Semantic game making

Atari HTML 5 logoHTML5 means one thing, and one thing only: games! Okay, that's not true at all. Not even close, but heck - we are seeing stacks of fantastic games emerge, and the buzz that surrounds even the more mediocre efforts is considerable. So where's the love in the HTML5 spec for us game makers? When it comes to defining the appropriate uses for web technologies it's definitely a case of Internet. Serious Business.

<section> and <aside>? Sure thing. <header> and <footer>? Naturally. You can't outline your corporate goals and detail your mission statement without those babies. <datagrid> , <meter>, and <input type="range"> sliders? Dave in accounts will be over the moon.

So where are the tags for us, the dreamers of the dreams? Not good enough for your official looking specifications, right? Second class citizens.

Sure, you throw us a <canvas> tag - but that's hardly "web" is it. You let us into your precious DOM, but only in a concealed holding cell: a random element to dump the entire contents of our games in. Might as well have called it <object-v2>.

Activision Pitfall badge

Even the Atari2600 from 1979 knew that providing a few simple "tags" was all that was needed to create a plethora of fantastic genre-inventing games: You had two "player" objects, two "missile" objects, and one "ball" object. That. was. it. Yet still we ended up with Pitfall II!

So how about it, W3C and WHATWG? I'm not looking for the <player>, <missile>, and <ball> tags - just a <sprite> and <screen> will do, so the browser makers will know to hardware back them for us.

And more importantly: give us a couple of token tags and we'll no longer feel like internet outcasts - banished to Java and Flash cages. Finally we could hold our heads high and proudly state "Our work is now nearly as important as <kbd>: an element that is used for indicating the text to be entered by the user."