A B C D E F

A

AAA

AAA games (also known as “triple A” games) are large games that typically have major budgeting and marketing behind them. They are expected to become blockbuster titles.

Abandonware

This is an all-purpose term for a game that has been “abandoned” by developers and often forgotten about by many gamers.

AFK

This stands for “away from keyboard.” It indicates someone is not actually playing despite their character still being logged into the game.

Aggro

A shortening for the words “aggression” or “aggravation.” It refers to the attention a player gets from video game enemies. In some games, you must avoid generating too much aggro to avoid too much enemy attention.

Aimbot

A kind of cheat players use to win online first person shooter games. It allows someone to hit other players without actually aiming at them. Such cheats may get players banned from playing a game online.

Aiming Down Sights

This term (also referred to as ADS) means aiming a gun through a scope or sights in a first-person shooter. This usually enhances accuracy at the expense of field of vision (for example, it’s easy to sneak up on someone aiming down sights at another target).

Alpha/Beta Testing

Testing in which players play an early version of a video game before it has been officially released. The goal is to provide feedback about bugs and gameplay to developers so they can improve the game before its official release.

AR

An abbreviation for “augmented reality.” This refers to a game in which your surrounding environment is augmented by digital effects or additions. AR is different from virtual reality in which your surrounding environment is completely replaced by a virtual one.

Area of Effect

This term (also referred to as AOE) means any spells that can affect multiple targets with a specific radius. This may include offensive spells to defeat enemies or even defensive spells to heal fellow players.

ARPG

An abbreviation for “action roleplaying game.” It is a catch-all term for roleplaying games that have no turn-based systems and are instead played in realtime.

Asymmetric play

Play in which different players may have different experiences during a game. In a symmetric game such as a fighter, each player is playing the same kind of game with the same kind of characters. In an asymmetrical game, different players may play as very different characters with very different abilities.

Avatar

A digital representation of the player within a video game or other online space.

B

Battle Pass

This adds a monetization system to games (especially to free games). Players who buy such a pass can earn tiered rewards through both regular gameplay and special game challenges.

Battle Royale

Game type in which players try to find the right gear and items to be the last man standing at the end of the game.

Buff

May refer to an ingame spell or ability that increases one or more character stats. It may also refer to something changed by developers to make a character, item, or ability stronger. The second definition is the opposite of a “nerf.”

Bullet Hell

Games which require players to dodge overwhelming amounts of enemy fire to succeed.

Button mashing

May refer to any repeated button pressing, but this primarily refers to players hitting random buttons to win at competitive games (especially fighting games).

C

Campaign mode

The “story mode” of a video game. This mode is typically a linear journey from the beginning the narrative to the end.

Camping

This refers to staying in the same place (typically with superior weapons and/or position) in order to ambush and kill enemies. When the enemies are computer-controlled mobs, this is typically called “spawn camping” because you are waiting for enemies to respawn in the area.

Chiptune

The type of music created for microchip based video game hardware. It may also refer to modern music that uses the same style and technological limitations as retro game music.

Class

This term (also known as character class) refers to your character’s specific job or profession. These classes have unique strengths and weaknesses (such as mages doing high levels of damage but being physically weak). As in tabletop RPGs, players unlock additional abilities for their class over time.

Clone

A game that attempts to copy the style and/or tone of another game.

CMS

A shortening for “construction and management simulation.” This refers to any game where the primary goal is to build and manage an entire population or civilization instead of controlling individual characters.

Collision detection

This refers to how the software detects two different objects colliding together. Bad collision detection can negatively impact gameplay, especially in multiplayer games.

Consumables

This refers to any items that are meant to be used/consumed and that you have only a limited amount of (such as health potions).

Continue

Allows you to continue playing a game after you have run out of lives. You may have a limited amount of continues in console games. In arcade games, you must insert additional money in order to keep playing.

Cooldown

This refers to how much time you must wait before you use an ability again. In games such as MMORPGs, you must learn how to balance your different abilities, using new ones while others cool down.

Critical hit/Crit

This term (also referred to as a “crit” or a “crit hit”) refers to an attack that does additional damage to the enemy.

Cross-Platform

Any game that may be played across multiple consoles or platforms. It may also refer to online games in which players using one platform can play with others using a different platform.

CTF

An abbreviation for “capture the flag.” This is a competitive multiplayer mode in which players try to steal an objective (the enemy flag) and return it to their own base.

D

Debuff

A spell or ability that reduced the stats of a character or enemy. It is the opposite of a buff.

Development hell

“Development hell” refers to games that have been significantly or even indefinitely delayed but have not been officially canceled.

Dialogue tree

A dialogue tree gives players different dialogue choices when interacting with NPCs. Many adventure and RPG games provide multiple dialogue trees to enhance the roleplay and replay value of a game.

Difficulty

This refers to how hard the game is. This may be a general description of a game’s complexity or a specific difficulty setting such as “easy,” “normal,” and “hard.”

DLC

An abbreviation for downloadable content. This is any additional content that players obtain after the game’s initial release.

DPS

An abbreviation for damage per second. This determines how much damage a player causes over a period of time. In an MMORPG, it may also refer to someone’s general role as a damage dealer rather than a tank or healer.

DRM

An abbreviation for digital rights management. This is any kind of tool or software designed to protect the game from being pirated or used in an unauthorized manner.

Dungeon

This may be any specific area where players are in danger. However, these areas are often enclosed set pieces such as castles or ships (such as the Instances in World of Warcraft).

E

Emergent gameplay

A catch-all term for any gameplay created by players instead of by game developers. This allows players to create their own gaming goals, with creativity as their only limit.

Emulator

Any software designed to copy the software and hardware functions of one console and games on another platform. For example, a computer emulator might allow someone to load ROMs and play old Nintendo Entertainment System games instead of using the original system and cartridges.

Endless

A kind of gameplay mode that measures how long players can last against an endless wave of foes. 

Esports

An abbreviation for electronic sports. It refers to any organized video game competitions, especially those that are broadcast in some fashion.

F

F2P

An abbreviation for free to play. This refers to any games whose base experience is completely free. Many such games are also “freemium” games, meaning that players can optionally pay money for cosmetic items or other ingame perks.

Farming

This refers to completing quests or battles repeatedly in order to gain additional experience, currency, or loot.

Fast travel

Allows players to quickly teleport to game locations they have previously discovered. This saves significant time versus manually traveling back and forth.

First party/Third party

Games made directly by a console maker are first party games whereas third party games are those made by other parties. For example, Super Mario Bros. was a first party NES game and Castlevania (made by Konami) was a third party game.

FOV

An abbreviation for either “field of view” or “field of vision.” It can refer to how much a character can see (especially in a first person game) or how much a player can see (such as in a platformer or RTS game). Some games have FOV sliders that allow players to increase or decrease the FOV.

FPS

An abbreviation for First Person Shooter. In rare cases, it may also refer to frames per second.

Frag

This may refer to any kind of in-game kill. Some players use this term to describe killing their teammates, which echoes the Vietnam-era military definition for killing fellow soldiers.

Frame rate

Refers to how fast a game’s graphics are rendered. This is measured in frames per second, and a higher amount usually provides a better experience.