Glossary of Video Game Terms
Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Beta, boss, G.U.I., and more
by Mark Hughes
- 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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