I have to write an Extended Essay as part of my IB diploma, and I'm writing mine on the episodic adventure game of Life is Strange as an English EE. One of the issues I've encountered during the writing process was citing the game correctly.

After consulting online sources, these are the two citations I ended up with for two versions/episodes of the same video game (it has 5 episodes in total):

Square Enix 2015, Life Is Strange: Chrysalis, video game, PlayStation 4, Square Enix.

Square Enix 2015, Life Is Strange: Out of Time, video game, PlayStation 4, Square Enix.

Are these correct? I looked at how the cited it in Wikipedia, and looks quite different:

Dontnod Entertainment (30 January 2015). Life Is Strange. Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360. Square Enix. Level/area: Chrysalis.

Dontnod Entertainment (24 March 2015). Life Is Strange. Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360. Square Enix. Level/area: Out of Time.

The guideline I followed, however, was the one I found from the Harvard citation site, which states that I should include: Publisher year of publication, Title of game, video game, Console type, Publisher or Distributor in Australia if different to publisher, Place of publication if known. Any special credits and other information that might be useful can be noted after the citation.

I still have several issues that I can't find the answer to from the site though.

Firstly, should I include the developers in the citation? Dontnod entertainment was the developer of the game, but I'm not sure if it fits within the category of "special credits or other useful information".

Second, how do I go about making an in-text citation for a specific chapter/part of the game? Would it be acceptable to have something like (Square Enix 2015, ch. 4)?

Third, if the year of publication is the same for all episodes, how do I make their in-text citation so that a person could differentiate between the two? For example, if I wanted to make an in-text citation for the two games cited above, they would both be (Square Enix 2015) would it not? What should I do so that a person would know that I'm citing two separate episodes? My guess is that I should add a letter after the year i.e. (Square Enix 2015a) similar to how a letter should be added when someone is citing two different books from the same author and with the same publication year, but I'm still uncertain.

And... that's about it. Hopefully. But yeah, I would really appreciation it if someone miraculously has some of the answers to the questions, because the librarian at my school isn't experienced with referencing a video game, and I really want to have all my citations done correctly.


2 Answers 2


First, figure out what citation style you're supposed to be using in your Extended Essay, or if there is no particular recommendation, select one of the major ones and be consistent with it. That is, if you decide to use the Harvard style, use Harvard throughout your WHOLE essay and with every source you cite. Wikipedia doesn't have a house citation style, so what you're seeing there is going to vary from article to article.

You're spot-on with your research for the bibliography entry in Harvard style. You're also close with the in-line citation - just note that Harvard style doesn't use "chapters" there. Your reader doesn't need that information to locate the resource, so it isn't included. In your case, the in-line citation would simply be (Square Enix 2015a) or (Square Enix 2016b) if you end up citing 2 Square Enix titles. See here for another example.

If your teacher recommends that you use a different citation style, here are a few resources to get you started with citing video games:

Final thought: don't worry too much about the particulars of the citation for something as unconventional as a video game. If the answer isn't immediately apparent to you with a simple Google search, it won't be to your outside grader either. They're likely no more experienced in academic referencing than your school librarian. And no matter how much time you put into your essay, they're still only paid to spend the absolute minimum time possible reviewing it... The last thing they're going to notice is a misplaced comma in your bibliography.

So focus your energy on the good stuff - the content - and just keep the rest consistent.


Check with your instructor/advisor. Offer to them that you researched how to format the reference, and can't find something exact. Offer that ____ is the closest you can find. See what they say.
It is likely that they will accept it.

In my opinion/experience, There are two real purposes for citing in a specific format - a) they want you to learn how to cite references well, b) it will be automatically checked. (or c) they are OCD or a jerk...)

As an instructor, our department standard was MLA, though, I would accept it if it was close.

Per Harvard Style, for a computer program downloaded from the internet, the required elements of a reference are:

Authorship/Organisation, Year. Title of program. (Version). [computer program] Distributor/Publisher. (if available) Available at: <web address/URL> [Accessed date]


Adobe Systems Incorporated, 2013. Adobe Air (3.8 beta). [computer program] Adobe Labs. Available at: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashruntimes/air/ [Accessed 30 August 2013].

  • 1
    An IB Extended Essay is graded externally, so there won't be anyone OP can talk to who would have the authority to "accept" it. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 1:17
  • @NateEldredge, found it.
    – MikeP
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 1:26

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