How to Write Good Game Copy

in Tutorials

By: Artbane

Writing about your own project can be difficult for a lot of developers. But writing good copy can be the difference between whether people will download your game or pass it on. So if you’re going to be doing the writing about your game, it’s probably worth investing some time in becoming better at it.

There’s one key principle to understand first… People DO NOT CARE about your game! Your job is to make them care! There are 1000s of games to choose from – both paid and free. Why should they spend their valuable time playing your game?

The goal is to let people know why your game is interesting! You need an angle that sets it apart from all the other games. Think of it this way: If I picked you out of an audience of indies, would you be able to intrigue me in 20 seconds? 10 seconds? If I had to write a news story about your game, then what would the headline be?

Here’s an example of a hook: Labyrinthine Dreams – Written by a professional journalist! Already this makes the game standout. It can be something about one of the developers, a new mechanic or interesting twist on an old narrative trope!

When writing your copy, make sure it’s casual. You’re not a large scale company so don’t act like one. It shouldn’t read like every other press release. You’re an indie – show your passion for your project! Inject some personality. You want to avoid being vague or redundant, sounding fake cool, or like a robot.

Here’s a tip to help you get in the right writing mode. Pretend you’re in a booth with your friend. In your own words, explain to your friend why your game is so amazing! Afterwards, go through it again and try to remove any jokes that are too clever or obscure. You want to be clear, not clever. It’s not necessary to be humorous either. Write for the tone of your game.

If you need help creating a template for your game copy, use the AIDA formula. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. I’ll be using Seita’s project You Are Not The Hero in the examples (referred to as YANTH).

yanthFirst, you get their ATTENTION with your game name or a hook. Make sure the hook isn’t too long. YANTH is a great title. The name grabs your attention as typically in games you ARE the hero. So it instantly comes off as new and novel.

Once you got their attention, you need to capture their INTEREST. This is where you tell them interesting facts about your game. YANTH tells you that you’re not playing the traditional hero bent on saving the world, but an innocent bystander that gets swept up in their affairs.

Now make them DESIRE your game. By now you should have made them want to play your game. Right after explaining the hook of the game, YANTH goes right into the details of what will keep the player entertained. These include sidequests, minigames and an awesome train sequence!

Finally, show them how to take ACTION. Tell them where to download your game or how to support it. Describe it in detail. YANTH has very detailed instructions on how to support their game.

You can see more examples of great copy at work on their Kickstarter page HERE.

Here are a few more tips to get in the right mind space when writing you game copy:

  • Have a beverage nearby like coffee or tea. Nothing gets the mind fueled like caffeine! But if you’re not into caffeine, just a bottle of water can be good.
  • If you’re feeling inspired, WRITE! There are certain times of the day where we just seem to be in more a creative space. Find out when yours is. You probably only have a few hours of “good writing” in you each day.
  • Make note of how you’re feeling. It will affect the tone of your writing.

Got any more tips for writing good game copy? Let us know in the comments!

2 comments… add one

  • Slyfer November 30, 2013, 11:23 am

    Great Tutorial, It’s really useful, Thanks!!

  • Đỗ Ngọc Nhân December 5, 2013, 6:14 am

    Thanks for your post! Nice and helpful for someone want to write about their own project! But hiring someone to write about your own project isn’t a bad idea ! :)

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