Glossary of video game terms

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This glossary of video game terms lists the general terms as commonly used in Wikipedia articles related to video games and its industry.

0–9[edit]

1-up
An object that gives the player an extra "life" (or try) in games where players have a number of chances to complete a game or level.
1CC
Abbreviation of "one credit clear" or "one coin completion". The act of completing an arcade game without using more than one credit (i.e. credit-feeding), although it can also be applied to any console or PC game that uses some form of continues (the term "no continue clear" is sometime used in such instances). The term "1LC" (one life completion) or "no miss clear" are used instead when completing a game without losing a life as well (if the game has lives). This can be further extended into a "no damage clear" or "no damage completion" in games where the player-character has a health gauge. Some arcade games offer special ending sequences or challenges when the player achieves a 1CC.
1v1
Abbreviation of 1 versus 1, which means two players battling against each other. See player versus player.
2D graphics
Graphic rendering technique of a two-dimensional perspective, often using sprites.
2.5D graphics
Video graphics of 3D objects set in a 2D plane of movement, where objects outside of this 2D plane can have an effect on the gameplay.
3D graphics
Video graphics featuring fully 3-dimensional objects.
4X
A genre of strategic video games, short for "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate".
8-bit
A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the third generation of video game consoles, targeting 8-bit computer architecture.
16-bit
A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the fourth generation of video game consoles, targeting 16-bit computer architecture.
32-bit
A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the fifth generation of video game consoles, targeting 32-bit computer architecture.
64-bit
A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the fifth generation of video game consoles, targeting 64-bit computer architecture.

A[edit]

AAA

Also triple A.

A high-budget game with a large development team, or game studios that make them. AAA games are usually multiplatform, have multimillion dollar budgets, and expect to sell millions of copies.[1][2]
abandonware
The idea of a game being forgotten about, or abandoned by its developers for multiple different reasons, one being copyright issues.[3]
act
Sometimes used to refer to individual levels or groups of levels that make up a larger world or storyline.
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.[4][5]
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.
actions per minute (APM)
The total number of actions the player can perform in a minute. Most professional-level players train with an emphasis on high APM in addition to raw skill.[citation needed]
adds
Enemies that spawn within a certain area or during a certain time. Differentiated from mobs which are already present while adds require a mechanic (either by the player or through specific situations) in order to be present. Short for "additional".[citation needed]
adventure game
A game genre which emphasizes exploration and puzzle-solving.
AFK
Away from keyboard. Generally said through a chat function in online multiplayer games when a player intends to be temporarily unavailable. The term BRB (be right back) from texting is also used, although whether these two terms are interchangeable varies from person to person.
aggro
An abbreviation for 'aggravation'. 'Causing aggro' in a video game is to attract attention of NPCs to attack the player-character, usually through aggressive actions. 'Managing aggro' involves keeping aggressive NPCs from overwhelming the player or party. The practice is often used in gaming to grind. The term may be facetiously used in reference to irritated bystanders ('wife aggro', 'mother aggro', etc). Also see hate.
aimbot
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.[6]:119 Compare to the feature auto-aim.
aiming down sights (ADS)

Also aim down sights.

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. Compare with beta release.
Always-on DRM
A type of digital rights management that typically requires the player to be connected to the Internet while playing the game.
analog stick

Also control stick and thumbstick.

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.[7]
animatic
A partially animated storyboard with sound effects used during early game development.[8]
Any%
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.
AoE
1.  Abbreviation of area of effect
2.  Abbreviation of Age of Empires
arcade game
A coin-operated (or 'coin-op') game machine, often installed in an upright or tabletop (cocktail) cabinet. Popular primarily during the late 1980s, arcade machines continue to be manufactured and sold worldwide.
area
See level.
area of effect (AoE)
Screenshot from FreedroidRPG showing area of effect.

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.

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.

