Glossary of video game terms. A video game or computer game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device – such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion sensing device – to generate visual feedback. This feedback mostly commonly is shown on a video display device, such as a TV set, monitor, touchscreen, or virtual reality headset. Some computer games do not always depend on a graphics display, for example text adventure games and computer chess can be played through teletype printers. Video games are often augmented with audio feedback delivered through speakers or headphones, and sometimes with other types of feedback, including haptic technology.
Video games are defined based on their platform, which include arcade video games, console games, and personal computer (PC) games. More recently, the industry has expanded onto mobile gaming through smartphones and tablet computers, virtual and augmented reality systems, and remote cloud gaming. Video games are classified into a wide range of genres based on their type of gameplay and purpose.
This list includes terms used in video games and the video game industry, as well as slang used by players
Glossary of must-know terms
Abbreviation of one-credit completion or one-coin clear. To complete an arcade (or arcade-style) game without using any additional credits besides the one used to start the playthrough
AFK (Away From Keyboard)
Used to inform other players that you might be slow to respond, as you’re taking a break from the screen.
A single-player game term in which you annoy an NPC (Non-Player Character) and they start attacking you.
AoE (Area of Effect)
Spells, abilities or special talents that work within the radius of a circle rather than on a specific enemy.
When a player hangs around a location – for example sticking to a particular alleyway and waiting for enemies to come to them.
FFA (Free For All)
This is commonly heard in multi-player and FPS games (see below). A Free For All can mean lots of loot (goodies, coins, treasures or bounties) available in a specific area, or it can also mean that every player needs to fend for themselves in a group situation.
FPS (First Person Shooter)
Action games that feature a first-person perspective, such as Call of Duty
G2G (Got To Go)
Or ‘gotta go’. A quick way of letting other players know you’re signing off.
When multiple players gang up on a single player and attack.
Xcdse34r3GG (Good Game)
Commonly heard after a session.
gg no re (Good Game, No Rematch)
A phrase that’s used somewhat ironically after one player has completely destroyed another.
GOAT (Greatest Of All Time)
A bragging phrase that means exactly what it says!
Attacking from a distance or using ranged attacks while moving around
LARP (Live Action Role Play)
This is where gamers come out from behind their screens and get playing in the real world, physically making moves in fictionalized real-world settings.
LFG (Looking For Group)
Generally used in multi-player settings. A player will embark on a mission to gather more players around them before setting off on a particularly challenging quest or raid.
Used to denote a player with incredible strength or power who will absorb much of the damage inflicted by the enemy by going ahead.
Sometimes spelled ‘noob’. Short for ‘newbie’: a person who is new to gaming, or to a particular game.
This takes its name from nerf toy guns, and means to downgrade a weapon, to make it less dangerous.
NPC (Non-Player Character)
Characters that inhabit the game world and are not controlled by a player, but are built into the game code.
OHKO (One Hit Knock Out)
When a player destroys an enemy in a single attack.
OP (Over Powered)
Characters, enemies or objects that have disproportionate power compared to others.
Peeling is where a player’s teammate will distract or attack the enemy in order to ensure the player survives by keeping foe off their back.
PK (Player Kill)
Killing a player-controlled character.
PUG (Pick Up Group)
A team or group where players who don’t know each other will rally together to complete the same raid, quest or mission.
When a player has been completely dominated, outplayed or overpowered by another, they have been ‘pwned’.
This is a text-based emoji used to show a player is sobbing: the two Qs look like weeping eyes!
RNG (Random Number Generator)
Expresses general randomness, when a player gets lucky or unlucky through the weapons they are given, for example.
RPG (Role Playing Game)
Games in which players are called on to inhabit their characters and their worlds. The Elderscroll series is a good example of this. Gamers generally prefer either FPS games or RPG games with little crossover.
MMORPG is a related term (Massive Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Game) and describes games in which this aspect is taken to the next level, with huge numbers of players all converging in a given game and world to play online.
A scrub is a step down from a n00b! Someone who performs extremely badly in a game, whether or not they are new to it.
When a game is full of glitches and bugs, it’s scuffed.
A skin is an aesthetic change made to a character, weapon or item. A skin won’t affect gameplay, but merely serves to alter appearance.
When a long-standing/experienced player creates a whole new character so they can play low-level opponents.
Just as powerful as a meat shield, but the term ‘tank’ is used to describe a high-powered player in any setting – not just when they’re being used for cover or protection.
XP (Experience Points)
Points collected as a player and their character progresses through a game, and generally associated with RPGs in particular.
Game-specific terms for Fortnite and Minecraft
Now that you have a sense of the player slang and gaming acronyms most commonly used in the gaming world, it’s time to get specific. Let’s take a look at some of the gamer talk you can expect to see thrown around in two of the hottest games around right now: Fortnite and Minecraft.
- Bots: Similar to the more general gaming term ‘n00b’ or ‘smurf’, in the context of Fortnite this means players who are inexperienced or poor players.
- Bubble: The storm/force field inside the game (“head to the Bubble”).
- Bush Campers: When players crouch down under the bushes for camouflage.
- Crack: Used as a verb. Because breaking an enemy’s shield results in a sound like cracking glass, when a player is ‘cracked’, it means their shield has been destroyed.
- Heals: You might hear a player ask another if they ‘have some heals’, meaning health-boosting remedies, whether chug splashes, bandages, or any other restorative items.
- LMG: Light Machine Gun.
- Nades: Short for ‘grenades’.
- Res: Reviving another player. “I’ll res you”.
- Shield pop: When an enemy’s shield has been ‘cracked’, a player has accomplished a shield pop.
- Tac: Short for ‘tactical shotgun’, or ‘tactical machine gun’.
- Biome: A Minecraft region or area.
- Butter/Budder: Minecraft ‘gold’ – because the bars of gold look just like sticks of butter!
- CTM: ‘Complete the Monument’, a treasure hunt-style game play mode.
- Griefer: A player who destroys other players’ progress or builds; a player who generally makes a nuisance of themselves.
- MC: Short for Minecraft itself.
- Mob: A Minecraft creature (such as a pig or chicken).
- Mod: Short for ‘modifications’, meaning software or patches that can be installed to upgrade the gaming experience.
- Skelly: Short for Minecraft’s skeletons.
- Stack: The full list of items a player keeps in their inventory.
- Vanilla: Vanilla is used to describe game play with zero mods.
Platform-specific terms for Twitch
When it comes to online gaming, gamers develop their own lingo and jargon to communicate with other players around the world. Twitch is currently the go-to gamers’ content-streaming platform and community, and draws on its own secret language that can seem impenetrable to the untrained eye.
- Achievement: This works like trophies – Twitchers accumulate achievements as they contribute and interact across the platform.
- Bit: This is the contributor ‘currency’ used across Twitch. Users collect bits that they can then use to ‘cheer’ (see below) for other streamers.
- Cheer: When a Twitcher awards cheers to a streamer, the streamer then collects bits as a reward for their content.
- Cheer badge: An icon used to show how many bits a user has cheered in a given channel, viewable by hovering over the user’s username.
- Dono: Short for ‘donations’. Streamers can accept donations in exchange for their hard work.
- Emotes: Emotes work like emojis, but are unique to Twitch – some of the most popular ones include Kappa (used to show a Twitcher is kidding) and DansGame (to express disgust).
- F: This can be typed out to express that a channel or stream has been disconnected.
- Hype: Expressions of support or enthusiasm from the Twitch community, whether in the forms of donos or cheers.
- LUL: The Twitch-specific equivalent of ‘LOL’ (Laugh Out Loud).
- Overlay: A skin that streamers can apply to their channel for aesthetic purposes.
- Turbo: Twitch Turbo is a membership upgrade that removes ads and gives users the option of customizing their emotes and colors.
- Whisper: Private messages that can be exchanged between users on Twitch.
Glossary of video game terms
- An object that gives the player an extra life (or try) in games where the player has a limited number of chances to complete a game or level.
- To collect all collectibles within a game, either indicated within games as a percentage counter or determined by player community consensus.
- Abbreviation of 1 versus 1, which means two players battling against each other. Can be extended to any player versus player grouping, such as ‘2v2’ to mean two teams battling each other, with each team having two players, but requiring that all four players be in the same battle.
- 2D graphics
- Graphic rendering technique in a two-dimensional perspective, often using sprites.
- 2.5D graphics
Graphic rendering technique of three-dimensional objects set in a two-dimensional plane of movement. Often includes games where some objects are still rendered as sprites.
- 3D graphics
- Graphic rendering technique featuring three-dimensional objects.
- 4K resolution
- An aspect ratio of digital display devices such as televisions and monitors, supporting up to 3840 × 2160 pixel (roughly 4 kilopixels wide) resolutions.
- A genre of strategic video games, short for “explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate”. Such games are usually complicated, involving extensive diplomacy, technology trees, and win conditions.
- A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the third generation of video game consoles, targeting 8-bit computer architecture.
- 8K resolution
- An aspect ratio of digital display devices such as televisions and monitors, supporting up to 7680 × 4320 pixel (roughly 8 kilopixels wide) resolutions.
- A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the fourth generation of video game consoles, targeting 16-bit computer architecture.
- A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the fifth generation of video game consoles, targeting 32-bit computer architecture.
- A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the fifth generation of video game consoles, targeting 64-bit computer architecture.
- 360 no-scope
- A type of trickshot, very common in first-person shooters and similar, in which a player spins a full 360 degrees and lands a shot (usually with a sniper rifle of some sort) without aiming, ultimately heavily damaging or killing the adversary on the receiving end of the shot
A high-budget game with a large development team, or game studios that make them. AAA games are usually multiplatform or are first-party, have multimillion-dollar budgets, and expect to sell millions of copies.
- A game that is forgotten about or abandoned by its developers for any number of reasons, including copyright issues.
- Sometimes used to refer to individual levels or groups of levels that make up a larger world or storyline. Rarely refers to a downloadable game intended to be part of a larger series which functions as a single game series and gameplay-wise.
- action game
- A game genre emphasizing physical challenges, hand–eye coordination and reflexes. It includes fighting games, shooters, and platformers.
- action point (AP)
- A subunit of a player’s turn. For example, a game may allow an action to occur only so long as the player has sufficient ‘action points’ to complete the action.
- action role-playing game (ARPG)
- A genre of role-playing video game where battle actions are performed in real-time instead of a turn-based mechanic.
- adaptive music
- Game music which changes and reacts to the actions of the player and/or what is happening in the game.
- A term used commonly in role-playing video games, MMORPGs and beat-’em-ups, referring to the “additional enemies” called in by bosses during encounters.
- adventure game
- A game genre which emphasizes exploration and puzzle-solving.
- Meaning “away from keyboard”. Generally said through a chat function in online multiplayer games when a player intends to be temporarily unavailable.
- An abbreviation of ‘aggravation’ or ‘aggression’. ‘Causing aggro’ in a video game means to attract hostile attention from NPCs to attack the player-character. ‘Managing aggro’ involves keeping aggressive NPCs from overwhelming the player or party. The term may be facetiously used in reference to irritated bystanders (‘wife aggro’, ‘mother aggro’, etc).
- A first-person shooter cheat that lets players shoot other player-characters without aiming. In most cases, the aiming reticle locks on to a target within the player’s line of sight and the player only has to pull the trigger. Aimbots are one of the most popular cheats in multiplayer FPS, used since 1996’s Quake.: 119
- aiming down sights (ADS)
Refers to the common alternate method of firing a gun in a first-person shooter (FPS) game, typically activated by the right mouse button. The real-life analogue is when a person raises a rifle up and places the stock just inside the shoulder area, and leans their head down so they can see in a straight line along the top of the rifle, through both of the iron sights or a scope, if equipped. In most games this greatly increases accuracy, but can limit vision, situational awareness, mobility, and require a small amount of time to change the weapon position.
- alpha release
- An initial, incomplete version of a game. Alpha versions are usually released early in the development process to test a game’s most critical functionality and prototype design concepts.
- Always-on DRM
- A type of digital rights management (DRM) that typically requires a connection to the Internet while playing the game.
- analog stick
A small variation of a joystick, usually placed on a game controller to allow a player more fluent 2-dimensional input than is possible with a D-pad.
- A partially animated storyboard with sound effects used during early game development.
- animation priority
- A type of gameplay mechanic in which the playable character’s animations have priority over the player’s input; in other words, if the player begins an action with a long animation, the animation must play out first before the player can then enter a new command, and attempting to enter a new command will have no effect. Games like the Souls and Monster Hunter series are based on gameplay using animation priority.
- Anti-Aim (AA) is a type of cheat commonly found in first-person shooter games, it will make it difficult or impossible for the user’s hitboxes to be hit, this can be achieved many ways but are commonly found to: Rapidly move the user’s hitboxes, Flipping hitboxes (usually backwards or sideways), sending false packets to the server and many other ways.
- An anti-RPG is a role-playing video game that subverts the typical elements of such games. The term was coined by the video game Moon: Remix RPG Adventure.
- A type of speedrun in which the player’s objective is to reach the game’s end goal as quickly as possible without regard to the normal intermediate steps.
- 1. See area of effect
- 2. Abbreviation of Age of Empires
- arcade game
- A coin-operated (or ‘coin-op’) game machine. The term commonly refers to arcade video games. They are often installed in an upright or tabletop cabinet (cocktail or candy cabinet). Popular primarily during the late 1970s to 1990s in the West, and still popular in the East to the present day, arcade machines continue to be manufactured and sold worldwide.
