Academic Videogame-Referencing Project
Started: 15 July 2003___Updated: 31 August 2005 (minor corrections)
As the academy becomes more and more earnestly engaged in videogame research, the need for standardization becomes more apparent in a number of interrelated areas. The purpose of this memo is to introduce an initial effort that has been made in response to a very practical and narrow issue of videogame-citation in formal papers submitted to conferences and journals. The current situation (summer 2003) is unacceptable: many writers do not provide references to the videogames they describe, or they do it in a disorganized fashion. The writing style-guides do not cover videogames, or only do it in limited and inadequate ways.
A DIGRA List discussion on this topic has brought to light a number of relevant concerns and allowed us to compile the first draft of a style-guide. The problem of citation is less trivial than might appear at first sight and is closely related to the larger and more important problems of systematic collecting, describing, cataloguing, and preserving games. A sustained and iterative co-operative effort is required for the adequate infrastructures to be put in place.
Here is the site that contains a draft style-guide and a discussion log. Due to the inherent dynamism and diversity of videogames, as well as a multitude of possible research standpoints, it is impossible to devise an exhaustive universal template. Instead we set out to put together a minimally sufficient structure that allows precise referencing and can be expanded in text or foot/endnotes. Please use this site for guidance and let us know of the template's successes and limitations. We shall try to incorporate suggestions and corrections and show submitted idiosyncratic examples (formatted excerpts, papers, or bibliographic samples) that stretch or redefine the template's boundaries. These can be numerous: think of all the current and future extensions, mods, maps, skins, hacks, and cheats and what they do to a particular set of issues that make you want to flex your theoretical muscle.