ARPG
See action role-playing game.
artificial intelligence (AI)
Algorithms used to generate responsive, adaptive or intelligent game behavior, primarily in non-player characters.
asset flipping
A practice of a game developer to use free or example game art, models, and music assets shipped with a game engine or provided as a free package to create a game, typically without adding their own assets and without providing credit to the game engine's developers or themselves. This is generally taken negatively in the gaming community, and typically represents a game aimed to earn money for the developer for very little effort.[9][unreliable source]
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 from other players that are all competing against them, such as in Pac-Man Vs.[10]
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
The attract mode for the arcade game San Francisco Rush: The Rock showcasing one of the race tracks available to play in the game.

Also display mode and show mode.

A pre-recorded demonstration of a video game that is displayed when the game is not being played.[11]

Originally built into arcade games, the main purpose of the attract mode is to entice passers-by to play the game.[11] 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 Atari home video games 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 while the game was not being played. Attract modes demonstrating gameplay are common in current home video games.

Attract mode is not only found in arcade 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.

auto-aim

Also aim-assist.

A game mechanic built into some games to decrease the level of difficulty by locking onto or near targets for faster aiming. Games such as the newer Grand Theft Auto titles 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. Not to be confused with aimbot.
auto-run
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.
avatar
The player's representation in the game world.

B

balance
Aspects of a multi-player game that keep it fair for all players. The issue of 'balanced' gameplay is a heavily-debated matter among most games' player communities.
badge

Also achievement.

An indicator of accomplishment or skill, showing that the player has performed some particular action within the game.
beta release

Also beta testing.

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.[12] See also closed beta and open beta.

BM
"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.
board
See level.
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.
boss
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.
buff
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. Compare to nerf.
bullet hell
A type of shoot 'em up where the player must generally dodge an overwhelmingly large number of enemies and their projectiles.
bullshot
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.[13]

C

campaign mode

Also story mode and campaign.

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.
camping
1.  A controversial strategy in which a player stays in one place – typically a fortified, high-traffic location – for an extended period of time and waits to ambush other players.[14] It is most common in first-person shooter games.[15]
2.  The act of hanging around a rare mob's spawn point, killing placeholders until the rare mob spawns, usually in MMOs. This may be known as spawn camping or spawnkilling.
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.
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 character type with distinct abilities and attributes both positive and negative,[16] such as a warrior, thief, wizard, or priest.[17][18]
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.
cheat
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.[8] See god mode, aimbot, ESP cheats, noclip mode, wallhack, and Konami Code.
cheating
To play the game unfairly; giving an unfair advantage via illegitimate means.
checkpoint
See save point.
chiptune
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."[19]
cinematic
See cutscene.
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.
class
See character class.
clipping
1.  Programming used to ensure that the player stays within the physical boundaries of the game world.[6]:119 Also see noclip, a cheat where clipping is disabled.
2.  A 3D graphics process which determines if an object is visible and "clips" any obscured parts before drawing it.
clone
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.
CMS
See construction and management simulation.
coin-op
See arcade game.
co-op
See cooperative gameplay.
combo
Combinations of attacks in a fighting game, during which an opponent is helpless to defend themselves. Introduced in beat-'em-ups such as Renegade and Double Dragon, and becoming more dynamic in Final Fight and Street Fighter II. To correctly execute a combo, a player needs to learn a complex series of joystick and button combinations.[20]
competitive gaming
See electronic sports.
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.
console
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.
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".[21][22]
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.[23]
construction and management simulation (CMS)
A video game genre that involves planning out 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.
continue
A7Xpg gives the player the opportunity to continue playing after losing his or her last life.

