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Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Video games

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The following are guidelines for various aspects of writing article content about video games, established by consensus among Wikipedians. Please discuss them on the talk page if you have ideas or questions. Editors should also be familiar with the main Manual of Style, writing about fiction sub-guidelines, and the general guide to writing better articles.

Naming conventions[edit]

For video game-related naming conventions, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (video games).


In general, the following sections describe typical ordering of sections used in articles related to video games. These do not necessarily have to correspond to the actual section headers and divisions. Do not try to conform to them if they are not helping to improve the article.

For games[edit]

  • 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 entire article body, which explains why the game is notable and important; this is the key aspect 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 can have subheadings for the story, setting, and characters. Keep it concise and avoid trivial details.
  • Development: discuss development, design concepts and inspirations, etc. This can easily include several different subsections. It also includes release material, such as the game's marketing, promotional info, and/or release dates. If the release material is large enough, it can be split to its own section.
  • Reception: This should detail how the game was received by critics.
  • Legacy: If the game had a substantial impact on its series, genre, and/or the video game industry, consider making a section dedicated to its legacy. This can either be put under the reception header or, if there is enough information, a separate section. If the only major impact is a sequel or media adaptations, consider instead naming this section "Related media", "Sequels", etc. as appropriate.
  • References: Cite sources! If you are unsure what to include for references, reviews, interviews, news articles, game instruction booklets, and guides are all good candidates. See this list of sources deemed generally usable or unusable on Wikipedia.
  • External links: When available, list the company and game website(s) if the company website is separate from the game'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[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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[edit]

  • 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 section should 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.
  • 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.

Article content[edit]

What is appropriate?[edit]

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. Plot sections, if necessary, should be no more than approximately 700 words, to retain focus. It is 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 rule of thumb if unsure: if the content only has value to players, it is unsuitable. Video game articles should be comprehensive and readable to non-gamers.

Wikipedia commonly has stand-alone articles about notable games, companies, individuals, or hardware. Reliable information about game peripherals, expansions, music, merchandise, or characters can often be merged somewhere more appropriate, and richer in context. Avoid detailed coverage of in-game elements such as items, levels, or setting. If multiple reliable sources describe a game element's importance to a game or series, this can be summarized at the relevant parent article, in context. A separate article for a game element is typically warranted if multiple sources establish its importance outside the game itself, describing its influence on the game industry, history, or a genre.

Content that is inappropriate for Wikipedia may be appreciated elsewhere: Codex Gamicus for general info/trivia; an individual game's wiki (such as on Fandom or elsewhere) for detailing a setting, plot, or in-game items; StrategyWiki for walkthrough/strategy/gameplay content; and Wikibooks Electronic games bookshelf. To propose that an article or section be copied to a gaming wiki, use the {{Copy to gaming wiki}} template. See Help:Transwiki on how to move information to other wikis. To simply tag such information for removal, please add the {{Game guide}} template to the article in question.

Essential content[edit]

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

  • An infobox, completed correctly and appropriately (see WP:WikiProject Video games/Templates for instructions on how to use the different templates for 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. To keep a real-world perspective, it is essential to explain how the article subject was made, and not only discuss the fiction.
  • A "Reception" section. This shows the impact that the subject had on the game industry: commercially, artistically, and technologically. For additional guidance see this guideline.
  • When writing about a game, be sure to categorize it by genre, platform, and year (see WP: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[edit]

Release dates for video game should be included as follows:

  • In the {{Infobox video game}}, 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.[a] Consider using footnotes rather than a separate country release entry in the infobox to keep the information included within it relatively succinct.
    • 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, remaster or game collection is covered within the same article as its original game, further group release dates by original and remakes, then by console, then by country.
      • However, games re-released through emulated systems, which include the Virtual Console for Nintendo consoles, microconsoles like the Atari Flashback, and some software titles like Sega Genesis Collection should not have these emulated re-releases included in the infobox.
    • If the game is a same-day multi-platform release, it is not necessary to create separate lists for each platform, and these can be grouped accordingly. See the infobox in Grand Theft Auto V for example.
    • Should the number of consoles or remakes become excessively large, consider stating only the first release or primary console within the infobox using the {{Collapsible list}} template with the {{{title}}} field set to show the top-level information, and summarizing the other release dates within the development section of the article body; See the infobox in Lemmings (video game) for an example.
    • Release dates should be provided using the {{Video game release}} template, unless the game had a single, simultaneous worldwide release date, in which case the template may be omitted. Do not use flag icons in the infobox, instead, state the region/country by name, one of the limited region codes supported by {{Video game release}}, or by their ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country codes. If one set of releases have different regional release dates, while another platform has worldwide release, then stay consistent throughout the infobox with the {{Video game release}} using the "WW" country code for worldwide releases.
    • Release dates must be consistent with the prevailing prose date format.
  • 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. Examples:
    • 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 first released for the PlayStation 2 in January 2008, and was ported to the Nintendo DS later that year."
  • Release dates should be discussed in the body of the article (typically, as a section within "Development" or "Release"), and should include citations published after the game or content has been released to verify that the product came out as expected. Game reviews may be suitable for this, but not pre-release reviews.

Care should be taken in citing release dates. Many commercial gaming sites, such as GameSpot, IGN, and 1Up.com, supply accurate dates, as well as retailers such as Amazon 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 (see WP:SEASON for more).

Keep in mind that some publishers may advertise a "release date", while some may advertise an "in-store date", and some may advertise both. (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption provides 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.

Early releases such as open beta-testing periods, early access, or other similar mechanics should not be included in the infobox once the game is actually released. While the game is in an early release state, that early release date may be included in the infobox, but it should be indicated as an early release, and in the article prose, the game should be treated as an upcoming video game that has yet to receive a full release for all other purposes.


In both the lead and infobox, the list of platforms should only include the name of consoles or operating systems, such as "Game Boy", "iOS", "Windows", "PlayStation 4", "Sega Genesis", "Xbox Series X/S", to which the game was developed for by the developer or publisher. Specific details on the platform can be discussed in the body with appropriate sourcing.

