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John Lorentz, hugos(send e-mail)

Interactive Video Games -- be they for the Xbox or Playstation, for your computer, or massive multiplayer online games like Everquest or City of Heroes, or portable platforms or the Nintendo Gamecube -- have taken the world by storm. Fully half of all Americans play them. And the percentages are similar in much of the western world. As an industry, it outsells Hollywood.

And a very large percentage of the interactive video games out there are science fiction, fantasy, or horror.

There's a saying in science fiction fandom that we've won the war. Science fiction has gone from something derided and made fun of to one of the most popular genres around. Eight of the top ten grossing films and seventeen of the top twenty are science fiction or fantasy. The numbers are similar for interactive video games. That they've made a lot of money isn't important; but it does show how popular the subject matter has become.

Games have also changed over the years. No longer the simple flickering photons of Pong or Asteroids, the improvement in computer chips has given games not only better graphics but the capability of more involving, fully developed stories.

Games are not just something that some science fiction fans do. We believe that interactive video games have become an important part of the tapestry that is science fiction. And for that reason, we have decided to include them among the Hugo Categories for the first time.

Elsewhere with this Progress Report, you'll find a nomination ballot for the Hugo Awards, the annual "Oscars" of the science fiction field. Each year, awards are given for the best novel, short story, artist, dramatic presentation, fanzine and about eight other categories. Details on nominating and all of the categories will be found with the ballot.

In addition to the categories enumerated in the Worldcon's Constitution, each year's Worldcon committee has the option of adding a special additional category for that year. The category -- and whether to add one or not -- is at the discretion of that year's committee and it's treated exactly like one of the annual categories.

In recent years, Additional Categories, including Best Cover Art and Best Website, have been used to test categories to possibly add to the Constitution and the annually-given awards. This year, Interactive Video Games, already a major part of the world's entertainment, joins their ranks.

Rev. 15-Mar-2006