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A Glossary of Video Games Terminology with Videos and Explanations

Updated on January 30, 2012

Games are the future.  Already they have done a great deal to shape the way we speak, learn, and work with other people.

I love the fact that gamer terminology has made its way into the mainstream. Along with more general online lingo, I hear more terms such as "noob" and "pwned" being used in meatspace than ever before.

Are you up to date on your games terminology? If not, have a look at the glossary below, and also have a look at some of the videos below (some are very basic introductions, other offer more advanced terminology).


Game Genres & Types

To start, let's first look at the terms used to describe the most prevalent game genres and types.

Action games - involve overcoming obstacles via timing, quick reflexes, and dexterity; these include fighting games, maze games, pinball games, and platform games

Action-adventure games - combine action with strategy and include stealth games and survival horror games

Adventure games - games in which a player progresses by solving various puzzles and interacting with his or her surrounding environment

Augmented reality games - employ the use of augmented reality, hence game elements are layered on top of real-life scenes as displayed through a gaming or mobile device with a camera

Casual games - games that can be played in short increments (commonly played on mobile phones or in web browsers as a short break)

Console games - games played on a dedicated videogame console, such as an Xbox or Playstation

PC games - games played on a personal computer

Pervasive Games - games that take place across several media; also known sometimes as transmedia or alternate reality games

Role playing games - RPGs - games in which gamers choose and play through characters with defined and unique skill sets (characters typically progress by accumulating experience points)

MMORPGs - RPGs that are played out in online worlds in which many different players can interact at once

Music games - games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero that involve challenges to follow musical rhythms and patterns

Party games - games designed to be played by a larger group of friends that typically consist of small challenges and mini-games

Puzzle games - require players to solve various puzzles or navigate mazes

Serious games - games that have a serious goal (such as learning a new task or solving a real problem) as their underlying purpose

Shooter games - games in which the primary focus involves the use of projectile weapons

Simulations - games that replicate aspects of real or fictional reality (including the development of restaurants, theme parks, and entire civilizations as well as raising pets, dating, and the design of peoples' entire lives)

Sports games - games simulating various real-world sports

Strategy games - games that are won via careful planning and strategizing (including wargames and digital versions of real-world strategy games such as chess)

Trivia games - games that test players' knowledge of various subjects

Vehicle simulation games - games which revolve around the operation of various vehicles, ranging from cars to trains and spaceships

An Introduction to Basic Games Terms

Gamer Terminology

These are some game terms used by players when referring to various aspects of a game.

Bads - Terrible players

Barrelstuffed - Someone who has been barrelstuffed has been killed by someone stuffing the barrel of a gun in their abdomen and wasting them forthwith

Boomstick - A shotgun

BFG - A large gun (big f#$%ing gun)

Buff - To enhance the power of a game element or (temporarily) a character in a game (one may also be debuffed, thereby losing some abilities)

Camper - Campers are players who steak out a spot in a game and continue to kill mobs or other players from that spot in a cowardly manner

Cheat - An element built into a game by software developers that bestows a player with special abilities or unlocks special features (not typically shared in game manuals)

Gamemaster - A guide (who helps newbies) with higher rank and some admin privileges

Gamer - Someone whose hobby is to play games

God mode - An invulnerable state attained by finding a cheat that unlocks it

Group - To temporarily join with other players to overcome a common obstacle or reach a shared goal

Guide - Someone who helps noobs

Easter egg - A feature hidden within a game by game developers (often without managerial knowledge)

Exploit - The use of a software glitch in a game to one's personal advantage

Fail - Used as a prefix (e.g. fail stick)

Frag - To kill another player (and to telefrag is to kill another player- and oneself- by teleporting to his or her exact location)

IRL - In real life

Jackin & Jillin - When two players are grouping too close

Kicked - To be kicked is to be banned from a game for rule violations

Mobs - Monsters or "mobile objects"

Mule - A secondary character used to provide storage space for a player's primary character

Ninjad - As in getting stabbed in the back before knowing what hit you

Nerf - to change a game element in such a way that renders it less powerful or utterly useless (like turning a real gun into a nerf gun)

NPC - Non-player character (a game character controlled by the game's software; also known as an AI- artificial intelligence) - as opposed to a PC (a player character - controlled by a person)

Nub / noob / n00b / newbie - People (can also be used as an adjective - like nubbage)

Nukeboosting - A term specific to Modern Warfare II

Patch - A software update applied to fix a bug

PKing - Killing another player in a game (usually this is used within the context of such killing not being the natural course of action in that particular game)

Pwned - Owned. As in dominated / defeated

Quest - A set of tasks which, when completed, will result in some sort of reward

Rape - Gamer slang for serious winning; obviously more on the politically incorrect side

Roleplaying - Someone who is roleplaying speaks in character - not as themselves

Sauce - (used as a suffix) to provide emphasis to the end of a word (sort of like "isimo" in Spanish) (e.g. awesome sauce! awkward sauce!)

Spawn point - a location in a game world where mobs appear (players may camp near spawn points in order to kill the mobs immediately)

Trackstar - Somebody who is always running away from fights in a game

Zone - to move from one area of a gameworld to another


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