We seem to have a pretty regular number of story-ID questions specifically focused on finding half-remembered stories.

Our top tag is (with over 10,000 questions) and we already have an excellent guide to help people answer them in "How to ask a good story-ID question?" that users can direct querents towards.

What additional advice can we offer on writing a good story-identification question aimed at locating a specific video game?

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  • It might (?) be nice to link to Arqade's advice on ID questions too, if any. Of course these questions are on-topic here, and don't need migration or anything, but just to give a nod to the fact that they're part of a cross-site scope overlap. – Rand al'Thor Jul 20 '18 at 19:50
  • @Randal'Thor - What advice did they have? – Valorum Jul 20 '18 at 19:54
  • I don't know; that's why I said "if any". Maybe there's a meta post like this over there, or some advice in their tag wiki? For a start, I seem to remember they have certain requirements for ID questions to be on-topic over there. – Rand al'Thor Jul 20 '18 at 20:11
  • @Randal'Thor - They appear to have made them off-topic. I found Grace Note's advice (which was basically the same as mine) and I've incorporated it. – Valorum Jul 20 '18 at 20:12
  • Huh, that's odd. Apparently the meta post you found is out of date? – Rand al'Thor Jul 20 '18 at 20:14
  • @Randal'Thor - They've got to be based on a visual now. They don't accept questions from "personal recollection"; gaming.stackexchange.com/tags/game-identification/info - "not from a description of what you can recall from memory, or from a picture you drew yourself." – Valorum Jul 20 '18 at 20:16
  • Yep, that's what I thought. – Rand al'Thor Jul 20 '18 at 20:19
  • @Randal'Thor Arqade mod here. Arqade has a guide for Game Identification from memory (that we don't support), written well before it was made off-topic, if that helps? Originally it was posted to our blog (when it was active), it's now a part of our Game Identification Wiki, see the part under 'What if you need help finding a game that you remember?' – Robotnik Jul 23 '18 at 23:25
  • Also, we're currently linking to reddit communities /r/tipofmyjoystick and /r/tipofmytongue which support these questions, but if SFF accepts these questions too, do you mind/want us to link to you in our Tag Wiki? – Robotnik Jul 23 '18 at 23:28
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    @Robotnik - Yes please, as long as the question is about identifying a game that has clear science fiction or fantasy content, it's entirely on-topic here. – Valorum Jul 23 '18 at 23:35
  • @Valorum Done :-) – Robotnik Aug 2 '18 at 7:36
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    @Randal'Thor shouldn't this be tagged faq? – SQB Sep 13 '18 at 10:34
  • Valorum, would it be alright if I copied this template (with attribution) for another story-identification asking guide? – Stormblessed Jun 22 '19 at 16:30
  • @Stormblessed - Given that I copied large chunks of mine from someone else's guide, it seems churlish of me to deny you the same right. – Valorum Jun 22 '19 at 16:31
  • @Valorum Okay, thanks! – Stormblessed Jun 22 '19 at 16:32

Additional information that would be useful when identifying video game questions includes;

  • The system/platform you played it on

    Try to be specific. When you say "Playstation" do you mean a PS1/PSX, PS2, PS3, PS4? Also, did you actually play it personally or have you just seen it on walkthroughs or gameplay videos?

  • What genre of game was it?

    Telling us about the plot is essential, but knowing what kind of game (First-Person-Shooters, Side-Scrollers, Text Adventure Game, etc) is also really useful as this can dramatically narrow down the choices.

  • Who was the game aimed at?

    Knowing whether the game was for children or adults can be critical. Did the game have an 'edutainment' theme with brightly coloured characters or did it have bad language, violence and nudity?

  • Was the game an original release?

    Did you buy the game brand new or did you get it on discount as an older release? If you downloaded it, which site did you get it from? Was it based on a non-game franchise? Can you think of any other games you played at around the same time?

  • Can you identify the studio that produced the game?

    Was it, for example part of a series? Did it have a recognisable character/s you've seen elsewhere. Have you played any other games that had a similar look and feel to them?

  • Was the game a local release?

    Japanese and non-Western games often have more cartoonish characters and general feel. They may have translated text or subtitles. The voices may still be in Japanese.

  • Can you describe the protagonist/s and antagonist/s?

    What did the player-character look like? What did your enemies look like? How did you control your characters? How did they move? How did you beat/defeat/destroy them? Was the game single-player or adversarial against other human players (and if so, were you playing against them locally or via the internet/LAN)?

  • What was the end-goal?

    Was there a specific aim or win-condition? Were you trying to reach a specific objective or was there an open-ended structure? If there were puzzles or tasks, can you describe them?

  • Can you remember anything else about the game?

    Aside from the game, were there any additional features you can recall? Was there a studio intro, what did the box-art look like, what did the music sound like?

(hat/tip to Grace Note on Arqade:SE)

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    Ah, now I see what you meant by "Working on it". Nicely put together. – JohnP Jul 20 '18 at 19:36
  • Cheers. I thought it would be helpful to have a range of these. Is there anything you can think of that I've missed out? – Valorum Jul 20 '18 at 19:50
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    It depends on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. Turn based/linear vs open world, single character vs group, fantasy vs sci fi vs ... which could all be Genre, but maybe a little clearer? Uhm...was it franchise/movie based or a stand alone (Harry Potter vs, Mass Effect). Possibly expand the "aimed at" to include was it dark themed vs light hearted, etc? – JohnP Jul 20 '18 at 20:01
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    For PC games, especially before the new millennium: The technology evolved very rapidly over a short span, so it may help to describe the media which the game came on (e.g. floppy disk, CD-ROM, etc.). The overall quality of the graphics may also be a useful proxy for release year (but note that many modern games use a deliberately retro pixel art style). – Kevin Jul 21 '18 at 2:15
  • Another thing that may be particularly useful for video games, since they generally had a specific lifetime between release and obsolescence, is that if you're not certain when you played it, or on which system / OS, mentioning other games you played at that time may help narrow things down. – FuzzyBoots Aug 20 '18 at 17:12

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