  • The listed platforms should not include storefront names, such as "Steam", "PlayStation Network", "Xbox Live Arcade", "eShop" or "App Store". In general, storefront names are not required to be mentioned in any part of a game article unless they are relevant to the sourced discussion around the game.
  • The listed platforms should also not include subscription or streaming services that offer games, such as "Apple Arcade", "OnLive", "PlayStation Now" or "Xbox Game Pass". These are not considered ports or the like, and only reoffering the game from an existing platform on a different service.
    • The only exception to this is for Stadia, which has been determined to be a unique platform that developers must build for and offers unique features not offered by the underlying Linux operating system.
  • The listed platforms should not include platforms on which the game is playable via emulation, whether officially released for that (such as Nintendo's Virtual Console and Nintendo Switch Online or officially licensed Dotemu rereleases), through middleware solutions such as Proton on Linux-based SteamOS on the Steam Deck, or through third-party/user-made emulation systems like through ScummVM. The platform list should be limited to those platforms which the game was built and compiled for. Often there will be games that are a collection of emulated games, such as Sega Genesis Classics or The Disney Afternoon Collection. The article on the collection of the games should include the new systems the collection is offered for, but those platforms should not be added to the articles on the individual games.
  • Similarly, the listed platforms should not include platforms that support backwards compatibility for earlier versions. While several original Xbox games are playable on the Xbox 360, the Xbox 360 should not be listed as a platform for these games. Similarly, both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S feature both backwards compatibility from the previous generation as well as the capability for optimization patches to improve the performance of the game on the newer consoles; this is also not sufficient to include the newer consoles among a game's platform list.
  • Avoid listing hardware-specific aspects in the platforms. Do not use "Ouya" or "Nvidia Shield TV" but instead "Android", though exclusivity to these devices can be mentioned in the body. Do not include "Oculus Rift" or "HTC Vive", but instead use "Windows" but clearly indicate the game supports virtual reality, and a list of compatible headsets can be mentioned in the body. For some Apple games that require a specific device (such as an iPad over an iPhone), stay to the base operating system (iOS) but mention the limited hardware compatibility in the body.
  • Similarly for operating systems, use the broad category of operating system and not specific versions of releases. A game that requires the operating features of Windows 10 should still only be given in the platform list as "Windows". Use "Unix" or "Linux" to cover the broad classes of various Unix/Linux distribution releases.
    • For Mac OS X/OS X/macOS games, use the name of the operating system used when the game was released.
  • If a platform list is very long due to numerous ports, consider highlighting the original platform using collapsed lists or links to a relevant section to give the full list. Avoid repeating long lists of platform names in the lead. For example, for Lemmings, we state Lemmings is...published by Psygnosis for the Amiga in 1991 and later ported for numerous other platforms. rather than an exhaustive list of the twenty-some platforms it had received official ports.
  • For games which receive official remakes or remasters which are not covered by a separate article, include the platforms the remake was released on, but make sure to distinguish the platforms of the original release and of the remastered release. If the remake has its own article, such as the 2019 Resident Evil 2 remake, do not include the remake's platforms in the original game's article. Unofficial third-party or fan remakes should not be considered in determining a platform list.

Categorizing upcoming games[edit]

Inappropriate content[edit]

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: WP:Notability § General notability guideline, and WP:Summary style § 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: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: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, textbook, or scientific journal.
  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: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, textbook, or scientific journal.
  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: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, and WP:Neutral point of view § Undue weight.
  6. Lists of characters lacking secondary sourcing: Following from the above, excessive in-game details on characters is strongly discouraged. Standalone lists of video game characters are expected to be (1) written in an out-of-universe style with a focus on their concept, creation, and reception, and (2) cited by independent, secondary sources to verify this information. While character lists can include some plot summary specific to the character, these plots should not be rehashes of the video game(s) in which they appear but instead broad strokes that simplify the plots of individual games. If these requirements cannot be met, it is instead more appropriate to reduce the list to one to three paragraphs of prose within the "Plot" or "Synopsis" section of the game or series article. It is almost never appropriate to create a standalone list of characters that appear within a single video game as these can be described in the game's article.
    Based on: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, and WP:Neutral point of view § Undue weight.
  7. Lists of gameplay items, weapons, or concepts: Specific point values, achievements and trophies, time-limits, levels (including lists of stadia/sport venues), character moves, character weight classes, unlockable characters, 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: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, § Wikipedia is not a directory, and § Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, textbook, or scientific journal; as well as WP:Neutral point of view § Undue weight.
  8. 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 has attracted substantial coverage in independent reliable sources. Exceptions are generally made for inclusion of the manufacturer's retail price of standardized game hardware and devices, such as game consoles, on articles about that hardware or comparisons with other hardware, a practice in line with other physical product articles on Wikipedia.
    Based on: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not a directory.
  9. Rumors and speculation: Speculation about future games, rumors about content within a game, or changes in video game developers and publishers should not be included, even if these rumors emerge or are re-reported from reliable sources. Discussion of well-reported, industry-wide rumors from a historical standpoint, well after the time they had or should have happened, may be appropriate to help provide context for a topic.
    Based on: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not a crystal ball and § Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought, as well as WP:No original research.
  10. Exhaustive version histories: A list of every version/beta/patch is inappropriate. Consider a summary of development instead.
    Based on: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not a directory and § Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, as well as {{Section link}}: required section parameter(s) missing.
  11. 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 an actor has received substantial coverage in independent reliable sources, typically the actor will be mentioned in the prose of the development section. (Good examples are: Batman: Arkham Asylum, Portal 2, and BioShock Infinite).
  12. Unofficial translations: Unless they are mentioned by independent reliable sources, unofficial translations should not be mentioned. Summarizing those sources may be appropriate, but avoid linking to a website for an unlicensed fan project 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: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, textbook, or scientific journal
  13. System requirements: System requirements for a video game should only be mentioned if independent reliable sources have distinguished that game from its peers (e.g., the high system demands of Crysis on its maximum settings). A brief summary of those sources should be mentioned in prose, in a manner that is easily understandable by a reader with no knowledge of the subject.
    Based on: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, textbook, or scientific journal
  14. Succession boxes may be valid in some cases, but they should not be used for things such as being a bestselling game for a single month in one nation for a single console. Succession order should be based on either obvious information, such as release dates, or information that can be readily and reliably sourced; for example, it is possible to source the narrative chronological order of the games in the Metroid series to information provided by Nintendo directly, but less apparent for series like Assassin's Creed or Call of Duty. Keep in mind that navboxes may be a better form to provide the same sorted information in a more compact form, such as with the {{Seumas McNally Grand Prize}} navbox.
  15. Non-notable soundtracks: Unless the soundtrack or music is the subject of independent commentary (apart from the game): put it in Development rather than its own section, do not include tracklists,[b] and do not add non-free soundtrack cover art or audio clips.[c] Never upload non-free soundtrack art similar in content to the main infobox's non-free art. If the soundtrack has been released on a widely distributed physical medium, it can be acceptable to include an infobox for the soundtrack alongside discussion in the "Development" section (for example, see Journey (2012 video game)); non-free cover art must meet the WP:Non-free content guidelines to be included in this infobox.
  16. Age and content ratings: Unless the game's age and content rating (ESRB, PEGI, CERO, etc.) is the subject of independent commentary (such as the case for Left 4 Dead 2 in Australia), do not add it to the article.
  17. Release edition tables: Do not add tables featuring a game's many release editions, such as special, limited, collector's, into articles. If a re-release has been the subject of independent reliable sources, a concise summary may be appropriate in prose.
    Based on: WP:What Wikipedia is not § Wikipedia is not a directory