- area of effect (AoE)
- A term used in many role-playing and strategy games to describe attacks or other effects that affect multiple targets within a specified area. For example, in the role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, a fireball spell will deal damage to anyone within a certain radius of where it strikes. In most tactical strategy games artillery weapons have an area of effect that will damage anyone within a radius of the strike zone. Often the effect is stronger on the target than on anything else hit. See also: Splash damage
Area of effect can also refer to spells and abilities that are non-damaging. For example, a powerful healing spell may affect anyone within a certain range of the caster (often only if they are a member of the caster’s party). Some games also have what are referred to as “aura” abilities that will affect anyone in the area around the person with the ability. For example, many strategy games have hero or officer units that can improve the morale and combat performance of friendly units around them. The inclusion of AoE elements in game mechanics can increase the role of strategy, especially in turn-based games. The player has to place units wisely to mitigate the possibly devastating effects of a hostile area of effect attack; however, placing units in a dense formation could result in gains that outweigh the increased AoE damage received.
Point-blank area of effect (PBAoE) is a less-used term for when the affected region is centered on the character performing the ability, rather than at a location of the player’s choosing.
- arena mode
- A side game mode, mostly found in some action-adventure games, in which a player-controlled character is placed in a closed area and challenged to defeat enemies using combat abilities.
- arena FPS
- Arena shooters that use the first-person perspective.
- arena shooter
- Shooting games that are typically based on fast-pace gameplay and in a limited map or level space.
- artificial intelligence (AI)
- Algorithms used to generate responsive, adaptive or intelligent game behavior, primarily in non-player characters. Distinct from the computing science concept of ‘artificial intelligence’.
- assault mode
- A game mode in which one team tries to attack (or capture) specific areas and the other team tries to defend those points.
- asset flipping
- The practice of creating a game using ‘free’ art and audio assets, either from an online marketplace or the default stock of assets included with many game engines. Asset-flips are often of very poor quality designed to catch onto a currently popular theme to turn a quick profit. It mimics the practice of flipping in real estate markets.
- asymmetric gameplay
- Cooperative or competitive multiplayer games in which each player will have a different experience arising from differences in gameplay, controls, or in-game character options that are part of the game. This is in contrast to symmetric gameplay where each player will have the same experience, such as in the game Pong. Asymmetric gameplay often arises in competitive games where one player’s character is far overpowered but outnumbered by other players that are all competing against them, such as in Pac-Man Vs. Asymmetric gameplay can also arise in multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) and hero shooters, where each player selects a different hero or character class with different gameplay abilities from others.
- asynchronous gameplay
- Competitive multiplayer games where the players do not have to be participating at the same time. Such games are usually turn-based, with each player planning a strategy for the upcoming turn, and then having the game resolve all actions of that turn once each player has submitted their strategies.
- attract mode
A pre-recorded demonstration of a video game that is displayed when the game is not being played.
Originally built into arcade games, the main purpose of the attract mode is to entice passers-by to play the game. It usually displays the game’s title screen, the game’s story (if it has one), its high score list, sweepstakes (on some games) and the message “Game Over” or “Insert Coin” over or in addition to a computer-controlled demonstration of gameplay. In the Atari 8-bit home computers of the 1970s and 1980s, the term attract mode was sometimes used to denote a simple screensaver that slowly cycled the display colors to prevent phosphor burn-in when no input had been received for several minutes. Attract modes demonstrating gameplay are common in current home video games.
Attract mode is not only found in arcade video games, but in most coin-operated games like pinball machines, stacker machines and other games. Cocktail arcade machines on which the screen flips its orientation for each player’s turn in two-player games traditionally have the screen’s orientation in player 1’s favour for the attract mode.
- augmented reality (AR)
- Supplementing a real-world environment with computer-generated perceptual information, which may add to or mask the physical environment. Augmented reality alters the perception of a physical environment, whereas virtual reality replaces the physical environment with a simulated one.
- auto battler
- Also known as “auto chess”, an auto battler is subgenre of strategy games that feature chess-like elements where players place characters on a grid-shaped battlefield during a preparation phase, who then fight the opposing team’s characters without any further direct input from the player. It was created and popularized by Dota Auto Chess in early 2019.
A game mechanic built into some games to decrease the level of difficulty by locking onto or near targets for faster aiming. Games utilize “hard” or “soft” aim settings to respectively either lock directly onto an enemy or assist the player’s aim towards the enemy while giving some freedom of precision.
- Auto-run, short for automatic running, is a system in video games that causes the player-character to move forward without input from the user. The system is predominantly used in platform games, as well as being a toggleable feature in some open world and MMO games where users may need to travel long distances without the assistance of fast travel systems.
- The player’s representation in the game world.
An indicator of accomplishment or skill, showing that the player has performed some particular action within the game.
- Aspects of a multi-player game that keep it fair for all players. This usually refers to balance between characters (or any other choices made before battle) and options (which occur in battle). Balance between choices made before battle usually means that no character is likely to dominate another opponent, while balance between options usually refers to every option having a viable counter, preventing gameplay from degenerating to using a single option with minor variations. The issue of balanced gameplay is a heavily debated matter among most games’ player communities.
- In online games, the act of kicking a player from the server, and then employing means of preventing them from returning. This is usually accomplished using a blacklist.
- What players usually call the gacha mechanic in a game. Depending on the game, it can stick around indefinitely or have a time limit. The latter kind most often increases the probability of getting specific characters or items. These are often seen in Genshin Impact.
- battle pass
- A type of in-game monetization that provides additional content for a game through a tiered system, rewarding the player with in-game items by playing the game and completing specific challenges.
- battle royale game
- A video game genre that blends elements of survival games with last-man-standing gameplay. Players search for equipment while eliminating competitors in a shrinking safe zone. Usually there are many more players involved than in other kinds of multi-player games.
- beta release
An early release of a video game, following its alpha release, where the game developer seeks feedback from players and testers to remove bugs prior to the product’s commercial release. Games are usually almost finished at the beta stage.
- In online games, a list of player information (such as player ID or IP address) that the server checks for when admitting a player. By default, players are allowed to enter, but if they match information on the blacklist, they are barred from entry. The opposite is a whitelist, where the server bars players by default but allows players matching the whitelist. Blacklists and whitelists can be used in tandem, barring even whitelisted players if they try to log in via a blacklisted IP address, for example.
- “Bad Manners”; conduct that is not considered ‘cheating’ but may be seen as unsportsmanlike or disrespectful. Some games may elect to punish badly behaved players by assessing game penalties, temporarily blocking them from re-entering play, or banishing them to a playing environment populated solely by other badly behaved players. What constitutes bad manners is subjective and may be hard to gather a consensus on.
- In online multiplayer games that include ranked competitive play, boosting is where a player with a low-ranked level has a more-skilled player use their account to improve the low-ranked character to higher levels, or other improvements and benefits for their account.
- bonus stage
- A special level in which the player has a chance to earn extra points or power-ups, often in the form of a mini-game.
- borderless fullscreen windowed
- An option featured in many modern PC games and moddable into others in which a game appears fullscreen but is actually running in a maximized window. Since the game does not take full control of the output device, it confers benefits such as seamless task switching and automatic Vsync.
- An opponent non-player character in a video game that is typically much more difficult to defeat compared to normal enemies, often at the end of a level or a game.
- Short for robot. A non-playable character which is controlled by an artificial intelligence (AI). The player may compete against or work with a bot to complete objectives. Is also a derogatory term that implies a player is less effective than a computerized character.
- bottomless pit
- A hazard common in platform and action games, which consists of a deep hole or void with no visible bottom, presumably leading to a fatal drop. The player-character falling into this void typically results in an instant death (and the loss of a life) for the player, regardless of how much health the character had; although some games may instead take away a percentage of the character’s health before respawning them nearby. Bottomless pits can also serve as obstacles that can be overcome by using abilities or finding alternate routes.
- 1. An effect placed on a video game character that beneficially increases one or more of their statistics or characteristics for a temporary period.
- 2. A change intended to strengthen a particular item, tactic, ability, or character, ostensibly for balancing purposes.
- bullet hell
- A type of shoot ’em up where the player must generally dodge an overwhelmingly large number of enemies and their projectiles.
- bullet sponge
- Any enemy that appears to require more firepower than would be considered realistic or reasonable to defeat. This is an allusion to how the enemy can absorb bullets much like a sponge absorbs water. For example, an enemy soldier in a first-person shooter that would be reasonably expected to be defeated with a couple of shots ends up requiring several full magazines of ammunition to defeat would be a bullet sponge.
- A portmanteau of bullshit and screenshot, referring to the misrepresentation of a final product’s technical or artistic quality by artificially enhancing promotional images or video footage.
- button mashing
- 1. The pressing of different button combinations in rapid succession to perform or attempt to perform special moves, typically with little rhyme or reason. This technique is most often encountered in fighting games, especially among weaker players.
- 2. The rapid pressing of a single button to accomplish a task, especially in minigames. Sometimes requires the rapid pressing of two buttons simultaneously, or rapidly pressing any button.
- campaign mode
A series of game levels intended to tell a linear story; some campaigns feature multiple ‘paths’, with the player’s actions deciding which path the story will follow and affecting which choices are available to the player at a later point.
- 1. Where a player stays in one place – typically a fortified high-traffic location – for an extended period of time and waits to ambush other players. Many players consider camping a form of cheating. It is most common in first-person shooter games, but is also frequent in fighting games with projectile-heavy characters.
- 2. The act of hanging around a rare mob or player’s spawn point, usually in MMOs. This may be known as spawn-camping or spawn-trapping.
- capture the flag (CTF)
- A common game mode in multiplayer video games, where the goal is to capture and retrieve a flag from the opposing side’s territory while defending the flag in one’s own territory.
- In team-based video-games, to carry is used of a player that disproportionately contributes to the advancement or progress of their team, usually but not always interpreted as indirect slander towards the rest of the team. Carrying may also be a method experienced players use to win rounds when the rest of their team are less experienced or less efficient at completing tasks; this may entail taking on enemy combatants alone, or using teammates as a distraction while completing objectives for the round.
- cartridge tilting
- Cartridge tilting is the practice of deliberately inducing glitches and other strange behaviour in cartridge-based games by tilting the cartridge slightly in its slot in the console; enough for the connection to be altered but not completely severed. Cartridge tilting creates similar effects to using a corruptor, and may include such glitches as character models becoming distorted, extremely loud noises and in particularly severe cases, both the game and the console itself may crash.
- casual gaming
- Casual gaming is the practice of playing video games on an infrequent and spontaneous basis, without a long-term commitment. Casual video games are distinguished by a low learning curve and ease of access, often web-based for mobile phones or personal computers. Most casual games have simplified controls, with one or two buttons dominating play. Casual games can normally be played in small periods of time, and may not have a save feature.
- challenge mode
- A game mode offered beyond the game’s normal play mode that tasks the player(s) to replay parts of the game or special levels under specific conditions that are not normally present or required in the main game, such as finishing a level within a specific time, or using only one type of weapon. If a game doesn’t feature a ‘challenge mode’, players will often create self-imposed challenges by forbidding or restricting the use of certain game mechanics.
- character class
- A job or profession that comes with a set of abilities as well as positive and negative attributes. Most common in role-playing games, a character’s class helps to define their playstyle as well as the role the character plays in a team based game. Often as players gain experience with a class they learn new abilities related to their chosen profession and some games allow players to change their character’s class or become proficient in multiple classes. Some examples of archetypal character classes include warrior (strength and defense), thief (speed and stealth), wizard (magic and intelligence), and priest or healer (healing and buffing allies).A popular example of a class-changing system is the Job System in the Final Fantasy series.
- character creator
- An ingame method to customize a character to the player’s preferred appearance and abilities before starting the game, most commonly used in role-playing games.
- charge shot
- A shot that can be charged up so that a stronger attack can be dealt, but requiring more time. Usually performed by holding the shot button.
- A game code that allows the player to beat the game or acquire benefits without earning them. Cheats are used by designers to test the game during development and are often left in the release version.
- To play the game unfairly; giving an unfair advantage via illegitimate means.
- An area in a level from which the player will start the level from next time they die, rather than having to start the level over. Checkpoints typically remain in place until the player completes the level or gets a Game Over.
- cheese (or cheesing)
- Cheese(ing) refers to a tactic in a video game that may be considered cheap, unfair, or overly easy, requiring no skill by others as to otherwise complete a difficult task. What may account as cheese depends on the type of game. Its origin traces back to players of Street Fighter II who would frequently use the same combo move over and over against to defeat their opponent. In multiplayer games like MOBAs or hero shooters, certain team compositions of heroes are considered cheese compositions for how easily they can defeat most other team compositions. In other games, cheese can refer to exploiting glitches and other bugs to make difficult gameplay sections easy.
- Music composed for the microchip-based audio hardware of early home computers and gaming consoles. Due to the technical limitations of earlier video game hardware, chiptune came to define a style of its own, known for its “soaring flutelike melodies, buzzing square wave bass, rapid arpeggios, and noisy gated percussion”.
- circle strafing
- An advanced method of movement in many first-person shooter (FPS) games where the user utilizes both thumb sticks (console) or mouse and keyboard controls (PC) to maintain a constant circular motion around an enemy, while maintaining a relatively steady aim on that target. This practice minimizes incoming fire from the target’s teammates, as any misses are likely to hit and harm their teammate.
- When you clap a player, you deal enough damage to eliminate them, without them hitting you or shooting you once.
- 1. Programming used to ensure that the player stays within the physical boundaries of the game world.: 119
- 2. A 3D graphics process which determines if an object is visible and “clips” any obscured parts before drawing it.
- To achieve a score so high it resets the in-game score counter back to 0, often used in older arcade games. More commonly used nowadays to express the (absolute) 100% completion of a game.
- A game that is similar in design to another game in its genre (e.g., a Doom clone or a Grand Theft Auto clone). Sometimes used in a derogatory fashion to refer to an inferior ‘ripoff’ of a more successful title.
