Glossary of Video Game Terms

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Beta, boss, G.U.I., and more

by Mark Hughes
Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii

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accelerometer (noun)
This device measures the vibration and motion of the player. It is an integral part of the Wii remote.
action (noun)
Game genre that requires the player to have quick reflexes.
adventure (noun)
Game genre in which the player follows a story, solves puzzles, interacts with non-player characters, and explores the "world".
advergame (noun)
Type of game that has been created solely to promote a product, such as a movie.
analog control (noun)
A type of controller that is sensitive to the degree in which a button or joystick is pushed.
anime (noun)
A style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark, colorful graphics. Numerous videogames have environments and characters influenced by anime.
arcade game (noun)
A stand-alone game for use in a public space, commonly seen in the 1980s and early 1990s.
A.I. (artificial intelligence) (noun)
the capability of a game to imitate intelligent human behavior.
backward compatible (aka downward compatible) (noun or adjective)
A gaming system (console, PC, etc.) that supports games that were made for the previous version of the system.
beta (noun)
a nearly complete prototype of a game. Users often test beta versions to alert developers of bugs or problems.
boss (noun)
a powerful character that a player will face and must defeat at the end of a level.
bundling (verb)
to sell a package containing a videogame and a piece of hardware. A common example is often seen when games are included with the purchase of a new gaming system.
cheat code (noun)
Some games have the option of entering codes that effect game play, such as the ability to have unlimited ammunition or to never receive damage.
C.G. (computer graphics) (noun)
Graphics created and displayed on a computer.
console (noun)
A hardware device that is connected to a television set for the purpose of playing a videogame.
cut-scene (noun)
A animation technique that continues the storyline between game segments. The player cannot interact with this animation.
demo (noun)
A sample playable demonstration of a game that is intended to entice the player to purchase the full version.
downwardly compatible (also backward compatible) (noun or adjective)
A gaming system (console, PC, etc.) that supports games that were made for the previous version of a system.
educational game (noun)
A game genre that is intended to teach younger players.
edutainment (noun)
A game genre that is intended to entertain as well as be educational.
end user (noun)
a person who buys and plays a game.
end user (noun)
a person who buys and plays a game.
E.S.R.B. (Entertainment Software Ratings Board)
An industry organization that has developed a rating system for computer and videogames.
first-person (noun)
A perspective in which the events in a game are viewed as if seen through the eyes of the main character.
gamer (noun)
a person who plays games.
genre (noun)
a category characterized by a particular style, form, or content. Common genres are action, adventure, role-play, strategy, and so on.
G.U.I. (Graphical User Interface) (noun)
Graphical interface for the gamer to interact with the computer program onscreen.
M.M.O.G. (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) (noun)
Refers to online games that can be played simultaneously with other gamers throughout the world. Poptropica is an example of a M.M.O.G.
M.M.O.R.P.G. (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) (noun)
Similar to an MMOG, but in which the gamer takes the part of a character. World of Warcraft is an example of a M.M.O.R.P.G.
N.P.C. (Non-Player Character) (noun)
a game character under the control of the A.I.
recoil (intransitive verb)
Spring-back effect from the force that is created when firing a weapon, this action can impact the player's aim on a target.
resolution (noun)
This refers to the ratio of dots per inch on a display, which impacts the degree of sharpness or fineness of the images.
R.P.G. (Role-Playing Game) (noun)
A game in which the gamer takes on the part of a character.
RTS (Real Time Strategy Games) (noun)
The player has a high degree of control over armies and individual units, as well as building bases, gathering resources, and developing technology. Age of Empires III is an example of an RTS game.
sandbox (noun)
A game in which the player ignores the game's objectives so as to explore the game's environment. Sandbox games are also referred to as nonlinear or open-ended. The Grand Theft Auto series allows for open-ended play.
shoulder buttons (noun)
These buttons are positioned at the top of a game controller and are designed to be easily accessible to a player's index or middle fingers. This contrasts with the main buttons on the controller which are intended for the player's thumbs.
simulation game (noun)
Refers to games that attempt to accurately depict situations and experiences one might have in the real world.
spoiler (noun)
These are details about a game that might ruin a player's enjoyment, such as information about the ending of the game's story.
stealth (noun or verb)
A type of game in which remaining undetected is one of the main features. Metal Gear Solid is a series of games involving stealth.
suppression fire (adjective)
This refers to the strategy of using overwhelming fire power to prevent enemies from firing their weapons and forcing them to take cover.
tactical (noun and adjective)
A type of game in which the player must use tactics and strategies to survive and complete the game's objectives.
third-person (noun)
A perspective in which the player has an overhead view of the characters and events within the game.
unlimited ammo (noun)
This is a feature in many games that must be unlocked with a cheat code. The code allows the player's character to have limitless ammunition.

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