Glossary of video game terms

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This glossary of video game terms lists the general video game industry terms as commonly used in Wikipedia articles.

0–9[edit]

1-up
In games where player have a number of "lives" to complete a game or level, an object or the act of gaining an extra life.
16-bit
A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the fourth generation of video game consoles, targeting 16-bit computer architecture.
2D graphics
32-bit
A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the fifth generation of video game consoles, targeting 32-bit computer architecture.
3D graphics
4X
A genre of strategic video games, short for "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate".
64-bit
A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the fifth generation of video game consoles, targeting 64-bit computer architecture.
8-bit
A descriptor for hardware or software that arose during the third generation of video game consoles, targeting 8-bit computer architecture.

A[edit]

AAA
A high-budget game with a large development team, or game studios that make them. AAA games are usually multiplatform, have multimillion dollar marketing budgets, and plan to sell over one million copies.[1]
Act
See Level
Action role-playing game) (ARPG)
A genre of role-playing video games where battle actions are performed in real-time instead of a turn-based mechanic.
Actions per minute (APM)
Aggro
See Hate
Aimbot (auto-aim)
A first-person shooter cheat that lets players shoot other player-characters without aiming. In most cases, the 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 1990's Quake.[2]
Alpha release
Always-on DRM
A type of digital rights management that typically requires the player to be always connected to the Internet to play the game.
Analog stick
AoE
Abbreviation of Age of Empires
Abbreviation of Area of effect
APM
Abbreviation of Actions per minute
Arcade game
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. This term is not limited to just role-playing games, however; 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 and non-explosive. 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). Many games also have what are sometimes 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 strategy 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 (abbreviated PBAoE) is a subset of AoE in which the affected region is centered on the character that is performing the ability, rather than a location of the player's choosing. That term, however, is rarely used by players because of its relatively higher complexity to spell out. Thus AoE is more favorably used, especially in MMO games.
ARPG
Abbreviation of #Action role-playing game.
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 known as display mode or show mode, attract mode is a pre-recorded demonstration of a video game that is displayed when the game is not being played.[3] Originally built into arcade games, the main purpose of the attract mode is to entice passers-by to play the game.[3] 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 lots of 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
See aimbot[4]

B[edit]

Balance
Beta release
An early release of a video game, following its alpha release, where typically the game developer seeks to remove bugs prior to the released product through feedback from players and testers.
Board
See Level
Bonus stage
Boss
An opponent non-player character in a video game that is typically much more difficult to defeat compared to normal enemies, often representing the end of a level or a game.
Buff
An effect played on a video game character that beneficially increases one or more of their statistics/characteristics for a temporary period.

C[edit]

Campaign mode
Camping
Cheating
Checkpoint
Chiptune
Cinematic
See Cutscene
Circle strafing
Clipping
A game technology that turns objects (e.g., walls) into solid, impenetrable barriers. Also see noclip, a cheat where clipping is disabled.[2]
Closed beta
CMS
Abbreviation of Construction and management simulation
Coin-op
See Arcade game
Combo
Competitive gaming
See Electronic sports
Console
Construction and management simulation (CMS)
Controller
Control pad
See D-pad
Control stick
See Analog stick
Continue
A prompt screen that asks whether players want to continue playing. Often appears after a player has lost a certain number of times and often features a countdown.
Conversation tree
See Dialog tree
Cooldown
Cover system
CPU vs. CPU
See Zero-player game
Crafting
Critical hit
Cross-platform
See Multiplatform
Crowd control
CRPG
Abbreviation of computer/console role-playing (video) game
Cutscene
Cybersport
See Electronic sports

D[edit]

D-pad
Damage over time
See Health
Damage per second (DPS)
Abbreviation of "damage per second", used as a metric in some games to allow the player to determine their offensive power.
Day One
Debuff
Design
See Video game design
Development
Dialog tree
Difficulty
Digital rights management (DRM)
Software tools for copyright protection
Directional pad
See D-pad
Display mode
See Attract mode
DLC
Abbreviation for downloadable content.
DOTA
Abbreviation of Defense of the Ancients, and sometimes used as a moniker to describe similar multiplayer online battle arena games
Double jump
Downloadable content (DLC)
Additional content for a video game that is acquired through digital download and often requiring additional purchase.
DPM
Abbreviation of "damage per minute", used as a metric in some games to allow the player to determine their offensive power.
DPS
Abbreviation of Damage per second
DRM
Abbreviation of Digital rights management
Dungeon
See Level
Dungeon crawl
Dynamic game difficulty balancing

E[edit]

Emulator
Episode
Electronic sports (esports)
Emergent gameplay
Strategies of play that use the game environment in ways unintended by the game developer, e.g., scaling a wall by placing proximity mines in Deus Ex.[2]
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.[5]
Esports
See Electronic sports
Experience point

F[edit]

F2P
An abbreviation of Free-to-play
Farming
Field of view (FOV)
A measurement reflecting how much of the game world is visible to the player on the display screen.
Final boss
See Boss
First-party developer
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.
FOV
See Field of view
FPS
See First-person shooter or Frame rate
Frag
Frame rate
A measure of the rendering speed of a video game, typically in frames per second (FPS).
Free-to-play (F2P)
Video games which are typically free to play, but where additional levels, items, classes, or other aspects can be purchased with money.
Free look

G[edit]

