How Do I Cite a Video Game?

Updated July 19, 2017
black game pad and hand image by Warren Millar from

Citing information that you have used in a piece of academic writing is extremely important. It is also essential that you know how to reference and cite different kinds of sources because depending on what kind of source you have used, the citing method will invariably be different. When it comes to citing video games or programs, which are somewhat unusual sources to reference, you need to know the particular way to do so. You must also take into account, and decide, which of the different styles of referencing used by academic institution you wish to use.

Harvard System

Write the date of the the computer game you have referenced in round brackets within the text, next to the title; for instance: as can be seen in "The Sims" (2003).

Type the title of a game, if written in the body of the text, in italics or underlined.

In the bibliography write the name of the originator or author. Type the year of publication in round brackets. Write the game title in italics or underlined, then the medium of the title in square brackets. Finish with the place of publication, followed by a colon and the name of the publisher, for example: Electronic Arts. (2003). The Sims. [DISC]. PlayStation2. London: Electronic Arts Inc.

MLA Referencing System

Type the title of a game, if written in the body of the text, in italics or underlined; just as in the Harvard in text referencing.

Put the date next to the title in round brackets. For example "The Sims" [italics or underlined] (2003); also in the same way as the Harvard in text referencing.

In the bibliography write the game's title in italics or underlined, then a version number (if given), publication place and name followed by the publication date. For example: "The Sims2" [italics or underlined]. Redwood City: Electronic Arts, 2004.

Replace the publication information with the date of access and URL in angle brackets, if the software you are citing is downloaded. For example: "The Sims2" [italics or underlined].Web Cache Illuminator [Underlined]. Vers. 4.02. 12 Nov. 2003

IEEE Referencing System.

Type the title of a game, if written in the body of the text, in italics or underlined--just as in the previous two examples.

Write a number in square brackets, when referencing a source directly in the text, which corresponds to the relative source in the bibliography. For example: this was shown in "The Hobbit" [1].

In the bibliography first write the number of your references, according to when it appears in the text, in square brackets. Write the title in italics or underlined next, then the format it is in, in square brackets. Finally write where it was made followed by a colon and the name of the publisher and publishing date. For example: "The Hobbit" [underlined or in italics]. [CD-ROM]. United Kingdom: Vivendi Universal Games, 2003.

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  • Cite your references as you write, and add each references to your bibliography as you go. This will make it easier and less confusing than leaving the citations until after finishing your work.


  • When using a particular referencing system, such as Harvard, you need to use this system throughout your piece of work. It is not acceptable to use a variety of referencing systems in one piece of writing.

About the Author

Matthew Battle started writing and editing in 2007. He has been published in Cadaverine and Pen Pusher, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of East London.