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.[24]

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.[24] The first arcade game to have a continue feature was Fantasy,[24] and the first home console cartridge to have this feature was the Atari 2600 version of Vanguard.[25]:26 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.[24] Salen and Zimmerman argue that the continue feature in games such as Gauntlet was an outlet for conspicuous consumption.[26]

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
See D-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
See analog stick.
controller
A means of control over the console or PC on which the game is played. Specialized game controllers include the joystick, light gun, paddle, and trackball.
conversation tree
See dialog tree.
cooldown
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 1/20th to 1/60th 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 are on the same team against computer-controlled opponents or challenges.[8]
corruptor
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. These effects may include: displaced or misdirected pixels in a spritemap; never-ending levels; artifacts; distorted or entirely incorrect sprites, polygons, textures, or character models; spastic 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. Most often, the result is unwinnable, and the game may freeze or crash. 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.[27]
CPU versus CPU
See zero-player game.
crafting
A game mechanic that allows the player-character to construct game items, such as armor, weapons or medicine from component items. Most MMOGs feature a crafting system.
credit-feeding
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. Compare with 1CC.
critical hit

Also head shot.

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
See multiplatform.
crowd control
An ability, usually with an area of effect, that is used primarily in massively multiplayer online games to incapacitate or hinder groups of enemy creatures so that they can then be handled in an ordered or controlled fashion. Proper crowd control is vital in the higher-difficulty areas of most MMO games to ensure success.
CRPG
Abbreviation of computer or console role-playing game.
CTF
See capture the flag.
cutscene

Also cinematic.

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.[8]
cybersport
See electronic sports.

D[edit]

D-pad

Also control pad and directional pad.

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.[7]
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.
damage ring
A display element typically found in first-person shooters that indicates which direction the player-character is taking damage from.
day one

Also release date.

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.
debuff
1.  The opposite of a buff, an effect placed on a character that negatively impacts their statistics and characteristics. See also nerf.
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.[8]
developer
The production company which makes a video game.[8]
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.
dialog tree

Also conversation 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.
difficulty
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
See D-pad.
display mode
See attract mode.
DLC
See downloadable content.
Doom clone
An early term to describe first-person shooters, based on gameplay that mimicked that from Doom.
double jump
An additional jump that follows the first in quick succession.[28]
downloadable content (DLC)
Additional content for a video game that is acquired through a digital delivery system.
DPM
Abbreviation of damage per minute, used as a metric in some games to allow the player to determine their offensive power.
DPS
See damage per second.
draft
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.
DRM
See digital rights management.
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.
dungeon

See also level

In an open world game, refers to any hostile location where the player is likely to come under attack. Often these are enclosed areas such as a cave, ship, or building; hence the term dungeon.
dungeon crawl
A genre of video game that is based around exploring a dungeon or similar setting, defeating monsters and collecting loot.
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
Game music which reacts to what is happening in the game.[8]

E[edit]

electronic sports

Also competitive gaming, cybersports and professional gaming.

Organized competitions around competitive video games, typically using games from the first-person shooter and multiplayer online battle arena genres, and often played for prize money and recognition.

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.[8] 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.
emulator
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 game-play available in a massively multiplayer online game for characters that have completed all of the currently-available content.
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.
engine
See game engine.
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.[6]:120
experience point (XP)
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.

F[edit]

farming
Repeating a battle, quest, or other part of a game in order to receive either experience points, game money, or specific reward items that can be gained through that battle or quest. See grinding.
fast travel
Common in role-playing games, a means by which to have the player-character(s) travel between already-discovered portions of the game's world without having to actually interactively move that distance.[29]
feed
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)

Also field of vision.

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.
final boss
See 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.
first-person
A graphical perspective rendered from the viewpoint of the player-character.
first-person shooter (FPS)
A genre of video games 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

Also invincibility frames, invulnerability period.

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.[citation needed]
flip-screen
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.[30][31]
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.

foozle
The final boss in a game.
FOV
See field of view.
FPS
1.  An abbreviation for first-person shooter.
2.  An abbreviation for frames per second. See frame rate.
frag
To kill or achieve a kill in a game against a player or non-player opponent.[citation needed] See also gib.
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 unlimited 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.
2.  Also called mouselook, used to describe a method of control where the player uses the computer mouse to indicate the direction they desire the player-character to look.
free-to-play (F2P or FtP)
Games that do not require purchase from a retailer, either physical or digital, to play. Wildly prevalent amongst smartphone apps, free-to-play games may also provide additional gameplay-enhancing purchases via an in-app purchase. (Compare 'freemium', a free-to-play game that follows such a model.)

