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The MobyGames Style Guide

Welcome to the MobyGames Style Guide! The purpose of this guide is to show you some shortcuts, tips, and tricks that you can use in writing your entries in the MobyGames database. We'll also clarify some of the more obscure things you'll encounter, like "Company Line", what constitutes "Trivia", and other miscellany.

Note: Reading this is not mandatory; we just thought it would make your life easier and answer some questions for you.

Here's what we'll cover:

Tips and Tricks:

FAQs about specific fields:

FAQs about common mistakes:


Tips and Tricks

Easy linking with MobyTags

"MobyTags" are MobyGames-specific extensions to HTML that enable you to link to different parts of the MobyGames database in any text you write, whether it be Trivia, a game's Description, a Review... almost anywhere. The basic form is:

< moby identifier="string">descriptive text< /moby>

Identifier can be either company, developer, game, attribute, or gamegroup, and it restricts the search to companies, developers, or game titles, attributes, game groups and respectively. There's also a generic form search that will do a quick search on the term and not restrict it to any category. They're easy to learn; they work just like regular HTML. For example, if you wanted to insert a reference to Sid Meier, you could do so like this:

...the developer of Alpha Centauri, < moby developer="Sid Meier">the great Sid Meier< /moby>, got his start...

The text "the great Sid Meier" becomes a link to Sid Meier's rap sheet when it gets displayed by MobyGames. References to companies and other games are also easy. Just look at this example for a company:

...Wasteland was developed by < moby company="Interplay">Interplay< /moby> in 1986, but wasn't released...
And here's a link to another game in the database:

... Doom 2 was the sequel to < moby game="Doom">the original Doom < /moby> which...


Sometimes there are multiple games in the database with the same game, and the system won't know which game you are talking about by name alone. For example, Frogger was released in 1983 for the Apple II and again in 1997 for Playstation. If you want to further specify the game, you can enter the platform:

... Frogger II: Three Deep was the sequel to < moby game="Frogger" platform="Apple II">the original Frogger < /moby> which...


And here's a link to another game group in the database:

...Wasteland was completely unlike < moby gamegroup="Ultima">the Ultima series of games < /moby> because of the addition of skills...
And here's a link to an attribute in the database:

...there are many systems, like < moby attribute="ESRB">ESRB < /moby> that rate games content...

Easy, eh? Feel free to use mobytags to spice up your reviews, make references to other games in your entries... wherever you feel a link may be appropriate. Just make sure you include the "company", "developer", or "title" identifier, because if you don't, the end results are unpredictable (there is no "default behavior" for mobytags).

Tip: If you want to link to a game that isn't in the database at the time you write your text, it's best to add a mobytag for it anyway, since it will be in the database eventually.

If you aren't sure, leave it blank

We all pride ourselves on being as accurate as possible. To that end, if you're not sure of a specific attribute like memory usage or DOS version, just leave it blank. No answer at all is better than a wrong answer.

Formatting Made Easy

Some limited formatting is available to you when you write text for a description, company line, etc. Here are the additional features we recognize once we get text from the web browser:

  • Hit enter twice to start a new paragraph. We automatically convert a blank line into a new paragraph start.
  • Use HTML formatting. Ordered and unordered lists work well in Company Line; you can also use em, u, i, b, blockquote, and other HTML tags to mark up your text.

FAQs about specific fields

Why are descriptions so important?

This will be clarified more fully later in the Style Guide, but since there's been some mounting confusion about what a description is supposed to be, I'll write a couple of sentences about it:

Descriptions are the cornerstone of a game entry. Next to a proper title and basic release information (platform, publisher, year), descriptions are the most important piece of information you can enter about a game. Since one of the goals MobyGames was founded on was accuracy, we really have to insist that descriptions contain at least one sentence that describes the purpose/plot of the game, and another sentence that describes the game's mechanics. This is easy enough, but there are a couple of things you definitely should not do:

  • Don't describe the game by basing it entirely on comparisons to other existing games. People reading your description may not be familiar with those other games.
  • Don't put anything opinionated at all into the description. Don't say that it sucks, don't say that it's great. Don't do it even slightly unless you enjoy getting your description edited. Sentences like:
    • "(name) is a great game that was undervalued by most gamers"
    • "(name) is an adventure game sporting innovative level design"
    • "(name) is a Doom clone that adds nothing new to the genre"

    ...etc. may be completely true and accurate to you, but they are opinions and we can't have opinions in descriptions because opinions are open to interpretation. A description is supposed to be based in fact, and not open to interpretation. (Now, if you feel people should know about what you think is great or terrible about a game, please by all means write a review! You can say anything you want to in a review as long as it won't get someone sued :-)

  • Don't copy the back of the box or a website as the description. These are marketing rhetoric, and while they are historically significant and also provide a valuable different viewpoint, they are not objective and should be put into the Company Line/Ad Blurb section instead.