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[edit]

Video games have been around long enough to have made a mark on popular culture (or pop culture). Recognizing a subject's influence on popular culture can enhance an entry subject's notability on Wikipedia. Usually this can be added to the 'Reception' (sub)section (see Shenmue), an 'Other media' section (see World of Warcraft § In other media) or, if notable and influential enough, a separate 'Legacy' section (example: Super Mario Bros. 3 § Legacy).

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 {{citation needed}} and eventually removed if a 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 mentioning:
    • The entry is directly related to the brand and character. For example, licensed TV shows based upon games, like 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 is allowed to be mentioned within the World of 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" episode 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 mentioning:
    • 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 nor does it appear 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 a song does not 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 list all the levels in a game, but Sonic Generations is an exception because its reliance on aspects from prior Sonic games is the basis of the game.
  • 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.
  • It is usually inappropriate to describe in-game items in detail, but describing the portal gun from Portal is necessary to understand the game, and has significant coverage in reliable sources.
  • It is usually inappropriate to list specific multiplayer servers or worlds in a game, unless they have individual notability and coverage in reliable secondary sources, such as Hypixel, 2b2t, or The Uncensored Library.
  • It is usually inappropriate to include cost information, but including the launch price of the PlayStation 3 in its article is an exception because it was largely criticized across various reliable publications. 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. Some fan remakes of games or their engines are independently notable and have their own articles, e.g. OpenMW (see also the "Remakes" section below).
  • 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, with the game's developer Square Enix commenting on questions about the future of the Chrono series.

Remakes, expansions, and series articles[edit]

Remakes, expansions (including both expansion packs and downloadable content), and game series can be handled as either a section in a parent article, or as a separate article. 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.[d] Expansions follow similar criteria for when it is appropriate to split out a separate article, taking care to avoid unnecessary splits.

Series or franchise articles provide an overview of a continuous intellectual property and a summary of its recurring elements. Generally, there will not be enough shared information for a separate series article until there are at least three related entries. Avoid creating a series article that only repeats what sources say about the individual games, and instead base the article on what reliable sources say about the series as a whole. This broad coverage can take some of the following forms:[e]

  • A broad scope: The series article should not merely recap or summarize individual games. It should instead describe the series as a whole in broader terms, such as what the games have in common. This could include general gameplay, and recurring elements such as characters and locations.
  • Development/History: The article should give information on how the series came to be, and follow the thread of its history across multiple releases. This continuity is vital information that would otherwise be lost in articles about the individual titles.
  • Reception/Legacy: There should be content that describes the real-world impact of the series. What do critics think of the series as a whole? How did the series effect its creators, the genre, and the wider industry in games and entertainment?
  • Franchise/non-game media: Some series expand beyond the medium of video games. Franchise articles can cover these topics if they do not achieve independent notability on their own.

General style[edit]

This is an encyclopedia, and articles should be written formally, unlike FAQs, fansites, or player's guides. In addition to the general Manual of Style guidelines, keep these video game-centric style ones in mind.

Name formatting[edit]

  • Italicize video game series and stand-alone video games.
  • Individual video game levels, chapters, or episodes of a standalone video game should use standard double quotes (for example, "Milkman Conspiracy").
  • Italicize titles of in-universe fictional works that would be italicized if they were real, e.g. Red Book of Hergest. Similarly, use double quotes for titles of in-universe fictional works that would normally use double quotes if real, such as song names.
  • Common words should not be capitalized; not in the infobox[f] or article body. Terms like first-person shooter, multiplayer, third-person view are written as such.

For expansions and downloadable content (DLC), the nature of that content will affect how the names should be presented, though editors should seek consensus for alternatives for specific cases:

  • For a DLC that is a significant add-on story, often handled separately from the main game's story and not integrated into it, the name of the DLC should be italicized, treating it like a stand-alone game. Examples include Grand Theft Auto IV's The Ballad of Gay Tony and BioShock 2's Minerva's Den.
  • For DLC that may add additional narrative along with additional content to the main game, integrating that story alongside the existing narrative, the name of the DLC should be quoted. For example: "Dead Money" for Fallout: New Vegas, and "The Bank Job" for Payday 2.
  • For DLC that mostly adds new content (characters, maps, weapons, vehicles, gameplay modes) but little new narrative, the DLC name should follow standard English capitalization rules but is otherwise left unformatted. For example: Stimulus Package for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Night Blade Pack for Saints Row III.
  • For games that are presented episodically, such as most releases from Telltale Games, individual episode names should be in double quotation marks, following the approach with television episodes. For example, The Walking Dead: Season One's "A New Day" and "400 Days".