- closed beta
- A beta testing period where only specific people have access to the game.
- cloud gaming
- A cloud gaming server runs the game, receiving controller input actions from and streaming audio and video to the player’s thin client.
- cloud save
- The player’s saved game is stored at a remote server. This may provide a backup, or enable access from a different game system. See also cross-save.
- collision detection
- The computational task of detecting the intersection of two or more game objects.
- A series of attacks strung together in quick succession, typically while an opponent is in their “getting hit” animation from the previous attack and is helpless to defend themselves. Combos are a staple of fighting games, introduced in beat-’em-ups such as Renegade and Double Dragon, and becoming more dynamic in Final Fight and Street Fighter II.
- competitive gaming
- A particular kind of video game player who focuses on achieving 100% completion in the games they play.
- compulsion loop
- A cycle of gameplay elements designed to keep the player invested in the game, typically though a feedback system involving in-game rewards that open up more gameplay opportunities.
- A video game hardware unit that typically connects to a video screen and controllers, along with other hardware. Unlike personal computers, a console typically has a fixed hardware configuration defined by its manufacturer and cannot be customized. Sometimes includes handheld consoles, to differentiate them from computers, arcade machines, and cell phones.
- console generations
A set of video game consoles in direct competition for market share in a given era. The set, as a generation, is obsoleted at the introduction of the “next generation” or “next gen”.
- console wars
Refers to competition for video game console market dominance and, in specific, to the rivalry between Sega and Nintendo throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s. The analogy also extends to competition in later console generations, particularly the PlayStation and Xbox brands.
- construction and management simulation (CMS)
- A video game genre that involves planning and managing a population of citizens in towns, cities, or other population centers; in such games the player rarely has direct control of the computer-controlled citizens and can only influence them through planning.
- content rating
- Classifying video games according to suitability-related factors such as violent or sexual content contained within a game. Some countries use industry self-regulation models to accomplish this, while others have government rating boards. Certain content ratings result in products being legally or de facto banned from sale, such as the AO (adults only) rating in the United States. While legal, such titles are not stocked by retailers and will not be certified for release by major console makers such as Sony and Microsoft.
- A common term in video games for the option to continue the game after all of the player’s lives have been lost, rather than ending the game and restarting from the very beginning. There may or may not be a penalty for doing this, such as losing a certain number of points or being unable to access bonus stages.
In arcade games, when a player loses or fails an objective, they will generally be shown a “continue countdown” screen, in which the player has a limited amount of time (usually 10, 15, or 20 seconds) to insert additional coins in order to continue the game from the point where it had ended; deciding not to continue will result in the displaying of a game over screen.
The continue feature was added to arcade games in the mid-1980s due to arcade owners wanting to earn more money from players who played for longer periods of time. The first arcade game to have a continue feature was Fantasy, and the first home console cartridge to have this feature was the Atari 2600 version of Vanguard. As a result of the continue feature, games started to have stories and definite endings; however, those games were designed so that it would be nearly impossible to get to the end of the game without continuing. Salen and Zimmerman argue that the continue feature in games such as Gauntlet was an outlet for conspicuous consumption.
In more modern times, continues have also been used in a number of free-to-play games, especially mobile games, where the player is offered a chance to pay a certain amount of premium currency to continue after failing or losing. An example of this would be Temple Run 2, where the price of a continue doubles after each failure, with an on-the-fly in-app purchase of the game’s premium currency if required.
- control pad
- control point (CP)
- A game mode which involves the team capturing each required “capture point” in order to win the round or level.
- control stick
- A means of control over the console or computer on which the game is played. Specialized game controllers include the joystick, light gun, paddle, and trackball.
- conversation tree
- conversion kit
- Special equipment that can be installed into an arcade machine that changes the current game it plays into another one. For example, a conversion kit can be used to reconfigure an arcade machine designed to play one game so that it would play its sequel or update instead, such as from Star Wars to The Empire Strikes Back, or from Street Fighter II: Champion Edition to Street Fighter II Turbo.
- The minimum length of time that the player needs to wait after using an ability before they can use it again. This concept was first introduced by the text MUD Avalon: The Legend Lives.An analogy can be made to the reload time and firing rate of weapons. For example, a machine gun has very fast firing rate, so it has a very low cooldown between shots. Comparatively, a shotgun has a long cooldown between shots. Cooldown can be used to balance a weapon such as a turret-mounted machine gun having infinite ammunition, since it can only sustain continuous fire until reaching a threshold at which the weapon would have to cool down (hence the term) before it could be fired again.
In design terms, cooldown can be thought of as an inverted “casting time” where instead of requiring a wait time before using an ability, cooldown may replace casting time and put the wait after the ability is activated. This creates a new dimension to the balancing act of casting speed versus power: “lower cooldown, faster cast, but weaker strength” versus “higher cooldown, slower cast, but greater strength”. This mechanic is integral to such games as World of Warcraft, where cooldown management is key to higher-level play and various abilities deal with cooldown (for example, cooldown reduction or immediately finishing cooldown on certain abilities). From the technical point of view, cooldown can also be used to assert control over frequency of cast in order to maintain a fluid frame rate and ping. For example, in the game Diablo II, cooldown was added in the form of a patch to several graphically and CPU-intensive spells to solve the problem of extreme lag caused by players spamming (ie: repeatedly casting at maxed out cast rates) these spells in multiplayer games.
Moves and attacks in fighting games (like those from the Street Fighter series) are measured in animation frames (which may be 1/20 to 1/60 of a second per frame). Each move has a certain number of frames in which it is considered to be “recovering” before another move can be executed, which is similar to cooldown in concept. However, there is no player control over the character during recovery frames, and the character can not perform any movement or attacks until fully recovered. Because the character is vulnerable during recovery, strategic use of skills is necessary to make sure the opponent cannot immediately counter the player-character.
- cooperative gameplay (co-op)
- Multiplayer gameplay where the players work together on the same team against computer-controlled opponents or challenges.
- A computer program used either as or in conjunction with an emulator to corrupt certain data within a ROM or ISO by a user-desired amount, causing varied effects, both visually and audibly, to a video game and its data, usually as a humorous diversion or for the sake of seeking out and documenting interesting examples, hereafter referred to as corruptions. The effects of a corruption may include: displaced or misdirected pixels in a spritemap; never-ending levels; bizarre or unexpected changes to the colour palette of characters and levels; artifacts; distorted or entirely incorrect sprites, polygons, textures, or character models; spastic and outlandish animations; incorrect text or dialogue trees; flickering graphics or lights; incorrect or distorted audio; inconvenient invisible walls; lack of collision detection; and other forced glitches. Corruptions often result in the game becoming unwinnable, and may also result in unusual crashes and softlocks. See also real-time corruptor and ROM hacking.
- cover system
- A game mechanic which allows the player to use walls or other features of the game’s environment to take cover from oncoming ranged attacks, such as gunfire in first-person shooters. Many cover systems also allow the character to use ranged attacks in return while in cover although with an accuracy penalty
- coyote time
- A game mechanic that grants players the ability to jump for a brief period of time (typically just a few frames or fractions of a second) after leaving solid ground. Used predominantly in platform games, the mechanic is designed to give players the impression of having jumped at the last possible moment, and as a method of forgiving players that would have otherwise missed the jump. The mechanic derives its name from the Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote who, upon leaving solid ground (e.g. by running off a cliff), briefly hangs in mid-air before plummeting to the earth below.
- 1. Central processing unit; the part of the computer or video game which executes the games’ program.
- 2. A personal computer.
- 3. A non-player character controlled by the game software using artificial intelligence, usually serving as an opponent to the player or players.
- CPU versus CPU
- 1. Software that has had its anti-piracy protections removed prior to being illegally distributed. See: Software cracking
- 2. Being extremely good at something.
- A game mechanic that allows the player-character to construct game items, such as armor, weapons or medicine from combinations of other items. Most MMOGs feature a crafting system.
- cranking 90s
- Commonly used in Fortnite, cranking 90s refers of a way to build in the game. “90s” refers to the 90-degree turn one must make when they make a 90, and “cranking” refers to how one must perform this repeatedly. “Cranking” 90s usually results in a tower being created.
- To complete an arcade game by using as many continues as possible. Prevalent in action games or shooters where the player is revived at the exact moment their character died during their previous credit. Some home conversions (such as AES versions of Neo Geo games) tend to limit the number of credits each player is allowed to use in a playthrough as a way of preserving the challenge, while other conversions (such as the ports in the Namco Museum series) impose no such limits in order to faithfully reproduce every feature of the original version.
- critical hit
A type of strike that does more damage than usual. Normally a rare occurrence, this may indicate a special attack or a hit on the target’s weak point.
- cross-platform play
- Multi-platform versions of the same online games may be played together.
- Multi-platform games may share the player’s current state via a server.
- crowd control
- A technique, usually with an area of effect, that is used primarily in massively multiplayer online games to manage groups of enemy creatures.
- Abbreviation of computer or console role-playing game.
- A phase within a character’s super move where the game briefly pauses the character’s attack and shows their face (or full body) before proceeding to complete the attack. In fighting games, this move can be blocked.
A game segment that exists solely to provide detail and exposition to the story. They are used extensively in MMOs and RPGs in order to progress the plot. Cut-scenes are more likely to be generated by the in-game engine while cinematics are pre-recorded.
A 4-directional rocker button that allows the player to direct game action in eight different directions: up, down, left, right, and their diagonals. Invented by Gunpei Yokoi for the Game & Watch series of handheld consoles, Nintendo used the “directional pad” (or “cross-key” in Japan) for their Nintendo Entertainment System controller and it has been used on nearly every console controller since.
- damage over time (DoT)
- An effect, such as poison or catching on fire, that reduces a player’s health over the course of time or turns.
- damage per second (DPS)
- Used as a metric in some games to allow the player to determine their offensive power, particularly in games where the player’s attacks are performed automatically when a target is in range.
- day one
The day of release for a video game; often accompanied by a ‘day-one patch’ to repair issues that could not be addressed in time for the game’s distribution, or ‘day-one DLC’, where the developer offers content for a price. ‘Day-one DLC’ is often associated with on-disc DLC, where the content is already a part of the game’s data, but the player must pay to access it.
- dead zone
- 1. A region of the screen in video games in which the camera is controlled via free look where the mouse cursor can be positioned to lock the camera in place. Can be adjusted in some games.
- 2. A deadzone setting for the analog stick that lets players configure how sensitive they want their analog sticks to be, popular in console FPS games, and in racing games where it appears as Steering Deadzone.
A game mode in many shooter and real-time strategy games in which the objective is to kill as many other characters as possible until a time limit or kill limit is reached.
- 1. The opposite of a buff, an effect placed on a character that negatively impacts their statistics and characteristics.
- 2. Effects that nullify or cancel the effects of buffs.
- destructible environment
- A game level in which walls and other surfaces can be damaged and destroyed.
- The production company which makes a video game.
- development hell
- An unofficial, indefinite “waiting period” during which a project is effectively stalled and unable to proceed. Projects that enter development hell are often delayed by several years, but are not usually considered to be formally cancelled by the publisher.
- The act of running games and applications from storage media not originally supported for this use. For example, external hard disk drives or USB flash drives can be used on consoles that only officially support running games and applications from CD or DVD disks. Usually can only be done in modded game consoles.
- dialog tree
Found primarily in adventure games, a means of providing a menu of dialog choices to the player when interacting with a non-player character so as to learn more from that character, influence the character’s actions, and otherwise progress the game’s story. The tree nature comes from typically having multiple branching levels of questions and replies that can be explored.
- The level of difficulty that a player wishes to face while playing a game; at higher difficulty levels, the player usually faces stronger NPCs, limited resources, or tighter time-limits.
- digital rights management (DRM)
- Software tools for copyright protection; often heavily criticized, particularly if the DRM tool is overly restrictive or badly-designed.
- directional pad
- display mode
- In free-to-play games, a user who occasionally spends real-world money on in-game items or spends a modest amount, but not enough to be considered a whale.
- Doom clone
- An early term for first-person shooters, based on gameplay that mimicked that from Doom.
- double jump
- The action, when game mechanics allow, of a game character being able to execute two successive jumps, the second jump occurring in mid-air without coming into contact with anything. The player must then typically touch the ground before being able to jump again.
- down-but-not-out (DBNO)
- A term for near-death state, typically found in team battle royale games, in which a player becomes incapacitated instead of dying after losing health points. Players in this state can be revived by teammates as long as they still have health.
- downloadable content (DLC)
- Additional content for a video game that is acquired through a digital delivery system.
- Abbreviation of damage per minute, used as a metric in some games to allow the player to determine their offensive power.
- A game mode associated with collectible card games including digital variants. A draft mode enables a player to create a deck of cards in such games by selecting one card of a number of randomly selected cards at a time. The player then uses the completed deck to play in matches against other players or computer opponents until they meet a certain win or loss record. Draft games contrast with constructed deck games, where players draw on their personal collections of cards.
- A typical malfunction that affects the analog stick(s) of a gamepad, in which its neutral position is set somewhere on its fringe, instead of the central position that it defaulty maintains when the analog stick is unmoved. This can cause undesired gameplay effects, such as causing a character to constantly move or the game camera to constantly be locked to one skewed angle while the analog stick(s) is/are unmoved, depending on which stick is affected or the game’s controls.
- drop rate
- The probability of obtaining a particular item from a loot box or booster pack in certain video games, particularly in games with microtransactions.
- drop-in, drop-out
- A type of competitive or cooperative multiplayer game that enables a player to join the game at any time without waiting and leave without any penalty, and without affecting the game for other players.
