When we were working on the initial descriptions of this workshop, we went back and forth over what to call it. Interactive fiction was used early on, but that term has come to be associated with the “twisty little passages” style of immersive text-game worlds — the Wikipedia article on IF gives some good detail. But as much as this is near and dear to my heart (I was a MUDder back in the day), it’s not what we’re doing this summer.
Kate Pullinger’s existing digital works—notably Inanimate Alice and Flight Paths—are ‘interactive,’ and ‘fiction,’ but they’re not immersive gameworlds in the sense of IF. They’re also multimedia fiction, though that buzzword has seen better days as well. So we’ve gone with “digital fiction,” which perhaps is ambiguous enough to provide a pretty big tent for us to work in.
Is there a better term?
UPDATE: just after I wrote this post, I discovered Kate’s 2006 piece in The Guardian, “Fact is, We need a better name for Digital Fiction“