Video game genres and formats or types of gameplay should be presented in standardized style (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters § Musical and literary genres): Do not capitalize genres and the like except where a proper name (or abbreviation of one) appears. For example: survival horror, first-person shooter, massively multiplayer, adventure game, Metroidvania, GTA clone. An exception is roguelike, typically given in lower-case despite being named after the game Rogue.[g] While it is common for gaming publications to over-capitalize (as in First-Person Shooter), just as music magazines often do with music styles (Hip-Hop), this is not done on Wikipedia.

Video game platforms and hardware should follow appropriate naming and style for trademarked names. WP:Manual of Style/Trademarks covers this in detail. The short version: do not use typographic tricks to try to mimic logo stylization, including ALL-CAPS or SMALL-CAPS; use plain English, though camel case is permissible, as is letter/number substitution, if consistently treated as the title in reliable sources (e.g., Left 4 Dead).

Italicize (online) magazines, newspapers, news sites, and other publications with original content. In particular, websites whose primary purpose is to deliver original content should be italicized in prose, tables, and references. This includes sites such as Gamasutra, IGN, GameSpot, and Polygon. (see § Sources, below, for more information on citing references properly).

The preferred spelling of electronic sports when abbreviated is "esports", completely in lower-case and without a hyphen. A hyphen may be used, as in "e-sports". Articles should be internally consistent, and editors should respect either variant. Capitalize the "e" as necessary for the guidance on capital letters (for example, capitalizing at the start of a sentence such as Esports is one of the largest growing areas in the video game industry.) and include a hyphen or an upper-case "s" as necessary for the guidance on trademarks.

Neutral point of view[edit]

Write from a neutral point of view: represent fairly, proportionately, and without editorial bias or original research, all significant views published by reliable sources on the topic. This principle is a pillar of the community. Wikipedia is a tertiary source that paraphrases reliable, independent, secondary sources. It is not a venue for publishing your personal views. Cite vetted publications with reputations for reliability, fact-checking, and editorial control, such as news, reviews, awards, and developer interviews. Avoid press releases, which lack editorial distance from the developer. If sources conflict, include all reputable positions in weight proportional to their coverage. For example:

  • While Retro Gamer reported that Sabre Wulf broke the company's sales records,[1] Computer and Video Games wrote that it underperformed prior games, with only 30,000 copies sold by December 1984.[2] Eurogamer reported that 350,000 units were sold in total.[3]

Avoid vague statements (weasel words) that sound authoritative but offer no substance. Rephrase Many think the game is great as a verifiable statement: The game received five Game of the Year awards (only count reliable sources). When sources and interviews use flattering or promotional language, maintain your professional prose quality and instead provide more specific and referenced facts about the project so readers can decide for themselves. Rephrase puffery (peacock terms): The game is the console's best into IGN and GameSpot listed the game as among the console's best.

Avoid writing or listing the game's features and mechanics like an advertisement. Wording such as "My PlayerNBA 2K15 features a career mode in which you start your career in the draft and working your way up by training your player" is unacceptable (see also Wikipedia:Manual of Style § Second-person pronouns). Instead, write out the features in an encyclopedic manner, such as "In NBA 2K15, there is My Player mode in which players can create their own NBA player and use the created player to raise stats by training and playing out games throughout his career."

Naming within articles[edit]

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 (see also WP:Article titles#Use commonly recognizable names; while it is part of the article naming policy, we generally refer to things in article prose the same way we do in article titles, to avoid confusing readers).

Verb tense[edit]

Use the present tense when describing a subject that continues to exist. For example, a 1984 video game and console both continue to exist as long as copies of both are in circulation, but both a canceled video game and a discontinued online game exist only in the past tense.

  • The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit video game console, and Super Mario Bros. is a video game.
  • Sonic X-treme was a platform game in development for the Sega Saturn, but was canceled before release.
  • Glitch was a browser-based massively multiplayer online game launched in 2011 and discontinued the next year.
  • Battleborn was an online hero shooter that was released in 2016. Its servers were shutdown in 2021.

However, when describing specific events related to a console or game, such as production, advertising, reviews, use a tense appropriate for the time period in which the event occurred. Avoid phrasing that may confuse past and present tense.

  • The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit video game console designed by Nintendo. But: It was released in 1983.
  • The PlayStation 5 is currently being sold worldwide.

Similarly, use the present tense to describe gameplay and other in-game events. 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 as the game is played, not in the past. An exception is when an event (fictional or historical) took 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, not arrived. The event happens as the player begins the game.
  • Four hundred years prior to the start of the game, the Lefeinish watched their country decline as the Wind Orb went dark.

Japanese titles[edit]

In the first sentence, only include a parenthetical foreign language equivalent when the game/topic is not primarily known by a Latin alphabet title. Move the parenthetical to a footnote if the non-English name is not critical to understanding the topic. It is recommended that unless the Japanese name (kanji/kana) is critical to the understanding of the topic, one should place it in a footnote to the official English title. (This only applies to video game-related articles. For other Japan-related articles, see WP:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles.) Even if the Japanese name is important, 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; these should also be placed in a footnote. This can be done using {{efn}}, {{nihongo foot}}, or other methods as described in Help:Shortened footnotes. This retains the information about the original Japanese title and translation but avoids creating a "busy" first sentence in the article. In games where there is no official English title (such as Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan), the first sentence should retain the romanized Japanese title while the remaining translation information should be placed in a footnote. If a game was originally titled using the Latin alphabet, there is no need to include its title in any other writing system.


  • When the article's title (by common name) is a transliteration of a language other than English, that language equivalent can be included in the lead sentence, usually in parentheses or a footnote, when it would help the reader understand the title's meaning in the original language. For example:
  • For stand-alone games, names of franchises, and the first game within a franchise, the full set of English title, Japanese title, and Hepburn romanization (which in this page is called "romaji") should generally be used.
  • 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.
  • For series within a franchise, treat the articles on the series and first title as if they are their own franchise.
  • 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 (–).
  • 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.
  • For sequels with idiosyncratic subtitles that use 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. Example:
  • For sequels with idiosyncratic subtitles that use 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:

Video game jargon[edit]

Video game 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 them:

  • 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 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-hit runs.

We can rewrite the bolded jargon to:

  • The protagonist Boogers flies spacecraft called Starspitzers. On starting a game, players choose between five Starspitzers options. When they complete a mission without damaging their spacecraft, a new Starspitzer is added to their choice of spacecrafts. Up to 55 additional Starspitzers can be added in this manner.