In an open world game such as an RPG, dungeon refers to any enclosed areas filled with hostile NPCs where the player is likely to come under attack. In this sense, it can be used to refer to literal “dungeons” or include any number of other places, such as caves, ships, forests, sewers or buildings. Dungeons may be maze-like and/or contain puzzles that the player must solve and often hide valuable items within to encourage player exploration.
- dungeon crawl
- A genre of video game that is based on exploring dungeons or similar setting, defeating monsters and collecting loot.
- The practice of using a bug to illegitimately create duplicates of unique items or currency in a persistent online game, such as an MMOG. Duping can vastly destabilize a virtual economy or even the gameplay itself.
- dynamic game difficulty balancing
- The automatic change in parameters, scenarios, and behaviors in a video game in real-time, based on the player’s ability, with the aim of avoiding player boredom or frustration.
- dynamic music
- Elo hell
- The phenomenon of being stuck at a lower rank than your true skill level in competitive video games that use the Elo rating system due to teammates of inferior skill.
- emergent gameplay
- Gameplay that develops as a result of player creativity, rather than the game’s programmed structure. EVE Online is well-known for its emergent gameplay, which allows player-formed alliances to fight extended ‘wars’ over valuable territory and resources, or simply become ‘space pirates’ and prey on other player-operated vessels.
- A software program that is designed to replicate the software and hardware of a video game console on more-modern computers and other devices. Emulators typically include the ability to load software images of cartridges and other similar hardware-based game distribution methods from the earlier hardware generations, in addition to more-traditional software images.
- end game
- The gameplay available in a massively multiplayer online game for characters that have completed all of the currently-available content. In a more general sense of the term, End game also refers to the gameplay of a given title at the climax of its storyline or campaign., and is followed by the postgame.
- endless mode
- A game mode in which players are challenged to last as long as possible against a continuing threat with limited resources or player-character lives, with their performance ranked on how long they survive before succumbing to the threat (such as the death of the player-character) or on score. This mode is typically offered in games that otherwise have normal endings that can be reached, providing an additional challenge to the players once the main game is completed.
- 1. A game mechanic using a character resource-pool which governs how often the character is allowed to use a special ability.
- 2. How often a player is allowed to play a particular free-to-play game; energy can be replenished instantly with an in-app purchase, or replenished slowly by waiting and not playing the game.
- 3. (Usually in futuristic games) The player’s health.
- ESP cheats (extra-sensory perception cheats)
- A package of multiple cheats. e.g., “distance ESP” shows the distance between the enemy and the player, “player ESP” makes enemies highly visible, and “weapon ESP” shows enemy weapons.: 120
Organized competitions around competitive video games, often played for prize money and recognition.
- experience point (XP, EXP)
- In games that feature the ability for the player-character to gain levels, such as role-playing video games, experience points are used to denote progress towards the next character level.
- expansion pack (Add-on)
- An addition to an existing role-playing game, tabletop game, video game or collectible card game. These add-ons usually add new game areas, weapons, objects, characters, or an extended storyline to an already-released game.
- Shorthand for an expression of sympathy when an unfortunate event occurs. The term originates from an internet meme based on a quicktime event from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
- face button
- A usually circular button on the right side of a traditional gamepad that is pressed very frequently in normal gameplay. Modern gamepads usually have four arranged in a diamond formation.
- A video game made by fans, based on one or more established video games. Retrogamers may clone early video games to take advantage of more advanced hardware and game engines.
- Repeating a battle, quest, or other part of a game in order to receive more or duplicates of specific reward items that can be gained through that battle or quest, such as experience points, game money, or specific reward items. Gold farming is a type of farming done for in-game currency. See grinding.
- fast travel
- Common in role-playing games, a means by which to have the player-character(s) teleport between already-discovered portions of the game’s world without having to actually interactively move that distance.
- fear of missing out (FOMO)
- A term used around ongoing games with rotating content, the “fear of missing out” is an expression related to the psychological and social anxiety effect for players concerned about missing the opportunity to obtain limited-time items while they are available and thus devote more time and resources into the game as to obtain those items. This can include additional expenditures for microtransactions for free-to-play or freemium games.
- In multiplayer games, to consistently die to an enemy team or player (either intentionally or due to inexperience), providing them with experience, gold, map pressure, or other advantages.
- field of view (FOV)
A measurement reflecting how much of the game world is visible in a first-person perspective on the display screen, typically represented as an angle. May also refer to the general amount of the game world that is visible on the screen, typically in games where being able to see a lot at once is important, such as strategy games and platformers.
- final boss
- first-party developer
- A developer that is either owned directly by a console maker or has special arrangements with the console maker; such developers have greater access to internal details about a console compared to traditional developers. A developer that isn’t owned by a console maker but have special arrangements with them may be referred to as a second-party developer, instead. Games developed by a first-party developer are often referred to as ‘first-party games.’
- A graphical perspective rendered from the viewpoint of the player-character.
- first-person shooter (FPS)
- A genre of video game where the player experiences the game from the first-person perspective, and where the primary mechanic is the use of guns and other ranged weapons to defeat enemies.
- flashing invulnerability
An invincibility or immunity to damage that occurs after the player takes damage for a short time, indicated by the player-character blinking or buffering.
- A game environment divided into single-screen portions, similar to individual tiles in a maze. Players see only one such screen at a time, and transfer between screens by moving the player-character to the current screen’s edge. The picture then abruptly “flips” to the next screen, hence the technique’s name UK magazines also refer to this as flick-screen
- fog of war
The player cannot see enemy activity beneath the greyed-out fog of war.
Common in strategy games, a ‘fog’ covers unobservable areas of the map and hides any enemy units in that area.
- The final boss in a game.
- 1. An abbreviation for first-person shooter.
- 2. An abbreviation for frames per second.
- To kill or achieve a kill in a game against a player or non-player opponent.
- frame rate
- A measure of the rendering speed of a video game’s graphics, typically in frames per second (FPS).
- free look
- 1. To be able to look around the map freely, usually limited by typical mechanics of the game such as the boundaries of the game world. This is usually an ability that is disabled to common users, but left in the game coding as a developer’s tool and is unlockable if the proper code is known. May also be allowed by a non-player in a multiplayer game to allow seeing every player’s progress, especially in e-sports. Typically eliminates fog of war in relevant games.
- 2. Also called mouselook, a method of control where the player uses the computer mouse to indicate the direction they desire the player-character to look.
- Free Updates will be added
- 1. A term by Nintendo when used in a Nintendo Direct. It usually means Free DLC. (see DLC)
- Freemium is a pricing strategy by which a product or service (typically a digital offering or an application such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for additional features, services, or virtual (online) or physical (offline) goods.
- free-to-play (F2P or FtP)
- Games that do not require purchase from a retailer, either physical or digital, to play. Highly prevalent on smartphones, free-to-play games may also provide additional gameplay-enhancing purchases via an in-app purchase. Games that require in-app purchases in order to remain competitive, or gamers who engage in said purchases, are known as Pay to Win (P2W). (Compare ‘freemium’, a free-to-play game that follows such a model.)
- full combo (FC)
A term used most commonly in rhythm games, when the player hits every note in a song with no mistakes, therefore never breaking a combo. Often results in the highest possible score on said song.
- Abbreviation of Games as a service, a type of business model wherein games receive content updates in the long-term on a continuing revenue model, as opposed to Games as a product, where a game is bought and sold once as a finished product that receives few to no further content updates.
- Playing games of chance for real money or in-game currency. In video games, loot boxes are commonly associated with gambling.
- game design
- The use of design and aesthetics to create a game.
- game engine
- The codebase on which a game runs. There are different subsets of engines, such as specialized ones for physics and graphics. Often the game engine is only middleware which game specific behaviours are built upon, though end-users do not tend to make this distinction.
- game launcher
- An application program for personal computers use to launch one or more games, rather than launching the game directly. Launchers typically include additional services from the software developer to provide middleware such as friends and matchmaking services, content updating, digital-rights management, and cloud saving. A game launcher may also provide features of a digital storefront to purchase and download games. Launchers include those designed by publishers specifically for their games, such as Battle.net or Ubisoft Connect, or may be a general platform to support first- and third-party games like Steam and Epic Games Store.
- game localization
- game mechanics
An overarching term that describes how a particular game functions and what is possible within the game’s environment; the rules of the game. Typical game mechanics include points, turns and/or lives. An unanticipated and novel use of game mechanics may lead to emergent gameplay.
- game mode
A game mode is a distinct configuration that varies game mechanics and affects gameplay, such as a single-player mode vs a multiplayer mode, campaign mode, endless mode, or god mode.
- game over
- 1. The end of the game.
- 2. The failure screen shown at a game loss.
- game port
- When a game is ported from one platform to another. Cross-platform ports are often criticized for their quality, particularly if platform-specific design elements (such as input methods) are not updated for the target platform.
- game save
- game studies
- A field of social sciences that attempts to quantify or predict human behavior in various game-based scenarios, often where there is a reward or risk in taking certain actions.
- A player’s interaction with a video game, defined through game rules, player-game interface, challenges, plot, and the player’s connection with the game.
- gamer rage
- Losing a game on purpose.
- To use the element of surprise to flank and attack an enemy. More common in multiplayer games, where ‘ganking’ usually indicates an unwelcome attack on an unwilling or unsuspecting participant.
- Part of a game’s design that regulates how new gameplay elements, levels, weapons, abilities, or the like are introduced to the player
- Abbreviation meaning “good game”. Used as parting words exchanged at the end of a competitive game or match as a gesture of good sportsmanship. “GGWP” (good game, well played) is also used. Due to this abbreviation being synonymous with a game’s end, it is often used by spectators to indicate a situation, action or a move where a win of a particular player is obvious, e.g. “This attack just wiped all the blue player’s forces, that’s a GG”. It can also be used to taunt players while a game is still in progress as an implication that their win is assured. Insulting variations, such as “GGEZ” (good game, easy) can similarly be used to imply the opposing player is unskilled.
- A feature included in time attack or time trial modes in video games allowing the player to review their previous rounds. In racing games, for example, a “ghost car” may follow the last or fastest path a player took around the track. In fighting games, the ghost is an opponent that the computer AI player can train against outside of normal player versus player or story mode. Ghost cars in racing games generally appear as translucent or flashing versions of the player’s vehicle. Based on previously recorded lap times, they serve only to represent the fastest lap time and do not interact dynamically with other competitors. A skilled player will use the ghost to improve their time, matching the ghost’s racing line as it travels the course. Many racing games, including Gran Turismo, F-Zero, and Mario Kart offer a ghost function. Some also have ghosts set by staff members and developers, often showing perfect routes and lap times.
A variation of the feature, dubbed by Firemonkeys Studios as “Time-Shifted Multiplayer”, was implemented in the mobile racing game Real Racing 3. It works by recording the lap times of players in each race, and uses statistics from other players to recreate their lap times for the player to beat. These ghost cars can collide with the player and other vehicles, and are fully visible to the player.
In some rhythm games, such as the Elite Beat Agents and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, saved replay data can be used in one of the player slots in a multiplayer game.
- Or “giblets”, gore and body chunks which fly from a game opponent when hit with such force that they rupture.
- 1. A character, character class, or character ability that is sufficiently underpowered to making using the gimp a severe handicap in the context of the game.
- 2. A design choice that has this effect.
- 3. (in multiplayer games) Killing a character much earlier than would be expected, such as by relentlessly pursuing them until they die in the early game.
- Abbreviation meaning “good luck, have fun”. Used as words exchanged at the beginning of a competitive game or match as a gesture of good sportsmanship.
- god mode
A cheat that makes player-characters invulnerable. Occasionally adds invincibility, where the player can hurt enemies by touching them (e.g., the Super Mario Super Star).The effect may be temporary.
- god roll
- In games that generate randomized loot, the “god roll” is loot that has the subjectively-best selection of possible random attributes such as perks and bonuses that could be generated for that particular piece of equipment.
- gold farming
- gold sink
- In-game activities that receive currency (gold) from players; in online multiplayer games, this functionally reduces the overall money supply
- gone gold
- The point in the software-development cycle where the software is considered final and ready to be shipped. The term traditionally related to the production of games on CD-ROM, where the final version of the game, the master copy, would be written to a gold film-based writable CD and sent to be replicated for retail.
- graphic content filter
- A setting that controls whether the game displays graphic violence.
- A player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game. Many online multiplayer games enforce rules that forbid griefing, keep in mind that the actions performed must be allowed/intended by the game itself, otherwise it may fall into the category of cheater.
- Performing a repetitive and time-consuming action in a video game before being able to advance. Prevalent in online games, where it is alternately considered an annoying waste of time or an enjoyable necessity, depending on the player’s attitude. Many online games have taken steps to reduce the ‘grind’, including doing away with traditional ‘leveling’ systems or allowing the player to temporarily ‘boost’ themselves to match the difficulty of NPCs in a given area.
- Hack vs Hack
- Hack vs Hack (HvH) refers to using cheats to compete against other players using cheats.
- handheld console
- A portable gaming console; i.e. one that is not connected to a TV or other peripheral device. Nintendo’s Game Boy is the most-recognizable example.
- A mechanism by which non-player characters prioritize which player(s) to attack.
- head bob
- In first-person view games, the up-and-down (and sometimes left-and-right) motion of the player’s camera to simulate the bobbing of the player-character’s head when walking or running. It is often an option that can be disabled as it may induce motion sickness in players.
- An attack that strikes the head of its target, causing extra (often fatal) damage.
- head swap
- An animation technique in which a new head is put on an existing character model, to save memory or animation effort.
- heal over time (HoT)
- An effect that restores health over a period of time; antonym of DoT.