What's the correct way to type a title?

There are three things to remember when typing the title to a game:

  1. Put the word "The" at the end of the title ("Seventh Guest, The")
  2. Capitalize every word if you're not sure of the exact case ("Zak McCracken And The Alien Mindbenders")

Following these rules makes the alphanumeric sorting and searching more accurate this way. Of course, if you forget, we'll probably catch it and fix it anyway. So if you want to completely ignore this section, feel free. :-)

What's "Company Line"?

"Company Line" is the text from the company's advertisement for that game. It's what's displayed when you select "Ad Blurb" while viewing a game's Rap Sheet. Why do we care about this? Two reasons:

  1. Sometimes the description for a game isn't descriptive enough, whereas the official advertisement is
  2. Ad companies put a lot of hard work describing the game, and usually do a good and creative job

It's only fair that the company who produced the game have the chance to represent it. Sometimes the ad copy serves as a historical barometer of what users found appealing in a game ("Amazing 3D graphics!", "Point and click interface, no typing!", etc.), so it definitely has historical significance.

What qualifies as a Trivia entry?

Practically anything! Funny/interesting strings found in the game executable or while the program is running; easter eggs; hidden relationships between game characters; bugs in the game; whatever. If you think it's interesting, add it to Trivia. (Some people live for this stuff.) All we ask is that you do not submit cheat codes, patches/cracks, or walkthroughs, since there are many other online databases that specialize in those.

Why are my URLs broken?

External URLs: All URLs need to be fully-qualified URLs, which means that the "http://" or "ftp://" needs to be there. We usually catch these, but if we miss one, this is why. Let us know to correct it by mailing a description of what's broken.

Internal URLs: All references to MobyGames URLs should strip off the "*.mobygames.com" portion. For example, if you want to link to Forsaken and the displayed URL was:

http://pc.mobygames.com/game/sheet/gameId=117/

...you should instead truncate this to:

/game/sheet/gameId=117/

This is because while you saw Forsaken on the PC page, it actually came out for the PC, Nintendo 64, Playstation, and possibly other platforms. The abbreviated URL is platform-independant and will display properly on any "filter" the user may be running.


FAQs about common mistakes

Why were some of my screenshots rejected?

Screenshots serve as an example of gameplay. Some people like to submit 20 or more screenshots of the lavish introduction, and only two or three of actual gameplay. While the introduction is important, it takes a back seat to gameplay, so we may reject some of the introductory screenshots if they don't significantly belong there.

Why was my review rejected?

We don't censor reviews, but we do expect a standard quality of writing be maintained. Foul language, childish writing, slander, or just plain st00pid reviews are rejected. You are encouraged to edit the review and resubmit it; instructions for doing so are sent to you when it gets rejected.

Why was my description edited?

As stated in our legal disclaimers, we reserve the right to edit any information in the MobyGames database. We reserve this right for many reasons, but mostly because it helps clean up the database and make it more appealing. We may edit entries for one or more reasons:

  • Gross spelling, grammar, punctuation, or other grammatical mistakes or typos (however we do make allowances for non-native English speakers--it adds to your charm ;-)
  • Not long enough ( at least two to three paragraphs describing the game, plot and gameplay mechanics )
  • Not objective enough (descriptions are supposed to be objective, not subjective--if you want to be subjective, write a review for the game)
  • Inaccurate information (Fear our gaming knowledge kung-fu.)
  • Vulgarity or inappropriate language (see "Not objective enough" above)
  • Made up entirely of references to other games ("KQ4 is the sequel to KQ3. Gameplay is similar to KQ1 and KQ2." is not an adequate description!)
  • Reprinted from another source ( write the description in your own words )