Italicize Video Game Titles in APA Format: Yes or No?

Video games are an ever-increasing source of entertainment and in today’s world, require more conventions when being cited. If you are a content creator, it is important to reference titles correctly using proper citation style, especially when it comes to APA style. One common question asked is whether video game titles should be italicized in APA format. In this blog post, we will dive into the details to answer this question and provide some helpful tips to cite video games in APA style.

What is APA (American Psychological Association) format?

APA format is a primary citation style used for many academic fields such as psychology, sociology, and education. The main idea behind APA style is to provide a uniform and standardized approach to citing sources in academic writing. It not only establishes specific guidelines for writers to follow but also ensures that the readers can easily access and verify the information cited in the writing.

How to format video game titles in APA style:

When citing video game titles in APA, there are specific guidelines that you should follow. The main rule is that the title should be italicized. This not only emphasizes the title but also makes it easier for readers to identify it as a game title. The APA rule for formatting titles is: *Italicize, or underline, titles of longer works (e.g. books, movies, anthologies, TV shows, and albums).* This rule makes it straightforward for writers to apply the same rule when referencing a video game title.

Just like any other citation, the video game title should be followed by the year of publication, if known, or n.d. (no date) if the publication date is unknown. For example:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015).

It is important to note that APA style also requires the use of capitalization and punctuation in specific ways. In the example above, the colon is used to separate the title and the year. The title of the game is written in the title case with all the important words being capitalized. This includes words such as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. However, any conjunctions or prepositions with fewer than four letters should be in lowercase.

Should DLCs and add-ons be italicized?

Downloadable content (DLC) and add-ons are additional content made available after the initial release of a video game. They can include anything from new levels, new characters, and even entire new adventures. As you consider how to cite these extras in APA format, keep in mind that it is best to separate them from the main game title using brackets. Here is an example:

Fallout 4 [Video game], Far Harbor DLC (2016).

In this example, the main game title is separated from the DLC title by brackets. The year of publication for the DLC title is also included.

When should you use non-italicized game titles in APA format?

Not all video games fall under the same citation style when it comes to APA format. Some games may not follow the italicization rule, especially when it comes to online games like Fortnite, or Minecraft, or browser games like Candy Crush. For instance, if a player uses the game title in a sentence that is not a citation, the title does not need to be italicized. Here is an example:

*My favorite game is Candy Crush.*

Here, Candy Crush is used in a sentence, and the title is not italicized because it is not a citation.


In conclusion, it is essential to italicize the title of a video game when citing it in APA format. This provides clarity and consistency in academic writing. The main rule to remember is that video game titles should be treated just like any other title and be italicized. When citing DLCs or add-ons, separate them from the main game title using brackets and include the year of publication. Lastly, keep in mind that not all video games need to be italicized in every instance; only italicize game titles when explicitly citing them in your writing. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your citations are professional and consistent, which is a crucial aspect of academic writing.

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