Author Topic: OFFICIAL Style Guide  (Read 30854 times)


OFFICIAL Style Guide
« on: February 07, 2011, 10:18:52 am »
In an effort to keep our listings clean and consistent, @scott has started to put together a style guide. Please refer to this when adding or updating any items. A more detailed version can be found here: Advanced Style Guide.

  • Ideally the best option would be to scan your own items. Photo's are acceptable but should be taken straight on and have no glare. Poor or unevenly lit photos will be rejected.
  • Images should be as high-res as possible, and without extra blank space on the sides.
  • Watermarked images will be denied if they are submitted as an edit, and any items that were submitted with watermarked images will have those images deleted.
  • Images must have a width greater than 200px and must be in JPG format. Files must be smaller than 2MB.
  • Make sure that the image you are adding matches up exactly with the item you are adding. If you are not sure that the image you are using is for your item, then do not add it.
  • Do not use North American ESRB covers on EU/PAL items, or vice versa.
  • Do not add fan-made, fake, or replacement artwork from places such as The Cover Project to the site.
  • After the release of a game do not upload covers that have a ESRB RP rating unless it is a demo disc/cart. For European games, do not upload images with the "Provisional" label under the PEGI rating.
  • If the item has no outer packaging (pack-in items, unofficial releases, bootleg/homebrew games, merchandise, console accessories or controllers (without a separate retail release), the image of the loose item can be placed as Front Art/Image. Leave Back Art and Card Art images blank.
  • For Steam and other downloadable games see section below

Collector's/Special/Limited Edition Box Art:

Keeping in the spirit of accuracy: Collector's/ Limited Editions which are releases in a separate retail box should have the artwork depicting the retail packaging, rather than the DVD case's artwork. If the Special Edition is only a special DVD case and not in a different box, then the artwork will be of the DVD case. Also, any game that came included with a special controller, microphone, guitar, etc should have the full retail packaging as the box art.

Examples of Collector's Editions:

Examples of DVD Case Only Collector's Editions:

Example of Controller/ Accessory Packs:

Game Titles:
Most game titles can be determined by just using the words on the front of the case or box the game comes in. However due to publishers using fancy logos or additional words added for legal reasons, sometimes it can be difficult to determine a name. The same applies for items with non-Latin characters such as Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc. If you have trouble determining a name for a game, use the title that is used by one of these Common Name Sources:
1. GameFAQs
2. MobyGames

Commonly Accepted Name exceptions: click here

Use the item's commonly accepted regional release title, written in the language written on the case, but in the Latin alphabet (the letters we commonly use.)
Latin character ASCII codes and (in)definite articles in non-English titles in post #4 (below) of this thread.

  • Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (NA)
  • Dragon Quest VIII: The Journey of the Cursed King (EU)
  • Dragon Quest VIII: Sora to Umi to Daichi to Norowareshi Himegimi (JP)

The Alternate Title field is used to list other titles that the game is known as in other regions, the game's full title as represented on the packaging, and other common names to aid in searching.

  • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (US / EU) would have Castlevania: Byakuya no Concerto (its Japanese title)
  • Gunbullet (Japan) would have Point Blank (its US title)
  • Fahrenheit (Europe) would have Indigo Prophecy (its US title)
  • SoulCalibur (US / EU) would have Soul Calibur (common error)
  • Mega Man X4 (US /EU) would have MegaMan X4 (actual wording on game has no space)
English titles that begin with The, A and An should be written like this:

  • Legend of Dragoon, The
  • Legend of Zelda, The: Ocarina of Time
  • American Tail, An: Fievel's Gold Rush

Games that begin with "The" and have another "The" afterwards should be written like so:

  • Lord of the Rings, The: The Return of the King
  • Legend of Zelda, The: The Wind Waker

Games with non-alpha symbols in place of letters: If the symbol replaces a letter, use the letter it replaces. If the symbol is not part of the word, it should not be put into the title

  • Gal Gun: Double Peace (omit the ✫)
  • Watch Dogs (omit the _ )
  • The Idolmaster (use a instead of @)

Games with subtitles:  Subtitle should follow the main title after a colon.

