On Video Game Title Punctuationon December 13, 2012 at 8:14 am
We’re a small outfit here at Control Freaks. As such, we don’t get a lot of feedback, though I suppose no news is good news.
So, when I do receive feedback/questions, I feel compelled to address them. Several people have asked me about the punctuation for video game titles. As you may have noticed, I make it a point to put them in quotes. The vast majority of Internet publications italicize, so what gives?
Two main reasons:
1. The Associated Press style guide clearly states:
Use quotation marks around the titles of books, songs, television shows, computer games, poems, lectures, speeches and works of art. Examples: Author Porter Shreve read from his new book, “When the White House Was Ours.” They sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the game.
Do not use quotations around the names of magazine, newspapers, the Bible or books that are catalogues of reference materials. Examples: The Washington Post first reported the story. He reads the Bible every morning.
Do not underline or italicize any of the above.
Why do I follow AP Style? Well, I worked for a newspaper as a copy editor and designer for three years in college. In that time, I also wrote a weekly gaming column (if anyone cares, I can dig up some old links for ya’s). As such, I had to conform to the same style as hard news articles.
2. It’s a pain in the ass to go into an article and manually format ever instance of a game title. Articles come in from Word and Google Docs, so I usually copy/paste and strip out the formatting, makes it easier to work with. Adding quotation marks with find/replace saves a lot of time. And if the titles are already “properly” punctuated, format won’t mean a thing, since it uses characters instead of HTML code.
Also, I’m in the printing industry, so I have a soft spot for old typesetting trends. Which would be easier for a pressman: dropping in quotes before and after, or digging out the italic font case?
So, a book you’ve probably never heard of, and the habits of old technology and dying media. If AP revises their style, I will happily follow suit. Until then, the quotation are staying put.
Don’t worry, I’m not a hipster; hipsters are too mainstream.