February 5, 2020

Digra 2020 Game Citation Workshop (Digital and Beyond)

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There is currently no consensus within game studies as to how games—the main objects of analysis in the field—ought to be cited in academic publications. While some journals and publishers do offer guidelines on this matter, these guidelines are not followed consistently (Olsson, 2013). No specific guidance for game citation exists in the main referencing systems of APA, Chicago, etc. This lack of standardization has led to huge variation in how games are cited in text and in reference lists, if they are cited at all.

The objective of this workshop is to consult with game scholars, publishers, and editors on what would constitute an appropriate method for citing games in academic writing on games (both digital and non-digital). The workshop itself will be an opportunity for game scholars to discuss both the principles that should inform the development of a citation standard and some of the technical details involved in creating the standard.

The workshop will take place on the 2nd of June in Tampere (finland) as part of the DiGRA 2020 Workshops. Its intended outcomes are:

  • Criticism of existing reference practices.
  • An agreed upon set of guiding principles for developing a citation standard.
  • A citation standard based on these guiding principles that can be implemented within any of the main existing citation methods.
  • An agreed upon process for establishing this standard in the main journals and publishers of game scholarship and in the next edition of guidelines published by APA, MLA, Harvard, and the other main citation systems.

Format of game citation workshop


  • Introduction to workshop agenda and aims
  • Short presentation setting out the issues around game citations


  • Group discussions based around the main challenges of establishing a citation system. The agenda for these discussions will be based on feedback solicited from scholars over the next three months. Each group will be facilitated by a workshop organiser, who will ensure ideas brought up in these discussions are taken into account as we develop the citation standard.
  • Group discussions will be followed by an open discussion to identify points of agreement and disagreement. Notes will be taken to capture ideas from discussions that can help develop the citation standard further.


  • Break


  • Open discussion on next practical steps in project

How to participate in game citation workshop at Digra 2020

The workshop will be open to everyone at the conference. Since this will be an open discussion, we are not asking for submissions. However, it would be very useful for us to know how many people wish to attend. Please indicate your interest in attending the workshop by emailing one of the organisers (emails listed below) or filling out this short questionnaire (<5 minutes) about game citation: link to questionnaire. This questionnaire will be used to identify the challenges to be discussed during the workshop and is a very important step for us to ensure that the workshop includes diverse opinions on this topic.

Even if you cannot attend the workshop, please fill out the questionnaire to help us solicit a wide range of opinions on game citation in advance of the workshop.

We also encourage workshop attendees to read the following paper, which outlines some of the issues around game citation:

Gualeni, S., Fassone, R., & Linderoth, J. 2019."How to Reference a Digital Game". Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA international Conference. Kyoto, Japan, August 6-10, 2019.

If you have any questions or comments about the workshop or to indicate your interest in attending, please email Paul at paul.martin@nottingham.edu.cn or Stefano at stefano.gualeni@um.edu.mt or Jonathan at jonathan.frome@gmail.com.

The Institute of Digital Games is also involved in another workshop at Digra 2020: The State of the Avatar.


Gualeni, S., Fassone, R., & Linderoth, J. 2019."How to Reference a Digital Game". Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA international Conference. Kyoto, Japan, August 6-10, 2019.

Olsson, C. (2013). Spelreferenser i akademiska publikationer. En kartläggning av referenspraktiker inom spelvetenskap. Bachelor thesis (2013:4), Swedish School of Library and Information Science, University of Borås.