In games where players have a number of "lives" to complete a game or level, an object or the act of gaining an extra life. The term "1-UP" also commonly referred to Player number 1. Two player games scores were displayed as "1-UP" and "2-UP".
Abbreviation of 1 versus 1, which means two players battling against each other.
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.
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.
Aiming Down Sights, or, Aim Down Sights.
Refers to the common alternate method of firing a gun in an FPS (shooter) game, typically activated by clicking 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. Firing the weapon this way greatly increases accuracy, but can limit vision, situational awareness and mobility, and it also takes a variable amount of time to change the weapon position, depending on the game.
Abbreviation of Away From Keyboard. Generally said through a chat function in online multiplayer games when a player is temporarily unavailable and doing something else.
See Hate. An abbreviation for 'aggravation'. 'Causing aggro' is the act of performing (usually) aggressive actions in a video game in order to attract attention of NPCs to defeat the player character, while 'managing aggro' involves keeping aggressive NPCs from overwhelming the player or party. Often used in gaming to grind. Sometimes facetiously used in reference to irritated bystanders ('wife aggro', 'mother aggro', etc).
A first-person shootercheat 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 1996's Quake.:119
An initial, incomplete version of a game (compare 'beta version'); alpha versions are usually released early in the development process to test a game's most critical functionality and prototype design concepts.
A type of digital rights management that typically requires the player to be always connected to the Internet to play the game.
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 gamesartillery 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. This term is used less.
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.
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..
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. Originally built into arcade games, the main purpose of the attract mode is to entice passers-by to play the game. 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.
Also known as aim-assist is a gameplay mechanic built into many games to decrease the level of difficulty. The game itself has the ability to lock 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 for headshots. It is not to be confused with aimbots.
"Bad Manners", something that is not considered cheating and usually doesn't affect the result of the game but is unsportsmanlike and deliberately disrespectful or frustrating on the receiving end, like boasting or using cosmetic animations, images or dialogue.
A campaign mode, story mode, or simply campaign refers to one of several possible operating modes of a game in which levels are specifically encountered in a linear or branching fashion, often with more story elements present compared to other modes (such as a skirmish mode or sound test).
A controversial strategy in which a player stays in one place – preferably a fortified, high-traffic location – for an extended period of time and waits to ambush other players. It is most common in first-person shooter games. Spawn camping, or spawnkilling, is a related strategy in which players camp at a spawn point.
A mode of gameplay 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.
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."
An advanced method of movement in many First Person Shooter (FPS) games where the user utilized 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 in the center of your circular movement. This skill minimizes incoming external fire to your character from your target's teammates, as any misses are likely to hit and harm their teammate inside your circle.
A game technology that turns objects (e.g., walls) into solid, impenetrable barriers. Also see noclip, a cheat where clipping is disabled.:119
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.
Combinations of attacks in a fighting game, during which an opponent is helpless to defend themselves. Introduced in beat-em ups as Double Dragon and Renagade, and becoming more dynamic in Capcom's fighting games Final Fight and Street Fighter II, to correctly execute a combo, a player needs to learn complex series of joystick and button combinations.
A video game hardware unit that typically offers 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.
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".
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.
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 certain 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 by pressing the start button; deciding not to continue will result in the displaying of a Game over screen. 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. The first arcade game to have a continue feature was Fantasy, and the first home console cartridge to have this feature was the Atari 2600 version of Vanguard.;: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. Salen and Zimmerman argue that the continue feature in games such as Gauntlet was an outlet for conspicuous consumption.
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 if the player got into an accident or got caught by the pursuing demon monkey, the player is offered a chance to pay gems (the game's premium currency) to purchase a continue and keep running. Subsequent accidents will cost more gems to continue from, with the price doubling after each one. If the player doesn't have enough gems, an on-the-fly in-app purchase that buys enough gems is required to continue.
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. Similar 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 reload/cooldown time between each shots. Cooldown also 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 also 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 sort of 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 (for spamming) 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 (blizzard, frozen orb, hydra, etc.) to solve the problem of extreme lag caused by players spamming these spells in multiplayer.
Moves and attacks in fighting games (like those from the Street Fighter series) have the amount of time each of them take to execute measured in "frames" (1/60th of a second per frame). Each move has a certain amount of frames in which it is considered to be "recovering" before another move can be executed, which is similar to cooldowns in concept. However, unlike the concept of the cooldown, where a move, spell or ability is considered to be cooling down before it can be used again but control over one's character/unit is still available, the recovery frames of a move in a fighting game do not allow the player to perform any other attacks or movement until the move has fully recovered. Because of this mechanic, strategic use of skills is necessary to make sure the opponent cannot immediately counter the player during the recovery phase of an attack, since it leaves the player wide open.
