menu

How to Cite a Video Game in a Bibliography


Creating MLA or APA citations for books and articles is a familiar process for many students. You will be relieved to learn that the rules for citing a video game hardly differ from the guidelines with which you are already familiar. It may be difficult to locate all of the information that MLA and APA request for video game citations, particularly if you are citing a web-based game. However, both guides are flexible and allow you to simply omit any information you cannot find.

MLA Format: Console-Based Video Game

To cite a console-based video game in MLA format, type the name of the company or person who developed the game. To cite a person, list his last name followed by a comma, a space, and his full first name. Place a period at the end of the name entry. Enter the title of the game in title case: capitalize the first letter of every word except for articles. Italicize the title and insert a period at the end. Add the name of the company that published or distributed the game. This should be the name of the manufacturer, not the store or site where the game was purchased. Place a comma after the name. Leave a space and note the game’s copyright year followed by a period. Enter the type of console on which you played the game. If you played the game on a computer, note “Computer software.” Add a period to the end of the console entry. For example:

Artificial Mind and Movement. Carmen Sandiego (italicized). BAM Entertainment, 2004. GameCube.

MLA Format: Web-Based Video Game

To cite a web-based video game in MLA format, type the name of the company or person who developed the game. To cite a person, list his last name followed by a comma, a space, and his full first name. Enter the title of the game in italicized title case and insert a period at the end. Cite the version or edition number for the game in Arabic numerals followed by the ordinal designation. Leave a space and add the abbreviation “ed.” Type the publisher’s or distributor’s name followed by a comma. Leave a space and note the game’s copyright year. Add a period. If the year is not available, place a period at the end of the website name instead of a comma. Type “Web” to note the medium. Add the date you accessed the game in day-month-year format and abbreviate the month. Place a period after the year. The seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers does not require you to list the URL for online sources. However, if your professor requires the URL, include it after the access date. Enclose it in angled brackets. For example:

Taylor, Sam. Museum Masters: Hunting for Historical Treasures (italicized). 4th ed. Game Makers, 2012. Web. 1 May 2012. http://gamesite.com/museummasters/hunthistoricaltreasures/

APA Format: Console-Based Video Game

To cite a console-based video game in APA format, type the name of the company or person who developed the game. To cite a person, list his last name followed by a comma, a space, and his first initial. Place a period at the end of the name entry. Insert an open parenthesis. Enter the copyright year. Add a close parenthesis and a period. Type the name of the program in sentence case: only capitalize the first letter of the first word, the first word after a colon (if any), and proper nouns. Leave a space and make an open parenthesis. Type the word “Version” followed by a space, the version number and a close parenthesis. Leave another space and make an open bracket. State the type of console on which you played the game. Add a close bracket and a period. If you played the game on a computer, state “Computer software.” Type the publisher’s location in city-comma-state format. Use the two-letter state abbreviation. Leave a space and enter the publisher or distributor. This should be the name of the manufacturer, not the store or site where the game was purchased. Place a period at the end of the publisher’s name. For example:

Artificial Mind and Movement. (2004). Carmen Sandiego (italicized) (Version 4) [GameCube]. San Jose, CA: BAM Entertainment.

APA Format: Web-Based Video Game

To cite a web-based video game in APA format, type the name of the company or person who developed the game. To cite a person, list his last name followed by a comma, a space and his first initial. Insert an open parenthesis. Note the copyright year. Add a close parenthesis and a period. Enter the name of the game in italicized sentence case. Leave a space and make an open parenthesis. Type the word “Version” followed by a space, the version number and a close parenthesis. Leave another space and make an open bracket. Type “Online video game” to note the medium. Enter a close bracket and a period. Type the publisher’s location in city-comma-state format. Use the two-letter state abbreviation. Place a colon immediately after the state. Leave a space and enter the publisher’s name. Add a period. Type the phrase “Game portal located at” then enter the URL to complete the citation. For example:

Taylor, S. (2012). Museum masters: Hunting for historical treasures (italicized) (Version 4.0) [Online video game]. Washington, DC: Game Makers. Game portal located at http://gamesite.com/museummasters/hunthistoricaltreasures/

APA Format: Web-Based Video Game Without an Author

If the developer or designer is unknown, follow the APA instructions for citing a web-based video game, as described in Section 4, but place the parenthetical year between the medium and the city of publication. The reference should begin with the name of the game, the parenthetical version number, the bracketed medium and then the year. For example:

Museum masters: Hunting for historical treasures (italicized) (Version 4.0) [Online video game]. (2012). Washington, DC: Game Makers. Game portal located at http://gamesite.com/museummasters/hunthistoricaltreasures/

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

Photo Credits
  • Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images