  • Advance Wars: Dual Strike
  • Bionic Commando: ReArmed
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Expansion packs: The title of expansion packs should follow the main title and be separated by a colon.

  • Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
  • Roller Coaster Tycoon: Corkscrew Follies
  • Sims 2, The: University
  • Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising
Sequels with numbers in the title should be typed as shown on the box art:

  • Diablo II
  • Final Fantasy IX
  • Kirby's Dream Land 2
  • Sims 3, The
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • SoulCalibur IV
Games denoting Special/Limited Editions, Box Sets, re-release series and/or special packs: The dash "-" is meant to show special releases, such as limited or collector's editions, greatest hits/ player's choice and any other special release or compilation. Of course, if a game is a special release with variations it would look something like this. Chrono Cross - Greatest Hits or Chrono Cross - Greatest Hits (Silver Backed Disc).

  • Bioshock - Platinum Hits
  • Castlevania - Classic NES Series
  • Devil May Cry - 5th Anniversary Collection
  • Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition
  • Fallout: New Vegas - Collector's Edition
  • Grand Theft Auto III - Greatest Hits
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee - Player's Choice
  • Warcraft III - Collector's Edition
Games with variants to Box Art, Cart Art or Discs: Descriptors use parenthesis "( )" are used to denote variations. First letter capitalization only on words that are present on the product itself. NFRs should be typed as "Not for Resale" with a lowercase f in for.
So if a NES game was released with both a 5 screw cart or a 3 screw cart, it would be listed something like Burgertime (3 screw cartridge) or Burgertime (5 screw cartridge), or if a game has variant cart or disc labeling, like a lot of Atari games... such as Adventure (Sears picture label) and Adventure (Sears text label). Of course Atari games can have up to 5 or so variations, which means a separate listing for each one.

  • Paperboy (oval Seal)
  • Paperboy (round Seal)
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 (Bros over Mario's head)
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 (Bros on Mario's hand)
  • Ridge Racer (Not for Resale)

Color Descriptors. Colors should be in lower-case when used as descriptors unless that word is printed on the item.
- use "gray" for North American items and "grey" for items released outside of North America.

Games released in multiple countries within the same region/category: No two items within a category should have the same item name. For categories that reflect continents such as North/South America or Europe or general categories such as Hardware or Accesories, etc, the item title may use a suffix to indicate which country/countries an item was released in. Brackets [ ] are used to enclose this information, and for each country we use the appropriate TLD (Top Level Domain) Identifier. Our list of common TLDs are located here:,7009.0.html
The TLD is not to be used to represent which languages are printed on an item.

Examples: 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker has five regional releases within Europe on the PS2.
  • Released in England or general English EU release does not require a TLD: 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker
  • Released in Germany: 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker [DE]
  • Released in Spain: 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker [ES]
  • Released in France and Netherlands: 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker [FR][NL]
  • Released in Italy: 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker [IT]

TLD is only required on items to prevent a situation where two or more items would have the same name, but are actually different items and not duplicates. Games that have a regional title difference does not require having a TLD added to the title unless it would cause a duplicate name.

Some countries in Europe require specific things on the packaging in order for retail release and this can be used as a guide to determine what TLDs to use.
Known requirements for European releases:
- Germany: Games released after 1994 should have the USK rating label on the front or back. A game with German text but with ELSPA or PEGI rating typically indicates the game was released in Austria or elsewhere in Europe and should not have the [DE] TLD in the title.
- Italy: Media released in Italy require an Italian SIAE label to be present. On older items, this may appear as a stamp or paper label, more recent releases have a rectangular hologram label with the SIAE logo on it. If a game has Italian text but lacks this label, it was likely not sold in Italy and should not have the [IT] TLD in the title.
- France: Games released after 1996 should have the red rectangular box on the back with the words ATTENTION printed inside. If a game has French text but lacks this Red Attention box, the game should not have [FR] in the title.