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.
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, including but not limited to 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, usually meant to be done for humorous effect. Most often, the result is unwinnable, if the game doesn't end up freezing in some way or entirely crashing the corruptor and associated programs as a whole.
A gameplay mechanics which allows the player to use walls or other features of the game's environment to take cover from oncoming ranged attacks, typically gunfire in first-person shooters. Many cover systems also allow the character to use range attacks in return while in cover although with an accuracy penalty.
To craft an item in game. Practically every modern Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game and many "world builders" (Minecraft, Terraria) utilize this mechanic. The ability to create your own gear takes some of the "grind" out of properly gearing your characters.
An ability, usually with an area of effect, that is used primarily in Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games to incapacitate or hinder enemy creatures so that they can 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.
A (usually) short video which provides detail and exposition to the story. These videos, usually in much higher graphical resolution and detail than the basic game, are used extensively in MMOs and RPGs to move the story forward.
A 4-directional rocker button that allows the player to direct game action in eight different directions: up, down, left, right, and the diagonals involving these. 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.
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.
A HUD element typically found in first-person shooters that indicates which direction the player character is taking damage from.
Day one (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 release.
The opposite of a buff, an effect placed on a character that negatively impacts their statistics and characteristics. Can also refer to effects that nullify or cancel the effects of buffs. Also known as a nerf.
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.
Found primarily in adventure games, a means of providing a menu of dialog choices to the player when interacting with a non-player character 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.
Additional content for a video game that is acquired through digital download and often requiring additional purchase. Increasingly replacing the traditional retail 'expansion pack'.[original research?]
Abbreviation of "damage per minute", used as a metric in some games to allow the player to determine their offensive power.
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.
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 in software images of cartridges and other similar hardware-based game distribution methods from the earlier hardware generations, in addition to more traditional software images.
A mode of gameplay 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 based on how long they last before succumbing to the threat (such as the death of the player-character), or score-based. 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.
Gameplay that develops as a result of player creativity, rather than the game's programmed structure. 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.
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.:120
Repeating a battle, quest or a similar part of the game in order to receive either experience points, money, or specific items that can be gained through that battle or quest; see Grinding
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.
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.
A developer that is either owned directly by a console maker, or has special arrangements with the console maker that provides greater access to internal details about a console compared to traditional developers.
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.
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.
(Sometimes called "invincibility frames", "invulnerability period", etc.) An invincibility or immunity to damage that occurs after the player takes damage for a short time, indicated by the player's character blinking or "buffering", to prevent the player from taking any immediate additional damage again until it wears off.
The player cannot see enemy activity beneath the greyed out fog of war.
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-game 'market' (compare 'freemium', a free-to-play game that follows such a model).
An overarching term that describes how a particular game functions and what is possible within the game's environment; typical game mechanics include points, turns. An unanticipated and novel use of game mechanics may lead to emergent gameplay.
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.
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 show 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. It works by recording the lap times of people in each race, and using statistics from other players for the game's artificial intelligence to recreate their lap times for the player to beat. The 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! games multiplayer mode, you can choose to use your saved replay data as one of the players instead of playing the game yourself.
A character, character class or character ability that is underpowered in the context of the game
God mode (infinite health/life, invincibility, invulnerability)
A cheat that makes player-characters invulnerable.;:119 Occasionally adds invincibility, where the player can hurt enemies by touching them (e.g., the Super Mario Super Star).;:357 The effect can also be temporary.
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.
Performing a repetitive and time-consuming action in a video game before being able to advance. Prevalent in online games, where it's 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.
A derisive term used to describe a game whose core gameplay often comes second to collecting and displaying cosmetic items. Originally used as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Valve Corporation's Team Fortress 2 free-to-play model, where players can collect hats (among other items) that do provide noticeable stat increases in characters, but are mostly considered cosmetic.
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 one's head when walking or running. It is often an option that can be disabled as it may induce motion sickness in players.
Loosely defined as a game made by a person or studio without any financial, development, marketing, or distribution support from a large publisher, though there are indie games that are exceptions to this definition.
A menu or area of the screen where items collected by the player during the game are stored. This interface allows the player to retrieve any item to use it as an instant effect, or to equip the player character with the item.
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. Ars Technica calls it the "second-most famous kill screen of all of gaming" and Wired described it as "mythic". This was popularized in the documentary The King of Kong.
Duck Hunt also has a kill screen after level 99 in which the ducks become invincible and fly at a high speed.
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".
The practice of arranging to get credit for killing an enemy, when it should have clearly been another player's kill.
A maneuver in which a player-character uses ranged attacks to continually attack an opponent, often goading the opponent into chasing the player. 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.
