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This Glossary contains definitions of common lingo and their abbreviations used by gamer's in reference to the various aspects, mechanics and features of video games. Please see this forum thread to discuss additions/modifications to this Glossary. Only with your help can this Glossary be updated and improved - thanks!
For other terms and abbreviations see also:
1CC (acronym) - 1 Credit Clear - Completing a game without using any "Continues".
1-Up - An extra "Life" gained in some "Arcade Games".
3D Model - The representation of an object in a 3D game. Most 3D system are formed using a "Texture Mapped" polygonal skin and take advantage of the high-speed "Rendering" techniques of modern "Graphics Cards".
AA Title - See "Double-A Title".
AAA Title - See "Triple-A Title".
Aggro - Attracting an aggressive response from an "AI" opponent. Derived from the word "aggravation".
AI (acronym) - See "Artificial Intelligence".
Alt (abbreviation) - An alternate, or secondary, character in an "MMO". Opposite of "Main".
Analog control - A type of controller that is able to measure the degree in which a controller is pressed.
Anti-Aliasing - A "Rendering" technique used to blur the edges of "Sprites" or "3D Models" so their edges are less noticeable on the pixelated displays of computers, consoles and handhelds. See "Jaggies".
AoE Attack (acronym) - Area-of-Effect attack - Instead of hitting a single target, you hit everything within a certain radius.
APM (acronym) - Actions Per Minute - The number of actions a player can perform within a minute of gameplay. High APM is often associated with skill or just having the manual dexterity to carry it out.
Arcade Game - Used in reference to games that are reminiscent of those played on arcade gaming cabinets. This usually involves rapid gameplay and short levels or game-time, but extensive replay opportunities.
Artificial Intelligence - A term meaning the programming that goes into a game to depict lifelike reactions from characters the player encounters.
Asset Flipper - Used in reference to the practice of buying Unity games or individual assets which are then re-sold "as is" under a new name. The practice is usually legal but frowned upon by consumers.
ATB (acronym) - Active Time Battle - Initially built as an alternative to the traditional RPG turn-based system, characters don't always act on a turn ratio of 1:1. A hidden gauge or other factors will determine when a character acts.
Backward Compatibility - A gaming system that supports games that were made for the previous version of the system, this can be done with via hardware or via software.
BioWare Magic - The belief that no matter how rough a game's production might be things will always come together in the end. The term originated within the developer BioWare, and has since morphed into a negative term used to describe any company with unsustainable working conditions and unrealistic deadlines or management.
Bit - A single binary piece of information in a computer. It can be either 0 or 1 (representing on/off, yes/no, etc.)
Boss - An opponent that acts as a test of the player's skills and abilities. They are generally seen at the climax of a particular section of the game, usually at the end of a stage, level, or guarding a specific objective.
Boss Rush / Gauntlet - A segment, usually near the end of a game, in which you're forced to fight a collection of previously-defeated bosses in sequence, often without a pause to heal or recollect spent resources in between.
Bots - Used to refer to autonomous "AI" units within a game, or alternatively an entity programmed by a game player designed to try and play a game through automated means.
Bottom Fragging - See "Frag".
Bricked / Bricking - Used in reference to hardware, which has become broken and unusable (i.e. as useful to play with as a brick). Hardware is usually "bricked" through illegal/unauthorized tampering with the hardware or game related bugs and glitches.
Buffed - In games where "Patches" change the rules after launch, this is used to refer to a feature (e.g. a particular item or ability) whose abilities have been noticeably improved.
Bullet Hell - A form of "Shoot 'em Up" where the screen quickly becomes filled with enemies, bullets and explosions.
Button Mashing - A style of game where excessive button or key pressing is required. The term if often used in a critical manner in reference to rapid-input "Arcade Game" types.
Byte - 8 "Bits" in a computer. Through all the combination of the binary bits, a byte can represent any number in the range 0 to 255.
Camera - In most non-"First Person" 3D games, the scene is usually considered to be depicted from a free-floating camera, either tied to the location of the players characters, or directly controllable by the player themself.
Camping - Primarily used in reference to MMORPGs, this is the habit of waiting at known "Spawn" locations for enemies to reappear so the player(s) can kill them. Can also refer to players that wait at known weapon respawn points in multiplayer combat games.
Casual Game - A game that can be played by people who have little or no experience with standard videogames, often allowing the player to play brief portions of the game and stop quickly to return at a later date.
Cell Shading - A term used to describe a 3D "Rendering" technique where the characters and objects and colored and outlined as in an cartoon.
