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 what constitutes "Trivia", "Official Description" and other miscellany.
- Tips and Tricks
- FAQs about specific fields
- FAQs about common mistakes
Tips and Tricks
We accept basic HTML (
<b>, <i>, <blockquote>, <a>) and Markdown in most textfields, like game descriptions, company and people overviews, trivia and the forums.
"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.
If you want to link directly to an existing game, company, person or group, use gameid, personid (or developerid), companyid or gamegroupid respectively. e.g.,
...<moby gameid="126">King's Quest III</moby> was developed by
<moby companyid="17">Sierra On-Line</moby>...
We also accept an identifier attribute using a string:
<moby identifier="string">descriptive text</moby>
Identifier can be either game, person (or developer), company, attribute, or gamegroup, and it restricts the search to game titles, companies, people, attributes and game groups. 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 person="Sid Meier">Sid Meier</moby>, got his start by...
The text "Sid Meier" becomes a link to Sid Meier's profile 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 to check that the result is working as you expect by using Preview.
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.
FAQs about specific fields
Why are descriptions so important?
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 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"
- 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 Official Description/Ad Blurb section instead.
What's "Official Description"?
"Official Description" (or "Company Line") is the text from the company's official advertisement for that game. It's what's displayed when you select "Ad Blurb" while viewing a game overview if there isn't a MobyGames approved description. Why do we care about this? Two reasons:
- Sometimes the description for a game isn't descriptive enough, whereas the official advertisement is
- 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 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.
Internal URLs: All references to MobyGames URLs should strip off the "www.mobygames.com" portion. For example, if you want to link to King's Quest III and the displayed URL was:
...you should instead truncate this to:
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 removed?
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 may be removed.
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 )