An attribute showing how much damage a character can sustain before being incapacitated. Getting hurt lowers this meter and if it reaches zero that character can no longer continue. Depending on the game this can mean many different things (i.e. death, serious injury, knockout, or exhaustion).
- heat map
- In video games, a heat map is typically an overhead representation of a game level showing, through background game data collection, a statistic such as where player characters died. Brighter spots or highly concentrated areas show where these events occurred the most. Such maps may be used by developers to help refine map design.
- hit marker
A visual effect that occurs every time the player-character lands a hit on the opponent; commonly seen in first-person shooter games like Call of Duty.
- hit points (HP)
- 1. (especially in fighting games) The area or areas that can inflict damage or other effects to a character (usually not the one which created the hitbox)
- 2. (used when not distinguishing between hitbox and hurtbox) The virtual envelope describing precisely where the game will register any hits on a game target.
- Commonly seen in first-person shooters, hitscan is used to determine hits along a path with no travel time. Some games use this technique to detect hits with firearms in contrast to slower projectiles which have noticeable travel time.
- horde mode
- in-app purchase (IAP)
- A microtransaction in a mobile game (or regular app), usually for virtual goods in free or cheap games.
- indie game
Loosely defined as a game made by a single person or a small studio without any financial, development, marketing, or distribution support from a large publisher, though there are exceptions.
- infinite health
- infinite life
- A video game player or social media personality that is used as part of a game’s promotion. Typically the influencer will be given a pre-release copy of a game to play and review to those people that follow them on social media or streaming sites, with the intent that those subscribers will be influenced to buy the game.
- item level
- A number attached to a game item – e.g.: weapon, armor, or clothing – which roughly indicates the item’s power, commonly seen in MMORPGs. A character who does not meet the required level of the item would be unable to equip it.
Graphic elements that communicate information to the player and aid interaction with the game, such as health bars, ammo meters, and maps.
- A menu or area of the screen where items collected by the player-character during the game can be selected. This interface allows the player to retrieve single-use items for an instant effect or to equip the player-character with the item.
- invincibility frames
- A brief period of time where a player can’t take damage from attacks. Invincibility frames are most commonly triggered by a player action (such as dodging or rolling), or by taking damage.
- invisible wall
- An obstruction in a video game that halts movement in a specific direction, even though terrain and features can be seen beyond the boundary.
- An input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Modern gaming joysticks have several buttons and may include a thumb-operated analog stick on top.
- Japanese role-playing video game, typically referring to a subgenre of RPGs that originate from Japan.
- Refers to a game mode where many players face one overpowered enemy (called the Juggernaut) and try to defeat it. The player who kills it often becomes the next Juggernaut.
- A basic move where the player jumps vertically.
- In online games, the ability of the server or the host of a game to remove a player from the server, thereby ‘kicking’ them out of the game. This can be to prevent undesirable player behavior such as griefing (where it is usually a precursory measure to banning; to reduce issues like lag, where one player’s lag problems may affect other players’ enjoyment of the game; or to prevent server crashes when communication errors occur between the server and client.
- kill-death ratio (K/D ratio)
- A statistic typically found in player-versus-player video games, gauging the ratio between the number of opponents the player defeated and the number of deaths the player suffered at the hands of opponents. More skilled players typically have higher kill-death ratios.
- Abbreviation of Kills Deaths Assists, a ratio used by MOBA players to evaluate their in-game performance. Used in a similar manner to the kill-death ratio.
- kill feed
- In multiplayer games, a portion of the game’s user interface that shows the last few events (generally, when other players are killed) from the last few seconds, like a news feed.
- kill screen
Level 256 in Pac-Man is considered to be unplayable due to a bug associated with an integer overflow in the game’s code.
A stage or level in a video game (often an arcade game) that stops the player’s progress due to a software bug. Not to be mistaken for a game over screen, kill screens can result in unpredictable gameplay and bizarre glitches.
- kill stealing
- Defeating an enemy that someone else was about to defeat, usually to receive the reward or credit without doing most of the work. Considered ‘bad form’ in many online communities.
- The set of skills and abilities given to a pre-defined playable character in games featuring many such characters to choose from, such as many MOBAs or hero shooters.
- 1. A maneuver in which a player-character gets an enemy NPC to chase after them so as to lead them somewhere else (like a kite on a string). This can be used to separate groups of enemies to prevent the player from becoming overwhelmed or in team-based or cooperative games to allow the player’s teammates to attack the opponent, or to lure the opponent into a trap.
- A game mechanic in a fighting game or platform game where a character is thrown backwards from the force of an attack. During knock-back, the character is unable to change their direction until a short recovery animation is finished. Knock-back sometimes results in falling down pits if the character is standing close to the edge when hit with a knock-back attack.
- Konami Code
A fixed series of controller button presses used across numerous Konami games to unlock special cheats (such as gaining a large number of lives in Contra), and subsequently used by other developers to enable cheats or added functions in these games. The term applies to variations on this sequence but nearly all begin with “up up down down left right left right”.
- In video-games, an unintentional or unexpected delay between the start and end of a process, usually to a detrimental effect on gameplay. Lag can occur in any of the many different processes in a video-game, to vastly differing effects depending on the source:
- Frame lag: A direct delay in the rate at which a frame is processed. This is usually the result of having too many objects active at once – the physics, rendering and other processes of which must each be calculated on every frame. In turn, this results in choppy movement, and depending on how the code is handled, either slowed gameplay compared to real-time (when the lag is not accounted for) or a loss of player control precision (when it is accounted for). In multiplayer games, this is often called client-side lag, as opposed to server-side lag.
- Rendering lag: A delay in the rate at which an otherwise-processed frame is rendered, usually due to a very large number of polygons or visual effects on screen at once. This can have similar visual effects as frame lag, but can alternatively result in frames being rendered incompletely – missing visual details, textures, particle effects or occasionally entire objects. Occasionally, a similar effect can be seen with layered audio cues.
- Server-side lag: A delay appearing only in online multiplayer games, between the client (the player’s device) or the server sending information across the internet, and the counterpart receiving said information. This rarely looks like frame lag or rendering lag, and can instead cause a variety of effects such as dropped player inputs, desynchronisation between the player and server’s versions of events, rubber-banding (where entities appear to ‘snap’ between different positions), or in worst-case scenarios, the player being removed from the server entirely, or kicked.
- A player role in MOBA games that focuses on one of the typically three lanes on the map.
- last hitting
- The action of getting the killing blow on an NPC, receiving gold and experience points that would have been reduced or awarded to someone else. MOBA games, such as League of Legends and Dota 2 use this term and most other games use “ “.
- last man standing
- A multiplayer deathmatch mode in which the objective is not to achieve the most kills but to survive the longest, or alternatively to have the fewest character deaths in a given period of time.
- launch game
- A game released simultaneously with its respective platform, or during its near-term launch window.
- Let’s Play
- A type of video game walkthrough done by players, through screenshots or video, where the player provides commentary about the game as they work through it.
- 1. A location in a game. Also area, map, stage, dungeon. Several levels may be grouped into a world. Some games include special bonus stages or secret levels.
- 2. A character’s experience level in a role-playing game, which increases through playing the game to train a character’s abilities. It serves as a rough indicator of that character’s overall proficiency.
- 3. A round or wave in a single-location game with increasing difficulty.
- level editor
- A program, either provided within the game software or as separate software product, that allows players to place objects or create new levels for a video game.
- level scaling
- A game mechanic in games where the player advances in level, which alters the attributes of a player character or opponents so that there is a similar challenge in combat. If the player character is several levels higher, either the enemy would be buffed or the player’s abilities nerfed so that the challenge would be similar. The player would still gain added benefits with higher levels, such as additional abilities, better equipment with unique properties, and access to higher-level quests or areas. Examples of games with level scaling include World of Warcraft and Destiny.
- Abbreviation of Looking For Group. Used by players looking to team up with others, the acronym is usually accompanied by a set of criteria or a player’s specs.
- One of multiple chances that a player has to retry a task after failing. Losing all of one’s lives is usually a loss condition and may force the player to start over. It is common in action games for the player-character to have multiple lives and chances to earn more during the game. This way, a player can recover from making a disastrous mistake. Role-playing games and adventure games usually give the player only one life, but allow them to reload a saved game if they fail. A life may similarly be defined as the period between the start and end of play for any character, from creation to destruction.
- lifesteal (or “life steal”)
- The ability of a character in game to steal the HP of an opponent, typically by attacking.
- light gun
- A specialized type of game controller that the player points at their television screen or monitor to interact with the game.
- live service games
- A specific set of in-game equipment, abilities, power-ups, and other items that a player sets for their character prior to the start of a game’s match, round, or mission. Games that feature such loadouts typically allow players to store, recall, and adjust two or more loadouts so they can switch between them quickly.
- During publishing, the process of editing a game for audiences in another region or country, primarily by translating the text and dialog of a video game. Localization can also involve changing content of the game to reflect different cultural values and censoring material that is against local law, or in some cases self-censoring in an effort to obtain a more commercially-favorable content rating.
- A recorded playthrough of a game from the beginning to the end without any interruptions or commentary, often made as video walkthrough guides in case players get stuck on some parts of the game.
- loot box
- Loot boxes (and other name variants such as booster packs for online collectible card games) are awarded to players for completing a match, gaining an experience level, or other in-game achievement. The box contains random items, typically cosmetic-only but may include gameplay-impacting items, often awarded based on a rarity system. In many cases, additional loot boxes can be obtained through microtransactions.
- loot system
- Methods used in multiplayer games to distribute treasure among cooperating players for finishing a quest. While early MMOs distributed loot on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, it was quickly discovered that such a system was easily abused, and later games instead used a ‘need-or-greed’ system, in which the participating players roll virtual dice and the loot is distributed according to the results.
- 1. The handling of larger scale decisions, primarily in real-time strategy games.
- 2. An usermade algorithm made-up of series of different actions such as spells or abilities made in order to save the player time and gain an advantage in PvP or just quickly shout certain cliché phrases, especially popular in MMORPGs.
- Any of a variety of game mechanics to render fantastical or otherwise unnatural effects, though accessories (scrolls, potions, artifacts) or a pool of resources inherent to the character (mana, magic points, etc).
- To focus on playing a certain character in a game, sometimes exclusively.
- main quest
- A chain of quests that compose a game’s storyline which must be completed to finish the game. In comparison, side quests offer rewards but don’t advance the main quest.
- A portmanteau of masochist and hardcore, referring to a genre of punishingly difficult games, particularly the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, Nioh, and indie games such as I Wanna Be the Guy and Super Meat Boy. The genre is popular among hardcore gamers. See also Nintendo hard.
- massively multiplayer online game (MMO)
- A game that involves a large community of players co-existing in an online world, in cooperation or competition with one another.
- massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)
- An MMO that incorporates traditional role-playing game mechanics. Games such as EverQuest and Dark Age of Camelot were progenitors of the genre. The most popular and most well-known game of this type is World of Warcraft.
- A game system that automatically sorts players with similar playing styles, desires, objectives, or skill levels into a team or a group. In competitive games or modes, a matchmaking rating (MMR) is a number assigned to each player based on skill and is the basis for matching players. This rating goes up or down based on individual or team performance.
- maxed out
- 1. Reaching the maximum level that a character (or in some cases, a weapon or other game item) can have.
- 2. Raising a character’s statistics to the maximum value.
- 3. In real-time strategy games, recruiting units until the maximum number is reached.
- A backronym for Most Effective Tactics Available. .
- In games that encourage repeated playthroughs, including match-based multiplayer games, the metagame or meta refers to gameplay elements that are typically not part of the main game but can be invoked by the player to alter future playthroughs of the main game. For example, in some Roguelike games, the metagame is used to unlock the ability to have new items appear in the randomized levels, while for digital collectible card games such as Hearthstone, the overall card and deck construction is considered part of the metagame.
- The sum total of all known or implied stories of every character in the game, every branching storyline, all potential outcomes and backstory.
- A genre of exploration-focused games, usually featuring a large interconnected world. Access to certain areas and defeating certain enemies requires items found elsewhere, necessitating exploration and defeating enemies to obtain them. These games are usually side-scrolling platformers or viewed from the top-down, although they can be found in 3D as well. Many borrow features from Roguelike games, such as permanent death. Named for two pioneers of the genre, the Metroid and Castlevania series.
- The handling of detailed gameplay elements by the player.
- A business model used in games where players can purchase virtual goods via micropayments, typically frowned upon.
- A smaller version of the play area, typically displayed in the corner of a players screen used for navigating the game world. May also display locations of friendly and/or enemy players
- The practice of playing a role-playing game, wargame or video game with the intent of creating the “best” character by means of minimizing undesired or unimportant traits and maximizing desired ones. This is usually accomplished by improving one specific trait or ability (or a set of traits/abilities) by sacrificing ability in all other fields. This is easier to accomplish in games where attributes are generated from a certain number of points rather than in ones where they are randomly generated.
- A ‘game-within-a-game’, often provided as a diversion from the game’s plot. Minigames are usually one-screen affairs with limited replay value, though some games have provided an entire commercial release as a ‘mini-game’ within the primary game-world.
- Mob is a term for an in-game enemy who roams a specific area. It is an abbreviation of “mobile”, and was first used in text-based online games in reference to non-player characters.
- A third-party addition or alteration to a game. Mods may take the form of new character skins, altered game mechanics or the creation of a new story or an entirely new game-world. Some games (such as Fallout 4 and Skyrim) provide tools to create game mods, while other games that don’t officially support game modifications can be altered or extended with the use of third-party tools.
- 1. Technical or non-play modes for the hardware or software of a video game, such as a diagnostic or configuration mode, video or sound test, or the attract mode of arcade games.
