In another question, someone pointed out that the "first game of X" class of questions, and those that are similar, have certain faults and should get some additional analysis. What should be done with them? Examples:

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I hope not, you can satisfy those trivia's on Wikipedia –  Ivo Flipse May 2 '11 at 9:06
    
@Ivo exactly where on Wikipedia would you find the answer to any but perhaps the second question? –  serenity May 2 '11 at 21:48
    
I wasn't referring to your actual examples, but there's just as much value in "which was the first" as leaving a comment "First!11!" on a blog post. So you were the first, but were you the most fun or the best? –  Ivo Flipse May 3 '11 at 4:58
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@Ivo Best is subjective, and I think there's a world of difference between posting "first" on a blog and developing a game that ends up establishing a new genre. –  serenity May 3 '11 at 19:36
    
Yet there is hardly any value in simply being the first, but we'll just have to agree to disagree –  Ivo Flipse May 3 '11 at 19:44

2 Answers 2

I think our general rules for questions can easily be applied to these.

1) Is it general reference?

If no, goto (2) If yes:

a) Is it interesting?

The first game to directly support the Microsoft Sidewinder joystick is probably uninteresting; close it. The first game to support mouse input may not be as uninteresting.

2) Is it hopelessly subjective?

"That's not even an RPG, it doesn't have turn-based combat"

"Your mom doesn't have turn-based combat"

"Since when is my mom an RPG?"

"Since 1998."

That should be killed with fire.

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Interestingness doesn't really matter close-wise unless it is general reference. –  Ullallulloo May 2 '11 at 14:00
    
@Ullallulloo Edited to reflect that, thanks. –  Matthew Read May 2 '11 at 14:11
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Very much a point about (2). One of our first "First" questions, which is now deleted, was closed very early on as "Not A Real Question". It asked what was the first game with a true 3D engine. While we were very peaceful about it, we all could not agree on a definition for true 3D engine. –  Grace Note May 2 '11 at 14:25
    
I have a feeling that almost all of these will fall into one of those two categories. The only reason it wouldn't be general reference is because you're using some subjective classification that nobody can agree on. Do we have any examples of "First X" questions that don't fall prey to one of these? –  bwarner May 2 '11 at 19:39
    
@bwarner yes, the 4th example at the top, at least. It's not genref because that's not what encyclopedias deal with, nor is it trivial, and you do need a 'specialist' to answer that. Yet it's perfectly objective. –  serenity May 2 '11 at 21:39
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@Grace I don't know enough about the case, but it seems that the questioner's definition should be used. If they think 3D engines involve textures, then you edit the question to "first 3D game with textures?", and so on. If they can't specify, then close on the basis of being ambiguous. –  serenity May 2 '11 at 21:45
    
@serenity The questioner was also unsure what definition to use. –  Grace Note May 3 '11 at 9:48

The purpose of questions such as these seem to be exploring the history of games. This can be an interesting topic, but I don't think it makes for good Q&A.

Game mechanics evolve. You will find earlier games with certain aspects of other games, but there will almost always be some variation in their implementation. Answering these questions then relies heavily on drawing a line between two evolutionary stages and saying "This is not X, but this is X". People will inevitably disagree on where to draw that line, and therefore I think these questions will devolve into discussions about various items in a list. See 2nd person view? for the kind of havoc that can cause. So I would suggest that any example that is not so trivial as to fall into the general reference category would be considered subjective/argumentative.

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I don't know if they 'explore' the history of games, they just ask a specific question about the history. The example you linked asked "what would a second person view be?", not "first game to use x". On the other hand, the example questions had very clear, non-argumentative, and interesting answers. –  serenity May 3 '11 at 19:46
    
What @serenity said. They're fine as long as they give a clear definition of what you want. The one that you linked to was asking which definition was right. If you asked what the first game to use the '2nd person view' in Zato was, then you could get a very clear answer. –  Ullallulloo May 3 '11 at 20:05
    
@Ulla I don't understand your example. Isn't there only one game ever that meets your criteria? That seems to be general reference. –  bwarner May 3 '11 at 21:40
    
@Serenity I strongly disagree that the example questions had clear, non-argumentative answers. Some of them have a single accepted answer, but even those have comments on them about "should we count this"? But I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this, since I know you are convinced that your question has a specific answer (which appears to be "No"). –  bwarner May 3 '11 at 21:44
    
@bwarner do you mean "yes"? I'm open-minded, but I just don't think your answer shows that they're either ambiguous or trivial. The 4th example I give is very well-specified, and not at all trivial. Perhaps you could edit in some better examples to prove your point? –  serenity May 4 '11 at 4:45
    
@Serenity I meant that the answer to your question is likely "No, there were no games that meet your criteria before the ones you listed". –  bwarner May 4 '11 at 11:33
    
@bwarner: No, the highest upvoted answer also does. I mean where you see first person from your enemy. It has a clear answer, but I don't have any idea what it is. –  Ullallulloo May 4 '11 at 14:19
    
@bwarner I'm actually entirely uncertain about that one. –  serenity May 6 '11 at 3:55

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