Since the beginning of video games, video game players have developed a unique language of their own.
While many gamers probably use a cornucopia of these slang words to describe various aspects of video gaming, some of you probably wonder what the hell do these words & abbreviations mean. This list will try to present these words & their meaning.
AAA Game: Pronounced “Triple A Game” or “Triple A Title,” means an exceptional game that will likely be in the running for Game of the Year.
Action Command: In RPGs with turn-based battles, an action command is the generic term for when you perform a function with the controller to increase the damage the character inflicts on enemies, or reduce the damage done when the enemies attack the character.
Action game: A genre of gaming that revolves around action. Specifically, the player must think actively & usually involves AI-Controlled enemies.
Action/Adventure: A game that puts an equal emphasis on the story & gameplay.
Adventure game: A game that revolves around the story, rather than the gameplay.
AFK: Away From Keyboard. Can include controllers or joysticks etc…
AI: Stands for Artificial Intelligence, means the NPCs & creatures in the game react in a believable and/or challenging way. It is sometimes said that AI is one of the most difficult aspects of a game to program correctly. This rumor is evidenced by the fact that many games are released each year that fall short due to AI Problems.
Alpha: A stage in game development where the game is playable, but has many glitches.
AoE: ‘Area of Effect’ an ability or attack which deals damage or a bonus over a area of ground, normally relatively large.
AP: ‘ability power’ or ‘attack points/power.’
Beastiary: A list of AI-controlled characters in the game that are animalistic. Beastiaries often describe the animals’ strengths, weaknesses, stats (in an RPG), etc.
Beat ’em up game: A genre that involves melee with many enemies. Unlike the similar hack ‘n’ slash, beat ’em ups usually involve unarmed combat.
Beta: A stage in the game that has fewer glitches than the Alpha stage, but is still not ready for release, can be in the form of Open/Public Beta (anybody may play) or Closed beta (only a limited number of people can play).
Boss: A major enemy in the game, usually one whose death is required to progress in the game.
Bot: An NPC that takes the place of a player character in a multiplayer match.
Broken: When a Character, rule, or method of play is so powerful, it effectively “breaks” the video game.
Bug: A glitch. Take note Bethesda!
Casual Game: A game that is designed to appeal to the mass audience.
Cel Shading: A style of graphics that emphasizes bright colors. It is often referred to as “cartoony graphics,” because of its resemblance to cartoons
Cell: An area in a game world that a character can explore without being interrupted by a load.
Cutscene: A part of the game where interaction is usually impossible & the main goal is to watch. Cutscenes are usually done for the purpose of forwarding the story.
Combo: When a player presses multiple buttons on the controller in quick succession, resulting in the main character performing a special move unique to that combination. Said move is referred to as a combo move.
Co-Op: Means a mode of multiplayer where everyone is on the same side, battling the AI.
Core Gamer: A gamer who is serious about his or her hobby, but not as serious as a hardcore gamer.
Crash: When software stops working. It can be either a game crash or an online server crash.
Ditch: To abandon a game (usually an online game) suddenly & without notice.
Driving Game: A game genre where the player operates a vehicle. Obviously!
Easter Egg: An object in the game that is irrelevant to the main part of the game. Easter eggs usually make references to pop culture, other games, or things about the developers (for example, the first easter egg was found in the Atari 2600 game Adventure, & featured his name in a special room, allegedly done to fight the fact that Atari did not give developers credit for their work).
Fighting game: A game that revolves around combat. A heavy emphasis is put on combos.
Final Boss: The final enemy in the game, often the main antagonist. Killing the final boss often leads to the end of the game. Phew!
First Person: A phrase used to describe a game where the camera is situated in the main character’s eyes, creating the illusion that it is the player in the game, rather than the main character.
Floaty: Loose controls. Disjointed feeling control. Lag between input and onscreen action. Over or under compensation for movement & action input.
Frag: To throw an explosive (usually a frag grenade, hence the name) at a character. Make things go boom!
Free-for-all: A mode of multiplayer where there are many players, & it is every player for himself. Modern say Darwinism.
Gamer: A person who plays video games. Never would have guessed that!
Gank: Where several players (normally of a higher level) team up & attack an anemy without warning. In most cases the player being ganked has little or no chance of survival. Whoever uses this word deserves to be ganked!
Gib: A piece of debodied human flesh lying around in the game for the purpose of providing gore. Hello Dead Space.
God Game: A game where the player is a deity, & controls the game world. There is usually no game over, but the game can become so disorganized that it is rendered unplayable.
God Mode: A popular cheat that gives the character unlimited health. Other things may be optional, but infinite health is what makes the cheat known as “God Mode.”
Gold: A game that is in its final form.
Going Gold: Is the act of mass producing a game so that it may be released.
Graphics: A measure of how good the game looks. In the past, console manufacturers used to use graphical power as their primary marketing tool. Polyphony & Gran Turismo & their silly polygons!
Grind: To perform mindlessly repetitive tasks in order to level up or proceed in the game. Thats right you World of Warcrafters, you’re all grinders!
Hack: An unsolicited mod. The discovery of the usage of a hack usually leads to the user being banned from the game and/or prosecuted.
Hack ‘n’ Slasher: A genre of games that involves the use of a bladed object, such as a sword or knife, to kill many enemies. Early hack ‘n’ slashers had just one move, but recent ones put an emphasis on combos to increase damage done or attack multiple enemies.