Cheat Code - A series of keypresses used to unlock a hidden feature within a game. The most well known cheat code is the "Konami Code".
Checkpoint - See "Save Point".
Clan - A group of players that tend to play together often in multiplayer games.
Combo - A special attack or move within a game that requires a combination of inputs or prior actions to trigger.
Co-op - A type of game that supports cooperative multiplaying.
Coin-Op - See "Arcade Games". Derives from the fact that many arcade cabinets are coin-operated.
Console - A gaming platform that is usually connected to a standard TV instead of a computer monitor. Usually uses some for of "Gamepad" for player input and is not portable.
Continue - The ability to continue a game even though the player may have died (a normally game terminating event).
Credit - Usually used in reference to "Arcade Games" and the ability to purchase an extra life for credits or coins.
CRPG (acronym) - Computer RolePlaying Game - based on the premises behind table-top RPGs, these games usually involve the player controlling a "Party" of characters whose skills and abilities are raised during the timeline of the game.
Cutscene - An in game movie, animation, slide show that occur during a game that help to facilitate a games story and typically provide a break for players.
Desktop - A personal computer that is often found on top of or beneath a desk. Normally has separate keyboard, mouse and monitor.
Dialog Tree - In many adventure games, the player can interact with "NPCs". However, their responses are often limited and can be seen to follow a tree of question-answer responses based on what the player asks them.
Digital Control - A type of controller that is precise and is either on or off in accepting presses.
Ding! - The sound effect of a level-up from some "(MMO)RPG"s, has spread to other "MMORPG"s too, where the sound might be something completely different. Typed into chat to inform others you've just "leveled" up.
DirectX - A 3D, audio and input system for Windows, developed to help with the different hardware specifications prevalent in PCs throughout the world.
DLC (acronym) - DownLoadable Content - additional content supplied for a videogame that is acquired by downloading over the internet.
Double-A Title - Any game with a level of design and quality similar to that of a Triple-A title, but on a development budget below that of Triple-A.
Double Jump - A form of jumping originally found in "Platformers" where the player can jump and then jump a second time whilst still in mid-air and achieve a higher or longer jump as a result.
DPS (acronym) - Damage Per Second - The measure of how much damage a weapon does.
DRPG - Diceless Role-Playing Game is a game which is not based on chance: it does not use randomisers to determine the outcome of events in its role-playing game system. The term is also used for dungeon crawlers.
E3 - See "Electronic Entertainment Expo".
Easter Egg - A hidden extra in a game which a player will normally need to do something unusual to unlock and discover.
Edutainment - Educational Entertainment - a type of game that designed to help teach particular skills and knowledge. Often used in reference to educational games targeted at young children, e.g. teaching numbers and letters.
Electronic Entertainment Expo - A major annual conference, show, and trade fair for the video game industry held in Los Angeles.
Emulator - A piece of software that enables one computer system (called the host) to behave like another computer system (called the guest). An emulator typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system.
Engine - The code behind a game, or portion of a game. A single game may take advantage of multiple engines, e.g. a pre-existing 3D Engine to display its graphics, a "Physics Engine" to calculate physical interactions in the world, and a Scripting Engine to store level objectives and "AI" troop movement.
Escorting - A type of quest where the player is expected to escort an "AI" controlled "NPC" to a particular location, protecting them from harm along the way.
Eurojank - Ambitious games, usually from Europe, that are creative and unique but lack polish.
Expansion - Additional content released for an existing game to add new features or levels. Usually these require the original game and cannot be played alone.
Feature Creep - The tendency for additional new features or excessive ongoing expansion to occur during software development.
Feelie - Extra supplementary content supplied in a game box. For example, some real 'magic' stones, or a game map printed on cloth, or a button/badge with the game logo on it.
Fetch Quest - A type of quest given to the player in many games where you must go to a particular location to retrieve a large number of a particular item.
Finishing Move - The final action in (normally) a fighting game which brings the opponent's "Health" to zero, thereby killing them. Many finishing moves are extravagant in their depictions.
Flick Screen - See "Flip Screen".
Flip Screen - A style of game where the viewpoint around the player is one fixed screen's worth of environment. When the player reaches an exit on the edge of the screen, the viewpoint flips to a new screen's worth of the environment. Basically, the character and enemies move around, but the background doesn't pan - it simply flips from one area to another.
FMV (acronym) - Full Motion Video - see "Cutscene".
