The language of gaming
During the days where the arcades were thriving businesses, there were some very obvious patterns to how gaming words appeared. Most words would either define a piece of hardware, or describe the genre of the game.
Once gaming branched into the online world, a whole new way of playing video games emerged. With this came a new social element to gaming. People no longer needed to be in close proximity to each other to play games together and, particularly in cooperative games, there is now a real need to communicate with your fellow gamers: to plan an approach to a mission, to warn your clan members of incoming attacks, and even to let people know you are going to be away from your keyboard for a while so will be unavailable.
Today is the anniversary of the launch of the Donkey Kong game, so we thought we’d have a look at some of the more interesting words, abbreviations, and initialisms that have spawned from the gaming world.
Like music, sometimes games fit in more than one genre.
Standing for ‘Role Playing Game’, this genre describes one in which the player is immersed in the viewpoint of a character or ‘role’. There is usually an in-depth story associated with these games.
Platformer games can come in lots of different forms. Some are side-scrolling, in which a character usually travels through the levels from left to right. Others are in three-dimensional environments in which there’s a less easily identified route of progression. There are a couple of qualities that these games share, in that there are usually a variety of obstacles to overcome, and some kind of vertical movement.
Rather tellingly, shooters are games that involve some kind of projectile firing. Within this genre is FPS (first person shooter) which is a class of game in which you see the game through your character’s eyes. In the earlier days of gaming, these were also called ‘shoot ‘em ups’.
Beat ‘em up
Once again, the title of this genre gives the game away. This is a genre in which some kind of hand-to-hand combat is the key part. Usually the objective is to defeat your opponent (or opponents) by inflicting enough damage to deplete their health.
Standing for ‘Massively Multiplayer Online’ these games have seen a huge surge, in creation and popularity in the past 10-15 years or so. They are online-based games in which hundreds of thousands of players are able to play at the same time, usually taking place in vast virtual lands.
Words and Phrases
Chances are, if you’re reading this, and thinking of starting to play games, then you are a noob. Derived from ‘newbie’, this word is used to describe people who are inexperienced at gaming in general, or at any specific game.
Pronounced ‘P – own’ this word is used to describe a humiliating defeat. “Did you see Chris get pwned?”. It is believed that this word started as a typo, deriving from the word ‘own’; as the letter ‘p’ is next to the letter ‘o’ on most keyboards, a slip of the finger could have happened.
Griefers are game players who seem to get their enjoyment for causing other players problems: that is, giving other players grief.
Like the popular British supermarket chain, this is a shortening of the word co-operative; in gaming, it’s when you have to work with other players to achieve a common goal.
Standing for free for all, this means a game where it’s ‘every man for himself’. It’s a game which usually has a number of players, but it’s everyone against everyone else.
A patch is essentially an add-on for a current game. It enables the player to experience the same game in different ways, be this new missions, new characters, new weapons, or anything else.
Usually meaning one of two things; ‘Health points’ or ‘Heart points’. This is the measure of health that a character has left.
Hopefully this has given you a good introduction to some of the language that is used in the gaming world. So if a conversation about gaming occurs, it no longer has to feel like a FFA, and you won’t get pwned for acting like a noob.
Are there any interesting words in gaming that you’re particularly fond of? Let us know in the comments below.