Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Video games

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The following are guidelines about article content established by consensus among Wikipedians and members of the WikiProject Video games. Please discuss them on the talk page if you have ideas or questions. An informal guide geared towards editing video game articles to featured status can be found here. You should also be familiar with the guide to writing better articles.


Here are a few ideas for how to organize articles. These do not necessarily have to correspond to the actual section headers and divisions, and they are no more than suggestions. Do not try to conform to them if they are not helping to improve the article.

For games:

  • Lead section: The name of the game in bold italics, its gameplay genre, release date, platform, and other identifying information go first. Then, a brief summary of the article. Finally, why the game is notable and important; this is the key part of the lead section, because it establishes the main idea that will be carried throughout the article.
  • Infobox: Contents should adhere to the template documentation, see below for further information.
  • Gameplay: going over the significant parts of how the game works. Remember not to include player's guide or walkthrough material. The gameplay section should come before the plot section, with the exception of when it would help to simplify the discussion of either section. For example, in Assassin's Creed, the player plays the role of a man in the 21st century experiencing the memories of a long-distant ancestor in the Crusades, with several gameplay elements in place to reflect this double-perception. In this case, describing the plot before the gameplay simplifies the content of each, avoiding repetition between sections.
  • Plot: if the plot is not too complex, it can be lumped in with the gameplay; otherwise, put it in its own section. If necessary, the section should have subheadings for the story's setting, characters, and story. Avoid trivial details.
  • History: discuss development, release, impact, critical response, etc. This can easily be several different sections.
  • Trivia: Such information should be integrated into appropriate areas of the article.
  • References: Cite sources! If you are unsure what to include for references, game instruction booklets, guides, reviews, and interviews are all good candidates. See sources.
  • External links: When available, list the company and game website(s) if the company website is separate from the game's website. If it was published in a non-English country first, list the original country's website; in addition, list all relevant websites for English publications. Other sources that do not qualify as reliable sources may be used if they are not on the list of sites to be avoided.

For characters:

  • Lead section: The name of the character or series (if a group of characters) in bold italics, name of the company and/or designers that developed them, and other identifying information go first. Then, a brief summary of the article. Finally, why the character(s) is notable and important; this is the key part of the lead section, because it establishes the main idea that will be carried throughout the article.
  • Infobox: Articles on a single character should have a character infobox. Articles on a group of characters should have an infobox omitted.
  • Concept and design: going over the process in which the character(s) was created and designed.
  • Appearances: This should list any games or related media that the character appeared in and briefly discuss their role in the game. This section should normally be integrated into the rest of the character section if in a list or article on a group of characters.
  • Merchandise: This section should be included if the likeness of the character(s) has been used extensively on merchandise and marketing material. Types of merchandise should be include and if possible release dates and regions of the merchandise
  • Reception: This should detail how the character(s) was received by critics. Criticism about the game itself should generally be omitted as the character(s) is the subject of the article.
  • Trivia: Such information should be integrated into appropriate areas of the article.
  • References: Cite sources! If you are unsure what to include for references, game instruction booklets, guides, reviews, and interviews are all good candidates.
  • External links: When available, list the game website(s). If it was published in a non-English country first, list both the original country's website; in addition, list all relevant websites for English publications. Other sources that do not qualify as reliable sources may be used if they are not on the list of those to be avoided.

For settings:

  • Lead section: The name of the setting or fictional world in bold italics, name of the company and/or designers that developed them, and other identifying information go first. Then, a brief summary of the article. Finally, why the setting is notable and important; this is the key part of the lead section, because it establishes the main idea that will be carried throughout the article.
  • Infobox: Most articles on a setting should have an infobox omitted. There are exceptions though.
  • Concept and design: going over the process in which the setting was created and designed.
  • In-game content: This should section should be include information about the setting as it applies to the game. Briefly discuss the role in the game and any aspects of the in-game world that is notable and/or an important fact to the game. This section should not contain excessive detail about the game's plot, descriptions about the setting, or game guide information.
  • Reception: This should detail how the setting or aspects of the setting were received by critics. Criticism about the game itself should generally be omitted as the setting is the subject of the article.
  • Trivia: Such information should be integrated into appropriate areas of the article.
  • References: Cite sources! If you are unsure what to include for references, game instruction booklets, guides, reviews, and interviews are all good candidates.
  • External links: When available, list the game website(s). If it was published in a non-English country first, list both the original country's website; in addition, list all relevant websites for English publications. Other sources that do not qualify as reliable sources may be used if they are not on the list of those to be avoided.

Naming convention

Video game naming conventions are designed to complement to Wikipedia's naming conventions, not replace it. In general, use the official English title when available. If multiple ones exist, use the most common. If no English name exists, use the most widely used name from the country of origin.[1]

Article content

What is appropriate?

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Articles on video games should give an encyclopedic overview of a game and its importance to the industry. Readers should be presented with a concise overview of the game's plot and gameplay. It is also important for readers to be able to learn how the game was developed and its commercial and critical reception. Because the encyclopedia will be read by gamers and non-gamers alike, it is important not to clutter an article with a detailed description of how to play it or an excessive amount of non-encyclopedic trivia. A general rule of thumb to follow if unsure: If the content only has value to people actually playing the game, it is unsuitable. Always remember the bigger picture: video game articles should be readable and interesting to non-gamers.