Item Numbers:

  • Item numbers are the factory assigned number given to each product. Item number field priority is: Package spine, Package back, or that which is printed on the enclosed media. Additional item numbers can be put into the description field, including where that item number is located.
  • Sony items must have a dash between the four letter prefix and the five digit code. PS2 Example: "SLUS-21690" PS4 Example: "CUSA-02134". If a physical PS4 game does not have the CUSA-type number on the spine, use the decimal code instead and put the CUSA-type number from the disc into the description field.
  • Item numbers MUST be the official number given by the Manufacturer. Reference numbers from other sources, such as, RFGeneration or any other source will be deleted, as these are numbers those companies/websites use for their own reference purposes.
  • Items in the Swag Print Media sub-category can have the ISBN put into the item number field.

  • UPCs are used across the U.S., Canada, and a few other countries. They are twelve digits long. Enter the numbers only, without spaces or dashes.
  • EANs are used in Europe and South America and are thirteen digits long. Enter the numbers only, no spaces or dashes.
  • JAN codes are used in Japan and are a variant of EAN codes. These may have a T prefix. Leave the T out of the product code, only add the numbers.
  • ISBN codes are normally used on books and other products. These can be 10 or 13 digits long. If an item does not have a UPC, then enter the ISBN code
  • Some products (like Electronic Arts games) may have both an ISBN and a UPC code. In those cases, only use the UPC code.

Descriptions and Box Text:

  • The Box Text is the synopses that is on the back of the game packaging. This should be written into this field, and no other notes, or descriptions. If the game is a download title from services, such as Steam, XBLA, PSN,, etc. Then the synopsis would be found on those service's official pages.
  • The Description field should be notes about the games packaging variants/ pack ins/ collector's edition details. Or trivia about the games release, such as if it is a launch title, last title, a very limited release,  etc. This should not be filled with store descriptions describing the gameplay or hyping up the title. Plagiarizing descriptions from other sources will not be tolerated and will be deleted.
Master Ratings List:,8623.msg145212.html
  • For now, we only have support for ESRB (US and Canada), PEGI & ESLPA (Europe), BBFC (UK), ACB (Australia), CERO (Japan), and Sega's VRC.
  • If your item has no rating of any kind, choose "None". This applies to all consoles and systems.
  • If your item has a rating which we do not currently support, do not edit the rating. Leave it alone (as "Select...", the default). Do not use the "blank" option.
  • If your item was release before rating systems existed, but a later re-release added a rating, do not add the re-release's rating to the old version. Example: Virtual Console release of Super Mario Bros. 3 was rated Everyone by ESRB. SMB3 for NES cannot be rated E.
  • Bootleg or reproduction carts that have a rating should not have it listed in the database entry, since the rating was not granted by ESRB/PEGI.
  • If your item has no rating anywhere on the package, do not make one up.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2023, 09:21:02 am by tripredacus »


Re: Style Guide
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2011, 04:44:49 pm »

In general, a conole item title should have the manufacturer and name of console, with colors or variations in parentheses and TLD in brackets. If a manufacturer's name is part of the console name, it does not need to appear twice. If the console has a unique name, the TLD is not required but the country of origin can be put into the Description field.
The name should be that which is used on the packaging itself, with other names put into the alt-name field.

If a console has special pack name or included, these should be listed like special edition games are and separated with a hyphen.

If a console has a different color, but the color is not part of a pack name, it should be put into parentheses. If the color is explicitly named on the packaging, capitalize the first letter. If the color is not or cannot be confirmed, then use lower case.

Sony specific Consoles
Sony console boxes have a unique item number and this should be used in the item title. If this item number is not known, follow the previous naming rules. The item number represents the model and the region of release and sometimes the color, as such, adding (color) or [TLD] to the item title is only required to differentiate two items with the same name. Since the console inside of the box sometimes does not match to the number on the outside, you can put the console's model number into alt-name field. Special Edition packs should still have their pack-in game put into the title after a hyphen.