Game design
Also see video game design
Game localization
See Localization
Game mechanics
Game over
Gameplay
Game port
Game save
See Saved game
Game studies
Also gaming theory
Ghost
Gib
Gimp
God mode (infinite health/life, invincibility, invulnerability)
A cheat that makes player-characters invulnerable.[2] Occasionally adds invincibility, where the player can hurt enemies by touching them (e.g., the Super Mario Super Star).[6] The effect can also be temporary.[7]
Gone gold
Gold farming
See Farming
Gone gold
Grand Theft Auto clone
Griefer
A player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game, using aspects of the game in unintended ways.
Grinding

H[edit]

Handheld console
Hate
A mechanism by which non-playing characters prioritize which players to attack.
Headshot
See Critical hit
Health
Hit points
See Health

I[edit]

In-app purchase (IAP)
A purchase (microtransaction) made within a mobile game or app, usually for virtual goods in low-cost games[8]
Indie game (independent video game)
Infinite health/life
See god mode
Instance dungeon
Invincibility
See god mode
Invulnerability
See god mode

J[edit]

Joystick
JRPG
Abbreviation of Japanese role-playing video game, typically referring to such games that originated from Japan or Asian countries.

K[edit]

Kill screen
Kill stealing
The practice of arranging to get credit for killing an enemy, when it should have clearly been another player's kill.

L[edit]

Lag
Latency
See Lag
Level
Level editor
Light gun
Localization

M[edit]

Magic
Map
See Level
Massively multiplayer online game (MMO)
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)
Matchmaking
Microtransactions
Miniboss
See Boss
Minigame
Mission
See Level and Quest
MMO
Abbreviation of Massively multiplayer online game
MMORPG
Abbreviation of Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
Mob
MOBA
Abbreviation of Multiplayer online battle arena
Mod
Mouselook
See Free look
MUD
Multiplatform
Also cross-platform
Multiplayer
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.
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.

N[edit]

Nerf
Noclip mode
A cheat that lets players pass through normally impenetrable objects, walls, ceilings, and floors (by disabling clipping). It lets players reach inaccessible areas.[2]
Noob
Non-player character (NPC)
NPC
Abbreviation of Non-player character

O[edit]

Old-school gaming
See Retrogaming
Online game
OP
Abbreviation of Overpowered
Open beta
Open world
Overpowered (OP)
Overworld
Also see Level

P[edit]

Paddle
Parry
Permanent death (permadeath, PD)
A game where once the player's character has died or lost the game, they must restart the game completely instead of from a save or checkpoint.
Persistent world
Platform
Platform game (platformer)
Player-character
Player versus environment (PvE)
Player versus player (PvP)
Port
Power-up
Procedural generation
Professional gaming
See Electronic sports
Publisher
PvE
Abbreviation of Player versus environment
PvP
Abbreviation of Player versus player

Q[edit]

QTE
Abbreviation of Quick time event
Quest
Quick time event (QTE)

R[edit]

Rack
See Level
Raid
A type of mission in a video game in which a very large number of people (larger than the normal team size set by the game) attempt to defeat a boss monster. Common in MMORPGs.
Real-time strategy (RTS)
A genre of video games where the player controls one or more units in real-time combat with human or computer opponents.
Retrogaming
Rhythm game
A genre of video games requiring the player to perform actions in time to the game's music.
Roguelike
A genre of video games featuring procedurally-generated level generation and permanent death.
Role-playing video game (RPG)
ROM hacking
RPG
Abbreviation of Role-playing video game
Round
See Level
RTS
Abbreviation of Real-time strategy games.

S[edit]

Saved game (game save, savegame, savefile)
Season pass
Secret level
Shovelware
A type of often-licensed video game released in large amounts and with little attention to quality control. Usually makes up the majority of titles on any given system.
Show mode
See Attract mode
Simulation game (Sim)
Single-player
Split-screen multiplayer
Stage
See Level
Status effect
Strafing
Strategy guide
Subgame
See Minigame
Superboss
See Boss

T[edit]

Technology tree (tech tree)
Theory
See Game studies
Theorycraft
Thumbstick
See Analog stick
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 the publisher are displayed. Earlier 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. The reason for 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, as well as the high score list, urges 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; in the Nintendo 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 basis of the creation.
Triple A
See AAA
Touchscreen
Trackball
Turn-based game

U[edit]

Underpowered

V[edit]

Replay value
Video game design
For non-video game design, see game design

W[edit]

Wallhack
A cheat that makes walls translucent.[2] Some wallhacks also let players shoot weapons or physically pass through walls (noclip).[5]
Warp zone
An area in a video game where players can go from one place or level to another.
WASD keys
A common control mechanism using a typical QWERTY keyboard, with the keys "W", "A", "S", and "D" bound to movement controls.
Wave
See Level
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 rarely particularly profound, and 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
See Level

X[edit]

XP
See Experience point

Y[edit]

Z[edit]

Zero-player game
Zone
See Level

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schultz, Warren. "AAA Game". About.com. IAC/InterActiveCorp. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f von Borries 2007, p. 119.
  3. ^ a b Ruggill, Judd Ethan; McAllister, Ken S. (May 11, 2011). Gaming Matters: Art, Science, Magic, and the Computer Game Medium. University of Alabama Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 0817317376. Retrieved Nov 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ Simon (2005). Gaming Hacks. O'Reilly Media. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-596-00714-0. 
  5. ^ a b von Borries 2007, p. 120.
  6. ^ Rogers 2010, p. 357.
  7. ^ Ryan 2011, p. 58.
  8. ^ Janssen, Cory. "In-App Purchasing". Technopedia. Archived from the original on May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
Sources