Wondering why this question was closed.

This question and this question both state that video game questions are on topic, and the latter specifically dealing with identification questions.

So why was the question closed as off-topic?

4 Answers 4


Game ID questions are not fundamentally different from story ID questions.

That means they need to be held to the same standards.

I suspect that if someone asked a story ID question and the only on-topic element they could recall was "there were monsters in it", it would get closed. Perhaps off-topic might not be the best close reason, but it would still likely be closed.

Remember, part of the key concept of SE sites is accumulating collections of experts in a given topic.

As sci-fi and fantasy experts, this community should be able to identify sci-fi or fantasy works of any genre, but you can't expect us to identify as experts unless you're asking us to identify based upon criteria that is within our expertise.

So yes, questions asking to ID games are on-topic, if the description of the game gives a clear picture of some of the key fantasy or sci fi elements or plot points.

The question in this example does not, so should not be reopened until more details on the sci-fi or fantasy elements are provided.

  • I agree with this. So regarding this specific question, shouldn't it be closed as "too broad" rather than "off-topic"?
    – Moogle
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:36
  • @Moogle That makes sense to me. "Too broad" isn't perfect, because there are a fair amount of details, and even if there were enough to ID it, its the lack of sci-fi/fantasy details that are problematic, but I can't think of a better close reason out of our choices.
    – Beofett
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:39
  • @Beofett Too broad - "too many possible answers" - would be perfect for this question as is
    – Izkata
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 23:36
  • @Izkata For this one, yes, but what about another question that provides enough gameplay and graphic details for clear identification, yet makes no mention of any sci-fi or fantasy elements (even though they may exist in the game)? In that case, "too broad" wouldn't really be accurate.
    – Beofett
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 12:48
  • @Beofett Gotcha, I'm still thinking mostly of this one
    – Izkata
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 13:36

Identification questions are not off-topic. Questions about video games with a sci-fi or fantasy setting are not off-topic.

But to combine the two does not make it Super-On-Topic, or even necessarily an on-topic question.

This question is actually not off-topic, but it's not very good. The level of detail the asker is giving to identify it it is very low, and focuses on gameplay elements that are hard to distinguish between different games. Even as a video game expert site we would be ill-equipped to answer it (and I do NOT recommend going to Arquade.se to ask, because I know they specifically require an audio/visual artifact for identification questions).

I won't oppose a re-opening of the question, but I strongly encourage the asker to add more details about the characters, plot, settings, and story elements and to not focus on the gameplay elements of the game, because we are not suited to answer identification questions based on gameplay.


Both linked questions make it clear, I think, that games are on-topic as long as the questions are about the setting, story, characters or background, but not gameplay elements. The question in question us asking to identify a game through elements of gameplay and interface, not of settings or story, not of any elements particularly Fantasy or SFnal.

I believe it isn't on topic, and should remain closed.

  • 1
    But the game is a fantasy genre game, so surely that's on-topic? The reason they aren't asking about settings and story is because they don't remember. Plenty of people have asked book or tv/film ID questions when they only remember details such as what the cover looked like, or the name of somebody. Why is this any different?
    – Moogle
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 12:51
  • @Richard does that not contradict your answer here?: meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/a/4778/22254
    – Moogle
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:21
  • Just to clarify, I'm not just trying to be contentious, I just don't see how these are any more off-topic than other Story-ID questions, other than viewing computer games as a less valid (sci-fi) medium than books/TV/films/comics etc.
    – Moogle
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:23
  • 1
    What details the OP recollects shouldn't be the deciding factor of what is or isn't on-topic. If the game is on topic, the game is on topic, regardless of what details they most vividly remember. The argument of too broad based on lack of details specific enough to identify the game is a separate and valid issue.
    – phantom42
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:25
  • @Moogle - Indeed it does.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:27
  • @phantom42 I believe we left off at the same point in the last discussion here. :) I believe that "the game" is never on-topic, just the story/setting/background of the game. Even if a game is uncontestedly a piece of SF, I think it's agreed that questions on the gameplay are out of bounds, right? If so, shouldn't ID questions based on gameplay be similarly out of scope? Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:27
  • @AvnerShahar-Kashtan - There's a very fine line here. If the ident is based on the plot (as if the game was simply an interactive story) then it's on-topic but if it's based on the mechanics then it's off-topic.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:29
  • Similarly, I believe questions relating to audio-visual production of SF movies should be in AVP.se, since that's where the experts are in that domain. Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:29
  • 1
    Sorry, I can't get behind that at all. They're not asking about the game mechanics. Those just happen to be the details that stick out in their mind. If I load up a story id question with details about characters and plot elements that aren't specifically SF/F, but the work does have an overall SF/F angle, is that question suddenly off-topic?
    – phantom42
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:33
  • Here's an example. The only SF/F related detail mentioned is that the guy is a hacker. Everything else is about stuff that is not at all SF/F. Should the question be off-topic just because most of the details don't relate to the SF/F aspects?
    – phantom42
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:43
  • I think I'll take a step back and think on this a bit, since I've been convinced that game-ID might be a different best than game discussions in general. I still believe, though, that while games can certainly be works of SF/F, they shouldn't receive identical treatment as books and movies. I'll have to think a bit to explain myself. Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 16:00

No, they're not out of scope, and that question should be reopened.

  • 3
    And then promptly re-closed for being too broad.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:30
  • @Richard I would agree with that.
    – Moogle
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:37

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