I use IF a lot, but I use it to encompass parser games as well (which I also write). CYOA is often fine, especially when talking with people who are more familiar with the books. However, sometimes I want to make clear that I’m talking about text on screen that you navigate primarily by clicking or dragging text rather than entering text or moving through a visual environment or turning to page 17 in a book.
Exactly, the very beginning is possibly the toughest point for pacing. You’ve got to engage the player, define some things about their character, introduce the core setting and conflicts of the work all at the same time. This is why character creation choices are probably better when they’re embedded in the setting.
Hollywood Visionary does this very well: all your initial choices about the nature of your screenplay, gender presentation etc., are embedded in a prologue conversation that also works as the inciting incident. While you’re setting the basic facts about your character, you’re also setting up the reason you quit your old job and start your own studio.