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Would it be on-topic to ask if [a specific game] "invented" [a specific feature], i.e. if it really was the first (published) game to introduce such a feature?

Expectable answers would be:

  • Yes ([a credible source] says so, too).
  • No, [a specific older game] had this feature, too. (And it was the first one ….)

The question How do we feel towards specific questions about the history of a certain game mechanic? is related, but not exactly the same, as the thematized example questions seems to ask "openly" (instead of putting a specific game up for discussion) for the first game to introduce it, while I’d like to ask for confirmation (or disproof) of my specific assumption. Not a huge difference, but it might be important:

StrixVaria explains in the (currently most upvoted) answer:

I think the main issue with these questions is that it's not a real-world problem that you face, requiring a solution.

I can’t tell if this was the case for the thematized question (it got deleted in the meantime), but, at least in my case, there is a "real-word problem":

When reviewing (or writing) articles for video gaming magazines, such claims ("… was the first game to introduce …") might come up. The author probably has some source claiming this to be the case, but, oh, how often is it wrong? Often enough there are (likely not so well-known) games that had it before, as magazine readers might write to the editor.

In a sense, such questions would be similar to prior-art-request questions at Ask Patents SE, or the first-appearance questions at Movies & TV SE.

  • I believe that this was specifically mentioned in the Game Development being off topic discussions. Someone with a longer history here will have to fill this in for me. But, short answer, no. Not on-topic. – David M Feb 9 '14 at 4:31
  • @Vaishali: Asking in chhat is a good idea. There are plenty of questions we don't allow on the main site which we are more than happy to answer in chat. Game Recommendations and ITG are both good examples of this. – Wipqozn Feb 10 '14 at 13:53
  • prior art request is a bit of a poor choice of comparison. In theme they're the same concept, yes, but Ask Patents was very largely created for prior art requests - that's part of the very goal of that site is that very specific thing. The Movies parallel is a much fairer comparison since that covers something in the site's domain that is this kind of thing. – Grace Note Mar 14 '14 at 17:57
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I don't see these sorts of questions as any different from "which game did it first" - it's the same, just that the asker added one possible answer into the question. Plus, the kinds of answers we expect to these questions are precisely the same kind we expect from "which game did it first".

You could argue it isn't the same because the question is asking for binary answers (yes / no), but I just see it as a sneaky way to ask "which was the first one".

Personally, I find those questions very interesting and yet I think they should be closed:

  1. They're not a "real world problem requiring a solution" - though to be honest, we do allow many other questions which fail this criteria.
  2. They are somewhat subjective ("I'd say this feature is equivalent" - "I don't agree").
  3. They absolutely invite just a list of games in the answers, the same thing we wanted to prevent with game-recs.
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This is... thorny.

While a question like this isn't explicitly 'off topic' per se, part of the problem is that the 'no' case very quickly becomes a game-rec/ITG situation, where you end up with a catalog of answers; there's a reason the old combined close reason for those two categories described them as "questions soliciting a game or list of games that meet some set of criteria".

Personally, I'd be inclined to at a minimum down vote such a question - and depending on exactly how it's phrased, I'd probably contemplate closing it; in general, the more the question becomes about 'games' as objects, relative to each other, rather than the content therein, the more negatively this community tends to react to them.

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