- 2. Gameplay modes which affect the game mechanics.
- motion control
- A game system that requires physical movement by the player to control player character actions. Popularized by the Nintendo Wii, motion control is available on most recent console and handheld systems.
- 1. Abbreviation of magic points.
- 2. Abbreviation of multiplayer.
A multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based.
- An online game virtual economy phenomenon in which endgame players become rich in currency and drive down the cost of rare items.
- multi-load games
- Games, typically from the 1980s, that would only load one portion of the game into memory at a time. This technique let developers make each in-memory portion of the game more complex.
A game which can be played on multiple platforms.
- A game that allows multiple players to play at once.
- multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
- A genre of video game popularized by Defense of the Ancients that pits teams of players to defend their home base from enemy onslaughts.
- multiple character control
- A feature of role-playing video games where the player controls multiple characters in real-time. The PlayStation 2 was first with this feature in the Summoner and Dynasty Warriors series.
- multiple endings
- When a game’s story has multiple final outcomes, as compared to a linear story which typically ends with the defeat of the game’s final boss. Players may have to meet certain requirements in order to view each ending.
- In games with a scoring system, a gameplay element that increases the value of the points earned by the given multiplier value while the multiplier is active. A common feature of most pinball tables.
- A change, usually a patch, intended to weaken a particular item, tactic, ability, or character, ostensibly for balancing purposes. Contrast with buff.
- New Game Plus
- An option to play through an already-completed game’s story again, carrying over characters, attributes, or equipment from a prior playthrough.
- Someone new to the game, generally used as a pejorative, although often light-heartedly. Not as pejorative as noob.
- noclip mode
- A cheat that allows players to pass through normally impenetrable objects – walls, ceilings, and floors – by disabling clipping.: 119
- no johns
- A term meaning “no excuses”, generally used when a player proclaims false or exaggerated reasons for not playing well. Originates from the competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee community.
- non-player character (NPC)
Abbreviation of non-player character or non-playable character, is a computer-controlled character or any character that is not under a player’s direct control.
- A pejorative used to insult a player who is making mistakes that an experienced player would be expected to avoid. See newbie.
- Similar to quickscoping, this is when a player uses a sniper rifle to achieve a kill without using its scope.
- note highway
- A visual element of most rhythm games that show the notes the player must match as they scroll along the screen. This is more commonly considered a “highway” when the notes scroll down the screen on a perspective-based grid, making it appear as a road highway.
- Meaning “Nice try”. Generally said through a chat function in online multiplayer games to boost the morale of players. Can be directed towards both the friendly and enemy teams. Used when teammates or opponents fail after trying something new, or put in large amounts of effort towards the objective to no avail. “Nice try” could also be used in a condescending manner to mock opponents.
- old-school gaming
- On-disc DLC
- Content that is on the physical media (usually a disc) of a game, but cannot be accessed without buying the content separately. Usually day-one DLC is assumed to be this, but not always. This term also includes data which is downloaded with a downloadable game but not accessible without payment. Not used for free-to-play or freemium games.
- When a player continually chooses to play as a specific character in a wide roster, and often refuses to switch.
- online game
- A game where part of the game engine is on a server and requires an Internet connection. Many multiplayer games support online play.
- open beta
- The opposite of a closed beta; the test players are not bound by non-disclosure agreements and are free to show the game to others.
- open world
- A game world where the player has much greater freedom in choosing the order that they visit areas within the world, rather than being restricted to a pre-defined or heavily constricted order of visiting areas. While ‘open world’ and ‘sandbox‘ are sometimes used interchangeably, the terms refer to different concepts and are not synonymous.
- Abbreviation of one-trick pony, often used pejoratively, but can also be used boastfully if the person can consistently carry their team.
- When a player or group of players are moving or moved far into the map where it could be the enemy’s territory where they will be most likely outnumbered and destroyed.
- overpowered (OP)
- An item, ability or other effect that is too powerful, disturbing the game balance. Often a controversial term.
- 1. In open world games such as RPGs, an area that serves to connect other areas of the game world.
- 2. In platform games, levels that are considered above-ground, in contrast to cave-like levels which are referred to as underworlds.
- pacifist run
- An attempt to reach the ending of a game while defeating as few enemies as possible often exploiting various bugs and glitches.
- pack-in game
- A game that is included with the purchase of a video game console as a form of product bundling. .
- A game controller that primarily included a large dial that could be turned either clockwise or counter-clockwise to generate movement in one dimension within a game.
- 1. In a cooperative multiplayer game, a team of players working together to complete the same mission or quest.
- 2. In a singer player game, a group of characters traveling together on a quest that the player may control or have the most direct access to. The characters themselves are typically referred to as “party members”.
- A block in fighting video games that doesn’t have a downside to the player.
- party game
- A multiplayer game, usually consisting of a series of short minigames, that can be easily played in a social setting.
- The process by which a developer of a video game creates an update to an already released game with the intention of possibly adding new content, fixing any bugs in the current game, balancing character issues (especially prevalent in online multiplayer games with competitive focuses), or updating the game to be compatible with DLC releases. .
- The option to temporarily suspend play of a video game, allowing the player to take a break or attend to an urgent matter outside of the game, or to perform other actions, such as adjusting options, saving the current game and/or ending the current game session. In multiplayer online or networked games, pausing may not be available as a feature, as such games require continuous activity from all participating players in order to properly function.
- Pay to Win (P2W or PTW)
- Elements of a game that can only be unlocked by making premium digital purchases. The purchase packages can include game currency, resources, special characters, unique items, summoning tickets, character skins that give buffs to their stats, or VIP points if the game has a built-in VIP system – anything that gives the buyer a disproportionate advantage. This monetization scheme can result in an unbalanced experience between players.
- An optional hardware component for a video game system.
- Special bonuses that video game players can add to their characters to give special abilities. Similar to power ups, but permanent.
Generally refers to when a player must restart the game from the beginning when their character dies, instead of from a saved game or save point. This may also refer to the case of a player having to restart the game due to failing to meet a certain objective. The term may also apply to squad-based games such as tactical role-playing games, if the death of the character eliminates that character from the game completely but the game may continue on with other characters.
- persistent state world (PSW)
- An online game-world that exists independently of the players and is semi-permanently affected by their actions.
- pervasive game
- A game that blends its in-game world with the physical world. The term has been associated with ubiquitous games, mixed-reality games, and location-aware mobile games. Examples of pervasive games include Pokémon Go and Pac-Manhattan.
- physical release
- A version of a video game released on an optical disc or other storage device, as opposed to a digital download.
- 1. In online games, the network latency between the client and server.
Can also be used like lagging, if there is a high network latency.
- 2. A means of highlighting a feature on a game’s map that is seen on the user interface of allied players.
- ping system
- In co-operative multiplayer games, a ping system is a gameplay feature that allows players on the same team to visibly highlight, or “ping”, other features on the map (such as waypoints, enemies, or treasure) to their allied players. While ping systems existed in various genres such as MOBAs before, Apex Legends in the late 2010s was cited with popularizing the system for first-person shooters that enabled effective communication between players without the need for voice chat.
- pixel hunting
- A game element that involves searching an entire scene for a single (often pixel-sized) point of interactivity. Common in adventure games, most players consider ‘hunt-the-pixel’ puzzles to be a tedious chore, borne of inadequate game design. The text-adventure version of this problem is called ‘guess-the-verb’ or ‘syntax puzzle’.
- 1. A buzzword for operating system, a video game is released for Windows or Android and so forth, not for PC, console or mobile.
- 2. A resting piece of ground, frequently floating, in a platform game (see below).
- platform game
Any video game, or genre which involves heavy use of jumping, climbing, and other acrobatic maneuvers to guide the player-character between suspended platforms and over obstacles in the game environment.
- player-character (PC)
- The character controlled and played by the human player in a video game. Often the game’s main protagonist. Tidus from Final Fantasy X and Doomguy from the Doom series are all “player-characters” developed by their game studios.
- player versus environment (PvE)
- Refers to fighting computer-controlled enemies (non-player characters), as opposed to player versus player (PvP).
- player versus player (PvP)
- Refers to competing against other players, as opposed to player versus environment (PvE).
- The act of playing a game from start to finish, in one or several sessions.
- pocket (pocketing)
- Pocketing refers in multiplayer games to when a player (usually playing the part of a healer support) supports exclusively a single teammate (usually a tank), either at an extended period of time but with several teammates or during the entire match with a sigle teammate. This is done with the intent of assuring the supported player’s survival during the time they’re being supported. The term pocket refers either to the supporting player, or the supported player.
- From PogChamp, a term meaning great or awesome, often a play in a game.
- point of no return
- A point in a game from which the player cannot return to previous areas.
- Gameplay which takes place after completion of a game’s storyline; the postgame may unlock new means to play the game, such as new game plus, additional minigames or sidegames, or even an additional, second storyline for the player to play through.
- popping off
- Used mostly in the context of esports competitions or video game streaming, a gamer is said to “pop off” when they unexpectedly perform exceptionally well in a video game for a short period of time.
- An object that temporarily gives extra abilities or buffs to the game character. Persistent power-ups are called perks.
- power creep
- The gradual unbalancing of a game due to successive releases of new content. The phenomenon may be caused by a number of different factors and, in extreme cases, can be damaging to the longevity of the game in which it takes place. Game expansions are usually stronger than previously existing content, giving consumers an incentive to buy it for competitions against other players or as new challenges for the single-player experience. While the average power level within the game rises, older content falls out of balance and becomes regressively outdated or relatively underpowered, effectively rendering it useless from a competitive or challenge-seeking viewpoint.Very occasionally may refer to the result of repeatedly balancing a game primarily through buffs and nerfs, thus making every character substantially more powerful than they were at release.
- power spike
- The moment in which a character sees a rise in relative strength from leveling up larger than that of a normal milestone. This is usually due to an item becoming available or certain abilities being unlocked.
- Shortened version of the word “Professional”. Someone with experience, skill, and especially know-how in a certain game.
- “Proc” and “proccing” is the activation or occurrence of a random gaming event. Particularly common for massively multiplayer online games, procs are random events where special equipment provide the user with temporary extra powers, or when the opposing enemy suddenly becomes more powerful in some way. The term’s origin is uncertain, possibly from programmed random occurrence, process, or procedure.
- procedural generation
- When the game algorithmically combines randomly generated elements, particularly in game world creation.
- pro gamer move
- A “Pro Gamer Move” is a strategic and tactical move in-game that shows that the player knows exactly what they are doing. The phrase has been defined online since the beginning of the millennium and gained fame rapidly because of its humorous context.
- professional gaming
- progression system
- The game mechanics that determine how a player improves their player-character over the course of a game or several games, such as gaining experience points to level up characters, performing tasks to gain new abilities, or part of a metagame improvement.
- refers to 1) Combat points (i.e. Melee, Range, etc.) and 2) Skill points (i.e. Beginner, Expert, Elite, Master); often used as reference to meet requirements; to be able to equip armors, weapons, as well as for crafting weapons, ammunition and armors for specialists, and to unlock next tier skills (i.e. 30 Beginner skill PT to unlock Expert skills)..
- 1. Short for public lobby, as opposed to a private lobby.
- 2. Players who play in public lobbies (“pubbies”).
- public lobby
- A multiplayer lobby composed of random players found using in-game matchmaking tools.
- The company that (in whole or in part) finances, distributes and markets the game. This is distinct from the developer, though the publisher may own the developer.
- Pick-up Group. It is an abbreviation used in MMORPG, referring to a group of players formed on the fly, usually to carry out a mutually beneficial task. PUGs will disband after the common objective has been achieved.
- Dominated by an opponent, usually another player. Typographical error of the word “owned” that was made popular in World of Warcraft.
- Any objective-based activity created in-game for the purpose of either story (story quest) or character-level advancement (side quest). Quests follow many common types, such as defeating a number of specific monsters, gathering a number of specific items, or safely escorting a non-player character. Some quests involve more-detailed information and mechanics and are either greatly enjoyed by players as a break from the common monotony or are reviled as uselessly more-complicated than necessary.
- quick time event (QTE)
- An event within a game that typically requires the player to press an indicated controller button or move a controller’s analog controls within a short time window to succeed in the event and progress forward, while failure to do so may harm the player-character or lead to a game-over situation. Such controls are generally non-standard for the game, and the action performed in a quick time event is usually not possible to execute in regular gameplay.
- 1. A mechanism in a video game where progress to or from a saved game can be done by pressing a single controller button or keystroke, instead of opening a file dialog to locate the save file. Typically, there is only one quickload location and quicksaving will overwrite any previously saved state.
- 2. An option to use a one-time save which takes the player out of the game, allowing them to continue from where they last were and in the state they last were, thereby allowing the player to turn off the console or do something else with it without losing progress, but without gaining anything beyond that compared with not quicksaving. More common in handheld games, where an emphasis on short gameplay sessions encourages developers to give the player a way to play for shorter periods.
- A technique in first-person shooter video games used to attack a target by quickly aiming down sights on a weapon and immediately shooting.
- A smaller version of the play area, typically displayed in the corner of a players screen used for navigating the game world. May also display locations of friendly and/or enemy players
- Rage games are a genre designed to cause anger and frustration in the player, using unintuitive controls, unforeseeable obstacles, unfair challenges and/or taunting the player, often with the express stated purpose of causing the player to rage quit. Completing a rage game is commonly seen as a measure of determination and resolve as much as skill.