Content that is inappropriate for Wikipedia may find a good home at gaming wikis: Wikia Gaming for general info/trivia, StrategyWiki for walkthrough/strategy/gameplay content, and Wikibooks Electronic games bookshelf. To propose that an article or section should be copied to a gaming wiki, use the {{Copy to gaming wiki}} tag. See Help:Transwiki on how to move information to other wikis. To simply tag such information for removal, please add the {{gameguide}} tag to the article in question.

Essential content

Each video game article should include a minimum set of standard elements:

  • An infobox, completed correctly and appropriately. See the VG Templates for more instructions on how to use the different templates that are used in writing video game articles.
  • The {{WikiProject Video games}} template placed on the article's Talk page. This lets others know that the article is within the scope of WikiProject Video Games.
  • A "Development" or "History" section. Specifically for articles about games, it is essential to explain how the game was made. This information is highly useful in constructing articles on fictional aspects within a game as well.
  • A "Reception" section. This shows the impact that the subject had on the game industry: commercially, artistically, and technologically.
  • When writing about a game, be sure to categorize it by genre, platform, and year. See Wikipedia:Categorization.

If these essential pieces of information cannot be found in reliable sources, then it may be more appropriate to merge this topic into a parent article.

Release dates

Release dates for video game should be included as follows:

  • In the {{Infobox VG}}, release dates should be provided for primarily English-speaking regions, including North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand. If the video game is first released in a non-English country, commonly in Japan, then that should also be stated. Region releases (North America, Europe, or even PAL region) are preferred to specific country releases unless there are significant differences in release dates or the game was preemptively banned or restricted from sale in a specific country within the region.[2] Releases in non-English countries should otherwise not be included in the infobox, but if determined to be necessary to include, can be discussed further in the article's body. If the game is available for multiple platforms, group release dates first by platform, then by country. Thus, a game that may come out for the Xbox 360 then later for the PlayStation 3, group all the Xbox 360 release dates under one heading, then all the PlayStation 3 releases under a second. If a remake is covered within the same article as its original game, further group release dates by original and remakes, then by console, then by country. If the game is a same-day multi-platform release, it is not necessary to create separate lists for each platform. Should the number of consoles or remakes become excessively large, consider stating only the first release or primary console within the infobox and summarizing the other release dates within the development section of the article body (such as the case for Lemmings (video game)). Within the infobox, release dates should be provided using the {{vgrelease}} template. Even if this format is not used, do not use flag icons in the infobox, instead, state the region/country by name or by their 2 or 3-letter country codes.
  • In the article lead, release dates should be summarized to be as general as possible, avoiding specific mention of platform and region releases unless significant. Whenever possible, the release dates in the lead should be summarized to the year of release, or month and year if further applicable. Specific release dates are only necessary for titles where these dates are discussed in further in the article body (such as the release of Halo 3). For example:
    • A video game released worldwide across all major platforms within a single year but many different dates can be summarized as "released in 2008". If the release period spreads across a year boundary, this can be summarized as "released in 2008 and 2009."
    • A video game with a later port to a different system can be noted as such. "The game was first released on the PlayStation 2 in January 2008, but later ported to the Nintendo DS and released in October 2008."
  • In the article's section on "Development", a more detailed explanation of the release schedule can be provided if deemed necessary. As with the infobox, this section should only include English-speaking regions and the non-English region of first release or development.

An article may be written in a specific form of English (American English, British English, etc.); use a date format that matches the version of English that is used in the article. See WP:DATE and WP:ENGVAR for further details. Dates should not be linked.

Care should be taken in stating release dates. Many commercial gaming sites, such as GameSpot, IGN, and, supply accurate dates, as well as vendor sites such as or GameStop. For unreleased games, vendor sites should not be used as verifiable sources since their date is likely based on their best estimate of when the game is to be out; always look for corroborating statements from reliable sources to confirm these dates. If a general timeframe ("first quarter", "early") or even month is provided, include this before the year, but do not link these terms (see date formatting in the Manual of Style). Avoid the use of seasonal estimate release dates ("winter", "summer") as these have different meanings in different parts of the world. If the game is announced but no release date is given, state this as "TBA".

Keep in mind that some publishers may advertise a "release date", while some may advertise an "in-store date", and some may advertise both. (See Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for an example of both.) Usually, but not always, the "release date" also happens to be the date on which the publisher ships the game to retailers, resulting in an in-store date of between one and three days later. In some cases, the game is shipped out before the release date – this usually happens with large-scale releases where the publisher intends for everyone in a country or region to have access to it at a specific time (midnight launches, etc.). The "release date" should always be used, and the ship and "in-store" dates are almost always irrelevant.

When categorizing an unreleased video game:

Inappropriate content

Below is a list of content that is generally considered beyond the scope of information of Wikipedia articles on video games and related video game topics.