Be aware of common video game acronyms which may be well known within the field, but not outside it. For example, do not presume everyone recognizes the terms "MMORPG", "HUD" or "CPU"; spell out these terms to avoid confusion. If the term is used frequently within an article, then it is acceptable to spell it out the first time it is used in the body, followed by the initialism or acronym in parentheses. Following this, all subsequent recurrences of the term can use the initialism or acronym. If the term is only used once or twice, this approach may not be necessary. Do not make up initialisms or acronyms just to simplify a phrase, and instead use only those that are commonly used in reliable sources.

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.
  • Try to get someone unfamiliar with video games to read your article and locate any jargon in it.


Article title[edit]

Title Wikipedia articles by the subject's common name: The name most commonly used in English-language reliable, secondary sources and best balance of the five naming criteria: recognizability, naturalness, precision, conciseness, and consistency. Secondarily, use Wikipedia:Naming conventions (video games) to reference common formatting and disambiguation terms for video game topics.

Short description[edit]

How short descriptions appear in the Wikipedia App

Mainspace pages should be tagged, if possible, with a short description, a brief summary of the topic of the page, which is used as part of the Wikipedia App and aids in how Wikipedia is seen on the semantic web. This is done by using the template {{short description}} near the top of the page, prior to the lead prose, hatnotes, and infobox templates. The short description should be, as self-evident, short, just enough to help to distinguish the topic from any possible close matches.

  • For video games, a typical format would be "<year of release> video game". For example, for Resident Evil 4, 2005 video game; for Super Mario 64, 1996 video game.
    • If further disambiguation is needed, add the game's primary genre: "<year of release> <genre> video game".
    • Per WP:SDDUPLICATE, "avoid duplicating information that is already in the title (but don't worry too much if you need to repeat a word or two for context)". For example, for the article God of War (2018 video game), "2018 video game" is already in the title, so use the short description to add the genre instead: "Action-adventure game".
    • If an article covers multiple video games and is not a video game series, such as the case with the article Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen or Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, the year of the earliest release should be added. The general format should be "<year of release> video games". For those two examples, 2004 video games and 2014 video games should suffice.
  • For video game series or franchises, "Video game series" is sufficient.
  • For video game hardware, a short description of the type of hardware. For example, for PlayStation 2, home video game console; for Nintendo DS, handheld video game console; and for DualShock, video game controller.
  • For people in video games, use "<nationality> <primary job function(s)>". For example, for Gabe Newell, American businessman, and for Shigeru Miyamoto, Japanese video game designer.
  • For video game companies, similarly use "<nationality> <primary business type(s)>". For example, Nintendo, Japanese video game company; for Electronic Arts, American video game company, and for Remedy Entertainment, Finnish video game developer.

For any other case, use similar short terminology. The goal is a phrase shorter than 40 characters, specific enough to be clear to identify the topic if searching through a list of closely matched similar terms with these descriptions.


Section-specific advice[edit]

First sentence[edit]

Avoid bloat in the first sentence. Restrict it to the most important aspects of the topic.

The first sentence should:

  • Include only the primary genre. Exclude themes and concepts. E.g., The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a 2017 action-adventure game, not The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a 2017 third-person open-world action-adventure game.
  • Include the original release year as part of the introduction to the topic. Other dates, or more specific dates, may appear elsewhere in the lead but should do so only as part of summarizing the topic.
    • Label unreleased, pre-release, and early access games as "upcoming".
  • Only use a parenthetical foreign language equivalent when the game/topic is not primarily known by a Latin alphabet title. Move the parenthetical to a footnote if the non-English name is not critical to understanding the topic.
  • Avoid "commonly known as" and "stylized as", unless the point of abbreviation or stylization has been made by a preponderance of reliable, independent, secondary sources. Wikipedia maintains a formal tone and, like newspapers and magazines outside the gamer niche, uses brief phrases instead of abbreviations. For example, the name Ocarina of Time would be an acceptable shorthand for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but OoT would not. There are some occasions where using the full name of the game is the only appropriate option, such as Team Fortress 2 instead of TF2.



  • For both the lead, infobox, and "gameplay" sections of an article about a video game, make sure to indicate the game's genre or genres.
  • Avoid using more than two genres, or more than one hybrid genre (like "action-adventure") in listing the genres. Simply borrowing parts of a genre does not necessarily make the game of that genre, and instead can be said to be using elements of that genre in the lead and gameplay prose. For example, BioShock is a first-person shooter with role-playing game customization and stealth elements... rather than BioShock is a role-playing, stealth first-person shooter...
  • Use standard genres (those defined in {{Video game genre}}), and avoid developer/publisher-created ones in these sections, though one can subsequently describe how the developer or publisher describes the game. For example, Dead Cells is properly classified as a roguelike-Metroidvania by most sources, but mention is made of the developer's "roguevania" self-description as a mashup of these genres.
  • Do not include narrative genres and gameplay mechanics, such as "science fiction" and "open world", alongside a game's genre. These can instead be used later in the lead or in the gameplay/plot section.
  • Similarly, unless a game is strictly a first-person shooter (like Doom) or a third-person shooter (like Gears of War), these perspectives are not defining genres that should be included, though can be used to describe the gameplay aspects. For example Portal is a puzzle-platform video game... and not Portal is a first-person puzzle-platform video game....


