This document is not current, and is kept only for archival purposes. Please refer to Everything2 Help for all up-do-date help documents.This is a simple primer to noding video games, be they arcade games, console games, handheld games, or computer games. The same basic principles apply to games from Space War to the latest major releases.
While there's no rule dictating that you must use these hints, it's a good checklist for making the perfect (video game) node, as the list below is the basic core information needed to make a writeup useful, as well as place it in a context. A writeup on Super Mario Brothers 3 that goes into detail about the quality of the graphics, for example, would be rather silly if no writeup in the node mentioned that it was an NES title.
When in doubt, add extra information in your writeup. For example, if there's an alternate version of the game you are noding, but you can't find any other information, mention the alternate; someone else will probably node it themselves.
For those who would like ideas for a video game node, Insert Coin's homenode, maintained by the videogames group, has a list of games, people, and subjects direly in need of content rescue. Any game not already in the big video games list would also make a good candidate.
Naming the Node
As always, do a search on all of the possible alternate names for the game, and also check what's already noded via the video games metanode. Try not to duplicate content.
Use the publisher's name for the game, as appears on the packaging and in press releases. The latter are important because often the packaging has advertising slogans. Halo is preferred over Halo: Combat Evolved, for example. (In the case of older arcade games, use the name from the marquee - the label at the top of the cabinet - rather than the name on the title screen.)
Go back and double-check the packaging and the press releases. The most common mistakes caused by this are forgetting "the" at the beginning of a name (The Legend of Zelda), including or excluding spaces (Game Boy, Mega Man), or noding games under nicknames (use The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, not Zelda 64.)
Include a subtitle for the game only if it is needed for identification (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, for example) or if the game is commonly known by alternately the first and second name (Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2). However, if the subtitle isn't necessary for identification, exclude it. (Ogre Battle 64 is preferred to Ogre Battle 64: Persons of Lordly Caliber.)
Namespace a game with the series name only if common usage includes the series name. This is of particular note with the Legend of Zelda series, which should always be namespaced, or Star Wars games, which should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
If a game has multiple titles in different regions or countries, all of the titles are valid for noding, particularly due to international differences. For example, Resident Evil is known as Biohazard in Japan; both could be noded.
Often, a game won't have an English title. Try to use the name most commonly used in the US; Seiken Densetsu 3 should be used instead of Secret of Mana 2, however Earthbound Zero should be used instead of Mother.
What You Must Include. Really.
Try and make sure you include all of the things in this list, if applicable. All of them are core information for any video game node. If you make a writeup in a video game node that lacks this info, please make sure these are included.
Generally, you only need to worry about covering this basic information if you are writing an all-encompassing writeup for a game. If you are only discussing a limited aspect (modifying an arcade game, for example), there's no need to add information like this. That said, extra information is always good.
Platform - While this may seem to be obvious, this is helpful to completely uninformed readers, as well as a useful note as to what version of the game you are talking about, in the event that there's a version of the game of which you are unaware.
Alternate versions - Mention any alternate versions of the game, especially if they are identical. At the very least, mention other versions in passing, so that other noders can post their own information. Commonly missed are Macintosh/Linux ports, portable versions (particularly sticky can be Game.com or e-Reader remakes), arcade versions (particularly in the case of games that rose to fame on consoles), minigame remakes (as in Animal Crossing), Colecovision/Intellivision versions of of Atari 2600/7800 games.
Release Date - Try and get the exact day. Failing that, the month and year or just the year should be considered a requirement. Noting international release dates is also nice, but not required.
Format and Hardware - Make sure you mention whether the game was released on floppy, CD (including the number of CDs, for console games), cartridge, HuCard, punch card, etc. If the game required a peripheral, like the Sega 32X, you need to mention that.
Arcade games, due to their variety of formats and technologies, are a special case, and this info can be enough for a full writeup on its own. What kind of hardware would someone need to run the game? Did the game come in a dedicated cabinet, conversion kit, or both? Was there a cocktail or cockpit version available, or were they all upright machines? Did the game use a medium res or VGA monitor? Did the game use a proprietary technology in the arcade, like Capcom's CPS system? Did the game use standard controls, or special ones? What were they, and how could you repair or replace them?
Developer, Publisher, and Staff Notables - The publisher and developer are absolute musts. It's also a good idea to include any prominent figures in the video games industry involved in the game's design, and when noting the developer, mentioning any later names of the development team is helpful. (For example, while Konami is credited with developing Contra, that developers would go on to leave Konami and become known as Treasure. Some groups with similar histories are Rareware, DMA Design, and the untitled creators of the Ogre Battle Saga and Final Fantasy Tactics.)
ESRB Ratings - If the game is new enough to be have been rated by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (or another authority, like the ELSPA in the UK), then mention the rating. Elaboration on the reasons for the rating (and possibly the descriptors; try looking on esrb.org) is nice, but not necessary.
/msg Insert Coin - Send Insert Coin a /msg with the title of any game nodes, be they about prominent figures in the video games industry, video games characters, video games platforms, or just about video games. Generally, there's a metanode that your node will fit into, and, hey, who doesn't like free nodevertising?
Some excellent sources for this kind of basic, dry information would be gamefaqs.com, klov.com, gamers.com, 3dgamers.com, vgmuseum.com, and classicgaming.com.
What You May Like To Include.