Advertising terms should not be used in the item title. Any common terms such as fat, slim or super slim can be put into alt-name field to help with searching.

Nintendo specific consoles

Microsoft specific consoles

Other specific consoles

Items within an Accessory Category can have a TLD in the name if there were multiple releases of the item with the same name but in different countries. Regional TLDs are allowed such as [NA] and [EU].

Individually Packaged Accesories
  • Items sold within their own packaging are to be put into the relevant console's accessory category
  • The item should be named using the Manufacturer first, then the item's name as it appears on the packaging. If the item depicts but does not include a game, it can have the game name after a dash.
  • The front and back artwork should be from the retail packaging itself.
  • If the exact item within the retail pack was also available as an pack-in item for a Console/Hardware or Game release, it should be noted in the Description.

Consoles/Hardware that include an accessory
  • The accessories that were included with a console or hardware pack can be put into the relevant Accessory category only if the item was not sold individually.
  • The item should be named using the Manufacturer first, then the item's name as it appears on the console's packaging or included paperwork.
  • The front artwork would be of the loose item.
  • If the exact item was also available as a pack-in item for a Game release, it should be noted in the Description.

Games that include an accessory
  • Games that include an accessory should be put into the relevant game category.
  • The item should be named as directed in the Game Titles portion of this guide above.
  • Use the existing game artwork rules.
  • The pack-in game, if different than the retail release (such as Not for Resale, or game was only available in a pack) should be also be in the Games category as a separate item.
  • The accessory itself, if not released separately outside of the game pack, should also be in the relevant Accessory category as a separate item.

Accessories that include a game
We consider these to be the same as a "Game that includes an Accessory" and all of the rules listed for "Game that includes an Accessory" applies here as well (the item gets put into the Game category) except for the item title. In this case, the item title should follow the Hardware/Console naming rules.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 01:12:19 pm by tripredacus »
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Re: Style Guide
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 12:29:21 pm »
Digital Games
Digital download games should only be listed if they are from a source such as Steam,, Origins, XBLA, PSN, Wii's Virtual Console and the like. Any game that you purchase with money or download for free and it installs to your PC or gaming device would count. Flash based browser games do not count and should never be listed on the site, since our goal is to track games people own.

Box art for digital games has their own set of rules, and are as follows:
  • Games from the big digital distribution stores (XBLA, Nintendo eShop, GOG, Steam, DotEmu exclusive games) get their own cover.
  • Digital special editions that are only available from certain stores get the cover from said store.
  • Games released in various online stores such as Amazon, Direct2Drive / GameFly, DotEmu, and so on, should get a generic cover.
  • Indie games either get their own cover (if available, several developers have them on their websites) or a screenshot of the title screen.
  • Any digital game that does not have some sort of cover art, gets a screenshot of the title screen
  • Do not use scans of the physical version as cover art for a digital game. Do not use fake or made up cover artwork for GOG / Steam / Origin releases.

Release Dates for Digital Games
Do not use the game's original physical release date - Steam and GOG tend to use that instead of the game's release date on their distribution service. To find the release date on Steam, search the store for the item you are looking for and the release date will show up in the search results; you can also check the item's news feed, but that is not very accurate much of the time. To find the release date for GOG games, you will have to search for the release info at GoG Database.

For standalone, store-independent releases by indie developers, use the earliest release date. If a game was released independently in 2007 but was released on Steam in 2009, you would use the 2007 release date.

Descriptions and Box Text for Digital Games
Digital games lack a traditional box, and so they also lack box text. In this case, we can use the description text from the source as the box text. For example, if I were to add The Simpson's Arcade Game to the database, the box text would be the summary that is listed on

In most cases, Digital games would not need our description field to be filled in. Except in cases where it is only available from a certain location. Such as the freeware version of Daggerfall, which is from the official Elder Scrolls website. Or the indie game Hydorah, which is only available through its developer's website, In these cases, you can simple say something along the lines of "The game is freeware and available for download from locomalito's website." Do not copy and paste URLs into description.