G[edit]

game design
The application of design and aesthetics to create a game. Compare with video game design.
game engine
The code on which a game runs. There are different subsets of engines such as physics engines and graphics engines.[8]
game localization
See localization.
game mechanics

Also gameplay 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

Also gameplay 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
See saved game.
game studies
An area 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.
gameplay
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.
gank
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.
gating
Part of a game's design that regulates how new gameplay elements, levels, weapons, abilities, or the like are introduced to the player.[32][unreliable source]
GG

Also GGWP

"Good game" or "good game, well played"; parting words exchanged at the end of a game or match as a gesture of good sportsmanship.[relevant? ]
ghost
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.[clarification needed]

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 his 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.[33] 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.

gib
Gore and body chunks which fly from a game opponent when hit with such force that they rupture. Abbreviation of "giblets".[8]
gimp
1.  A character, character class or character ability that is underpowered in the context of the game.
2.  A design choice that has this effect.
god mode

Also: infinite health, infinite life, invincibility, invulnerability

A cheat that makes player-characters invulnerable.[6]:119 Occasionally adds invincibility, where the player can hurt enemies by touching them (e.g., the Super Mario Super Star).[28]:357 The effect may be temporary.[34] See flashing invulnerability.

gold farming
See farming.
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.[35]
griefer
A player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game.[36][12] Many online multiplayer games enforce rules that forbid griefing.
grinding
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.

H[edit]

handheld console
A portable gaming console. Nintendo's Game Boy is the most-recognizable example.
hate
A mechanism by which non-player characters prioritize which player(s) to attack. See aggro.
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.
headshot
See critical hit.
heal over time (HoT)
An effect that restores health over a period of time; antonym of DoT.
health

Also hit points.

The remaining amount of metered damage that a character can take before dying or losing a life.
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
See health.
hitbox
The virtual envelope describing precisely where the game will register any hits on a game target.
hitscan
Commonly seen in first-person shooters. Hitscan is programmed to register damage to the opponent when the shots interact with the enemy's hitbox. When the shots fired from the weapon interact with the hitbox, 100% of the damage from the shots will be registered no matter what percentage of the shots hit.
horde 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.

I[edit]

in-app purchase (IAP)
A purchase (microtransaction) made within a mobile game or app, usually for virtual goods in low-cost games.[2]
indie game

Also independent video 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
See god mode.
infinite life
See god mode.
interface

Also heads-up display (HUD).

Graphic elements that communicate information to the player and aid interaction with the game, such as health bars, ammo meters and maps.[8]
inventory
A menu or area of the screen where items collected by the player-character during the game can be selected.[8] This interface allows the player to retrieve single-use items as an instant effect or to equip the player-character with the item.
invincibility
See god mode.
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.
invulnerability
See god mode.

J[edit]

joystick
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.
JRPG
Japanese role-playing video game, typically referring to a subgenre of RPGs that originated from Japan.
jump
A basic move where the player jumps vertically.[28]:100–101

K[edit]

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.[37] Kill screens can result in unpredictable gameplay and bizarre glitches.[38]

Notable arcade kill screens include:[relevant? ]

