How do I cite and quote a happening in a game? I am looking for more detail than just game and version number in the citation. How can I cite events and quote the actions of characters in my analysis of the game? As you probably know the story line for games is sometimes not exactly.. linear.

I have already made several web searches concerning this question, but Google thinks I want to play citation games and find video game quotes; only a tiny amount of results are actually relevant and the few that are fail to answer my questions.

I am using MLA.


2 Answers 2


Cite the game according to your style guide's format, and provide any more specific context you feel is necessary as part of the lead-in and text surrounding the quote or reference.

The Traveller's sudden incarceration on his first arrival in the 233rd Age parallels the Traveller's arrival in Riven: an automated trap is sprung and the Traveller forced to wait until his jailor notices. In contrast to Cho's earnestly memorised but unintelligible interrogation, however, Ghen's greeting is a civil and insincere apology for using "less civilised methods than I might otherwise have chosen."

Cyan Worlds. Riven: The Sequel to Myst. Red Orb Entertainment, 1997. Mac.


I'm surprised that you chose BESW's answer which only gives you an example for how to cite a video game, but does not actually explain what you asked for, namely citing events in a video game.

I'll try to answer that.

To refer to a specific plot element of a video game in a scholarly paper, you need to first identify the structure of the game. Usually games are either structured by "levels" (as in Prince of Persia), location independent narrative or plot (e.g. achieving a certain in-game goal such as acquiring a new party member or gaining a new ability), adventures (that is, complete-in-themselves subplots), or "location" (usually accessible via a map).

So when you analyze video games as a scholar (as opposed to a reviewer or fan), you need to do so in a structured manner and refer to the internal structure of the game, either as it is defined through the publisher (e.g. by map area) or as you have found it through your analysis of the plot. In the case that you refer to a structure no readily obvious to any game player, your paper needs to include the complete structure as a table or appendix, and you can then refer to this depiction of the structure when you refer to an element of that structure.

  • Very helpful, +1. Could you provide an example of what a MLA citation would look like with a specified plot area? Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 5:24

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