Steam listings
Steam is a digital distribution platform for PC games. For specific rules on creating database entries for the Steam category see this thread (archived) :,5876.0.html
« Last Edit: January 16, 2024, 10:20:19 am by tripredacus »
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Style Guide: Steam Category
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2015, 11:46:47 pm »
Note: This is an addendum to our standard Style Guide. This details the specifics on how to handle Steam entries.

Game Titles:
Titles should be listed in the same manner as the style guide.

Games that begin with "A", "An" or "The" should be written like this:
  • Bird Story, A
  • Secret of Monkey Island, The
Games that begin with "The" and have another "The" afterwards should be written like so:
  • Lord of the Rings, The: The Return of the King
  • Legend of Zelda, The: The Wind Waker
Games with subtitles: Subtitle should follow the main title after a colon.
  • Advance Wars: Dual Strike
  • Bionic Commando: ReArmed
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Cover Art:
Go to the item's Steam store page. There's a rectangular image on the upper right - that is the image we use as cover art. Right click and save it to your computer. We do not use any back or cart / disc images for Steam listings. Note that sometimes the store page will have a "themed" cover image, for example, during holidays. You may use those images for your submission, but it may be replaced by a proper image later on. There are exceptions to the rule which will be explained below.

Release date:
The release date on most Steam store pages is wrong. Many publishers love to use the item's original release date for some reason, which leads to lots of games having a release date set way before Steam even existed. So you can do two things to get the game's release date:
  • Type the game's name in the store's search box and hit Enter - the results will show a list of games, and they normally show the actual Steam release date. Sometimes this is wrong, though, so you can instead...
  • Click on "Read Related News" or "View Update History" on the right side of the page. These will load the history for the item and you can usually find the release date by reading the archives. Note that a couple of years are missing from Steam's news archives.
If you aren't sure of the item's release date, feel free to leave it blank.

Leave this blank.

Item Number
Item Number can be found in the URL for the item's store page. Example: Rocket League's URL is Steam ID number would be 252950.

Standard rules apply - if there's a rating, enter it. If there's no rating, select "None." The only two rating systems available on Steam are ESRB and PEGI.

This box is used to describe specific things about the game - if it's been removed from the store, locked to a specific region, only available in a certain language, and so on. If you're adding a Collector's Edition of a game, and it includes specific bonuses, you enter the list of bonuses there. If the game you're adding is only available in a specific set or as a free game when buying something else, you may mention it here.

Box Text:
Enter the text displayed in the store page under "About This Game." You do not have to copy everything, since some descriptions are pretty huge - just a paragraph or two is enough.

What Steam items can be added to the site?
Games, Demos and most DLC can be added.

DLC that we do not track (no entries should be made)
- Soundtracks
- Digital Artbooks
- Workshop items
- Season Passes

Also do not make entries for Steam Inventory items such as cards, pack, gems, icons, wallpapers, coupons or in-game items such as CS:GO crates/skins, or other game cosmetics such as for CS:GO, H1Z1 or TF2 (just to name a few examples).

Game packs or bundles should not be added. All Steam items we add must have the word app in the Steam URL, for example:

Game packs / sets:
You can purchase single games or packs with games and DLC on Steam. Some users have added these packs to the site. Well, some should and some should not be added.
What about Steam games sold in retail boxes?
If you buy a physical game, but it requires Steam to activate and play, you can either add the Steam version of the game to your collection, or add the physical version. It's your call! There's nothing wrong with having both items in your collection - many collectors here do this already. If the package contains multiple games (like The Orange Box) then please add a single entry for the physical item. Single games may be added to your account as above.

If you still have questions, feel free to contact an admin.

4/23/15 - Added Steam Workshop content to the list of items that are not allowed.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2023, 10:33:04 am by tripredacus »


Re: OFFICIAL Style Guide
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 10:08:54 am »
Commonly Accepted Name Exceptions Examples
With these exceptions, these are specific examples. At least one of our trusted reference sites use a marketing name as their game title, and we will use the actual game title or a modified version to correct an error.