Fog of War - Depicted in many strategy games, the player's units are restricted in their visibility, resulting in the player needing to explore the game area to find what exists on the map.
Force Feedback - The ability of a piece of hardware or accessory to feed-back some tactile response to the game action, e.g. a controlled that vibrates when the player is hit, or a steering wheel that becomes harder to keep turned in the right direction when the player's car is skidding.
FOV (acronym) - Field Of View or Field Of Vision is the extent of the observable game world that is seen on the display at any given moment. FOV normally increases with a wider aspect ratio of the rendering resolution.
Frag(ging) - In FPS a kill is sometimes referred to as a "frag" rather than a "kill". "Bottom Fragging" is used to refer to players will a low frag/kill count, which places them at the bottom of the score board. "Top Fragging" is the opposite of bottom fragging.
Frame Rate - The rate at which the display of a game updates. Faster frame rates will seem smoother to the user and allow for faster response times.
F2P / FtP (acronym) - Free-to-play or Fee-to-play, refers to games that give players access to a significant portion of their content without paying. Since they are often based on the freemium software model, these games are oftentimes not entirely free.
FPS (acronym) - 1) See "First Person Shooter"; 2) Frames Per Second - see "Frame Rate"
First Person Shooter - A type of "Shooter" where the action is viewed from a "First Person Persective".
First Person Perspective - Games where the world is scene through the eyes of the main character.
Game Mode - Many games are shipped with more than one mode of play. The changes may be based on the number of players (e.g. Single Player versus Multiplayer), or may change the way the game plays completely (e.g. Time-Attack Mode versus Strategy Mode).
Game Over - The end of the game, usually through player death or failure. Most games display some form of Game Over Screen relevant to what happened to the player.
Gamepad - A handheld input device mainly used on consoles, usually comprising of a few directional input methods and a small number of additional buttons.
Gamescom - A major annual trade fair for video games held at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Gamey - In games that are sold as simulations of real-life events, a tactic that is permitted by the game engine that may not meet some player's personal standards of historical accuracy.
GAAS / GAS (acronym) - Games As A Service - A business model that continually adds new content to a game as a way to monetize the video game after its initial sale, or to support a free-to-play model. Also called "living games" or "live games", because they continually change with each update.
Ganked - To be killed by overwhelming odds.
Gacha / Gotcha - (see "Lootbox"). The term originates from the Japanese vending machines "Gachapon" - "Gacha" is the sound of the machine handle turning and "Pon" is the sound of children's dreams breaking when they don't receive the item they wanted. The English mispronunciation of "Gotcha" means you have caught someone publicly tricking or deceiving others. The term is applied to monetization techniques in video games that are unfair, deceptive or predatory.
GB (acronym) - GigaByte - 1,024 "MB" or 1,048,576 "KB" or 1,073,741,824 "Bytes". Many late-00's / early-10's systems measured their memory in GB.
Generation - Gaming platforms are generally considered to have been released in competing waves over the decades. The waves are referred to as the console's generation, and generally consoles of one generation are better than those of the generation before.
Gib - Short for "Giblet", a term for the various pieces that remain after a character has been killed with sufficient force to reduce their body to smaller fragments instead of leaving behind a relatively intact body.
Glitch - An error in a game. Some glitches hinder gameplay (e.g. a "Camera" pointing away from the action at a crucial moment), whilst others can prove beneficial (e.g. erroneously teleporting up a cliff face to reach an area the player shouldn't be able to yet). Taking advantage of glitches is generally considered a form of cheating.
GOAT (acronym) - Greatest Of All Time - Used to express what someone subjectively thinks is great.
God Mode - Usually triggered by a "Cheat", this indicates a mode where the player is invulnerable or has over-the-top abilities.
GOG.com - Formerly Good Old Games is a distribution service for PC games and films. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of CD Projekt.
Gone Gold - From the term "gold master", a version of the game that has been deemed good enough to ship to stores. When a game "goes gold", it means that development on the game is complete, and it is ready to be printed and sold.
Graphics Card - Many modern "Desktop" "PC"s contain a piece of hardware whose sole job is to display the graphics of a game. As the capabilities of this hardware improves over the years, many games have requirements for a player's graphics card to be of a certain level or above in order to play properly.
Griefing - Deliberately antagonizing or hindering other players in a multiplayer game for the sake of sadistic joy and pleasure derived from such actions rather than for gameplay advantage or revenge. Griefers do what they do because they enjoy the emotional "grief" and agony they bring to others. The term dates back to the late 1990s and is similar to trolling in some ways. Griefing is typically carried out through destruction, construction or social engineering.