  • The article's plot coverage should be proportional to the plot's importance in the game, as determined by its weight in the article's source material. For example, plot is a major aspect of Final Fantasy game reviews but a minor aspect of Mario game reviews.
  • Include the plot within the gameplay section unless there is cause to distinguish it.
  • Straightforward plot summary is assumed to be sourced to the game itself and thus does not require sources. Any conclusions inferred by interpretation, however, do require reliable, secondary sources. Add secondary sources whenever reasonable to (1) reliably verify the cited fact, and (2) prove that the plot detail was sufficiently non-trivial to pass the source's editorial discretion. Primary sources, such as the instruction manual, are of limited use, as a self-published source about itself.
    • The plot should summarise content that every player would be expected to see on a playthrough of a game. Avoid including elements that require the player to follow side quests or visit secret areas, unless that information is deemed critical to understanding the plot. If such information is included, it should be referenced in a way to explain how the player would discover it for verifiability requirements. For example, BioShock Infinite references specific messages from optional collectibles to support plot elements outside the player's frame of observation.
    • For games with divergent narrative paths, including multiple endings, consider how to summarize these to the simplest level of detail. The summary should explain that the narrative branches, but it is not necessary to enumerate exactly how to obtain each branch or events along each. Focus on divergent narratives that have the greatest impact on the story. For example, the plot summary of The Walking Dead (video game) omits many of the possible story choices, but retains the final decision and its consequences the player makes due to its impact on the narrative.
  • Write about story elements from a "real-world perspective". Do not use a perspective from within the game world ("in-universe") or describe fiction as fact. E.g., not "It is the end of the Zelda timeline and thousands of years after Link defeated Ganondorf", but "Breath of the Wild is set at the end of the Zelda timeline, thousands of years after the events of previous games".
  • To retain focus, generally limit plot summaries to 700 words or fewer.
    • For episodic video games, plot summaries of no more than 300 words per episode should be presented either in the plot section as prose or in a table using {{Episode table}} and {{Episode list}}. If appropriate, these articles could instead include a prose plot summary of no more than 700 words per season instead of an episode table, but an article should not have full plot summaries in both an episode table and a plot section. A brief one sentence plot synopsis is permitted in the table for articles with both, such as Tales of Monkey Island.
    • For narrative downloadable content (DLC), plot summaries of no more than 300 words per content should be presented in the main plot section or as an additional sub-section (such as Final Fantasy XV). If appropriate, larger narrative DLC may be split into its own article if it receives significant independent development and reception coverage, such as The Last of Us: Left Behind. Split articles should follow the main plot guideline of 700 words.


  • In describing development elements related to the release of a game, it is often easy to fall into the use of proseline on trivial details, repetitive sentences or list items in a form like "On such-and-such date, the company teased the release of their game via a Twitter message." Both proseline and this type of detail are generally inappropriate. Consider what secondary sources state about the game's pre-release information to determine what is appropriate to include. The use of release teasers, trailers, and social media is common throughout the industry, so specific details on these elements are generally unnecessary unless the nature of their presentation is something noted by sources. Exact dates for announcements are rarely necessary and only a rough time estimate is needed: a month/year for most games, or for those unveiled at conferences like E3 or GDC, referring to those conferences.


  • Organize sections thematically to juxtapose similar comments from reviewers into a coherent narrative. For example, group reviewer comments on gameplay, technical audiovisuals, narrative, and other common themes of the reviews.
  • Signpost each paragraph with a topic sentence. A good opening sentence summarizes the paragraph, helps the reader anticipate what to expect from the paragraph, and has references to directly support the summary. Be careful to not make generalizations not substantiated by the sources. If Reviewers praised the game's art direction, say so, and add the references that support the statement, but avoid Most reviewers praised... and other phrases that make the subject ambiguous unless you have a source that makes a claim about "most".
  • Stack similar claims. When five reviewers write that the controls were clunky, write the claim as a single sentence with multiple refs. If the number of footnote refs following the sentence becomes unwieldy, mention all sources in a single summative footnote. Example: DK Rap ref in Donkey Kong 64
  • Vary sentence rhythm and avoid "A said B". Successive sentences in this pattern quickly become dull:
    • John Smith opined, "it's the best game of the year". Juana Pérez of Reliable Blog claimed it was "dry and boring" and lacked focus. (Variants include "A of B said C" and "A said that B".) Rephrase and recast sentences whenever possible to keep the content interesting. Try varying sentence length, direct and indirect claims, and types of summary. For more, see Wikipedia:Copyediting reception sections.
  • Minimize direct quotations. Prefer paraphrase whenever possible, both for Wikipedia's emphasis on minimizing use of copyrighted content and to massage the essence of the source into what best suits the section. Almost all reviewer sentiments can be rephrased without using the source's exact words/phrases. Use quotations only to illustrate that which cannot be said better than the source. Reception sections that consist purely of quotations are treated as copyright violations.
  • Reduce clutter by removing reviewer names, publications, and dates when unnecessary to the point at hand.
    • Multiple reader polls ranked the game among the best of all time.[1][2][3], instead of The game was included in multiple top 50 games of all time lists, including that of Famitsu readers in 2006[1] and IGN readers in 2005[2] and 2006.[3]
  • Metacritic's qualitative summary often provides a satisfactory summary of a game's overall reception. As in the image to the right, The game received "mixed or average reviews", according to review aggregator [[Metacritic]]. Avoid summative claims that cannot be explicitly verified in reliable, secondary sources.
    Metacritic gives quotable language to summarize a game's reception.
  • Including the number of reviews that are computed to create the review aggregator score can be helpful, since it gives context and can help the reader understand how the score is averaged. The number can either be listed after Metacritic's qualitative summary in prose or footnoted in {{Video game reviews}}. Examples: Team Sonic Racing's reception section
  • "Mixed-to-positive" and "mixed-to-negative" imprecisely describe reception that skews slightly more positive or negative. "Mixed" means "scattered across the board", not "medium", so reviews cannot be both "mixed" and "positive". For precision, "mixed" alone is sufficient. Supplement with specific reviews to describe various positive and negative aspects.
  • Reduce minutiae inappropriate for a general audience. For example, avoid scores and statistics in prose, which are hard for the reader to parse and often impart little qualitative information. These scores should be limited to the {{Video game reviews}} template, if present.
    • Review aggregator Metacritic gave the PC version a score of 76 out of 100 based on 45 reviews from critics, while the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions received scores of 77 and 79, respectively. ... The first review was published by Official Xbox Magazine, which gave the game a 9.5 out of 10. IGN gave it 8.5.
  • Guidelines for {{Video game reviews}}:
    • This template is not required. It supplements the reception section; it does not replace it.
    • All reviews must be referenced: Individual reviews should cite their original publication, not the truncated aggregator summary.
    • Every single-site review source should be used within the reception section. The reviews table supports the text. It is not to replicate the function of external review aggregators.
    • Present numeric scores using numerals only (e.g. 3.5/5 or 9/10). Convert star ratings and other number-based scores to the equivalent numerals without changing the scale or the score itself (e.g. use "3/5" for a score printed as , but do not convert it to a ten-point scale such as "6/10").
    • Aggregators present readers with a quick gauge of the critical consensus.
      • Metacritic is seen as the industry standard.
      • OpenCritic is useful for newer games. Only use OpenCritic's Critics Recommend metric normally. Do not include OpenCritic's Top Critic Average metric in articles that have a Metacritic score.
      • GameRankings is useful for some older games, but is now defunct. Only use GameRankings when a Metacritic score is unavailable. Round aggregator scores to the nearest whole number (e.g., 83.46%83%)
    • (for more, see Template:Video game reviews/doc#Guidelines).
  • User reviews and other self-published sources are unreliable unless these are called to attention in secondary sources, such as if a game was review bombed. In such cases, cite the secondary source(s) describing the event, not the user review itself. This includes user scores on aggregators.


