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First of all, I know that there are alternatives to both HTML5 and Javascript, but I worded the question so generally ("browser-based") because if I had said "HTML5" or "Javascript" games that would already imply an answer to the question.

When writing wiki posts or discussing, I usually call these games "HTML5/Javascript" games. They are written in Javascript, using the new HTML5 technology. What is the proper way to call them: HTML5 or Javascript games? I see that most people opt for HTML5, why?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

People opt for HTML 5 because it's new and flashy. As you mention in your question "...using the new HTML5 technology." It's desirable to be producing something that's using the latest technology, and it's desirable for people to play games that are on the cutting edge. HTML5 fulfills those desires.

I would use HTML5 or simply "web games" "browser games".

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I'd further expand by saying that if you are making use of the canvas then you are using HTML5 tech and therefore ought to refer to them as HTML5 games, if anything. – Mike C Jul 1 '12 at 16:34
Down voted for? Is this not a useful answer? I guess haters gonna hate. – Byte56 Jul 2 '12 at 0:53
web games is a bit misleading because you can create ordinary apps using html/js as well. particularly on Windows 8 but also on existing phones/tablets etc. – Patrick Klug Jul 2 '12 at 4:21
@PatrickKlug Indeed you're correct. I've made the appropriate edit to indicate that internet isn't necessarily involved. – Byte56 Jul 2 '12 at 4:44
@vsz HTML isn't evolving that rapidly. And since these versions co-exist (only a fraction of the web nowadays is HTML5), it's important to know which version you're talking about. – bummzack Jul 2 '12 at 7:35

While you can ask the question "what makes sense technically?", it might make more sense to ask the question "what communicates what I'm trying to say effectively?" With that in mind, I think I'd just say HTML5.

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HTML5 is a buzzword.

A game written in javascript is a javascript game.

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calling it a javascript game would be a bit unusual I think. And the logic is not totally convincing. you don't call native Windows games C++ games. – Patrick Klug Jul 2 '12 at 4:25
"Buzzword" is a buzzword. – jcora Jul 2 '12 at 17:06

The canvas element is part of HTML5.

If you make a game in C# with XNA, you say 'developed in XNA', do not mention the language.

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Just be accurate. If you are using an HTML5 technology like canvas or websockets, then sure, tell them it's JS + HTML5. Otherwise, just say it's a JS browser-based game.

I foresee that the HTML5 "tag" will, in time, become less important as it normalises, and then we'll just refer to them as JS games (once again).

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edit Just to remove Java/Unity/Flash/Whatever from the cycle I've changed it a bit...

What's wrong with just calling them "browser based games", or "Native browser based games" to remove anything requiring a plugin from the mix? That's essentially the phrase you used in your question to identify what you were talking about, and it made it immediately clear.

RE: HTML5 vs JavaScript. Consider for a second that one could technically write a browser based game driven entirely by CSS - no JavaScript. Which might help. And one could write a game using HTML, JavaScript, etc. that wasn't technically "HTML5" - meaning neither of them necessarily technically fit.

Plus consider that sooner or later people will be talking about "HTML6" (or whatever is next).

But in the end, if you say "Browser based game" they know just what you mean. And say "Native browser based games" if you want to not include Flash or other plugin-based implementations of games.

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Well, not exactly. People refer to Flash games, Java games, etc as "browser based" as well. – jcora Jul 1 '12 at 17:47
Browser games that don't require plugins then? Native browser games? – Tim Holt Jul 1 '12 at 18:07
To be honest I doubt that many people would know that that refers to HTML5... But I guess it's technically right, although still too vague: as you said yourself, one could write (and some people did, I believe) a game in CSS3. – jcora Jul 1 '12 at 18:26

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