Grinding - The act of performing the same task over and over to build up skills, "XP" or money in game.
Guild - A group of players in a multiplayer game that act together and for each other's best interests.
Handheld - A type of gaming platform that can be carried around and usually held in its entirety with both hands.
Headshot - The act of shooting another player or "AI" character in the head in a "Shooter" game. Usually this results in an instant-kill.
Health Bar - Used in many game to represent the health or life of the player. When the bar becomes empty, the player generally loses the game.
High Score Table - A list of the highest scores accomplished. There can be one high score table for a game, or multiple for each of the game's different modes. Many "Arcade Games" show their high score tables when not being played.
Hip Check - A maneuver used by either a player, or more commonly, an enemy. It is primarily a defensive move used to stop an attacker.
HOTAS (acronym) - Hands On Throttle And Stick - a controller setup usually associated with flight-based games that combines a joystick and a smaller, secondary controller, meant to approximate the controls of an actual aircraft while minimizing (or completely eliminating) the need for keyboard and mouse inputs.
Hotseat - A type of game where 2 or more players can play at the same time on the one system, the control being based from one player to the next as their turns come round.
HP (acronym) - Hit Points - an indicator of a character's health, especially in "RPGs".
HUD (acronym) - Heads Up Display - this refers to the on-screen information presented to the user, usually bordering the action on screen.
Instance - In most "MMORPG"s some or all dungeons and possibly other areas can have several copies (instances) of them running at the same time. In the case of dungeons, this is done to prevent crowding and helps ensure that there's monsters for everyone. When used for high-traffic central areas it's purpose is to reduce "lag" and excessive crowds.
Interactive Fiction - A textual of graphical story told via a videogame. Usually the story has a tightly defined and mostly linear story, but the player can affect changes at particular points to change the outcome.
Inverted Look - For many games where the player has control of the "Camera", two control schemes are offered as options - a Normal and an Inverted, with the camera controls reversed between the two.
IP (acronym) - Intellectual Property - A creation, usually a game in this case, for which a monopoly is granted to the designated owners by law. Protections granted to the creators of an IP include trademarks, copyright, patents, industrial design rights, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets.
J-Cart - "Joypad" Cartridge - Gaming cartridge that enables additional players to plug directly into gaming ports on the cartridge itself.
Jaggies - The 'stepped' edging visible on old and low-end "Sprites" and "3D Models". Usually used in reference to a game running on a device whose processing power should be sufficient to prevent such visual artifacts.
Jeigan/Jagen - A type of crutch character, typically used by new or inexperienced players. Jeigan characters are often available early on in the game and start out powerful enough to carry the entire party to victory on their own. However, players cannot rely on them indefinitely, because they are often unable match the increased powers of mid to late game enemies or their fellow party members. They may also leave the party at some point, or get killed off, thus forcing the player to come up with a replacement.
Joypad - See "Gamepad".
Joystick - A handheld input device, usually comprising of a directional input stick and 1 or 2 buttons.
JRPG (acronym) - Japanese RolePlaying Game - "RPGs" with a distinctly Japanese feel to them. Some may be anime-styled, many involve young characters which extraordinary powers.
Juggling - the act of keeping an opponent in the air and unable to fight back for an extended period of time through the use of attacks and/or combos. The act is most commonly found in action or fighting games. A similar term exists for tower defense games in which towers are aligned in such a way that when the enemy is about to near a point on the battlefield, the player will sell a tower elsewhere on the battlefield and create a new tower in the enemy's path, causing the enemies to reverse direction and go through a potentially large part of the level again.
KB (acronym) - KiloByte - 1,024 "Bytes". Many 80's systems measured their memory in KB.
Key Bind(ing) - In games where the input can be modified by the player to best fit their playing style, this refers to the act of 'binding' an action in game to a particular key on the keyboard.
Konami Code - A "Cheat Code" that appears in many console and handheld games by the company, Konami. The code is: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A.
Lag - The delay noticed in an online game, caused by the round-trip time from the player's machine to the game server and back again.
LAN (acronym) - Local Area Network - can be used to play multi-player games locally.
LAN Party - A meeting where large numbers of people turn up to play "LAN" games.
Laptop - A variation of "Desktops" containing all elements of a personal computer in one portable device which can be used on a person's lap.
Leaked Experience - A newly recruited character that has it's level adjusted to match that of the lead character, in an attempt to make that character immediately useful. Also refers to expierence given to characters not in the active party.