  • When documenting sales, avoid creep; you do not need to document every single sales milestone a game has surpassed. (By March 2017, the game had sold 3 million copies. By September 2017, the game had sold 5 million copies. etc.) It is recommended to limit sales information to the debut sales figures, which indicate the game's initial impact, and the cumulative/most recent figures.


  • Noteworthy awards and nominations that contribute to the overall reception should be documented in prose in this section. Individual publications often use awards to distinguish a game's lasting impact. If a game has received more nominations than can comfortably be discussed without proseline (typically four or more), these should be placed in a table. For the table, only include awards where either the awards individually are notable (e.g. Seumas McNally Grand Prize) or the awards body as a whole is notable (e.g. The Game Awards); omit individual publication awards and ranked lists from the table.
  • Awards included in lists should have a Wikipedia article or be vetted by the community to allow for its inclusion to demonstrate notability. Examples of formatting such tables, typically consistent with accolades from film and television, can be found at God of War and Undertale. Tables with a large number of awards or nominations should be moved to a separate article only if the game article is approaching page size concerns. Examples can be seen with The Last of Us and Red Dead Redemption 2.

Screenshots and cover art[edit]

Wikipedians, while recognizing that screenshots of video games and box or cover art are generally not free images (there are exceptions related to screenshots, as explained below), assert that their usage are protected under the fair use provision of US copyright law. To notify others of the copyright status of such images, uploaded game cover art should include the template {{Non-free video game cover}}. Screenshots of a game should include the template {{Non-free video 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}} template and provide information (see Wikipedia:Non-free content for information on what the requirements are). Game-company logos may use {{Non-free logo}}. 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 in which they appear, 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. {{Non-free use rationale video game screenshot}} is 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 0.1 megapixels. 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. (Reduction of resolution is not required if the screenshot is used as a free image under the exception below)
  • 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.

Cover art[edit]

In most cases, cover art should be used as the identifying artwork in the game's infobox. However, when this is not available, like with digitally distributed games or type-in games, then other forms of identifying art can be used. Other sources of identifying art include:

  • Digital store art - the digital equivalent of a cover, such as an app store icon
  • Instruction manual art - with any information pertaining to the manual itself removed (if possible)
  • Promotional material - advertisements, posters or art accompanying catalogue listings
  • Main title/splash screenshot
  • Photo of the arcade cabinet
  • Photo of the game media - disks, cartridges and other physical media

Only one piece of identifying art should be present in the infobox, regardless of platform or regional differences. English-language art is preferred for identification; if no English-language option is available, then use art from the game's native language. If a suitable English-language cover art already exists on the subject page, consider whether it needs replacing with a different version or if the current one is adequate.

If the game was released for multiple platforms with a similar cover, art without any platform-related logotypes should be used where possible either from an official source or by editing the cover picture in order to create a platform-neutral picture. The only editing that should be done to the original art to achieve this should be the cropping of platform banners and not the removal of any platform specific logos, publisher logos, 3rd party icons, etc. on the art itself.

Covers from PC games are generally considered platform-neutral if they do not feature OS branding (such as a Games for Windows banner). The identifying art should be from the game's original release. If the game was released on other platforms at a later date, the original artwork with its respective platform-related logos should still be used. Exceptions can be made when a later release was significantly more notable than an earlier release.

While {{infobox video game}} offers a |caption= option to caption the cover image, use it if only necessary. The fact that the cover image is being used in the infobox establishes that it is cover art, so it is unnecessary to state this (do not use "Cover art for the game"). It is best to omit the caption if it does not immediately help the reader. Captions can be used in cases where there is significant differences in cover art between release platform or region (beyond logos, labels, and other placement elements), as to identify the specific version being shown. A caption should be used if there is specific discussion of its design as in the case of Ico, or otherwise include information helpful to the reader, for example, cast of characters discussed in the article. For example, the caption on Kingdom Hearts or The World Ends with You identifies multiple central characters in these games. However, it is absolutely not necessary on a cover like Bastion where it is clear the character shown is The Kid as one reads the lead and body.

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.

It is generally accepted that one non-free screenshot can be used on a video game article to supplement the Gameplay section of the article, where the Gameplay section itself is sourced to third-party or secondary sources. Implicitly, any notable video game will have sourced commentary about its gameplay (this is generally a contributing factor to why a game is notable). Add this sourcing in advance of the non-free screenshot so the text can support its conclusion. Avoid adding screenshots to stub-class articles and wait until the article's gameplay has been expanded and sourced. Proper non-free rationales and licensing must be provided for these images to meet the WP:Non-free content criteria (see commonly used templates). Free screenshots are preferred to non-free screenshots, and editors should also consider if a game's screenshot is necessary if the game concepts are straightforward. For example, many first-person shooters or racing games share very common user interface elements and are otherwise unremarkable from each other, so a screenshot for such games could be omitted if there is no significant commentary on the gameplay or art style.

Additional screenshots are required to have stronger justification for their use, backed by third-party or secondary sources, regardless of what aspects of a game they show.


If the video game itself uses a free license (for example GPL), that license extends to screenshots produced by the game. If the license is compatible to licenses used by Wikipedia, those images are free images for Wikipedia use, and they can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and should use the appropriate free software template instead. They do not need a fair use rationale.