  • Round 256 (round 0) of the coin-operated Dig Dug, where the player cannot move and ultimately dies.[39]
  • Pac-Man has a kill screen on level 256 based on an integer overflow;[28]:48[40] Ars Technica calls this "one of the most well known accidental endings in gaming".[39] Billy Mitchell was the first person to perform a perfect play of Pac-Man, stopped only by the kill screen.[41] The games Ms. Pac-Man and Jr. Pac-Man also have kill screens.[39] Pac-Man's kill screen was playable, but rendered in such a way that it was not possible to gather sufficient points to advance.
  • Donkey Kong has a kill screen caused by an overflow condition, where the game timer kills the player before it is possible to beat the level.[39] Ars Technica calls it the "second-most famous kill screen of all of gaming"[39] and Wired described it as "mythic".[42][43] This was popularized in the documentary The King of Kong.[39]
  • Duck Hunt has a kill screen after level 99 in which the ducks become invincible and fly at a high speed.[39]
  • Galaga's kill screen occurs on level 256 (level 0), when an integer overflow occurs and the game turns into a blank screen that Joshuah Bearman described as "an existential void".[44]
kill stealing
Defeating an enemy that someone else was about to defeat. Considered 'bad form' in many online communities.
kit
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.
kiting
A maneuver in which a player-character visualizes their enemy as a kite, using ranged attacks to continually attack the opponent and keep them at bay. This can be used in team-based or cooperative games to allow the player's teammates to attack the opponent, or to lure the opponent into a trap.
knock-back
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.[45] 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
The 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".

L[edit]

lag
The delay between an action and its corresponding result, most commonly in an online environment. This is often the result of delayed network traffic.
last hitting
The action of getting the killing blow on an NPC, giving gold and experience that would otherwise be not given or lessened if the last hit was missed. Commonly used in MOBA games, such as League of Legends and Dota 2.
launch title
A game released alongside its respective console, or the only titles available for a console at the time of its launch. One or more of these may be a pack-in game. They often provide first impressions for a console's abilities and are influential on its reputation.
Let's Play
A type of video game run-through done by players, through screenshots or video, where the player provides commentary about the game as they work through it.[46]
level
This is a bird's eye view of a typical MOBA level in the mobile game Vainglory.

1. A stage or area in a game.

2.  Experience level.
level editor
A program, either provided within the game software or as separate software product, that allows players to create new levels for a video game.
life
In video games, if a player-character loses all of its health, it loses a life. 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.[47][48] A life may similarly be defined as the period between the start and end of play for any character, from creation to destruction.[49]
light gun
A specialized game controller which the player points at their television screen or monitor to interact with the game.
loadout
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.
localization
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 unlawful content.
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.[50]
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.

M[edit]

magic
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).
main
To focus on playing a certain character in a game, sometimes exclusively.
main quest
A chain of quests that comprise 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.
map
See level.
masocore
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.[51] The genre is popular among hardcore gamers.[52]
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. Classic 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.
matchmaking
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.
metagame
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 a collectable card-based game such as Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, the overall card and deck construction is considered part of the metagame.
metastory
The sum total of all known or implied stories of every character in the game, every branching storyline, all potential outcomes and backstory.[8]
Metroidvania
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.
microtransaction
A business model used in games where players can purchase virtual goods via micropayments. See also in-app purchase.
min-maxing
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.[53] 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.[54]
miniboss
See boss.
minigame
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. See also bonus stage, secret level and game mode.
mission
See level and quest.
MMO
See massively multiplayer online game.
MMORPG
See massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
MMR
See matchmaking rating.
mob
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.
MOBA
See multiplayer online battle arena.
mod
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.
mode
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. See game mode.
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.[12]
mouselook
See free look.
MP
1.  Abbreviation of magic points.
2.  Abbreviation of multiplayer.
MUD

Also multi-user domain, multi-user dungeon.

A multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based.
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.[55][page needed][56]
multiplatform

Also cross-platform.

A game which can be played on multiple platforms.

multiplayer
A game that allows multiple players to play at once.
multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
A genre of real-time strategy games 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.
multiplier
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.