Levelling - The increasing in skill of a character through experience.
Life / Lives - Many "Arcade Games" give the player a pre-defined number of lives. When these are lost, the game ends.
Light Gun - An input device used in many shooting games (especially at the arcade) where the player points a 'gun' at the screen to shoot at precise locations.
Line of Sight - The line within which a particular player (or "AI" controlled enemy) can see events.
Loading Screen - A screen that appears whilst the game is loading in new data. Most loading screens show either a progress bar or some animation to reassure the player that the game hasn't crashed.
Lobby - The area in a multi-player game where players can meet and chat prior to actually starting to the play the game.
Loot - Items gained as a result of a successful victory or task completion in a game.
Lootbox - A virtual item or "box" that can be opened to receive a randomized selection of virtual goods or "loot". A loot box is typically a form of monetization, with players either buying the boxes directly or receiving the boxes during play and later buying "keys" with which to redeem them. Depending on the selection of items a player a may receive, lootboxes may support a "pay to win" gameplay model.
Ludomusicology - A field of academic research and scholarly analysis focusing on video game music. It is closely related to the fields of musicology and interactive and games audio research, and game music and audio are sometimes studied as a united phenomenon.
Ludonarrative Dissonance - The conflict between a video game's narrative told through the story and the narrative told through the gameplay.
Main - The main character of a player in "MMO"s.
Mana - A generic term for magic power used in many fantasy-based games, particularly "RPGs". It functions similar to hit points and can be depleted by casting spells or using other magic-based effects. Typically it will recharge slowly over time, and/or can be replenished more quickly by using potions and other items.
MB (acronym) - MegaByte - 1,024 "KB" or 1,048,576 "Bytes". Many 90's and early-00's systems measured their memory in MB.
Meatshield - See "Tank".
Mesher - A form of pseudo-cheating in PVP games where players exploit areas in the game that allow them to phase through or under the map to access the base/supplies of other players.
Micromanagement - The ability to control and influence even small events in a game, such as not just deciding where a new building might be placed in a strategy game, but also controlling individual worker salaries.
MilSim (acronym) - Military Simulation refers to military simulations conducted by civilians for entertainment purposes. There are several forms of MilSim including those played out in real life, such as airsoft games and paintball games. Then there are video games that simulate military scenarios and tactics.
Minigame - A quick sub-game. A game may consist of multiple minigames, or a minigame may instead just be one small element, unrelated to how the rest of the main game plays.
Min-Maxing - Optimising the skills available to a player to exceed in one particular role (e.g. putting all available skill points into combat by deliberately lowering social interaction skills).
MLG (acronym) - Major League Gaming is a gaming competition for people who play professionally.
MMO (acronym) - Massively Multiplayer Online - a type of game which usually has a server-hosted persistent setting which large number of players can connect to.
MMORPG (acronym) - See "MMO" and "RPG". Often pronounced muh-more-per-guh.
Mob - A mobile object, usually referring to an "AI" controlled "NPC" or monster which the players should kill.
Mod - A modification. See "Patch".
MVP (acronym) - Minimum Viable Product - A product with just enough features to make it appealing to early customers. Future product development may be intended, or not planned at all. MVP is often less expensive than developing a product with more robust features, which increases costs and risk if the product fails.
Nerfed - In games where "Patches" change the rules after launch, this is used to refer to a feature (e.g. a particular item or ability) whose abilities have been noticeably worsened.
Next Generation - The "Generation" of platforms expected to surpass the current one.
Ninja (verb) - To loot a corpse or chest that another player has killed or found (in "MMO"s).
NPC (acronym) - Non Player Character - Any character in a game that the player does not control. They can be "AI" controlled, will follow the player around, or simply act as a static interaction point.
Nuzlocke - Refers to a self-imposed set of rules in order to make a game more challenging, usually Pokemon.
OpenGL - A 3D "Rendering" system, designed and developed to help with the different hardware specifications prevalent in the various platforms throughout the world.
Open World - Games which do not require a player to follow a set or linear path but allow the player to explore, take on side missions/questions/objectives as they see fit.
OP (acronym) - Over Powered. Used to refer to gameplay elements, items, enemies, or people that are incredibly tough to beat or present an unfair advantage to a given party.
Party - A collection of characters all controlled by the player. Often found in "RPGs".
Patch - An update released after a game has been published which adds new features of fixes known problems.
P2W (acronym) - Pay-to-Win is a business model in games where you either pay real world cash for an advantage players wouldn't normally have access to or grind for a very long time.
