edited 1 April 2010Until now the answer to that question was not here; until now my presence in search results on that question would have stemmed from the fact that I have written in separate posts about both citing and games. And I don't like people to leave with their questions unanswered.
Now, below, I have an answer. BUT: before you use it, check the requirements of the professor or publication for whom you are writing. Please, if you've come here for an answer to the question, please comment with the game you are considering citing and perhaps in what context so I can check my suggestions, and improve them.
While the Publication Manual (APA, 2010) does not give a specific example for citing games, it outlines principles and the basic components. Chuck at APA's blog outlined these entertainingly as Who When What Where in The Generic Reference. The manual also advises us to adapt the examples that are provided as we need. This point is repeated by Timothy McAdoo in The Frankenreference, also at APA's blog.
Suggested format & examples
Electronic games are a form of software, so the example and guidelines (APA, 2010, p. 210) for citing software might seem the place to start. However the first games I wanted to cite were board games, so the software example was not where I went first, and when it came time to cite an electronic game I adapted from my board game guesses.
Even if one were to start at the software example, I think we'd end with the same format (jump to example) because we are permitted to adapt as needed... and we would want to for:
- Author: the guidelines for software seem to indicate that unless an individual has proprietary rights to the software the reference would be cited as an unauthored work, ie, by the title of the game, however isn't it first preferred to credit a corporate author (ie the game developer), than to assume none? There are also cases where developer and publisher are separate entities. I note that WorldCat's citation export tool generally compiles all reference styles for games using corporate authors.
- Date: Unfortunately the example for software (APA, 2010, p. 211) does not use a date, and offers no explanation for this divergence from normal practice: I considered it an error and that the date of publication (or copyright) is appropriate to include. But then again some online games are continually updated so sometimes, depending on the nature of the information being cited, a date might not be as relevant.
- Place of Publication? This information is not usually provided with game software, is the place important in this case?
In general, unless required otherwise by the university or publication, I would probably cite the developer, with the reference appearing:
Developer unless principal author is acknowledged. (year). Title (version #, if relevant) [gameformat]. Place of publication: Publisher.Apparently this works out to be very similar to the style for game citations (based on APA) required by the publication Game Studies.
in text: (Developer, Year)
- Board Game:
- Darrow, C. D. (2006). Monopoly: the property trading board game. Eastwood, N.S.W. : Hasbro / Parker.
- Drennan, D. (1986). Zamitar: a battle for survival in space, employing strategy and skill [Board game]. Australia: Author.
- Firaxis Games Inc. (2005). Sid Meier's Civilization IV [PC game]. New York, NY: Take-Two Interactive Software.
- Acclaim Entertainment. (2002). Turok Evolution [Playstation2 game]. Glen Cover, NY: Acclaim Entertainment.
- Honeyslug. (2009). Ric Rococo: International Art Thief [Flash game]. Honeyslug. Retrieved 28 February 2010 from http://www.miniclip.com/games/art-thief/en/
- Three Rings Design. (2001-2009). Puzzle Pirates. [Java-based game]. San Francisco, CA:Three Rings Design. Retrieved 28 February 2010 from http://www.puzzlepirates.com
We are usually required to define as close a location as possible within the material. For a book this is by page, on the web by paragraph, from a play by division (Act, Scene, etc and Line).
How can we locate a quote within a game? Perhaps by Level or inter-level; or stage of scenario. I'd like to explore a variety of examples, but will have to get help from my gamer sons and friends.
Please send me examples of interesting or fun quotes from your favourite games - with the most concise but accurate location information for the quote
- example quote from within a levelled online game?
- example quote from within World of Warcraft or similar quest-based roaming game?
- example quote from acted character in film supporting game storyline?
- example quote from another player in an online role playing game - only if the transcript of game play is archived?
---Update 24 March 2010:
Yesterday someone stopped by having sought how to cite a game manual. It isn't the first time, and I've had a look at a few game manuals over time, trying to see if there are significant points about game manuals that are different from other books. There isn't really.
Key point: Check the details for the manual - whether they are different from the game, that is:
- Manual author / developer - I did once see a board game's manual whose authorship was credited to an individual, so if citing that manual I'd use the individual's name; however whenever as usual there is no individual author, I consider the developer to be the manual's author.
- Manual date - again is it different from publication date of the game?
- Manual title - the manual son #1 just handed me is titled Ashes: Cricket 2009 which is the same as the game's title so I might add [game manual] to more specifically locate my source. I've also seen untitled... well it was more an instruction sheet than a manual, but the point being... if it doesn't have a title make one, enclosed in [ ]. (Just whipped over to APA's blog to check that, thanks Chuck)
- Publisher place & name - I've been assuming that the game manuals that people came here curious to cite would have been published with the game, so this would be same as game publisher. Are there game manuals that were not published with the game?
Interestingly (thanks Alison Faix) there are some online games for practicing APA style citations (though not for games):
APA Psych Out by Williams College Libraries focusses on citation of books, chapters and articles but the basic principles of these extend to newer online sources.
APA and MLA Citation Games (jigsaw puzzles really) by University of Washington Trio Training Drag and drop the citation pieces in the correct order for that type, and includes puzzles for music recordings and televised broadcasts.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.