Formula 1 - only when official logo used as text replacement
Names used on other websites: F1, Formula 1, Formula One
Reasoning: Games that are released with the official Formula 1 logo (combination stylized F1 + Formula 1 text) as a text replacement leads to confusion as to whether to use the logo, the logo text or the corporate name as the title.
Alt-Name: F1

Pro Evolution Soccer XXXX - only when title includes PES and the year, as well as the full name
Name used on other websites: Pro Evolution Soccer XXXX, PES XXXX, PES XXXX: Pro Evolution Soccer, Pro Evolution Soccer: PES XXXX
Reasoning: Packaging has different spine and front names, consensus was voted on by users.
Alt-Name: PES XXXX

Name used on other websites: San Goku Shi
Reasoning: The Chinese text 三国志/三國志 can be written either way and our name sources use both, so we chose to pick one.
Alt-Names: 三國志, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, San Goku Shi

James Bond 007
Name used on other websites: 007, James Bond
Reasoning: Games that are released with the official James Bond logo (combination stylized 007 + gun) as a text replacement leads to confusion as to whether to use the logo, the logo text or the corporate name as the title.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2023, 09:32:45 am by tripredacus »


Re: OFFICIAL Style Guide
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2020, 10:48:12 am »
Special Characters for use in non-English language titles

À ALT+0192 Latin Capital Letter A with Grave
Á ALT+0193 Latin Capital Letter A with Acute
È ALT+0200 Latin Capital Letter E with Grave
É ALT+0201 Latin Capital Letter E with Acute
Ë ALT+0203 Latin Capital Letter E with Diaeresis
Ñ ALT+0209 Latin Capital Letter N with Tilde
Ò ALT+0210 Latin Capital Letter O with Grave
Ó ALT+0211 Latin Capital Letter O with Acute
Ù ALT+0217 Latin Capital Letter U with Grave
Ú ALT+0218 Latin Capital Letter U with Acute
Ü ALT+0220 Latin Capital Letter U with Diaeresis

ß ALT+0223 Latin Small Letter Sharp S

à ALT+0224 Latin Small Letter A with Grave
á ALT+0225 Latin Small Letter A with Acute
ã ALT+0227 Latin small Letter A with Tilde
ç ALT+0231 Latin Small Letter C with Cedilla
è ALT+0232 Latin Small Letter E with Grave
é ALT+0233 Latin Small Letter E with Acute
ê ALT+0234 Latin Small Letter E with Circumflex
í ALT+0237 Latin Small Letter I with Acute
ñ ALT+0241 Latin Small Letter N with Tilde
ò ALT+0242 Latin Small Letter O with Grave
ó ALT+0243 Latin Small Letter O with Acute
ô ALT+0244 Latin Small Letter O with Circumflex
ö ALT+0246 Latin Small Letter O with Diaeresis
ü ALT+0252 Latin Small Letter U with Diaeresis

ł ALT+0142 Latin Small Letter L with Stroke (currently Search does not convert this character)

English Language
(In)Definate Articles are not to be used at the beginning of a game's title. These words are:

French Language
(In)Definate Articles of French language
Le, La, Les (the)
Un, Une (A or An)

The situation where À is at the beginning of a title. As opposed to English, the À at the beginning of a French title means At. At is allowed to start a title. The Golden Compass was released in France as À la Croisée des Mondes: la Boussole D'Or. It is a little strange to see that A is allowed at the beginning here but not in English, but it is because it is not A.

The situation where L is added as a prefix to a French word does not apply to the Style Guide.
For example:
The Incredible Hulk (Nintendo) NA would be put into the database as Incredible Hulk, The
In France, the title is L'Incroyable Hulk (The Incredible Hulk) Because the L (The) is part of the word Incroyable, it cannot be then removed and placed at the end of the title. Therefore the title is correct as L'Incroyable Hulk:

Japanese Language
For naming Japanese items that are not found on a common name source or have a common name exception, you can use Telly's guide:,7164.msg115005.html#msg115005
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 10:59:09 am by tripredacus »