Pennying Out - When a physical copy of a video game in a retail store is no longer worth its shelf space. As a last ditch effort to move copies, these games will be priced at a single cent and if they still do not sell they will be thrown out.
PC (acronym) - 1) Personal Computer; 2) Player Character - one of the characters in game that the player gets to directly control.
Physics Engine - The part of a game that controls the physical movement and interaction of items within the game world, such as collapsing towers of blocks or the deformation and crashes when vehicles hit each other in a driving game. A well known physics engine is the "Havok" engine which game developers can license and use in their games.
Pickup Group - Unknown players that are invited into a group (mostly in "MMORPG"s) to fill required spots.
Pile of Shame - Unplayed games owned by an individual.
Ping Time - The time it takes for a computer to send data to a server. Used as an indication of a player's "Lag" in a multiplayer game.
Pixel - A single 'dot' in the display.
Pixel Hunt - A generally derogative term for a game or a puzzle that requires the player to click on a precise, sometimes arbitrary location of the screen in order to find a required object and/or proceed further in the game.
PK (acronym) - Player Killer - a player who kills other players in games that do not have a pure "PvP" concept.
Platformer - A type of game which generally involves the player directly controlling a character which must jump between floating platforms as part of traversing the level.
Point And Click - A style of adventure game where the character is moved around and interacts with the environment by clicking at the target area of the game world with the mouse pointer.
Poke - A way of applying a cheat (or some other modification) to 8 bit games, in which data is 'poked' into various memory addresses in the computer to alter the way the game works. Now chiefly used in the retro-scene.
Port(ing) - The act of taking a game from one system and transferring to another. The resulting game may differ from the original due to technical limitations or improvements in hardware capabilities since the original was created.
Post-Game Depression - Feeling sad or empty after finishing a subjectively remarkable game. The effect may be related to parasocial interaction and social surrogacy.
Power Creep - A situation or flaw in game design where newly added updates/content can be played alongside the old content, but the new content is more powerful/useful, rendering the old content obsolete.
Power Up - An enhancement gained in game. These can either randomly appear and be collected or be gained through meeting certain objectives.
PvE (acronym) - Player versus Evironment - in contrast to "PvP", this usually refers to the player competing against "AI" controlled characters.
PvP (acronym) - Player versus Player - a two player competitive multiplayer mode in a game.
Q1, Q2, Q3 or Q4 - The "Q" stands for "quarter" and the number refers to a specific time of the year: Q = 1/4 : Year = 12 months : 1/4 of 12 months = 3 months.
Q1 is January to March.
Q2 is April to June.
Q3 is July to September.
Q4 is October to December.
Quick Time Event - A "Cutscene" which allows the player limited input opportunities to influence the progression of the game - these opportunities tend to have a narrow window of time, so good reflexes are often needed to succeed.
QTE (acronym) - See "Quick Time Event".
Raid - The planned cooperation of multiple players in a multiplayer game to complete a specific objective.
Random Encounter - An encounter with a random collection fo enemies that has no part of the main plot of the game, but is usually there to help the player "Level" the characters and extend gameplay.
Rasterization - A technique used to display three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional screen. Objects on the screen are created from a mesh of virtual triangles, or polygons, that create 3D models of objects. In this virtual mesh, the corners of each triangle — known as vertices — relay a lot of information, including its position in space, color, and texture. Computers then convert the triangles of the 3D models into pixels, or dots, on a 2D screen.
Ray Tracing - A technique used to trace the path of a light ray through each pixel on a 2D viewing surface out into a 3D model of the scene. 3D objects are illuminated by light sources, and photons can bounce from one object to another before reaching the viewer’s eyes. Light may be blocked by some objects, creating shadows. Or light may reflect from one object to another, and then there are refractions — when light changes as it passes through transparent or semi-transparent objects, like glass or water. Ray tracing captures those effects by working back from our eye or the camera towards the scene.
Rendering - The manner in which the graphics for a game are displayed to the user.
Repetitive - See "Repetitive".
Resolution - The "Pixel" dimensions (width and height) of a screen display.
Retro - A game from an earlier "Generation" which seems dated compared to modern releases.
RNG (acronym) - Random Number Generator - Typically used to refer to items or drops that are dependent on chance or the likely-hood of something occurring, such as an enemy dropping a certain item or the chance of a weapon having a particular effect.
Roadmap - Content a developer/publisher has planned for a particular game. It is a promise of future improvement that may or may not be implemented.