When a character in a fighting game or platform game gets hit by an attack, they might get thrown backwards from the force of the attack. During knock-back, the character is unable to change their direction until a short animation is finished. Knock-back sometimes results in falling down pits if the player is standing close to the edge when it happens.
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 has been used by other developers to enable cheats or added functions in these games. The term applies to variations on this button sequence but all nearly begin with the "up up down down left right left right" controls.
A specialized game controller which the player points at their television screen or monitor to interact with the game.
A specific set of in-game equipment, abilities, power-ups, and/or 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.
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.
Typically found in free-to-play games, 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, and awarded based on a rarity system. In many cases, additional loot boxes can be obtained through microtransactions.
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.
Any of a variety of systems in games to render fantastical or otherwise unnatural effects utilizing a game mechanic, either accessories (scrolls, potions, artifacts) or a pool of resources inherent to the character ("mana", magic points, etc).
A term meaning to focus on playing a certain character, sometimes exclusively.
In games with multiple quests, the 'main quest' is a chain of quests that comprise the game's storyline and must be completed to finish the game. The opposite is side quest which still offer rewards but don't advance the main quest.
A game system that is used to automatically sort players with similar playing styles, desires or skill levels into a team or a group. Typically, a player will select his preferred playstyle, map or ruleset and the game's matchmaking mechanic will attempt to gather other players that match those criteria and are at the closest possible skill level. In competitive games or modes, a Matchmaking Rating (MMR) is a number assigned to each player based on skill, and the system will match players in games based on MMR. This rating goes up or down based on individual or team performance.
Maxed out or ;Maxing out
Reaching the maximum level that a character (or in some cases, a weapon) can have, or raising all the character statistics to the maximum value. In RTS games, it usually refers to recruiting units until the maximum value is reached.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Mob is a term for an in-game enemy who roams a specific area. It is an abbreviation of "mobile", and came into prevalence with the explosion of MMOs and the greater computing power available to these games. In older games, enemies you encountered were stationary, only occupying a specific location within the game and were therefore not "mobs".
A third-party addition or alteration to a game. Mods may take the form of new character skins, altered gameplay 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.
A multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based.
Games, typically from the 80s, 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.[page needed]
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.
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 interchangably, the terms refer to different concepts and are not synonymous.
A game controller that primarily included a large dial that could be turned either clockwise or counter-clockwise as to generate movement in one direction within a game.
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/glitches currently residing in the game, balancing character issues (especially prevalent in online multi-player games with competitive focuses), or updating the game to be compatible with DLC releases. See also "Zero Day Patch".
A common feature of open-world multiplayer games that are run on a server, in which the game's world remains open while players may log in or out, with all affects that players have staying persistent in the world.
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. The text-adventure version of this problem is called 'guess-the-verb'.
A Player Character, or PC, is 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. Your characters you create in MMOs and MMORPGs are also "player characters".
Objects that instantly benefit or add extra abilities to the game character, usually as a temporary effect. Persistent power-ups are called perks.
The gradual unbalancing of a game due to successive releases of new content. 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. As new expansions or updates are released, new game mechanics, units, equipment and/or effects are introduced, usually stronger than previously existing content. Game developers use this primarily to push the new content, as it gives an incentive to buy it for competitions against other players or as new challenges for the single player experience. As new content with more power is introduced, the average powerlevel within the game rises, making it increasingly difficult for older content to remain in balance without changes. This means older content becomes regressively outdated or relatively underpowered, effectively rendering it useless from a competitive or challenge-seeking viewpoint. In extreme cases whole parts of the game will be avoided by the players, as they are overshadowed by newer content.
The moment in which a character in many skill-based games sees a rise in relative strength from leveling up larger than that of a normal milestone, usually due to an item becoming available or certain abilities being unlocked.
A "quest" is any objective-based activity created in-game for the purpose of either story or character level advancement. Quests follow many common types, such as "Kill X number of Y monster", "Gather X number of Y item", or "Escort this person from point A to point B and keep them safe". Some quests involve more detailed information and mechanics and are either greatly enjoyed by players as a break from the above common monotony, or are reviled as uselessly more complicated than necessary to the game.
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.
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, quicksaving will overwrite any previous saved state.
A technique in first-person shooter video games used to kill an opponent by quickly aiming down the sniper rifle scope and firing immediately after.
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.
Quitting a game in an act of anger; rage-quitting in an online game is widely considered poor sportsmanship.
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.
A type of ROM/ISO corruption 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 time goes by, the game data becomes more and more distorted, and the game will eventually become unplayable and/or crash.
Restarting a game with a new character from level 1 after having maxed out a previous character.
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 to a different set of skills. This usually requires an expenditure of in-game money or similar earned gameplay element.