N

nerf
A change intended to weaken a particular item, tactic, ability, or character, ostensibly for balancing purposes.[57]
New Game Plus
An option to play an already-completed game again, carrying over characters, attributes, or equipment from a prior playthrough.
newbie
Someone new to the game, generally used as a pejorative, although usually light-heartedly. See noob.
noclip mode
A cheat that allows players to pass through normally impenetrable objects – walls, ceilings, and floors – by disabling clipping.[6]:119
non-player character (NPC)
A computer-controlled character or any character that is not under the player's direct control.
noob
A pejorative used to insult a player who is making mistakes that an experienced player would be expected to avoid. See newbie.
noscope
Similar to quickscoping, this is a term used to describe when a player uses a sniper rifle 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.

O

old-school gaming
See retrogaming.
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 that the player may freely traverse, rather than being restricted to certain pre-defined areas. While 'open world' and 'sandbox' are sometimes used interchangeably, the terms refer to different concepts and are not synonymous.
overpowered (OP)
An item, ability or other effect that is too powerful, disturbing the game balance.
overworld
An open area that allows free travel and serves to connect other areas of the game world. In platform games, this term also refers to levels that are considered above-ground, in contrast to cave-like levels, which are referred to as underworlds.

P

pack-in game
A game that is included with the purchase of a video game console as a form of product bundling.
paddle
A game controller that primarily included a large dial that could be turned either clockwise or counter-clockwise to generate movement in one direction within a game.
party
1.  In a cooperative multiplayer game, a team of players working to complete the same mission or quest. See Role-playing game#Game mechanics.
2.  The collection of characters the player may control or have the most direct access to. The characters themselves are typically referred to as "party members".
patch
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. See also zero day patch.
perks
Special bonuses that video game players can add to their characters to give special abilities. Similar to power ups, but permanent rather than temporary.
permadeath
When a player must restart the game from the beginning when his character dies, instead of from a saved game or save point.
persistent 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.[58] The term has been associated with ubiquitous games, augmented and mixed-reality games, mobile games, alternate-reality games, (enhanced) live action role playing, transreality and affective gaming, virtual reality games, smart toys, location-based or location-aware games, crossmedia games and augmented-reality tabletop games.[59] Examples of pervasive games include Pokémon Go, The Killer, The Beast, Shelby Logan's Run, BotFighters, Mystery on Fifth Avenue, Momentum, Pac-Manhattan, Epidemic Menace, Insectopia, Vem Gråter, REXplorer, Uncle Roy All Around You and Amazing Race.[60][61]
ping
In online games, the network latency between the client and server. See also lag.
physical release
A version of a video game released on an optical disc or other storage device, as opposed to a digital download.
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.[citation needed] The text-adventure version of this problem is called 'guess-the-verb' or 'syntax puzzle'.
platform
The specific combination of electronic components or computer hardware which, in conjunction with software, allows a video game to operate.
platform game

Also platformer.

A 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.[8]

player-character (PC)
The main protagonist controlled and played by the human player in a video game. Tidus from Final Fantasy X, Doomguy from the Doom series, and Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect 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).
playthrough
The act of playing a game from start to finish, in one or several sessions.
point of no return
A point in a game from which the player cannot return to previous areas.
port
See game port.
power-up
Objects that instantly benefit or add extra abilities to the game character, usually as a temporary effect. Persistent power-ups are called perks.
power creep
The gradual unbalancing of a game due to successive releases of new content.[62] 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.
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.
proc
"Proc" and "proccing" is used to describe the activation or occurrence of a random gaming event. Particularly common for massively multiplayer online games, procs are random events where special armor or weapons 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.[63]
procedural generation
When the game algorithmically combines randomly generated elements, particularly in game world creation.
professional gaming
See electronic sports.
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.
publisher
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.[8]
PvE
See player versus environment.
PvP
See player versus player.

Q

QTE
See quick time event.
quest
Any objective-based activity created in-game for the purpose of either story or character-level advancement. 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.[64]
quicksave
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.
quickscoping
A technique in first-person shooter video games used to kill an opponent by quickly aiming down sights on a weapon and immediately shooting.