  1. Non-notable articles and spinouts: Avoid creating new articles on non-notable topics. A notable topic must receive significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject. A smaller article should only be split from a larger topic if the new article would itself be notable.
    Based on: Wikipedia's general notability guideline, and Wikipedia's guideline to avoiding unnecessary splits
  2. Numerous short articles: One large article usually provides better organization and context for a topic. Don't create multiple small articles when one larger compilation will do. The ideal article is neither too large nor too small.
    Based on: Wikipedia's guideline on article size
  3. Detailed instructions: Saying that a character can jump, shoot, and drop bombs is helpful to understand the game, but avoid explaining button combinations or cheat codes.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook: Instruction manuals
  4. Strategy guides and walkthroughs: Basic strategy concepts are helpful to understand the game, but avoid details about how to solve puzzles and defeat certain foes.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook: Instruction manuals
  5. Excessive fictional details: A concise plot summary is appropriate to cover a notable game, character, or setting. Information beyond that is unnecessary and should be removed, as articles should focus on the real-world elements of a topic, such as creation and reception.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information: Plot summaries, and Wikipedia's policy on undue weight
  6. Lists of gameplay items, weapons, or concepts: Specific point values, achievements and trophies, time-limits, levels, character moves, character weight classes, vehicles, and so on are considered inappropriate. Sometimes a concise summary is appropriate if it is essential to understanding the game or its significance in the industry.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information: Plot summaries, Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook: Instruction manuals, Wikipedia is not a directory and Wikipedia's policy on undue weight
  7. Cost: The purchase cost of games, products, or subscriptions, including point values for online services, should not be included in articles, unless the item's individual cost is particularly noteworthy.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not a directory: Sales catalogs
  8. Rumors and speculation: Speculation about future games, or rumors about content within a game, should not be included.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not a crystal ball, Wikipedia is not a repository of original research or original thought
  9. Exhaustive version histories: A list of every version/beta/patch of a game is inappropriate. Consider a summary of the game's development instead.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not a directory, Wikipedia's guideline on lists
  10. Cast lists: Generally speaking, a list of the actors providing voices, likenesses or motion capture acting performances for video game characters is not appropriate. If mention of the actors is an important factor of the article, typically they should be done in the article prose, and generally in the development section (Good examples are: Batman: Arkham Asylum, Portal 2, and Bioshock Infinite. Exceptions to the rule would be games where the video game cast is particularly notable, such as actors reprising their roles in a video game translation of a film. In this case the video game cast follows the general standard for listing a film cast, but should only list the major characters in the plot, and as a rule should be no longer than 10 actors.
  11. Unofficial translations: Unless they are mentioned by independent reliable sources, unofficial translations should not be mentioned. If they are mentioned by such sources, they can be mentioned, although one should try to avoid linking to the website's page if at all possible in order to reduce any potential copyright violations.

    If the unofficial translation's website's page is necessary for verification of certain details, it may be used so long as it doesn't link to or host an image file for a commercial game. If it does, use of an archived version from an internet archive like Wayback Machine is acceptable.

    Based on: Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook: Instruction manuals
  12. System requirements: System requirements for a video game should only be mentioned if the requirements are in themselves notable (e.g. The high system demands of Crysis on its maximum settings). If the system requirements are notable, they should be mentioned in prose, in a manner that is easily understandable by a reader with no knowledge of the subject.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook: Instruction manuals

These standards have been developed in accordance with fundamental Wikipedia policies and guidelines and reflect the consensus of the community. All editors should understand and follow these standards, though they should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception.

Pop culture citations

Video games have been around long enough to have made a mark in pop culture. Likewise, recognizing a subject's influence on popular culture can enhance an entry subject's notability on Wikipedia. WikiProject Video games recognizes this, and has allowed for the inclusion of pop culture related material with the placement of an In pop culture section in Wikipedia video game related entries, along with its subheaders In Film/Television, In Music, or the like. However, all instances must be documented and follow Wikipedia policies on citing sources and verifiability. Specifically in regards to television citations, a citation to the specific episode using {{cite episode}} should be included. Any entries not following these guidelines will be marked {{fact}} and eventually removed if suitable reference is not found. Material should also be presented in the preferred prose format rather than lists of popular culture items.

The following guidelines are to be used for judging if content is relevant enough to be included in a pop culture section:

  • Worth mention:
    • The entry is directly related to the brand and character. For example, a licensed TV show based on the game Pac-Man or Super Mario Bros.. Depending on the amount of information, such an entry might be in a separate section.
    • The game or related subject is a literal character in the film. The game is integral to the plot of the work (i.e. it would be named in a well-written plot summary). For example, World of Warcraft is significantly featured in the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft", and should be mentioned within the Warcraft article.
    • In references to music, the appearance is worth inclusion when the game or character is integral to the artist, album, or song itself. Examples of worthiness would be where the game or character is part of the song presentation (artwork), song title, album title, or the subject of the song itself. For example, Manilla Road's song "Defender" and Buckner & Garcia's Pac-Man Fever album.
    • Multiple notable appearances in a specific medium should be combined and summarized. For example, multiple notable appearances of Pac-Man in the TV show Family Guy can be summarized in one or two sentences.
  • Consensus needed:
    • References and parodies in media (film, television, music, etc.) would merit inclusion when the game or character in question plays a significant part of the storyline, dialogue, or scene. With very few exceptions, the film, television show, novel, or other work should meet the relevant Wikipedia:Notability criteria for the appearance to be worth mention.
    • The game or related subject is being played by the major character(s) and is the major subject of the dialog in at least one scene. The game is being played and the game events are an illustration, counterpoint, or ironic commentary on the subject of the discussion—note this must be obvious or sourced to a reliable secondary source, or it will likely be labeled original research. Consider the importance of the dialog or scene to the work as a whole. The second segment of Futurama's "Anthology of Interest II" contains numerous video game references and parodies, some which are more integral to the plot than others. The inclusion of this episode on the specific video game articles would need to be determined by editor consensus.
  • Not worth mention:
    • The game or related subject is only mentioned in passing, or is just a source of occasional interruptions during dialog. The game is being played only because the playing of any game is needed for the scene, for example to give the characters something to do or to be distracted by, even if the game is specifically named. The game appears as a background prop. For example, Gears of War is briefly shown in the first few minutes of the movie Live Free or Die Hard but is never referred to by name or appears later; this would not warrant a mention.
    • The entry is not directly related to the brand and character. A sports figure who has adopted the nickname "Pac-Man" because of perceived similarities between the person and the character, or a sports figure nicknamed "Super Mario" whose first name is Mario.
    • Having a brief mention in the midst of the song typically doesn't warrant inclusion.


There are always exceptions to these rules. In general, anything can become suitable for coverage in Wikipedia if it is given significant attention by reliable sources. For example:

  • It is usually inappropriate to explain strategies, but the "lurking" exploit in Asteroids is an exception because it changed the way developers test their games for exploits.[3]
  • It is usually inappropriate to describe game items in detail. But describing the portal gun from Portal is necessary to understand the game, and has significant coverage in reliable game news reports.[4]
  • It is usually inappropriate to include cost information, but the launch price of the PlayStation 3 is an exception because it has been criticized by reliable gaming news sites.[5] This should be included in the "Reception" section.
  • It is usually inappropriate to mention or list homebrews and fan remakes of games. However, certain specific homebrew games, such as Grid Wars and Armagetron Advanced, have achieved notability because of their far-reaching impact on the game(s) on which they are based.
  • If a short article that has existed for some time is to be merged (per #2 above), merge the content first and only redirect the short article once consensus determines the merge is of sufficient quality.
  • It is usually inappropriate to speculate about games that were never announced. However, certain games such as Chrono Break have been the subject of much debate by independent reliable sources[6] and the company has commented on questions to a sequel to Chrono Trigger series.[7]

Dealing with remakes

If you can verify enough information to write a non-stub section about the distinct reception of a video game remake, as well as a non-stub section about its distinct game development or design, then the remake will qualify for its own article. However, having a separate article should not endanger the notability of the parent article. If there is not enough distinct information on the remake for a complete article, the few distinct aspects of the remake should be covered in the original game's article.[8]


This is an encyclopedia, and articles should be written formally, not like FAQs, fansites, or player's guides. In addition to the Manual of Style, keep these video game-centric style tips in mind:

  • Do not use second-person pronouns ("you"). In addition to being ambiguous, informal, and unencyclopedic, we cannot assume that the reader is planning on playing the game. Use "the player," the name of the player-controlled character, or put the sentence in the passive voice. Example: "You can fight the boss" becomes "the player can fight the boss," "the character can fight the boss," "Link can fight the boss," or "the boss can be fought." See also Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Avoid second-person pronouns.
  • When writing about a game's story elements be sure to keep a real-world perspective. Simply put, do not describe fiction as fact. For example: "Link awakens after hearing a telepathic message from Zelda." This sentence talks about fiction from a perspective within its world. "The start of the game shows Link awaking after hearing a telepathic message from Zelda." This sentence talks about fiction from the perspective out of its world.
  • Use italics for game titles, but not character names. Ninja Gaiden is okay; Ryu Hayabusa is not.
  • Avoid confusing abbreviations, unless they are standard. PS2 is okay; LoZ:OoT is probably not. Instead, try shortening the title to a few key words: LoZ:OoT becomes Ocarina of Time.
  • When filling out the infobox for a multi-platform game, the platforms in the platform field should be listed in chronological order; however, if the game was released on multiple platforms on the same day, then list those certain platforms in alphabetical order.
  • Please use appropriate external link templates, such as {{}}, {{Moby game}} and {{GameFAQs}}. Only add templates when they provide additional, or corroborative, encyclopedic information to the article.
  • Substandard and fluffy prose are unacceptable, even in underdeveloped articles. Ask for copyeditors to help enhance your article's prose, even if you are a solid writer. Avoid redundancies and misplaced formality, such as "in order to" and "upon". You may wish to read "How to satisfy Criterion 1a".
  • Do not cite non-contentious facts in the infobox that are mentioned elsewhere in the body (such as recent release dates).

Neutral point of view

Make sure to write from a neutral point of view. Wikipedia is not the place for writing reviews. If you can provide factual records of opinions, that is of course excellent. Magazine reviews, awards and quotes from game developers (except the developer's own advertising) can and should be used - those carry weight on their own. If there is more than one take on the subject, make sure to include all and to treat all as potentially true. For these, be sure to clarify that they are opinions, not incontrovertible facts.