Headshot: When a character lands a direct blow to the head. It can be either a bullet (in a shooter) or a melee strike. In shooters, headshots do more damage and often result in a one-hit kill. Like a piñata, boom!
Hot Coffee: An infamous hack in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that depicted explicit sexual activity between two characters in the game.
HP: Can stand for Hit Points, Heart Points, or Health Points. It is a numerical measure of the health a character has.
HUD: Stands for Heads-up Display, an object on the screen that features meters & gauges to give information relevant to the character.
Kill: To deplete a character of all his or her health.
Lag: A drop in framerate that occurs when the technology is pushed to its limits. On consoles, this is a rare occurance offline because most games on that console are designed to fit the console’s specs, but online games often receive lag, especially if the player is using dial-up.
Lagger: A gamer who engages in lagging. Loser!
Lagging: The act of deliberately inducing lag into an online game as a method of cheating. Lagging is popular because it is difficult to prove that the lag is deliberate or honest. Double Loser!
Maze game: A game that has the main character going through a maze. Go figure.
MMO: Stands for Massive[ly] Multiplayer Online, & results in an online game where any number of player characters can be in a single cell.
Mod: Short for modification, it is a change in the game’s programming, usually by a third entity. Say hello to Valve.
Multiplayer: A type of gameplay that has multiple players.
Music game: A game that revolves around music. A subgenre is the rhythm game, which requires the character to manipulate the controller to sync with the beat of the music. Just learn to play the real thing already!
Noob: Also spelled N00b and nub, a term used to describe an unskillful person, or perhaps a person who is disliked in general. Striving to be better!
NPC: Stands for Non-Player Character, a character in the game that is AI-controlled. Ah… its the Matrix for real!
Own: Also referred to as Pwn, means to defeat an enemy (whether AI or human) very quickly & decisively, often inducing embarrassment. Yeah thats right you is my bitch now!
OTG: A term used in fighting games, means off the ground. Look Ma, no hands.
Patch: A program that is released by a game’s developers, often through the Internet, to modify a game’s code. This is often done to remove glitches. Again, take note Bethesda!!
Platform Game: Often called a Platformer, a genre of games that revolves around jumping (usually onto platforms, hence the name), climbing, & other actions that relate to physical exercise.
Pure: A game that has only one genre, with absolutely no traces of other genres. Examples of pure titles include Tetris & Super Mario Bros. Also can mean pure [character] where the player can only effectively do one type of task e.g. Manufacturing, Combat.
Puzzle Game: A game that focuses primarily on the player solving puzzles. Many other genres include puzzles, but are not considered puzzle games. True puzzle games usually have no main character, & almost never have a plot. Famous examples of pure puzzle games include Tetris, Polarium, & Lumines.
PvE: ‘Player Versus Environment’ where the player faces AI opponents (normally in combat such as in missions, quests).
PvP: ‘Player Versus Player’ where the player faces other players in activities such as combat or market manipulation (usually only on MMOs such as EVE Online). Disgraceful if you ask me.
Quest: A goal in the game. If only I had one in real life!
Racer: A form of driving game where the vehicles are racing one another. Hmm… seems complicated.
Real-time: A type of gameplay where the action unfolds without pause or interruption, contrast turn-based.
Real-time Strategy: Often shortened to RTS, a game where the player must think strategically, but the characters still attack nonetheless unless the game is paused. This is opposed to a turn-based strategy, where players can think more passively.
RPG: Stands for “Role-Playing Game,” a genre of games that features statistical attributes & skills, leveling up (usually via experience points), & HP.
Sandbox: Describes a game where the player may explore the game world freely, doing virtually any activity available to them. And here I was thinking it was a place to build castles.
Shoot ’em ups: Similar to beat ’em ups, the main character has a firearm which it must use to kill many enemies. Bang & its dead!
Shooter: A genre of games that emphasizes the use of firearms as a main weapon. How to be an American 101!
Sim: Short for Simulation, a game that attempts to reenact an actual event in a realistic manner, the game attempts to simulate real-life experiences.
Spectacle Fighter: A game that sacrifices challenging enemies for a larger quantity of weak ones, & focusing on scoring as much as possible rather than just attempting to beat them.
Sports game: A game that attempts to replicate an established sport. For those who hated doing P.E or Gym.
Team multiplayer: A multiplayer mode where multiple players are put onto two or more teams, & fight the opposing team(s). This is not to be confused with co-op. In Team mode, the enemies are also players. Like forming a posse but without the lynching!
Text Adventure: An adventure game that has little to no graphics, & instead tells the player what is going on via words, while the player types in commands. For example, the computer may say “You see a door,” so the player may type in “Go through door,” & the computer will spit out “You’re in the courtyard.” Ah, to think of all those years that I wasted doing this very thing, good times!
Third-person: Used to describe a game where the camera is located away from the character, & usually shows the main character.
Turn-based: A system of gameplay where the players may think passively about their next move, & have an infinite amount of time to decide.
Turn-based Strategy: A game that requires the player to think strategically in order to proceed in the game. Unlike a real-time strategy, the gameplay is turn-based, allowing the player to think more passively. For the chess players in all of us.
XP: Short for experience points, or Xperience Points. Admit it, we’re all ladies of the night for those XP’s!!
While this list seems extensive, it is by no means definitive. Many of the above terms where unknown to me while researching for this post, so it goes without saying that you gamers out there will surely have many more to add to this list. Please feel free to do so. In the meantime happy purchasing, downloading & gaming!