- rage quit
- Rage quitting, sometimes referred to as gamer rage, is the act of quitting a game mid-progress instead of waiting for the game to end. Typically, this is associated with leaving in frustration, such as unpleasant communication with other players, being annoyed, or losing the game. However, the reasons can vary beyond frustration, such as being unable to play due to the way the game has progressed, bad sportsmanship, or manipulating game statistics. Apparent rage quits may occur due to a player’s game crashing, or the player experiencing network connection problems. There are also social implications of rage quitting, such as making other players rage quit. Certain games can penalize the player for leaving early. Sometimes the player may damage or even destroy the TV, computer, console or controller, which the game is on.
- A raid is a type of mission in a game where a number of people attempt to defeat either: (a) another number of people at player-vs-player (PVP), (b) a series of computer-controlled enemies (non-player characters; NPCs) in a player-vs-environment (PVE) battlefield, or (c) a very powerful boss (superboss).
- random encounter
- A gameplay feature most commonly used in older Japanese role-playing games whereby combat encounters with non-player character (NPC) enemies or other dangers occur sporadically and at random without the enemy being physically seen beforehand.
- Refers to the manner in which a game world reacts to and is changed by the player’s choices. Examples include branching dialogue trees in an RPG, or detailed interacting systems in a simulation or strategy game. A reactive game world offers a greater number of possible outcomes to a given action, but increases the complexity and cost of development.
- real-time corruptor
- A type of ROM/ISO corruptor program which incrementally and gradually corrupts video game data in real time as the game is being played for the purpose of finding amusing or interesting results. The rate at which the data is corrupted and its severity can be changed by the user at will, enabling the game to be played in a corrupted state or to suddenly increase the intensity of the resultant glitches.
- real-time strategy (RTS)
- A genre of video game where the player controls one or more units in real-time combat with human or computer opponents.
Restarting a game with a new character from level 1 after having maxed out a previous character.
- replay value
- The ability to play the game again with reasonable enjoyment.
- The reappearance of an entity, such as a character or object, after its death or destruction.
- In games where a player-character gains skills along a skill tree by spending points, the act of respecing (“re-specialization”) allows the player to remove all skills and then respend those points on a different set of skills. This usually requires an expenditure of in-game money or other earned gameplay element.
The playing or collecting of older personal computer, console, and arcade video games in contemporary times.
- review bomb
- Actions taken by players to leave negative reviews of a game or other form of media on a digital storefront or user-contributed as a form of protest due to actions typically unrelated to the game or media quality itself.
- The act of restoring a defeated character or entity to life that is not removed from play after their health is gone; this is different from respawning, which only occurs typically without outside intervention and when a character is removed from play after their health has been depleted.
- A character’s ability that allows them to perform a revive, or a command to use the same. Abbreviation for Resurrect.
- rhythm game
- A genre of video game requiring the player to perform actions in time to the game’s music.
- Abbreviation of Random Number Generation. Often used in games that depend on item drops or successful spawn rates to emphasise chances.
- Personification of rng, in a similar fashion to traditional personifications of Lady Luck, often addressed in humor to plead for more favourable RNG. Portmanteau of RNG and Jesus; also called RNGsus, RNJesus, RNGod, or Random Number God.
- rocket jumping
A tactic used in certain games that include physics simulation and rocket launchers or explosives. The player aims their weapon at or near their player-character‘s feet, or stand their character where there will be an explosion, and use the force of the blast to propel the character beyond normal jumping ability.
- A sub-genre of games primarily featuring procedurally-generated levels, tile-based movement, turn-based action, complex maps to explore, resource management, and permanent death. Games that lack some of those elements are usually better termed dungeon crawlers, but can be referred to as “Roguelites”; in particular, permadeath alone does not make a game Roguelike. Roguelikes are typically set in dungeons, but may contain an overworld or other settings. Roguelike games are usually designed to be more challenging than typical games, with luck and memory playing a larger role. Named after the 1980 game Rogue.
- Games that have some, but not all, features of Roguelike games. Typically they involve a different style of gameplay from the tile-based movement, but retain procedurally-generated levels, resource maps, and permanent death. While games may self-identify as Roguelites, it can also be used as a derogatory term. Often used instead of “Roguelike” by mistake, but the two are different.
- role-playing video game (RPG)
- An RPG is a game in which the human player takes on the role of a specific character “class” and advances the skills and abilities of that character within the game environment. RPG characters generally have a wide variety of skills and abilities available to them, and much theorycrafting is involved in creating the best possible form of each of these character classes.This is different from games such as first-person shooters (FPS), wherein the player-character in those games are all standardized forms and the physical skills of the player involved are the determining factor in their success or failure within the game. In an RPG, a human player can be the best player in the world at the game, but if they are using a character build that is substandard, they can be significantly outplayed by a lesser player running a more-optimal character build.
- ROM hacking
- The process of modifying a ROM image of a video game to alter the game’s graphics, dialogue, levels, gameplay, or other elements. This is usually done by technically inclined video-game fans to breathe new life into a cherished old game, as a creative outlet, or to make essentially new unofficial games using the old game’s engine.
- In video-game environments, a small, open area in a map, typically self-contained, surrounded by walls and connected to adjacent rooms by doors. In many cases, specific types of entities such as enemies cannot travel between rooms, while the player can. Rooms are often used to reduce lag by only loading the entities in the player’s current room, ‘pausing’ all other rooms.
- In video-game environments, the placement of a room directly above another room. This was impossible to achieve with the Doom engine which did mapping in 2D, with height variance done via numbers. In true 3D game engines to follow, such as those using the Quake engine, room-over-room became an easy effect to accomplish.
- 1. Abbreviation of role-playing game.
- 2. In military games, a rocket-propelled grenade.
- rubber banding
- 1. A game mechanic resulting from dynamic game difficulty balancing that alters the rules of the game to keep the game competitive and fun. It is most notable in racing games where human players may easily outdistance computer opponents; when this happens, the computer opponents are often given the ability to go faster than normal or to avoid certain obstacles as to allow them to catch up and outpace the player. The effect is likened to stretching and releasing a rubber band between the player and the computer opponent. This effect may also apply to human players as well, with the game providing (often unstated) handicaps for losing players to stay competitive.
- 2. The result of network latency during a multiplayer game; when the player’s location is updated client-side, but the server does not immediately register the change, a player’s character may ‘bounce’ to the appropriate location when the client and server finally synchronize.
- A tactic in strategy games where the player sacrifices economic development in favor of using many low-cost fast/weak units to rush and overwhelm an enemy by attrition or sheer numbers.It can also be used to refer to a quick “rush” onto an objective or point, with the intention to overwhelm by surprise or speed.
- S Rank
- An achievement awarded to a player in a single level, song, round, or stage by finishing them without “Miss” or any mistakes, or for getting the highest scores or percentage cleared (usually above 90% or 98%).The term can mean a high rating level of an item or character within the confines of the game (as valuated by the developer), but it is also used by players in tierlists to refer to the top of the video game meta.
- sandbox game
- A game with a gameplay element that gives the player a great degree of creativity to complete tasks towards a goal within the game, if such a goal exists. Some games exist as pure sandbox games with no objectives; these are also known as non-games or software toys. Very common examples of sandbox games are ones where the player has the ability to create, modify, or destroy their environment, i.e., a game that includes some form of a game creation system. The term alludes to a child’s sandbox where the child can create and destroy with no given objective. While ‘open world‘ and ‘sandbox’ are sometimes used interchangeably (or with only the implication of ‘sandbox’ being smaller), the terms refer to different concepts and are not synonymous.
- save point
A place in the game world of a video game where the player’s progress in the game can be saved. Often, when the player dies or receives a Game Over, their progress will be reset back to the last Save Point that they used. Some games do not have specific save points, allowing the player to save at any point.
- save scumming
- The manipulation of game save states to gain an advantage during play or achieve a particular outcome from unpredictable events It is used, for example, in Roguelike games that automatically delete any save files when the player-character dies.
- saved game
- A file or similar data storage method that stores the state of the game in non-volatile memory, enabling the player to shut down the gaming system and then later restart the device and load the saved game state to continue playing from where they saved. Saved games may also be used to store the game’s state before a difficult area that, should the player-character die, the player can try again without penalty.
- screen cheat
- The act of looking at other players’ areas of the screen when playing split-screen multiplayer, giving the screen cheater an unfair advantage. The 2014 game Screencheat derives both its name and core gameplay from this act.
- score attack
- A mode of gameplay that challenges the player to earn the highest score possible in a game level or through the whole game.
- 1. The full set of downloadable content that is planned to be added to a video game, which can be entirely purchased with a season pass
- 2. A finite period of time in a massively multiplayer online game in which new content, such as themes, rules, modes, et cetera, becomes available, sometimes replacing prior time-limited content. Notable games that use this system include Star Wars: Battlefront II and Fortnite Battle Royale.
- season pass
- A purchase made in addition to the cost of the base game that generally enables the purchaser access to all downloadable content that is planned for that title without further cost.
- second-party developer
- A developer which, despite not being owned by a console maker nonetheless produces games solely for that maker’s consoles. Often they have a special arrangement involved. Due to the ambiguity from the player’s perspective, these developers are often referred to as first-party developers. Games developed by second-party developers are often called ‘second-party games.’
- secret character
- A player character that is only available to the player after meeting some sort of requirement; such as beating the game, completing optional challenges, entering cheat codes or even hacking the game (as some secret characters may be intended to not be in the game, but are still present in the game’s code). Secret characters may initially appear as NPCs
- secret level
- A game level that is only accessible to the player by completing specific tasks within the game; these tasks are rarely described in detail to the player, if at all, and are often only found through exploration and trial and error, or even by hacking, if the level was not intended to be in the game, but is still present in the game’s code.
- sequence breaking
- Manipulating a game to carry out events out of their intended order. Sequence breaking can be used to speedrun a game, obtain desirable items earlier in a game’s story than intended, unlock content faster, or induce other glitches that may be utilised for advantageous means.
- Shoot ’em Up (SHMUP)
- A sub-genre of the shooter genre, wherein a single, usually mobile character has to shoot at enemies while all of the enemies attacking or moving toward it. The player-character will typically have no allies, is extremely fragile, has little non-hazardous terrain to deal with, lacks any reload time for their basic weapon, and will gain power-ups to improve their abilities. Strongly associated with spaceships, but other player-characters may be used. Sometimes conflated with shooters in general.
- A genre of video game that involves using ranged weapons.
- A widely-licensed video game released in large volume with little attention to quality.
- shoulder button
- A larger button usually placed on the rear or top of a gamepad that is usually pressed or held down with the index or middle finger. It can also be used as a modifier for certain actions performed with analog stick movement or face button presses.
- show mode
- side quest
- An optional quest which does not advance the main quest.
- simulation video game (sim)
- A game genre that simulates some aspect of reality and is usually open-ended with no intrinsic goal. Inclusive definitions allow for any video game that models reality, such as sports games, while exclusive definitions generally focus on city-building games, vehicle simulation games, or both.
- A term for a simulator that combines its serious elements with the fun factor of an arcade video game. Often used as a derogatory term by opponents of certain videogames.
- A game that can only have one player at a time.
- The act of two or more guilds banding together to become stronger. This is done to make certain tasks easier with frequent cooperation between guilds, and more.
- skill tree
A simplified example of a skill tree structure, in this case for the usage of firearms.
- A character-development gaming mechanic typically seen in role-playing games. A skill tree consists of a series of skills (sometimes known as perks) which can be earned as the player levels up or otherwise progresses their player-character. These skills grant gameplay benefits; for example, giving the character the ability to perform a new action, or giving a boost to one of the character’s stats. A skill tree is called a “tree” because it uses a tiered system and typically branches out into multiple paths. A tiered skill tree will require a player to achieve certain skills before the next tier of skills become available. The player may be required to achieve all skills in one tier before moving on to the next, or may only be required to complete prerequisites for individual branches. Skill trees are a common tool used for in-game balancing by game designers. Skill trees also offer a “game within a game” in which players are not only playing a video game, but their decisions on how they allocate points into their skill trees will affect their overall gaming experience.
The action roleplaying game Diablo II, released in 2000, is often cited as the true innovator of in-depth skill trees.
- A customization option for a player’s in-game avatar or equipment that changes its appearance. Skins are featured as part of metagame loot drops, with most games rewarding them based on scarcity or by awarding skins for completing certain objectives or placing high in competitive modes. This enables players to display rare achievements or high skill level.Skins can also be obtained through in-app purchases or from game currency, depending on the game and the developer’s monetization methodology. In gacha games, for instance, skins of some characters may require the purchase of a bundle, while others are more easily accessible through spending diamonds acquired in the game instead of the player’s cash.
Skins may be only decorative, or they can also provide the character with stat boosts.
- skirmish mode
- A game mode in which players can fight immediate battles without having to go through the linear, story-based campaign mode. It is popular in real-time strategy games.
- In online multiplayer games that use matchmaking, a smurf is a new account used by an experienced player in order to be matched with a new and inexperienced opponent who can be easily defeated. The concept is similar to hustling and sandbagging that can be found in gambling and board games.
- A situation where further progress in a game becomes impossible, but the game itself doesn’t crash (or hard lock). An example of a no-win situation, softlocks can occur as the result of glitches in gameplay, the use of corruptors, sequence breaking, or as a result of poor game design.
- sound test
- A page or option in which the game makes noise to confirm that the player’s audio equipment is working and at a good volume.
- A soulslike game developed by From Software, a portmanteau of Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
- A game genre based on gameplay from Dark Souls, typically where character death is a core mechanic.
- The place where a character or item is placed in the game world.Also see respawning.
- spawn camping
- Short for specifications, used to describe the details of a player’s stats, gear or build.
- A means of selecting certain options – for a player-character, a weapon, a vehicle, or other in-game item – during the course of a game for a specific function, as opposed to selecting a specific character class at the start of the game. Such specialization allows that entity to have access to unique skills or options for that type while denying them access to other options. Some games allow players to re-specialize past choices for some in-game cost and pursue a different specialization.
