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I’ll be writing a short series of mini-articles about some concepts we can use when thinking about cybertexts. I’ll start with my prefered nomenclature:

Cybertext: An interactive digital work primarily formed of text, where an active reader proceeds through the text by manually interacting with it (clicking links, dragging text, selecting radio buttons etc.). Interactive fiction that isn’t a parser game, walking simulator or a book.

I prefer cybertext to CYOA because that’s a copywritten term and not all of these works are adventures. It’s a bit less clunky than choice-based fiction, and leaves open the possibility of nonfiction works. By de-emphasising ‘choice’ it isn’t prejudiced against linear works. By including ‘cyber’ it rules out hardcopy choice-fiction (i.e. traditional turn-to-page-7 CYOA) which is fine as creating books requires different craft considerations due to being constrained by a physical medium.

It’s marginally preferable to hypertext because, although the term broadly covers the same terrain, interfaces like ChoiceScript and Texture show that a cybertext doesn’t have to include hyperlinks.

I don’t expect particular uptake for the term, though it is used in a similar sense in some academic circles.

Next up… momentum.

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