another example is the concept of programming books where the reader is instructed on how to create new videogames or modify existing videogames programmatically.

Being about videogames is not a condemnation that a book be deleted. Being about board games should also not be some kind of immutable protection against deletion either. The spirit of the policy, at least the spirit as the the policy was intended to be) is that books about games need to follow the same requirements as all other books on our site:
  • Books must be instructional and educational
  • Books must be non-fiction
  • Books must be verifiable
If we apply the same standards to all books the issue about videogame guides, or guides about ordinary games, all come out in the wash.


  1. Do references exist which could be used to verify a textbook utilising Sim City 3000 to teach principles of urban planning?

  2. No, but that's not really the point. On en.wikibooks we only require that material be verifiable, not presentation style.

    It would be easy, if people demanded it, to show that the algorithms behind the SimCity games are based on real world analyses of urban design problems. Then the game becomes an overly elaborate model for these kinds of principals, in a roundabout way.

    As another note, the way verifiability is handled on Wikibooks is far different from how it is handled on Wikipedia. We do allow books to be verified pragmatically instead of by reference. We also allow lessons to be taught with allegory (in some instances) or metaphor (which is what the SimCity example would fall under). It is trivial to show that some concepts from urban planning theory can be modeled using SimCity as a city simulator, in the same way that concepts from other theoretical disciplines can be modeled using other types of simulation software.

  3. I had imagined that it would be quite difficult to show that the algorithms in SimCity games are based upon real world analyses of urban design problems, given the (what I assume to be) immense effort invested in the games.

    Though I concede on the point of verifying books based upon observation (or "pragmatism") as opposed to by citation.

    I may be a bit confused about the proposed (or abandoned?) book concept - is it meant to teach urban planning, and use SimCity games as an easy method by which to show simulations? Or is it some other concept?

  4. Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Servidor, I hope you enjoy. The address is A hug.