Video games have seamlessly integrated themselves into contemporary entertainment, captivating a global audience of millions. As the gaming industry continues to grow, so do questions about how to properly format and reference video game titles in various forms of writing. One of the most common questions that arises is whether video game titles should be italicized or written in a different format. In this blog post, we’ll explore the rules and conventions for formatting video game titles and provide guidance on when to use italics and when not to.
The General Rule: Italics for Titles
The general rule in English language writing is to italicize the titles of major creative works, such as books, movies, TV shows, albums, and, yes, video games. This practice helps differentiate the title from the surrounding text and adds emphasis. It also conforms to the guidelines established by style manuals like The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook, and the Modern Language Association (MLA) Handbook.
So, if you’re writing about a specific video game and want to mention its title, you should typically italicize it. For example:
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is considered one of the greatest open-world games of all time.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, players can explore a vast, immersive fantasy world.
These examples adhere to the general rule of italicizing titles, whether they are books, movies, or video games.
Exceptions to the Rule
While the general rule is to italicize video game titles, there are situations where you might not italicize them:
1. Informal Writing
In more informal writing, such as social media posts, blog comments, or personal notes, you may choose not to italicize video game titles. It’s common to forgo italics in these contexts to maintain a conversational tone. For example:
- I just started playing Super Mario Odyssey, and it’s so much fun!
2. Style Guide Variations
Different style guides may have variations in their rules for formatting titles. For instance, the AP Stylebook suggests using quotation marks for video game titles rather than italics. So, according to AP style:
- The player’s high score in “Candy Crush Saga” was impressive.
3. Game Titles within Text
When referencing video game titles within a larger body of text, you should always italicize or use quotation marks. For example:
- The protagonist in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is Geralt of Rivia, a skilled monster hunter.
- In Final Fantasy VII, players follow the journey of Cloud Strife and his allies.
4. Capitalization Matters
Remember that capitalization is crucial when formatting video game titles. Always capitalize the first and last words of the title and all major words in between. Minor words like “the,” “of,” and “and” are usually lowercase unless they are the first or last word in the title.
In most cases, video game titles should be italicized to conform to the general rules of title formatting in English writing. However, there are exceptions, particularly in informal writing or when adhering to specific style guides like AP style. The key is to maintain consistency within your writing, whether you choose to italicize, use quotation marks, or follow other formatting guidelines. Understanding these conventions ensures that your writing about video games is clear and professional, no matter the context. So, next time you’re discussing your favorite video game, you’ll know exactly how to format its title correctly!
1. Should I italicize the title of a video game in my research paper or academic writing?
- Yes, in academic writing, it’s generally recommended to italicize the titles of video games, following the conventions for italicizing titles of creative works.
2. Are there any style guides that suggest using quotation marks instead of italics for video game titles?
- Yes, the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook suggests using quotation marks for video game titles. So, according to AP style, you would write “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”
3. Do I need to italicize video game titles in casual or social media writing?
- In informal writing, such as social media posts or personal notes, you can choose not to italicize video game titles to maintain a conversational tone. However, it’s a matter of preference.
4. Are there specific rules for capitalization when formatting video game titles?
- Yes, when formatting video game titles, capitalize the first and last words of the title and all major words in between. Minor words like “the,” “of,” and “and” are usually lowercase unless they are the first or last word in the title.
5. Should I italicize video game titles when mentioning them within a larger body of text?
- Yes, whether you are writing an essay, article, or any other type of text, it’s advisable to italicize or use quotation marks for video game titles when mentioning them within the text to distinguish them from the surrounding content.
6. What about video game series or franchises? How should I format those titles?
- When discussing a series or franchise, apply italics or quotation marks to individual game titles within the series. You may also opt for italics when highlighting the series or franchise name. For instance, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” is part of the larger “Elder Scrolls” series.
7. Are there any exceptions to the rule of italicizing video game titles?
- Some exceptions may arise in very specific contexts or style guides. It’s essential to be aware of the guidelines you’re following and maintain consistency within your writing.
8. Can I use underlining instead of italics for video game titles?
- Traditionally, underlining was used for titles in handwritten or typewritten documents. However, in modern digital writing, italics or quotation marks are the preferred methods for formatting titles.
9. What about game titles that include special characters or symbols? Do I still italicize those?
- Yes, even if a video game title includes special characters or symbols, you should still italicize or use quotation marks as appropriate. For example, “Pac-Man” or “Doki Doki Literature Club!“.
10. Are there any differences in formatting video game titles in different languages or regions?
- The general principles of italicizing or using quotation marks for titles apply across languages and regions. However, specific style guides in different languages or regions may have variations in their rules.