This list includes terms used in video games and the video game industry, as well as slang used by players.
Graphic rendering technique of three-dimensional objects set in a two-dimensional plane of movement. Often includes games where some objects are still rendered as sprites.
A high-budget game with a large development team. AAA games are usually multiplatform or are first-party, have multimillion-dollar budgets, and expect to sell millions of copies.
Meta-goals defined outside a game's parameters. May be external achievements such as those on Xbox Live or Steam, internal achievements such as those in Clash of Clans, or both.
Refers to the common alternate method of firing a gun in a first-person shooter (FPS) game, typically activated by 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. In most games this greatly increases accuracy, but can limit vision, situational awareness, mobility, and require a small amount of time to change the weapon position.
A small variation of a joystick, usually placed on a game controller to allow a player more fluent 2-dimensional input than is possible with a D-pad.
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. In most tactical strategy games artillery weapons have an area of effect that will damage anyone within a radius of the strike zone. Often the effect is stronger on the target than on anything else hit. See also: Splash damage
Area of effect can also refer to spells and abilities that are non-damaging. 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). Some games also have what are 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 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 (PBAoE) is a less-used term for when the affected region is centered on the character performing the ability, rather than at a location of the player's choosing.
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 the Atari 8-bit home computers 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 when no input had been received for several minutes. Attract modes demonstrating gameplay are common in current home video games.Attract mode is not only found in arcade video games, but in most coin-operated games like pinball machines, stacker machines and 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.
A game mechanic built into some games to decrease the level of difficulty by locking onto or near targets for faster aiming. Games 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.
An indicator of accomplishment or skill, showing that the player has performed some particular action within the game.
In online games, the act of kicking a player from the server, and then employing means of preventing them from returning. This is usually accomplished using a blacklist.
An early release of a video game, following its alpha release, where the game developer seeks feedback from players and testers to remove bugs prior to the product's commercial release. Games are usually almost finished at the beta stage.
A series of game levels intended to tell a linear story; some campaigns feature multiple 'paths', with the player's actions deciding which path the story will follow and affecting which choices are available to the player at a later point.
Being able to perform exceptionally well in a high-stakes situation, or have certain events occur at the right time in a very important or critical moment, in particular in a way that changes the outcome of the game; scoring a victory for your team when it was on the verge of defeat.
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 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; 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 the price of a continue doubles after each failure, with an on-the-fly in-app purchase of the game's premium currency if required.
A type of strike that does more damage than usual. Normally a rare occurrence, this may indicate a special attack or a hit on the target's weak point.
A game segment that exists solely to provide detail and exposition to the story. They are used extensively in MMOs and RPGs in order to progress the plot. Cut-scenes are more likely to be generated by the in-game engine while cinematics are pre-recorded.
A 4-directional rocker button that allows the player to direct game action in eight different directions: up, down, left, right, and their diagonals. 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.
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 distribution, or 'day-one DLC', where the developer offers content for a price. 'Day-one DLC' is often associated with on-disc DLC, where the content is already a part of the game's data, but the player must pay to access it.
A game mode in many shooter and real-time strategy games in which the objective is to kill as many other characters as possible until a time limit or kill limit is reached.
Found primarily in adventure games, a means of providing a menu of dialog choices to the player when interacting with a non-player character so 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.
In an open world game such as an RPG, an enclosed area filled with hostile NPCs where the player is likely to come under attack. In this sense, it can be used to refer to literal "dungeons" or include any number of other places, such as caves, ships, forests, sewers or buildings. Dungeons may be maze-like and/or contain puzzles that the player must solve and often hide valuable items within to encourage player exploration.
A subgenre of platform game in which the player character runs for an infinite amount of time while avoiding obstacles. The player's objective is to reach a high score by surviving for as long as possible.
Organized competitions around competitive video games, often played for prize money and recognition.
A measurement reflecting how much of the game world is visible in a first-person perspective on the display screen, typically represented as an angle. May also refer to the general amount of the game world that is visible on the screen, typically in games where being able to see a lot at once is important, such as strategy games and platformers.
An invincibility or immunity to damage that occurs after the player takes damage for a short time, indicated by the player-character blinking or buffering.
A term used most commonly in rhythm games, when the player hits every note in a song with no mistakes, therefore never breaking a combo. Often results in the highest possible score on said song.
An overarching term that describes how a particular game functions and what is possible within the game's environment; the rules of the game. Typical game mechanics include points, turns and/or lives. An unanticipated and novel use of game mechanics may lead to emergent gameplay.
A distinct configuration that varies game mechanics and affects gameplay, such as a single-player mode vs a multiplayer mode, campaign mode, endless mode, or god mode.