Watch out for overly general and vague statements, such as "there are many who think Game X is great". Such weasel words are not particularly factual and usually nothing but the author's opinions in disguise. Try to provide more specific information, and back the statement up with references to magazines, websites, etc. In addition, avoid peacock terms; these pieces of fluff actually lower the prose to an unprofessional level.

User reviews

With many newer games, users are able to submit reviews through sites like MetaCritic or Game Rankings, online stores like Amazon, at their own blogs or may discuss the game in forums and other posts. User reviews published this way should not be included in Wikipedia's coverage of video games, as they fail the self-published source test.

For some high profile games, a flurry of user reviews that strongly counter the general consensus of mainstream reviewers (those listed as reliable sources) may exist. Some times, this may be appropriate criticism, but often may be a wave of common users "trolling" review scores. Because of questions of the legitimacy of these reviews, including user reviews is inappropriate to add directly into video game articles. In some cases, the existence of a large amount of negative feedback may be reported by reliable sources (such as user reception of the original ending of Mass Effect 3), in which case discussion of the user feedback is appropriate as long as it is tied to reliable sources and not the actual user reviews. In other cases, one may be able to identify elements of games that users disliked, and work to find legitimate reviews that highlighted these problems; one case was with Civilization V where most of the common complaints from user reviews were highlighted by a single reliable source review.

Naming within articles

For systems and games, English terms are preferred over non-English equivalents when the difference would either be confusing to the reader or unimportant within the context of the article. For example, while the Famicom is not quite the same as the NES the differences are relatively minor for the vast majority of game articles.

Verb tense

  • When describing a video game or console itself in the abstract, use present tense unless a reliable source proves that no instances of the product exist or the product was never released.
  • However, when describing a specific event related to a console or game, such as production, advertising, reviews, etc., use a tense appropriate for the time period in which the event occurred. Be careful to avoid phrasing that may confuse past and present tense.
    • "The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit video game console designed by Nintendo, which was released in 1985."
    • "The PS3 is currently[as of?] being sold worldwide."
  • Similarly, use the present tense for describing things happening in the games (including gameplay), not the past tense. This is logical; even if a game was released decades ago, it still performs the same today as it did on release. Game plots should always be written in present tense, as they happen when the game is played and have not happened. An exception is when describing events that take place prior to the events of the game. For example,
    • "Throughout the game, Pac-Man is chased by four ghosts."
    • "At the beginning of the game, Niko Bellic arrives in Liberty City" as opposed to "At the beginning of the game, Niko Bellic arrived in Liberty City". This event is seen at the beginning of the game, therefore the latter would be incorrect.
    • "Four hundred years prior to the start of the game, the Lefeinish watched their country decline as the Wind Orb went dark."

Non-English games

Japanese titles

The inclusion of foreign language titles can enhance a video game article by providing additional cultural context. These foreign language titles should only be included if the game was originally released with that title; if a game was originally titled using the Latin alphabet, it is not necessary to include the name of the game in any other writing system.

For Japanese video games, the Manual of Style for Japan-related articles describes methods by which to properly format Japanese text for use on the English Wikipedia, including the use of the revised Hepburn romanization system for transliterating Japanese text into a form using the Latin alphabet. On articles concerning video games, there are some cases when omitting this romanization may benefit the article.

Otherwise, one of the following formats is to be used:

  • If a Japanese title has the same meaning as another regional title, use Template:Nihongo with the format {{nihongo|'''''English title'''''|kanji/kana|rōmaji}}:
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (ゼルダの伝説 トワイライトプリンセス, Zeruda no Densetsu Towairaito Purinsesu) is an action-adventure game [...]
  • If the game is known in English-speaking countries by its phonetic Japanese title, use the format {{nihongo|'''''English title'''''|kanji/kana|rōmaji|translation}}:
Katamari Damacy (塊魂, Katamari Damashii, lit. "Clump Spirit") is a third-person puzzle-action video game [...]
  • If the game is known by a phonetic Japanese title as well as the English title, put the Japanese title in a separate nihongo template using the format {{nihongo|''Japanese title with official romanizations for proper names''|kanji/kana|rōmaji|translation}}. Foreign language titles not commonly used in English are not given in boldface but in italics. In the following example, the game is known by both the English title and by the title Zelda no Densetsu: Fushigi no Bōshi. Note that since it is known as Zelda no Densetsu, the romaji Zeruda is written in its official romanization.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, known as Zelda no Densetsu: Fushigi no Bōshi (ゼルダの伝説 ふしぎのぼうし, Zeruda no Densetsu: Fushigi no Bōshi, lit. "The Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Hat") in Japan [...]


As shown above, the meaning of the Japanese title may differ from the English title. In these cases, the Japanese title should be accompanied by an English translation.

  • If an official translation for the foreign title exists in the country of origin, give it in italics and provide a reference for it after the nihongo template:
Castlevania, known as Akumajō Dracula (悪魔城ドラキュラ, Akumajō Dorakyura, officially translated Devil's Castle Dracula)[9] in Japan [...]
  • If no official translation exists, give a literal translation and enclose it in quotation marks to indicate its unofficial status:
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, known as Zelda no Densetsu: Yume o Miru Shima (ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島, Zeruda no Densetsu: Yume o Miru Shima, lit. "The Legend of Zelda: The Dreaming Island") in Japan [...]