R

rack
See level.
rage game
A video game which is designed to be extremely difficult and frustrating, with elements that intentionally try to 'cheat' in some way or form, with the intent of causing a player to become extremely angry and rage quit.
rage quit
Rage quitting 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, manipulating game statistics, or having 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.[65] Rage quitting is considered improper and rude, but can also be considered amusing by others when they are not negatively impacted by it themselves. Contrast with drop-in, drop-out.
raid
A type of mission in which a very large number of players (larger than the normal team size set by the game) attempt to defeat a boss monster. Common in MMORPGs.
reactivity
Refers to the manner in which a game world reacts to and is changed based on 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.[66]
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. A game could look fine at start-up, but as data is distorted the game will eventually become unplayable or crash.
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.
remorting
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.
respawn
The reappearance of an entity, such as a character or object, after it's death or destruction.
respecing
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.
retrogaming

Also old-school gaming

The playing or collecting of older personal computer, console, and arcade video games in contemporary times.
revamp
Renovation or improvement of a game's user interface, system stats, items, rules, etc.
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.
rhythm game
A genre of video games requiring the player to perform actions in time to the game's music.
rocket jumping

Also grenade 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.
Roguelike
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.
Roguelite
Games that have some, but not all, features of Roguelike games. Often the feature removed will be permadeath. 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.
room-over-room
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.
round
See level.
RPG
1.  Abbreviation of role-playing game.
2.  In military games, a rocket-propelled grenade.
RTS
See real-time strategy.
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 unstated handicaps for losing players to stay competitive.[67][unreliable source]
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. See lag.
rush
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.[citation needed]

S

sandbox game
A game in which the player has been freed from traditional video game structure and direction, and instead chooses what, when, and how they want to approach the available content. The term alludes to a child's sandbox without rules, with play based on open-ended choice. While some sandbox games may include building and creative activities, they are not required. Sandbox games generally employ an open world setting to facilitate the player's freedom of choice.
save point

Also check point.

A place in the game world of a video game where a game save can be made. 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 out of unpredictable events.[68] It is used, for example, in Roguelike games that automatically delete any save files when the player-character dies.
saved game

Also game save, savegame, or savefile.

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.[citation needed]
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.
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.
secret character
A player character that is only available to the player after meeting some sort of requirement; such as beating the game or doing a quest relating to that character. Secret characters may initially appear as NPCs.[citation needed]
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. Compare with bonus stage.
shooter

Also shoot 'em up.

A genre of games that involves using ranged weapons.[36] See also first-person shooter.
shovelware
A widely-licensed video game released in large volume with little attention to quality.
show mode
See attract 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.[69]
single-player
A game that can only have one player at a time. Compare with multiplayer.
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 his or her 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.[70]

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.[70]

The action roleplaying game Diablo II, released in 2000, is often cited as the true innovator of in-depth skill trees.[70]

skin
A customization option for a player's in-game avatar or equipment that changes its appearance to other players within the game. Skins generally do not provide any direct in-game advantage. 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 allows players to use skins to display rare achievements or high skill level.
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.[71]
smurf
1.  When a game developer makes something (an ability, weapon, or character) less powerful than before, typically in an attempt to balance gameplay. See also nerf.
2.  In online multiplayer games that use matchmaking, when an experienced player creates a new account to appear inexperienced, so they are matched with relatively new players who they can easily beat.[72][73] See also twinking.
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.
spawn camping
See camping.
specialization
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.
speedrun
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.[74]
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.[75]
split-screen multiplayer
A game that presents two or more views seen by different players in a multiplayer game on the same display unit.
stage
See level.
stat point
A discrete amount 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.[76]
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.
strafing
To move sideways, often to dodge incoming attacks. See also circle strafing.
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.
subgame
See minigame.
superboss
See boss.

T[edit]

technology tree

Also tech tree.