On the other hand, E2 is not any of those sites, and the job of recording dry, inoffensive information is taken. While database information is all well and good, it should be paired with context, descriptions, and, one would hope, your own inimitable writing style.
Gameplay - Describe the way the game plays. Compare it to other games, or just describe it abstractly, but do give the reader an idea of how the game actually plays.
History - Some games have an interesting story as to how they came to exist; try and research and mention this if possible. Try and describe the hype that surrounded the game's release; was it a sleeper hit, a cult classic, the game of that year's E3? If the game was a hit, why was it a hit? Or why did it flop? What features were advertised or promoted? Which weren't? Did the game spawn imitators? Was it an imitator? All of this is the kind of info that makes a game node more than the dry listings on the KLOV. There's a lot to say about the context into which the game was released.
Community - Some games have associated online communities, to be found on the web or in usenet newsgroups. Information about this, locations and significant figures and history, may make your node a more juicy read. Sometimes, the communities may be more interesting than the games!
Both Sides of the Controversy - People argue about games. A lot. Some games seem to spark controversy, though, whether it be between gamers and regulatory groups (Mortal Kombat) or among gamers themselves (Tomb Raider). Try and cover both sides of the controversy, rather than turning the nodes for these games into GTKY debates.
Technology - Some games, like the Legend of Zelda or Quake, were major technical achievements. Make sure you mention these kinds of landmarks. If the game used unusual hardware, like special chips or accessories, or new graphic techniques, or whatever, try and mention it, as well as the impact. In the case of arcade games, try and find out what the wiring scheme (JAMMA, JAMMA+, Konami Standard, etc.) was, if you can.
Emulation - If the game can be emulated, do mention how well it emulates, as well as any notable facts (Is there a variant ROM people should use? Should people be careful of incomplete/corrupt rips, as with Castlevania III?) In general, there's no need to mention the emulator, except in the case of arcade games.
Packaging - Describe the cartridge label and box art, or arcade cabinet, or CD/DVD case, or whatever packaging the game came with, if you can, as it often can remind players of games they had otherwise forgotten.
Points of Failure - Is is a vector graphics arcade game, with the notoriously unreliable monitors? Is it an arcade game with a suicide battery? Is it a console game with a savegame battery? If the game has some common point of failure, it's helpful to mention the problem, as well as any workarounds.
The Progression of the Series - If the game you are noding shares its name with the whole series, do mention (and preferably hard link) the rest of the games, at least in passing. If the game is part of a series, explaining how it fits into the series (story, gameplay changes, etc.) is probably a good idea. Some series deserve a full writeup (or multiple writeups) on the whole series, of course.
Many noders will add a small series progression bar at the bottom of the w/u, for quick reference. For example (taken from Metal Gear Solid):
Metal Gear - Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake - Metal Gear Solid - Metal Gear: Ghost Babel - Metal Gear Solid 2
Things To Avoid
Please don't do this stuff.
Nodesquatting - Please, please, please don't node speculation about a game, unless there's a lot of misinformation or some other pressing reason to node it early. After about three or six months, your w/u just went from useful to work for the editors, and they're all busy, nice folk, so let's not make their job harder. Not only this, but nodesquatting can lead to misplaced w/us under interim or imagined titles, like Metal Gear Solid X.
Duplicating Content - Search for all of the possible variant names for the game, and make very sure that the information in your node isn't elsewhere. This is particularly important for subnodes about a game; for a long time Observations on the Final Fantasy series had much the same information as Final Fantasy. The exception is with international editions of a game, as these generally have substantive differences. For example, Mariokart Advance and Mario Kart Super Circuit overlap somewhat, but this is okay.
Making Subnodes - In general, if you're noding an aspect of a game rather than the game itself, it's preferable to put the info in the game's node. For example, if you want to node Killer Instinct's combo system, put the info in Killer Instinct, not Killer Instinct combo system. This isn't a hard and fast rule; feel free to break it if you have a lot of information (Final Fantasy Tactics Job list).
Cut and paste writeups will die - Don't cut and paste from GameFAQs, and don't cut and paste giant swathes from the manual. The former we can go and read ourselves, and the latter is copyrighted material too. That said, amusing quotes, story summaries, or other short excerpts from the manual are fine.
Avoid Highly Subjective Writeups - Please, please, please, please don't make your w/u a rant about how unspeakably awful a game is without at least covering the basic information. Same goes for gushing about how much you love a game; the internet already has lots of useless fanboy rants. Everything is NOT a BBS.
While you can probably find a template for covering all of the basic information for a game simply by looking at a few high-rated game nodes, here's a template that covers the basic information.
For quick reference, simply cut and paste:
<strong>Date Published</strong>: <br>
Again, you can simply cut and paste:
<B>[Atari 2600] Game</B><BR>
<B>Produced by:</B> [Insert manufacturer]<BR>
<B>Model Number:</B> insert model number<BR>
<B>[Atari rarity guide|Rarity]:</B> insert rarity number<BR>
<B>Year of Release: [insert year here]<BR>
<B>[Atari 2600 game programmers|Programmer]:</B> [Insert programmer here]
Originally distilled from Insert Coin's homenode, Insert Coin and amib's writeups in video games, and fondue's, Carthag's, and TheBooBooKitty's writeups in Computer And Video Games : Noding convention for entries. Template originally based on one by Carthag. Written based on input from videogames.