Note that it is possible to engage with smaller developers or publishers to request them to provide screenshots and other materials under a free license. Such images can be uploaded directly by the developer to Commons, uploaded to Flickr or other photo-sharing site with appropriate free license terms, or one can following the instructions at WP:CONSENT to secure appropriate license permissions. If you need help, the WikiProject Video Games members can help guide on ways to approach these developers.

There are cases where permission is made possible outside the above process. For example, the loading screen of Overcooked 2 says "Please feel free to use any video footage or screen captures of the game in whatever way you like.", thereby giving permission to use screenshots of the game in Wikipedia. In such cases, provide proof on Commons in addition to the screenshot.

Hardware and physical objects[edit]

For released hardware and peripherals, freely licensed photographs of the subjects should be used in JPEG format. 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 released as free content 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.

Photographs of video game-related toys or promotional materials (such as Amiibo) which include an artistic design also would be considered copyrighted images, and can only be used with a proper non-free rationale.

Freely-licensed photographs of people in video-game related cosplay outfits may be considered free images, despite showing copyrighted design elements. Per Commons, as long as the photograph is not focused on one single facet of the costume (for example, a close-up shot of a cosplayer's mask) and instead takes in the full costume, then the copyrighted elements are considered de minimis and the photograph can be treated as a free license.

Image file formats and names[edit]

For box art, JPEG is acceptable. SVG or PNG are preferred for logos. The file format used for screenshots depends on what type of image it is. JPEGs are usable for most 3D games and some 2D games. Games with a strong emphasis on pixel art or sprites should use PNG. GIFs should only be used for animated images.

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:Halo - Combat Evolved (XBox version - box art).jpg.


Articles related to video games must follow the requirements for verifiability 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 WP: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-2000) 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.

A further complication with video game sources is that most only exist in an online form, and of late, several major reliable gaming sites, like 1UP and Joystiq, have been shuttered by parent companies. Sometimes, the archives of these sites remain, but more often than not, these sites go dark taking previous content with it. Because this can happen with little warning, our reliance on online sources can be problematic. Editors are encouraged to use archiving citations to prevent loss of such articles. This can be done either through using the Wayback Machine at archive.org, which can work for both live sites or sites that have gone dark, or using a Web citation manager such as WebCite to save the contents of the specific page as long as the site is still available. See WP:DEADREF for more information on how to use these tools.

Finding critic reviews 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 WP:WikiProject Video games/Magazines. If you find something relevant to your article on that page, make an appropriate post (try WT:VG/RS) 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.

Cite sources correctly. The titles of websites, newspapers, books, magazines, TV shows, and video games are italicized as creative works with the |work= field. It is not necessary to specify the publisher of a serial publication (including an online one) unless the publisher's and publication's names significantly differ, or the citation would be ambiguous without it. Even in those cases, the |issn= and |oclc= fields (both of which can be identified through WorldCat search) would provide more specificity on the serial.

  • Right: {{cite web |title=Hands On with the Nintendo Labo |website=[[GameSpot]] |date=...}}
  • Wrong: {{cite web |title=Hands On with the Nintendo Labo |publisher=[[GameSpot]] |date=...}}

Also, sites like Google Books and Internet Archive may host or index the work but are not its publisher. Credit those sources in the |via= parameter of the citation template.

Internal links[edit]

A "See also" section is not strictly necessary, and many high-quality and comprehensive articles do not have one. As a general rule, the "See also" section should not repeat links that appear in the article's body.[1] Avoid an indiscriminate list of links to "similar" game articles, instead linking to relevant articles as they are mentioned in the article body. The prose should be written so that readers can easily understand the relevance of the included links, with reference to reliable sources.

If there is a link that might be relevant but it is not mentioned in the article body, use editorial judgment and common sense before including it in a list of internal links.

External links[edit]

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. Please use appropriate external link templates, such as {{MobyGames}}. Only add templates when they provide additional, or corroborative, encyclopedic information to the article.

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

Inappropriate external links: These links should be avoided in video game articles per WP:ELNO, except where either a local consensus has decided a link may be useful, or where the link is for an official page of the article's subject.

  • The video game's profile page at 1UP.com, GameSpot, IGN, GameSpy, GameFAQs, or any other commercial video game news, reviews or walkthrough 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)
  • Forums per WP:ELNO #10 – official ones for the topic of the page may be appropriate per WP:ELYES #1, but take into account WP:ELMINOFFICIAL.
  • Links to fan remakes (homebrew clones) – these are generally included in self-promotion, and may infringe on copyrighted works.
  • Links to storefronts, per WP:ELNO #5 (Steam, Xbox Store, PlayStation Store, Google Play, GOG.com, etc.)

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 copyright-infringing downloads of video games, ROM or ISO images, or other works, per § Restrictions on linking (WP:ELNEVER) #1. This includes materials that may be considered abandonware – while the copyright of these works may be in question, policy forbids even questionable links.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This can include banning of a specific game as well as an entire sub-genre, usually excessively violent or sexually explicit games.
  2. ^ For previous consensus discussion about track lists and video game soundtracks, see WT:WikiProject Video games/Archive 106 § Soundtrack listings.
  3. ^ For consensus discussion about video game soundtrack cover art, see WT:WikiProject Video games/Archive 100 § Use of soundtrack cover art.
  4. ^ It has generally been agreed that Super Mario 64 DS, which is a remake of Super Mario 64, is an example of the absolute minimum requirement to meet the above criteria. For consensus discussion about remake criteria, see WT:WikiProject Video games/Archive 69 § Guidance on separate articles for remakes / ports of existing games.
  5. ^ Adapted from Survey: What are the requirements for series and franchise articles? by User:Panini! based on responses from multiple WP:VG editors.
  6. ^ The first letter of an infobox parameter's data is generally capitalized, e.g.: |genre=[[First-person shooter]], [[survival horror]]. This is also common but not required of list items, e.g.: |genre={{Unbulleted list|[[First-person shooter]]|[[Survival horror]]|[[Hack and slash]]}}.
  7. ^ The first rule of WP:Manual of Style/Capital letters is that "only words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in a substantial majority of independent, reliable sources are capitalized in Wikipedia."
  1. ^ The community has rejected past proposals to do away with this guidance. See, for example, this RfC.