A type of business model wherein games are bought and sold once as a finished product that receives few to no further content updates, as opposed to games as a service wherein games receive content updates in the long-term on a continuing revenue model.
A type of business model wherein games receive content updates in the long-term on a continuing revenue model, as opposed to games as a product, where a game is bought and sold once as a finished product that receives few to no further content updates.
Acronym for Greatest Of All Time.
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 may be temporary.
An attribute showing how much damage a character can sustain before being incapacitated. Getting hurt lowers this meter and if it reaches zero that character can no longer continue. Depending on the game this can mean many different things (i.e. death, serious injury, knockout, or exhaustion).
The highest logged score in a video game.
A visual effect that occurs every time the player-character lands a hit on the opponent; commonly seen in first-person shooter games like Call of Duty.
Loosely defined as a game made by a single person or a small studio without any financial, development, marketing, or distribution support from a large publisher, though there are exceptions.
Graphic elements that communicate information to the player and aid interaction with the game, such as health bars, ammo meters, and maps.
A pool of resources inherent to a character that determines the amount of magical abilities they are able to use.
A multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based.
A game which can be played on multiple platforms.
Abbreviation of non-player character or non-playable character, is a computer-controlled character or any character that is not under a player's direct control.
Elements of a game that can only be unlocked by making premium digital purchases. The purchase packages can include game currency, resources, special characters, unique items, summoning tickets, character skins that give buffs to their stats, or VIP points if the game has a built-in VIP system – anything that gives the buyer a disproportionate advantage. This monetization scheme can result in an unbalanced experience between players.
Generally refers to when a player must restart the game from the beginning when their character dies, instead of from a saved game or save point. This may also refer to the case of a player having to restart the game due to failing to meet a certain objective. The term may also apply to squad-based games such as tactical role-playing games, if the death of the character eliminates that character from the game completely but the game may continue on with other characters.
Can also be used like lagging, if there is a high network latency.
Any video game, or genre which involves heavy use of jumping, climbing, and other acrobatic maneuvers to guide the player-character between suspended platforms and over obstacles in the game environment.
A type of procedural animation used by physics engines where static death animations have been replaced by a body going limp and collapsing in on itself, with the only animation acting on the body and its connected limbs being from the game's physics engine. This often gives the impression that a character is flailing or being flung around, like a rag doll.
The act of quitting a game mid-progress instead of waiting for the game to end. Typically, this is associated with leaving in frustration, such as unpleasant communication with other players, being annoyed, or losing the game. However, the reasons can vary beyond frustration, such as being unable to play due to the way the game has progressed, bad sportsmanship, or manipulating game statistics. Apparent rage quits may occur due to a player's game crashing, or the player experiencing network connection problems. There are also social implications of rage quitting, such as making other players rage quit. Certain games can penalize the player for leaving early. Sometimes the player may damage or even destroy the device, console, or controller the game is being played on.
Restarting a game with a new character from the lowest possible stats, after having maxed out a previous character.
The playing or collecting of older personal computer, console, and arcade video games in contemporary times.
A tactic used in certain games that include physics simulation and rocket launchers or explosives. The player aims their weapon at or near their player-character's feet, or stand their character where there will be an explosion, and use the force of the blast to propel the character beyond normal jumping ability.
A game in which the action is viewed from a side-view camera angle and the screen follows the player as they move.
A derogatory term used to refer to players with a highly competitive attitude, typically in situations where such an attitude is uncalled for or unnecessary. Synonymous with tryhard.
A character with abilities or equipment to have high health and damage mitigation that draws aggro from opponents and receives enemy attacks so that teammates can concentrate on their attacks or objectives. Common in MMORPGs.
A strategy used in online games where the player continuously kills or attacks the same opponent, ignoring the others surrounding them. It is often seen as unsportsmanlike behaviour in gaming.
A branching series of technologies that can be researched in strategy games, to customize the player's faction. .
The initial screen of a computer, video, or arcade game after the credits and logos of the game developer and publisher are displayed. Early 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. 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 and high score list urge 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; the 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 the title that inspired them.
In first or third person shooters, the act of shooting someone through a wall or object with bullets or other projectiles that have penetration. Made a popular term by games such as Counter-Strike and Call of Duty.
Games that are made for YouTubers or Twitch streamers.
Tactic in strategy games in which the player uses overwhelming numbers of inexpensive, disposable units rather than skill or strategy. The term comes from the Zerg, a race in StarCraft that uses numerical advantage to overwhelm opponents.
A game that has no sentient players and only has CPUs.
"gold sinks", i.e. opportunities in the game to spend gold at in-game vendors, thereby removing it permanently from the economy and thus reduce money supply.