Rocket Jump - A term coined in early "FPS" games, this refers to shooting a rocket at a nearby wall or the floor and jumping at the same time - the resulting rocket explosion propels the character to an extent that normal jumping cannot achieve whilst (hopefully) resulting in minimal damage to the player.
RPG (acronym) - See "CRPG".
RTS (acronym) - Real Time Strategy - a strategic game where the action continues in real-time, i.e. does not pause to wait for the player to make their decisions.
Rubber Banding - A type of AI in racing games that prevents players from getting too far ahead of computer-controlled opponents. It enables the computer-controlled opponents to catch up to the player no matter how far behind they are. Alternatively it can be used to refer to a player's random or sporadic jerky movement during a multiplayer game if they're experiencing high latency.
Rushing - See "Swarming".
Save Point - A location found in some games where the player can save their progress.
Save scumming - Saving before an important risk/decision and then reloading that save to get a desired outcome.
Set-piece - An occasional occurrence, with the intent of creating a powerful thematic moment. Some games may be structured entirely around delivering one "set-piece" moment after another.
Side scroller - A type of game where the player contols a character or vehicle which continuously moves horizontally through the game world with the background scrolling across the screen behind the action.
Shoot 'em Up - A scrolling "Shooter" where the player must destroy waves of enemies, often including various "Power Ups" and limited "Lives".
Shmup - See "Shoot 'em Up".
Shooter - 1) A type of game where the player controls a character possessing handheld weaponry which is used to shoot other player / characters; 2) A type of game where the player travels through the game world, usually controlling some kind of vehicle, shooting waves or swarms of enemies.
Shovelware - Shovelware refers to games noted more for the intellectual property license they use or the quantity of content included than for the quality of the game. The term implies that the creators showed little care for the game, as if it had been produced with the same care and respect as material "shoveled" into a pile. Oftentimes these are low-budget, poor-quality games produced within a very tight time-frame and released in the hopes of being purchased by unsuspecting customers.
Smart Bomb - In "shmup"s, a limited-use power that deals damage to most/all enemies on the screen, usually clearing the screen. Sometimes collectable or auto-gifted when the player reaches certain score boundaries.
SNK Boss Syndrome - Used to describe the high difficulty of a game boss. It was coined in response to the infamously high difficulty of SNK fighting game bosses. The syndrome manifests by an overall weakness, that is made up for by unfair advantages. Theses unfair advantages include: a disregard for established gameplay rules, unavoidable moves, unreasonable damage, priority, speed, range or recovery and so on.
Spawning - In some games, killed enemies will reappear (or spawn) at set locations. Alternatively refers to the spawning of the player with a new life after they have been killed in a multiplayer game.
Special Move - As expected by the name, a special move the player can perform through some means. See "Combo".
Speedrun - The act of playing a game, sometimes in front of an audience, with the intention of completing it as fast as possible.
Split Screen - A form of multiplayer gaming where both players use the same console and screen, but the display is vertically or horizontally split so each player's viewpoint is shown separately.
Sprite - A graphic used to depict a character or feature in a 2D game.
Status Effect - A usually temporary effect that can afflict a character in game, affecting their abilities. For example, being poisoned or scared.
Steam - A digital distribution service for PC games owned by Valve Corporation. They are one of the largest and most popular game providers of both independent and triple A titles.
Strafing - In "Shooters" this refers to the player moving their character or vehicle side to side whilst shooting in order to try and evade return fire.
Swarming - The overwhelming of an opponent in a strategy combat game with masses of troops. Usually used in reference to troops that are cheap and quick to produce, so swarms can be created earlier than an opponent might expect.
TACO (acronym) - Totally Arbitrary Collectable Objects - a type of object primarily found in "RPGs" which are not required to forward or complete the main storyline, and are just required to meet some minor objective (e.g. 100% game completion, or to receive some prize item from an "NPC"). Such items are normally hidden away in various places all throughout the game so the player must hunt everywhere to find them all.
Tate (Japanese, pronounced tah-te) - A mode in a "shmup" that supports the rendering of its graphics rotated by 90 degrees. This requires the monitor it is played on to be tipped onto its side, imitating how the vertical screens are oriented in arcade cabinets.
TB (acronym) - TeraByte is a unit of measurement used to denote storage space. See 1,024 "GB" or 1,048,576 "MB" or 1,073,741,824 "MB" or 1,099,511,627,776 "Bytes".