A tactic used in certain games with rocket launchers or similar explosive weapons that include physics simulation. The player aims their weapon at or near the avatar's feet, or stand their avatar where there will be an explosion. The player's avatar may take damage from the blast, but the force of the explosion can greatly propel the character vertically or gain additional speed, far beyond normal jumping abilities.
An RPG is a game where in 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 (the art of developing a specific character type to its highest in-game potential) 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.
In video game environments, the placement of a room directly above another room. This was impossible to achieve in id Software's Doom series, since the Doom engine did all of the mapping in 2D, while height variance was 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 pull off.
A game mechanic resulting from dynamic game balancing that alters the rules of the game to keep the game both competitive and fun. It is most notable in racing games, where human players may easily outdistance computer opponents; in these games the computer opponents are often given the ability to go faster than normal or avoid certain obstacles as to allow them to catch up and outpace the player, the effect acting as a 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. Alternatively, 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.
A game wherein the player has been freed from the traditional structure and direction typically found in video games, and is instead given the ability to choose what, when, and how they want to approach the available choices in content. The term is in reference to a child's sandbox in which no rules are present and play is derived from open-ended choice. While some sandbox games may have building and creation aspects to their gameplay, those activities are not required. Sandbox games usually take place in an open-world setting as to facilitate the freedom of choice a player is given.
A file or similar data storage method that stores the state of the game in non-temporary memory, enabling the player to shut down the gaming system and then later restart the system and load the game state from the game file to continuing playing where they left off. 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 restart from that save 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, instead allowing the player to save at any point.
The manipulation of game save states to gain an advantage during play or achieve a particular outcome out of unpredictable events. It is used, for example, in Rogue-like games that automatically delete any save files when your character dies.
A game level which 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.
A video game that simulates some aspect of reality, though the degree of realism may vary. They are usually open-ended and have no intrinsic goals to be met. 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.
A game that can only have one player at a time. Contrasted with multiplayer.
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 or by other names) which can be earned by the player as he or she levels up or otherwise progresses his or her player character. These skills grant gameplay benefits to the player; for example, giving the character the ability to perform a new action, or giving a boost to one of the character's stats.
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 tier, 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 as they play on.
The action roleplaying game Diablo II, released in 2000, is often cited as the true innovator of in depth skill trees.
A gameplay 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.
When an experienced player uses a new account to appear inexperienced
A means of selecting certain options for a player-character, an 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 ("respec") past choices for some in-game cost and pursue a different specialization.
An attempt to complete a game as fast as possible. Players may exploit graphical glitches or bugs in the game to speed up their gameplay.
Although only the blue player in the center takes a direct hit, everyone within the circle takes damage. The damage may decrease further from the point of impact (This is known as Damage Falloff).
See also Area of effect (AoE)
Weapons with an explosive component deal “splash” damage. Splash damage is particularly useful against players that dodge well, and are therefore hard to hit, since near misses will also damage them. However, splash damage weapons are also dangerous since they can damage the shooter as well. For this reason, splash damage weapons are not preferred in close quarters combat. When fired, it makes sense to aim at an opponent’s feet, since the explosion from hitting the ground may damage the opponent even when the shot misses.
This is 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.
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 most effective play strategies.
A branching series of technologies that can be researched in strategy games, to customise the player's faction. See Skill tree.
A frag or kill which occurs when a player uses a teleporter to get to another part of the map while a previous player has not left the exit point. The player who is still at the exit point is killed and the party landing on them is granted credit for the kill.
The analysis of a video game to mathematically determine the most optimal approach to winning the video game, typically in games that feature a number of player-character attributes that are enumerated; one common type of theorycraft is figuring out how to best maximize one's damage per second by the right selection of equipment in a action role-playing game.
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.
A term sometimes used to classify exploration games in a derogatory manner, as these generally involve exploring an environment for story and narrative but with few, if any, puzzles or gameplay elements.
A cheat that makes walls translucent.;:119 Some wallhacks also let players shoot weapons or physically pass through walls (noclip).:120
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. As a special jump, it is sometimes an acquired skill instead of available from the game's start.:102
A gameplay mechanic popularized by the Grand Theft Auto series. A player's actions in an open-world style game may cause computer-controller characters, often representing law enforcement, to chase down 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.
A common control mechanism using a typical QWERTY keyboard, with the keys "W", "A", "S", and "D" bound to movement controls.
A term for players in free-to-play games that spend large amount of money through microtransactions.
In game genres or modes where player(s) are to defend a point or stay alive as long as possible (such as tower defense games), enemies are commonly grouped into "waves" (sometimes referred to as levels). When all foes in a wave is completed, player(s) are typically given a short bit of time to prepare for the next such wave.
A phrase spoken by a fighting gamecharacter 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.
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. 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.