Readability issues

In some cases, there are several Japanese titles, or the fully-utilized nihongo templates are so long they hurt the readability of the lead paragraph. To prevent this, include them as footnotes using {{ref|JPN|JPN}} after the English title. Place the actual note with the Japanese title and nihongo template in a section separate from the references using {{note|JPN}}:

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of AgesJPN are two action-adventure games [...]


^ The games are collectively known in Japan as Zeruda no Densetsu: Fushigi no Kinomi (ゼルダの伝説 ふしぎの木の実, lit. "The Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Nuts"). Oracle of Seasons was given the additional subtitle Daichi no Shō (大地の章, "Chapter of the Land") while Oracle of Ages was subtitled Jikū no Shō (時空の章, "Chapter of Space-Time").

When to include or exclude the Hepburn romanization

  • For stand-alone titles, names of franchises, and first titles in franchises, the full set of English title, Japanese title, and Hepburn romanization (which in this page is called "romaji") should generally be used. To format them, follow the above example. Examples:

    Catherine (キャサリン, Kyasarin) is...

    Final Fantasy (ファイナルファンタジー, Fainaru Fantajī) is...

    The Legend of Zelda (ゼルダの伝説, Zeruda no Densetsu) is...

  • For sequels in a franchise that are numbered, the romaji for the original game's title is not required nor is the romaji for the numeral. Examples:

    Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, released in Japan as PERSONA3 (ペルソナ3), is...

    Resident Evil 5, known in Japan as Biohazard 5 (バイオハザード5), is...

    Final Fantasy VII (ファイナルファンタジーVII) is...

  • For series within a franchise, treat the articles on the series and first title as if they are their own franchise. Examples:

    Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (ファイナルファンタジー クリスタルクロニクル, Fainaru Fantajī Kurisutaru Kuronikuru) is...

    Super Mario Galaxy (スーパーマリオギャラクシー, Sūpā Mario Gyarakushī) is...

  • For sequel games that have idiosyncratic subtitles, the romaji for only the subtitle is required if the English name is a literal translation of the Japanese name. In place of the romaji for the original title, include an en dash (–). Examples:

    The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (ゼルダの伝説 トワイライトプリンセス, – Towairaito Purinsesu)

    Kingdom Hearts coded (キングダム ハーツ コーデッド, – Kōdeddo)

    Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (ドラゴンクエストIX 星空の守り人, – Hoshizora no Mamoribito)

  • For sequel games that have idiosyncratic subtitles that are not literal translations from Japanese into English, the third parameter of {{nihongo}} does not need to be filled at all. The fourth parameter, however, should include a literal translation of just the Japanese subtitle. Examples:

    Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, known in Japan as Dragon Quest VIII: Sora to Umi to Daichi to Norowareshi Himegimi (ドラゴンクエストVIII 空と海と大地と呪われし姫君, lit. "The Sky, the Ocean, the Earth, and the Cursed Princess")

    The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, released as The Legend of Zelda: Takt of Wind (ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト, – Kaze no Takuto, lit. "Baton of Wind") in Japan, is...

    Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, known in Japan as Akumajō Dracula: Harmony of Despair (悪魔城ドラキュラ ハーモニー オブ ディスペアー, – Hāmonī Obu Disupeā, officially translated Devil's Castle Dracula: Harmony of Despair)

  • For sequels with idiosyncratic subtitles that utilize English text in the original Japanese title, romaji is not necessary for the English text if the words are read the same in English as they are in the Japanese title. Examples:

    Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (真・女神転生 STRANGE JOURNEY) is...

    Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, often shortened and officially known in Japan as Super Mario RPG (スーパーマリオRPG), is...

  • For sequels with idiosyncratic subtitles that utilize English text but are read in a way that they would normally not be in English, the romaji is not necessary, but the fourth parameter of {{nihongo}} should include the intended reading of the subtitle. Example:

    Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (キングダム ハーツ 358/2 Days, read "Three Five Eight Days Over Two") is...


Similar guidelines like those described above apply to games of other foreign origin, such as Korean RPGs.

Gaming jargon

Based on: Wikipedia's explaining jargon guideline, and Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information

Gaming jargon is often used in reviews, internet forums and casual conversation about video games. Like all jargon, the slang words are familiar to those closely involved with the game industry, but tend to be cryptic to others. For example, you would confuse a person you meet on the street by telling him or her,

"Ryu's 46-hit combo deathmove absolutely pwns Jin and takes away 85% of Jin's health"

They would puzzle over words like "combo", "deathmove", and "85% health", as well as wondering who "Ryu" and "Jin" are, and how somebody can "pwn" somebody else. Linking the words to relevant articles can be considered, but this forces the reader to jump back-and-forth among articles to get a fair sense of the meaning. Furthermore, links serve a better purpose as additional readings for enlightenment, rather than required readings for explanation. Writing the sentences with commonly used terminology and excluding jargon would be a better solution, such as

"Among the characters available for players to control, Ryu has an advantage over Jin. He has a super attack technique that deals out a long sequence of hits on Jin and is capable of depleting 85% of Jin's health points."