- An attempt to complete a game as fast as possible. Depending on the rules for the speedrun, players may exploit glitches or bugs in the game to speed their progress.
- splash damage
Although only the blue player in the center takes a direct hit, everyone within the circle takes splash damage. The damage may decrease further from the point of impact; this is known as damage falloff.
- Attacks with an explosive or other area-of-effect component deal splash damage, affecting the area around the attack’s impact. Splash damage is particularly useful against game targets that dodge well. However, splash damage weapons are also dangerous since they can damage the shooter and are not preferred in close-quarters combat. Such weapons are typically aimed at an opponent’s feet; this ensures that the impact point is near enough for splash damage to cover the opponent in the event that the shot misses. Usually splash damage is separate from the damage of a direct hit with an attack, and the two may or may not both affect the target. Often there is damage falloff, meaning the further away from the center of the attack a target is, the lower the splash damage.
- split-screen multiplayer
- A game that presents two or more views seen by different players in a multiplayer game on the same display unit.
- spray and pray
- The act of blindly firing an automatic weapon with the intent of potentially hitting the target; tends to be ineffective.
- stat point
- A discrete number of points for the player to distribute among their character’s attributes, e.g., to choose their player’s trade-offs between strength, charisma, and stamina.
- status effect
- An overarching term that covers both buffs and debuffs. Essentially, any effect to a character that is outside of the normal baseline is a status effect. Common negative status effects are poisoning (damage over time), petrification/paralysis (inability to move), or armor/damage reduction (lowering of defensive/offensive abilities). Common positive status effects include a heal-over-time (a small, pulsing heal that triggers multiple times over a set period), armor/damage increases, or speed increases.
- To move sideways, often to dodge incoming attacks while keeping the camera on the enemy.
- strategy guide
- Printed or online manuals that are written to guide players through a game, typically offering maps, lists of equipment, moves, abilities, enemies, and secrets, and providing tips and hints for effective play strategies.
- strategy video game
- A game genre which emphasizes consideration and planning to achieve victory. Subgenres include real-time strategy, turn-based strategy and wargames.
- When a player watches another (usually professional) player livestream a game to locate their position and/or their plans and gain the upper hand on them. This practice most commonly occurs in online multiplayer games and is generally frowned upon
- streaming media
- Video and audio that is continuously fed from a server to a client and presented to the end user. In gaming, this may be used to watch a live or recorded Let’s Play demonstration of a game, or to play a game through cloud gaming.
- stun lock
- A situation whereby the player character cannot act for a long period of time due to being periodically stunned. Often caused by being staggered by repeated attacks from multiple enemies.
- An optional super powerful boss, typically more powerful and harder to beat than the game’s main final boss.
- survival game
- A game set in a hostile open-world environment where characters are challenged to collect resources, craft items, and survive as long as possible.
- survival mode
- A type of game mode in co-operative multiplayer games. Players work together to defend one or more objectives or simply to have at least one man standing as they fight through discrete waves of enemies, with each subsequent wave featuring more numerous and powerful enemies. Such modes often include elements of tower defense games where players can deploy defensive tools such as turrets or traps to injure or slow enemies. The game may offer short periods between waves where players can spend in-game currency or similar points to improve their defenses, their equipment, or similar boosts. Horde modes can be based on a fixed number of waves or in an endless mode where players attempt to last as long as possible.
- A positioning of a character model in a video game with the character standing upright and arms up to the side. Typically used as a default position for 3D character models, this is often seen in games as a glitch or result of software bugs.
A character with abilities or equipment to have high health and damage mitigation that draws aggro from opponents and receives enemy attacks so that teammates can concentrate on their attacks or objectives. Common in MMORPGs.
- tank controls
- A character movement control system in which up and down directional inputs move the player character forward or backward, while sideways directional inputs rotates the character, similar to how a tank’s movement is controlled.
- A strategy used in online games where the player continuously kills or attacks the same opponent, ignoring the others surrounding them. It is often seen as unsportsmanlike behaviour in gaming.
- A tactic and an effect used during turn-based fights in which a character (usually with high defense or hit points (HP) – see Tank) tricks opponents into attacking him/herself instead of the rest of the team.
- A type of action used in multiplayer games where a victorious player-character repeatedly crouches down and stands back up (functions that are a common part of standard gameplay) over the head of knocked down or dead opponent, simulating the sexual act of the same name. The act is usually considered disrespectful and provocative, intended to irritate their opponents and make them act irrationally. While the act of teabagging is generally associated with first or third-person shooters, similar actions in other game genres have become synomous with teabagging.
- The killing of teammates through destruction or damage done to allies, such as through deliberate shooting of teammates. Teamkilling is often identified as unsportsmanlike behavior.
- technology tree
A branching series of technologies that can be researched in strategy games, to customize the player’s faction. .
- A frag or kill which occurs when a player uses a teleporter to get to a location occupied by another character. This character is killed and the player-character landing on them is granted credit for the kill.
- 1. Animations or similar visual and audible indicators that indicate to a player what actions an opponent will take. Often used as part of computer-controlled artificial intelligence to help the player avoid or block attacks or make counter-attacks.
- 2. (in multiplayer games) The actions a player does, revealing to their opponent or opponents what attack they’ll do next. Usually considered a sign of predictability, but for some characters it may be necessary.
- test room
- A secret level that is used by developers to test the movements, actions and control of a game’s player character(s), which is usually removed from the game before it is released.
- The analysis of a video game to mathematically determine the most-optimal approach to winning the game, typically in games that feature a number of player-character attributes that are enumerated; one common type of theorycraft is determining how to best maximize damage per second through selection of equipment and skills. .
- third party
- When two teams or players are in a fight and a third team or player attempts to kill one or both of the teams. The term was likely popularized in battle royale games such as Fortnite but can be heard in first-person shooter games. (Also known as a “third party kill” or “third partying”)
- third person point of view
- A view where the player character is seen on screen.
- An increment of damage or healing periodically caused by a DoT or HoT effect.
- When a player gets angry at someone or something, often resulting in reduced quality of play. Usually used in the game League of Legends.
- time attack
- A game mode that challenges player(s) to complete a level or the game within a fixed amount of game time or in the fastest time possible. Often the best times are recorded for other players to see.
- timed exclusive
- When a game releases exclusively for one platform but may release for other platforms when the exclusivity period expires.
- time to kill
- Time to kill (TTK for short) is the average amount of time it takes to kill an opponent in a firefight.
- title screen
- The initial screen of a computer, video, or arcade game after the credits and logos of the game developer and publisher are displayed. Early title screens often included all the game options available (single player, multiplayer, configuration of controls, etc.) while modern games have opted for the title screen to serve as a splash screen. This can be attributed to the use of the title screen as a loading screen, in which to cache all the graphical elements of the main menu. Older computer and video games had relatively simple menu screens that often featured pre-rendered artwork.
In arcade games, the title screen is shown as part of the attract mode loop, usually after a game demonstration is played. The title screen and high score list urge potential players to insert coins. In console games, especially if the screen is not merged with the main menu, it urges the player to press start. Similarly, in computer games, the message “Hit any key” is often displayed. Controls that lack an actual “Start” button use a different prompt; the Wii, for example, usually prompts to press the “A” button and the “B” trigger simultaneously, as in Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Mario Party 9. Fan-made games often parody the style of the title that inspired them.
- A form of user input that relies on physical touch, rather than a mouse, keyboard or other control method.
- Slang for the actions of a rude and unwelcoming gamer or gaming community who detriments the experience for other players or developers.
- tower dive
- Commonly used in MOBAs to define the act of going into range of the opponent’s tower, a defensive structure that damages its opponents, to kill low-health targets.
- A form of a video game controller, most often found on arcade game cabinets, in which the player uses a freely-rotating ball to interact with the game.
- transmogrification or transmog
- Changing the appearance of gear, such as weapons and armor, typically to that of functionally equivalent gear.
- 1. A term meaning bad or poor, often used to insult a player(s) in online PvP games, but also used for items, spells, etc.
- 2. Commonly used in MMORPGs to refer to groups of non-boss enemies. Particularly in dungeons/ areas leading up to boss fights.
- triple A
- triple jump
- Being able to jump twice in mid-air after leaving the ground, and must then typically touch the ground before being able to mid-air jump again.
- try hard
- A type of gamer who tries very hard and being extremely serious at all times while gaming. Also known as playing sweaty.
- turn-based game
- When a game consists of multiple turns. When one player’s turn is complete, they must wait until everyone else has finished their turn.
- A gameplay strategy that emphasizes heavy defense, with little or no offense. A player who turtles minimizes risk to themselves while baiting opponents to take risks in trying to overcome the defenses.
- A practice in MMORPGs of equipping a low-level character with items or resources not normally available to new characters, by transfer from high-level characters.
- A character, item, tactic, or ability considered to be too weak to be balanced.
- A collection of isolated dungeon-, cave-, or hell-like levels which are connected by an open overworld.
- Gaining access to previously unavailable content in a video game by fulfilling certain conditions.
- A game mechanic to make a given item, character, etc. more powerful. Equipment is commonly upgraded through crafting while a character upgrade may be an alternative to advancing a character level.
- Video games which are announced and appear in active development for some time but are never released nor officially cancelled.
- video game design
- The process of designing a video game, including content and game mechanics.
- virtual reality (VR)
- Virtual reality is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment, that incorporates mainly auditory and visual, but also other types of sensory feedback like haptic. This immersive environment can simulate the real world or it can be fantastical, creating an experience that is not possible in reality. Current VR technology commonly uses headsets or multi-projected environments, sometimes in combination with physical environments or props, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to “look around” the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items.
- visual novel
- A genre of video games with interactive stories. These games typically use static imagery, anime-styled character art (thanks in part to the popularity of the genre in Japan), and detailed backgrounds, with character dialogue presented in text boxes. Players may alter the path of the story by choosing from dialog trees or a small list of actions.
- A pejorative term when one must shake a controller to do an action, regardless of how the controller is shaken. Usually implies that the controller needs to be shaken wildly. Sometimes extended to motion controls in general, ignoring any precision required.
- walking simulator
- A derogatory term sometimes used to classify exploration games, which generally involve exploring an environment for story and narrative but with few, if any, puzzles or gameplay elements.
- A description of the gameplay experience for a level or playthrough, intended to guide players who are unsure how to complete it.
- Wall climb
- The ability for a video game character to rapidly scale a vertical wall or similar surface, typically as part of the character’s passive abilities, but may be aided with a tool such as a grappling hook. This often appears in platform games alongside abilities like wall jumping and double jumping.
- wall jump
- A jump performed off of a vertical surface to propel the player higher in the opposite direction. Wall jumps can be done between two tight walls in quick succession to climb vertically in some games, though some games such as Mega Man X allow you to continuously jump on a single wall. As a special jump, it is sometimes an acquired skill instead of available from the game’s start.
- A cheat that makes walls translucent. Some wallhacks let players shoot weapons or physically pass through walls.
- Wall run
- The ability for a video game character to appear to run along a vertical wall for a short distance without falling off. Common in games featuring parkour-type movement.
- wanted level
- A game mechanic popularized by the Grand Theft Auto series and used in many Grand Theft Auto clone games. A player’s actions in an open-world game may cause non-player characters, often representing law enforcement, to chase the player, with the response becoming more significant at higher wanted levels. The wanted level persists unless the player can elude these opponents, or if the character dies, eliminating the wanted level.
- warp zone
- A shortcut that allows a player to bypass one or more sections of the game.
- WASD keys
- A common control-mechanism using a typical QWERTY keyboard, with the W, A, S, and D keys bound to movement controls. This allows arrow key-like control with the left hand.
- In game genres or modes where player(s) are to defend a point or stay alive as long as possible, enemies are commonly grouped into “waves” (sometimes referred to as levels). When one wave of enemies is defeated, player(s) are typically given a short period to prepare for the next wave.
- In free-to-play games, a user who spends a considerable amount of real-world money for in-game items, rather than acquiring said items through grinding or playing the game normally. These players are typically seen as the largest segment for revenue production for free-to-play titles. White whales may also refer to exceptionally high spenders. Borrowed from gambling jargon; a ‘whale’, in that context, is a person who makes extravagant wagers or places reckless bets.
- An attack from the boss in which the said boss completely knocks out the entire party. Mostly in massively multiplayer online role-playing games.
- A series of levels that share a similar environment or theme. A boss fight will typically happen once all or most of these levels are completed rather than after each individual level.
- Camera wrapping is a technique often used in video games, which allows a player to move in a straight line and get back to where they started. This was more often used in older games to make it seem that the player is moving up or down an extremely high hill; memory can be saved by using wrapping instead of creating a larger area filled with impassable walls. Wrapping is also used to make a 2D game world round; for example, in PacMan exiting the game screen to the right wraps the player to the same position on the left side of the screen. Similarly, in Final Fantasy VII, exiting the game map to the right wraps the player to the same position on the left side of the map, and exiting the map to the top wraps the player to the bottom of the map.
- YouTube bait
- Games that are made for YouTubers or Twitch streamers.
- Tactic in strategy games in which the player uses overwhelming numbers of inexpensive, disposable units rather than skill or strategy. The term comes from the Zerg, a race in StarCraft that uses numerical advantage to overwhelm opponents.
- zero-day patch
- A software security patch that fixes a Zero-day vulnerability. See: Zero-day and 0-day warez.
- zero-player game
A game that has no sentient players and only has CPUs.
- 1. A section of a MUD or MMO‘s shared environment within which communications may be limited or game mechanics altered to encourage certain types of gameplay.
- 2. A synonym for world.
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