What is a FAQ and how do I write one?
As for how to write one, read this guide and the rest of the sections for all the details.
What kinds of guides does GameFAQs most need?
Some games obviously don't lend themselves to walkthroughs, such as sports titles, racing games, and some open-ended strategy titles. In those cases, just general information about the game, strategy for various situations, lists of in-game data, and general hints and tips will make the perfect guide.
The best list of what GameFAQs needs is created by the users of the site, via the Most Wanted FAQs list. In addition, you can earn a gift certificate by writing a guide for one of the games listed in the FAQ Bounty program.
What kinds of guides does GameFAQs accept?
- In-Depth FAQs: Focusing on one particular aspect of a title, such as a Boss FAQ, lists of Enemies and Items, Combo Guides, Translations, and so on. Even purely informational non-gameplay guides are accepted, such as Plot Summaries and even Color Guides.
- Character FAQs: For fighting games and some single-character RPGs, character guides fully explore all the aspects of playing the game with a single character.
- Foreign-Language FAQs: GameFAQs accepts general (but not in-depth) guides in other Western languages (i.e. French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, and so on). Non-Western languages are usually not accepted, simply because they cannot be checked for content by the editor given his limited knowledge of these other languages.
- Other Guide Types: Custom Patch Code Lists, Secrets FAQs, Pinball Rule Sheets, and many others. Basically, if you're providing some kind of factual information about the game, it almost always has a place on the site.
What kinds of guides will GameFAQs not accept?
- Guides that cover multiple games: As it's impossible to play more than one game at a time, your guide should only cover one game at a time. The only exceptions to this rule are: 1) when the games are expansion or companion games to one another, running off of the same basic engine but with minor variations between them (i.e. Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow, Street Fighter II/CE/Turbo, Diablo II/DII: Lord of Destruction), and 2) in-depth guides that cover a series of games (i.e. D&D Rule Sets, Plot Guides for a game series).
- Guides for games that haven't been released yet: The only way you could write a guide for a game that hasn't been released yet is 1) you're just getting your information from magazines and web sites, 2) you're a beta tester who has decided to break a non-disclosure agreement, or 3) you're writing a guide based off of a pirated copy of a game. Neither of these three categories is acceptable, and the latter two could get you sued. FAQs based on the officially-released demo of a game are welcome.
- "Placeholder" guides: A table of contents, and a promise of more information to come. As you might imagine, this would only serve to infuriate people who clicked on your guide.
- Online cheating guides: Cheating in online games is never a good thing, and game companies are cracking down on this behavior right and left. Even guides that are intended to help users not to get scammed or cheated in a game generally just give more ideas to those that would do those sorts of things.
- Checklists: Checklists of items, quests, or similar things that provide no actual gameplay information are generally just based off of others' work and provide no actual help or information.
- Works of fiction: Fan fiction, joke FAQs, and fan art do have their place on the Internet, but not here. GameFAQs is primarily concerned with providing solid factual information about games.
- Game Manuals: Game manuals are protected by copyright, and normally cannot be legally distributed online. The exception to this rule are translations of foreign-language (specifically Japanese) manuals for import gamers, which are very useful to the import gamer and have met with no known objections from copyright holders so far.
- Non-Text Formats: Not everyone in the world owns a copy of Excel or Word, so not everyone can read files submitted. HTML guides open up a can of worms with bad markup, scripting exploits, and browser incompatibilities. Executables can contain viruses or trojan horses. GameFAQs generally accepts plain text only, with a very few exceptions (image files, ZIP archives).
Will you accept a FAQ for (insert game here)?
- If a game has no FAQs for it at all, almost any guide will be accepted for it, regardless of how far along it is.
- If a game has several partial walkthroughs but no complete ones, then additional partial walkthroughs must go at least as far as ones already posted to be accepted. A complete walkthrough would most certainly be posted.
- If a game has between one and four complete walkthroughs posted, new guides should be at least halfway complete to be accepted. New complete walkthroughs would still be readily posted.
- If a game has between five and ten complete walkthroughs posted, only new complete walkthroughs would be accepted, and they would need to compare favorably to what has already been posted.
- If a game has over ten complete walkthroughs, new guides must be complete and comprehensive, and must compare favorably to the other complete guides for the game.
What tools do I need to create a FAQ?
- Good communication skills. While everyone tends to make spelling and grammar mistakes on occasion, guides that are hard to read aren't nearly as helpful. Guides that are intentionally hard to read (i.e. ALL CAPS, no caps, constant misspelled words and grammar errors) won't be posted.
- A computer with a text editor or word processor. Composing a guide solely through e-mail is not recommended at all; most guides submitted to GameFAQs are updated multiple times, as it's rare that an author gets everything done in one go with no major mistakes.
- The game itself. If you don't own the game or have quick access to it (i.e. via a rental, a friend, or your local arcade), then you generally shouldn't be writing about it. Exceptions to this are few and far between (translations of foreign-language game information).
What is the Golden Rule of FAQ writing?
If you copy someone else's work without permission, that's a copyright violation. If you use someone else's work as a basis for your own without credit, that's plagiarism. Providing credit to those who helped you, no matter how small their input, is simple and ensures the integrity of your work.