That said, it is still possible to use gaming jargon in an article. This could be of necessity if the game's concept deals closely and often with the jargon. The jargon would, however, have to be clearly explained (simple and clear sentences) before its first use in the article. For example, if an adventure game requires players to gather mana crystals (calling it Shwartz gems) to defeat monsters with spells, one could write,

"A key concept of the game is magic. Players are required to gather crystals, Shwartz gems, to increase their magic points. Shwartz gems can be collected by defeating monsters, searching through containers, and buying them at a shop. The gems also bestow additional benefits on the players, such as increasing their amount of protection, increasing their speed, and allowing them to teleport to certain places. Players must possess certain Shwartz to kill the large monsters, bosses, guarding the end of each level."

Another example,

"Boogers can fly 60 Starspitzers, of which 55 are unlocked by executing no-hurt runs."

We can rewrite the bolded jargon to,

"The protagonist Boogers flies spacecraft called Starspitzers. On starting a game, players have the option of five Starspitzers to choose from. When they complete a mission without receiving damage to their spacecraft, a new Starspitzer is added to their choice of spacecrafts. Up to 55 additional Starspitzers can be added in this manner."

The following is a short non-exhaustive list of gaming jargon that have been created on Wikipedia. Use them for research, linking to them appropriately in your game articles.

You can find more of these terms in Category:Video game gameplay and Category:Video game magic.

In summary,

  • use simpler and common terminology in all instances.
  • only use jargon if they are crucial or unavoidable in explaining the game to the readers.
  • explain jargon briefly on their first usage.
  • link to relevant articles if necessary.
  • always get someone unfamiliar with video games to read your article and locate any jargon in it.

Screenshots and cover art

For information on adding pictures, see Wikipedia:Picture tutorial.

Wikipedians assert that screenshots of video games and box or cover art usage are protected under the fair use provision of U.S. Copyright law (but see exceptions below). To notify others of the copyright status of such images, uploaded game cover art should include the tag {{Non-free game cover}}. Screenshots of a game should include the tag {{Non-free game screenshot}}. Some screenshots or box covers may be categorized elsewhere, in which case the uploader is still required to provide valid information on the image's source and copyright status. For rendered art or other official graphics that are not screenshots, use the general {{Non-free character}}, {{Non-free promotional}}, or {{Non-free fair use in}} tag and provide information (See Wikipedia:Non-free content for information on what the requirements are). Game company logos may use the {{Non-free logo}} tag. Do not upload screenshots that have been watermarked.

In addition to the above, image use must also satisfy the all points of the core policy: Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria which has greater limitations on the use of non-free images than US law requires. Take particular care that the usage satisfies criterion 8 and criterion 3 as it is on the basis of these criteria that screenshots and box-art images are most likely to be challenged.

All non-free images must be accompanied by a fair use rationale for each article they appear in, explaining why the image is being used in that article. Any such images that do not contain a proper rationale may be deleted in accordance with Wikipedia's deletion policy. See {{vgrationale}} for a simple template that can help in adding rationales to the most common types of images. For each rationale, the following items should always be present in order to provide a strong non-free use rationale:

  • The article name the image is used in (Required) - this does not need to be linked to the article though it is helpful, but the article name must be clearly present.
  • The source of the image; this can include who owns the copyright (developer and publisher), as well as a URL from which you took the image. If the image is a self-made screenshot, the image is still copyrighted, but identify yourself as the creator of the image.
  • That the image is low resolution or if not, the reasons why it is not low resolution. Low resolution is typically defined as being no larger than around 0.1megapixels. An image that is 400 x 300 pixels will generally be ok, but a 640 x 480 image will not be. You may reduce the image yourself, or tag it {{non-free reduce}} and allow a volunteer to do it. If reducing the image removed necessary details to be described in the game, then explain why those details are necessary to use a higher resolution image; if possible, consider cropping the section of the image to only the core details that may be lost at lower resolution.
  • The purpose of the image. This is very important to meet non-free content requirements, and the more details and reasons that can be provided, the better.
    • Video game covers are generally used for identification of the game in its infobox but may be also used to identify characters or other aspects of the game within the game articles.
    • Company logos are used to identify the company in its infobox.
    • Screenshots of video games should be used to identify as many unique or notable elements as possible, and keeping the number of such shots to a minimum. The rationale should explain what elements the screenshot is showing, such as the HUD, a damage meter, or similar visual element. Make sure that these points are further described in the article text.
  • The lack of a free replacement. Most non-free images relating to video games lack the ability for a free replacement, and thus this rationale purpose should reiterate this point.

If the video game itself uses a free license (for example GPL), that license extends to screenshots produced by the game. In such cases, use the appropriate free software tag instead. Free images do not need a fair use rationale.

Cover art

Cover art is used as identifying artwork in the game's infobox, generally, only one cover should be present, regardless of platform or regional differences. English language covers are preferred for identification, if no English language edition is available, then use a cover from the game's native language. If the game was released for multiple platforms with a similar cover, a cover without any platform-related logotypes should be used by editing the cover picture in order to create a platform-neutral picture. Game covers from PC games are generally considered platform-neutral if they do not feature OS branding (such as a Games for Windows banner).