Tank - A character that is specifically tailored to stand their ground in front-line combat, taking damage that could moire severely harm physically weaker companions.
Tank Controls - A control setup that uses the up direction on the Analog Stick or D-Pad to move the character forward. Turning is controlled using the left and right directions and the down direction moves the character backwards. Tank controls are often found alongside fixed CCTV style camera angles in early 3D third-person games on the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC when developers were still trying to find ways to control 3D games.
Tank Rush - See "Swarming". Used in reference to a tactic in military-based strategy games where tanks or other comparable vehicles can be produced in large numbers and used to overwhelm an opponent.
Tech Tree - A hierarchy of technologies or achievements the player can unlock, where gaining one tech can open up branches to multiple other technologies.
Telefrag - To kill ("Frag") another player by respawning in or teleporting to their exact location.
Texture Maps - An image used in a 3D "Renderer" on its "3D Models". For example, a texture map may be some bricks used on a 3D wall, or the scales used across the body of a rampaging dinosaur.
Third Person Perspective - Games where the viewpoint shows the character within the game world. In 3D, this is often achieved by an 'over the shoulder' or 'free roaming' "Camera" that follows the character's movements.
Time to Kill - A reference to how long it takes to down an opponent.
Tokyo Game Show - A major video game expo and convention held annually in the Makuhari Messe, in Chiba, Japan in the month of September.
Top Fragging - See "Frag".
Training - The act of trying to avoid dying in a "MMORPG" by running away from a fight that's going badly, which leads to the monster(s) chasing you and in large dungeons you usually wake up more on the way to the door. More or less frowned upon, depending on how the MMORPG's monsters react to other players while chasing you.
Transmog - Short for "Transmogrification", is a system that allows a player character to keep the stats from one set of armor while altering the appearance.
Triple-A Title - A term used for games with some of the highest development budgets and levels of promotion or the highest ratings by a consensus of professional reviewers. A title considered to be AAA is expected to be a high quality game or to be among the year's bestsellers and must be either commercially or critically successful to remain AAA post-launch.
TTK (acronym) - See Time to Kill
Turn Based - A type of game where the action is portioned up and gameplay pauses as action alternates between one player and the next.
Twink - 1) An excessively overpowered character in a multiplayer game, usually through means of "Min-Maxing"; 2) A character that gets equipment from higher level characters and therefore is stronger than normal players with that level.
Twitch - A type of gameplay that tests the player's reaction and response time.
Unlockable - A feature in a game that the player cannot access at first, and can only do so through meeting certain requirements. This includes accomplishing certain feats in game, as well as replaying the game after completing it.
User Generated Content - Content playable within a game that was not created or supplied by the original developers or publishers, such as extra levels or graphics designed by fans of the game.
Utility - A construction kit or game development aid. Alternatively a program used to play board games on electronical devices.
Vector Graphics - A graphical "Rendering" style where shapes are represented only by straight lines.
Vanilla - The original, unmodified version of a game.
Vaporware - A product that is announced to the general public but is never published nor officially cancelled.
Vertical Slice - A proof of concept built during the pre-production stage of game development. It is meant to show what the team can accomplish before full production starts.
VGA (acronym) - VideoGame Grading Authority, or CGA (Collectable Grading Authority) is a business that offers game appraisal services, typically stamping or sealing the game within a special case after appraisal. Their services range in price up to $1,000 and are not officially backed or recognized by any government or industry authority. An appraised game does not necessarily gain more value than an unappraised copy and these types of services have been criticized for doing more harm to the hobby than good.
Virtual Console - Some modern platforms have the ability to emulate the look and play the games created on platform of earlier "Generations". Such "Retro" playing is usually accomplished through a virtual console on the new hardware emulating the old.
Voxel - A "Rendering" technique that doesn't use "Sprites" or "3D Modelling", but involves all the elements of the game being formed of tiny cubes (volumetric pixels, or voxels).
WASD - An alternate keyboard input method used on "PC"s. The keys W, A, S and D on a qwerty keyboard have a similar layout to the Up, Left, Down and Right keys, and are used for similar reasons, in some cases allowing two players to play on the same keyboard.
Whale - Someone who consistently spends a lot of real world money on microtransactions, loot boxes, card packs and other similar digital items. "Whales" are the main target for many free-to-play games.
XP (acronym) - eXperience Points - usually earned in "RPGs", these go towards "Levelling" a character.
Zerging - See "Swarming". Used in reference to the Zerg, an alien race in the videogame Starcraft who would overwhelm enemies with their vast troop numbers.
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