A branching series of technologies that can be researched in strategy games, to customize the player's faction. See also skill tree.

telefrag
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.
telegraphing
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.
theory
See game studies and theorycraft.
theorycraft
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. See also min-maxing.
third person point of view
A view where the player character is seen on screen.[8]
thumbstick
See analog stick.
tick
An increment of damage or healing periodically caused by a DoT or HoT effect.
tilt
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 will release for other platforms when the exclusivity period expires.[77]
title screen
OpenArena 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.

touchscreen
A form of user input that relies on physical touch, rather than a mouse, keyboard or other control method.
trackball
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.
triple A
See AAA.
triple jump
An additional jump that follows the second in quick succession.[28]:102
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.
twinking
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.[57]

U[edit]

underpowered
A character, item, tactic, or ability considered to be too weak to be balanced.
underworld
A collection of isolated dungeon- or cave-like levels which are connected by an open overworld.
upgrade
A way to make the given item, character, etc. more powerful.

V[edit]

vaporware
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.

W[edit]

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.
walkthrough
A description of the gameplay experience for a level or playthrough.[8] See also strategy guide.
wall jump
A jump performed off of a wall to propel the player in the opposite direction. Wall jumps between two tight walls can be done in quick succession to climb vertically in some games. As a special jump, it is sometimes an acquired skill instead of available from the game's start.[28]:102
A technique used to actively search for hidden interactive points in the game environment by strafing against walls and repeatedly pressing the control used to interact with non-hidden points until something happens. The first use of this technique was with early first-person shooter games like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, which were littered with unmarked switches and secret doors that could otherwise only be found by accident or by purchasing a strategy guide. The term is a specific reference to the sounds made by the Doomguy when using this technique.[citation needed]
wallhack
A cheat that makes walls translucent.[6]:119 Some wallhacks let players shoot weapons or physically pass through walls.[6]:120 See noclip.
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. See fast travel.
WASD keys
A common control-mechanism using a typical QWERTY keyboard, with the W, A, S, and D keys bound to movement controls.
wave
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.
whale
In free-to-play games, a user that 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 be used to describe exceptionally high spenders.[78][79] Borrowed from gambling jargon; a 'whale', in that context, is a person who makes extravagant wagers or places reckless bets.
win quote
A phrase spoken by a fighting game character after defeating an opponent. In older games, such as Fatal Fury and traditionally in 2D fighting games such as Capcom vs. SNK, it is not an actual voice sample but text superimposed on an image of the winning character, occasionally depicted alongside the visibly injured defeated character (Street Fighter II for example). Win quotes are often little more than trash talk, but they help players to understand and identify with the characters.

In most games, characters have one or more win quotes that they use indiscriminately, but sometimes special win quotes are used in special circumstances. For example, in The King of Fighters '94, each character has special win quotes against each of the 8 teams; in Street Fighter Alpha, players can choose one of four win quotes by holding certain button combinations after winning a battle; in Street Fighter III: Giant Attack, characters sometime use special win quotes if they finish the battle with a certain move; and in SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium, players can input their own win quotes in edit mode.

Some win quotes have characters break the fourth wall, such as Chun-Li's Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter win quote in which she suspects the game is set on the easiest difficulty setting; or are in-jokes referring to other video games, like Sakura's Street Fighter Alpha 3 win quote in which she says she prefers "street fighting to sparring in rival schools."

world
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.
wrapping
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.[clarification needed] 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 unpassable 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.

X[edit]

XP
See experience point.

Y[edit]

YouTube bait
Games that are made for an audience; games created with YouTubers and/or Twitch streamers in mind. See Let's Play.

Z[edit]

zerging
Gameplay that utilizes overwhelming numbers rather than skill or strategy.[8] See also rush.
zero-day patch
A software patch that is set to be released on the day of the game's official release ("the 0th day"), reflecting updates and fixes that were added after the final release candidate was prepared.
zero-player game

Also CPU vs. CPU

A game that has no sentient players. In video games, the term refers to programs that use artificial intelligence rather than human players.[80]
zone
See world.
zone
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.

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