If a suitable English language cover art already exists on the subject page, then do not waste time in replacing it with a different version.

Cover images can only be used in the body of the article if there is significant commentary on the specific cover itself. For example, the Wii cover of Ōkami was noted to contain a watermark as described by the text, so the cover is used to supplement this text.


Screenshots are used to illustrate the game's graphics and gameplay. They illustrate points that can not be adequately covered by text. As for all non-free content, editors must ask themselves whether each new screenshot adds value to the article that could not be done freely otherwise.


For released hardware and peripherals, freely licensed photographs of the subjects should be used. There is no need for non-free images unless the subject has been cancelled or not yet released.

Special hardware with artistic designs cannot be used as creative commons images. While the item itself, such as the console or a standard controller is acceptable, the artwork is under copyright. Images used and hosted on Commons should be removed and tagged for deletion on their Commons page.

Image file formats

For box art, JPEG will work fine. PNG or SVG are preferred for logos.

Now with the easy stuff out of the way, the file format used for screenshots depends entirely on what type of image it is. JPEGs are fine for most 3D games and some 2D games. Games with a strong emphasis on pixel art/sprites should use PNG. GIFs should only be used for animated images.

Image file names

Please try to provide a descriptive file name when uploading a new image. There's no required format, but including the name of the game/series and appending the type of image is very helpful for understanding the use of an image at a glance, such as File:Gears of War 3 box artwork.png.


Articles related to video games must follow the requirements for verification and use appropriate reliable sources with inline citations to support the article. A description of what are considered to be reliable sources for video game-related articles and other specific sourcing issues may be found at Wikipedia:WikiProject Video games/Sources.

There are several considerations for video game-related articles in regards to sourcing:

  • Using sites like GameSpot and IGN as reliable sources for older games (pre-Template:Vgy) should be carefully considered. While such sites are considered to be reliable sources today, prior to around the turn of the century, they did not necessarily possess this same credibility. Most video games with content pre-dating 2000 should include content from print journals for information released during that time.
  • Gameplay sections should be sourced. This can be sourced using the user's manual for the game, in addition to reviews for the game and other reliable sources.
  • Similarly, plot sections should also be sourced; again, the user's manual and reviews may help here, but one may also find sufficient information contained within strategy guides or FAQs. Often, using quotes from within the game or transcript can help support statements via {{cite video game}}; however, take care to keep such quotes short and to the key points.

Finding critical review for older games may be difficult as most publication was done in print gaming magazines before the explosive growth of the Internet. Several project members have kept old copies of certain video game publications. A list of users and notable data is kept at Wikipedia:WikiProject Video games/Magazines. If you find something relevant to your article on that page, contact an appropriate user to request referencing.

If you wish to contribute to the project, please add your username to issues you have or create new issue listings if none currently exist. Please be thorough when checking magazines, and be sure to wikify game titles. Follow the simple table format.

If you prefer, add {{User WPCVGm}} to your user page to generate interest in the project.

External links

External links in video game articles should follow the same convention for external links on Wikipedia in general. Certain links are recommended for video game articles, while other links should be avoided. Specifically, external links should provide information that, barring copyright and technical restrictions, would be part of a Featured Article on Wikipedia. Restricting the type of external links to be added to video game articles helps to avoid the section from becoming a link farm. Additionally, Wikipedia is not a game guide - external links should not be added to include material that explicitly defines the gameplay on certain aspects of the video game.

Appropriate external links - These links should be present if possible in a video game article

  • A video game's official home page (provided by the developer or publisher). Only the English version of the page should be included if there are multiple languages. If no English version exists, then the official page in the language of the country of first publication should be provided, but indicate that the site is in a foreign language. If the developer and publisher each offer a different site, include both.
  • The developers' and publishers' home pages. If, however, the official game site is housed on the developer or publisher's pages that allows for obvious navigation to the main developer/publisher site, these may not be necessary.
  • A download source for games that are freely downloadable (such as in freeware or shareware), if such links are completely separate from the game's home page
  • If the page contains substantial information that is relevant but not necessarily encyclopedic in nature, a video game's page at MobyGames, Allgame or the Internet Movie Database may be added on a case by case basis.

Inappropriate external links - These links should be avoided in video game articles, though if determined by consensus to be valuable, they may be included

  • The video game's page at, GameSpot, IGN, GameSpy and other commercial video game news and reviews sites - Such links can be seen as promotion of the associated commercial sites.
  • Fan-based sites, including those that may extend from the commercial sites listed above (for example, PlanetQuake) - These tend to be self-published venues and are not appropriate for verifiability within Wikipedia.
  • Forums, even if official forums provided by the developer/publisher of the game - Again, these are self-published forums and are not appropriate
  • Links to modern remakes (homebrew clones) - these are generally included for self-promotion and may infringe on copyrighted works

Unacceptable external links - These links are never allowed in video game articles and should be deleted without discussion if found

  • Links to sites that offer complete downloads of video games, ROM or ISO images, or other copyright-infringing works. This includes materials that may be considered abandonware - while the copyright of these works may be in question, Wikipedia's policy forbids even questionable links.