GregHorrorShow’s Guide To Gaming – Part 1: The Terms

I’ve often wondered what someone who doesn’t play games would make of a conversation between myself and friends about gaming.

Would they consider it mainly a foreign language as we threw abbreviations and gaming terms into the mix? Or are a lot of the terms self explanatary?

Well, as part of a new feature of basic (but hopefully not insulting :lol:) gaming tips and recommendations I’m going to break down exactly what us gamers are going on about 🙂

Each entry is followed by a Reference Point, which is a game that you can use to see that term in action first hand.


AI – stands for Artificial Intelligence and refers to the level of intelligence shown by the game’s NPC’s (or Non Playable Characters – see separate NPC entry). If a game is said to have ‘bad AI’ it would mean the NPC’s act, or react, in an unrealistic manner. Likewise a game with good AI would show human-esque response to your actions. (Reference Point: Killzone 2)

Analogue Stick – a thumbstick on the joypad that is used to control movement/direction within the game. Offers 360 degree movement as opposed to the slightly more restrictive D-Pad. (see separate entry for D-Pad)

                                      The Analogue Sticks on the PS3 Pad.

Class – a specific type of character, usually found in online play. These roles usually come with different abilities. For example a Medic can heal other players whereas an Engineer might be able to repair vehicles. (Reference Point: Battlefield Bad Company 2)

D-Pad – short for Directional Pad, this is the part of the joypad that is often used to control movement. Although recently that role is now usually taken by the ‘Analogue Stick’ (see separate entry for Analogue Stick).

First Person – this refers to the viewpoint of the character you control. You view the game from the protagonists point of view. (Reference Point: Mirror’s Edge)

                              Mirror’s Edge: A First Person View.

FPS – stands for First Person Shooter. Normally a warfare game in which you’ll be required to shoot weapons and kill enemies to proceed. (Reference Point: Killzone 2)

Grinding – to ‘grind’ is to repeatedly carry out the same action over and over again to gain XP (see separate entry for XP). Often the domain of RPG games Grinding is usually possible in any game where you are collecting a form of currency to level up (see separate entry for ‘Level Up’) or buy new weapons etc.

HP – Hit Points (or simply Health) is the remaining amount of damage your character can take before losing a life or dying. Can be represented in a number of ways, for example by a decreasing energy bar (Reference Point: Street Fighter IV) or blood splats on the screen (Reference Point: Red Dead Redemption).

HUD – stands for Heads Up Display and refers to the overlay on your screen with information such as your score, remaining health or weapon ammunition. (Reference Point: Bayonetta)

                          Bayonetta: The HUD here shows lots of information for the player.

Invisible Walls – the term given to areas in a game where the character cannot move to but nothing seems to be obstructing them. For example a cliff edge where the character is unable to walk off and instead continues their walking motion but stays on the spot. Usually to help guide the player in linear games they are often seen as breaking the illusion of the game world. (Reference Point: God Of War 3)

Kill Cam – a device activated when you die, usually in an online FPS (see separate entry for FPS) which allows you to see the player that killed you, often giving away their location on the map.  (Reference Point: Modern Warfare 2)

Lag – a problem in online games where the various users internet connections don’t quite match up. This can result in a frustrating delay, or ‘Lag’, for one party where the button they press doesn’t register with the game for a vital few seconds (meanwhile they have usually been killed/beaten by the opposition 😉 )

Leeroy Jenkins – As in ‘I’m gonna go Leeroy in a minute’ or ‘I Leeroy Jenkinsed that.’ To rush headfirst into battle without caring about the consequences. Inspired by the below World Of Warcraft video:

Level Up – to ‘Level Up’ is to increase your characters skill or reputation through play. Usually levelling up will lead to increased skill or bonuses. It is also a badge of honour for your time spent playing the game and a way for others to access your skill level. Tied to XP (see separate ‘XP’ entry) and similarly whilst previously linked to the RPG genre, levelling up is now included in most multiplayer game modes, regardless of genre. (Reference Point: Modern Warfare 2)

Melee – a Melee attack is one carried out at close quarters and usually involves using your weapon as a club as opposed to shooting with it or using hand to hand combat to take down an opponent.

Motion Control – brought to public attention by the Nintendo Wii, Motion Control is a way of controlling the game without using a traditional joypad where the game will base the character movements on the movements you make in real life. Sony and Microsoft have their own versions incoming shortly.

Noob – Someone new to playing games. Often used as a derogatory term for somebody acting stupidly within an online game.

NPC – stands for Non Playable Character, someone in the game world that you have no control over. Usually reserved for single player games, this would be any character in the game world you can interact with but that you do not use as part of the game. (Reference Point: Grand Theft Auto IV)

                                   GTA IV: Roman would be classed as an NPC.

Owned / pwned – to be ‘Owned’ is to be beaten convincingly by an opponent. As in ‘I’m getting owned by this guy.’ Pwned is actually just a typing error as the O key is next to the P key on the keyboard. Resulting in people typing too quickly and putting ‘Pwned’ instead of ‘Owned.’

PSN / XBL – Playstation Network and X-Box Live are the two main format holders online networks. These are the hubs of online play for each console. Here you will log in to play online, download demos and take advantage of various benefits.

QTE – stands for Quick Time Event, whereby the character you control will have their usual control method disabled and you will instead be required to press the corresponding button icon that appears on screen to trigger the next event. Has become a staple way to finish off a boss battle. (Reference Point: God Of War 3)

                                                                                    God Of War 3’s QTE System in action – you must match the direction on the Analogue Stick.

RPG – stands for Role Playing Game. A genre of game where your character begins as a blank slate and as the game progresses you choose the skills your character becomes proficient in. These games normally take up a huge amount of time as they require a big investment in the character. (Reference Point: World Of Warcraft)

JRPG – simply a Japanese Role Playing Game. These are often different from Western RPG’s in terms of story and feel. They have the same general aspects but are usually easy to tell apart from RPG’s. (Reference Point: Final Fantasy 13)

RTS – stands for Real Time Strategy. A genre of gaming that often requires great thought and strategic planning. Often involves war or invasions but is played from the viewpoint of a commander, giving orders etc rather than someone on the battlefield. Not all of these are combat based, some are business or economically based. (Reference Point: Civilisation IV)

Sandbox – a Sandbox game is one that takes place in an environment in which you are free to explore and do whatever you like. This would be opposed to more linear games where the story and levels are played out in tightly designed situations. (Reference Point: Red Dead Redemption)

Spawn (Or Respawn) – to put your player into the game world. This can be when the game starts or following death. Usually following a short time penalty in online play (often between 5 and 10 seconds). As in ‘Hold on, I’m just respawning.’ (Reference Point: Battlefield Bad Company 2)

                                                                             Battlefield Bad Company 2 also gives you the option to respawn at a teammate’s location.

Spawn Camping – To camp, or wait, outside the specific spot where the opposing team spawn back into the game world so that you can kill them immediately. Frowned upon by most of the gaming community but is a big problem in a lot of games. (Reference Point: Modern Warfare 2)

Third Person – a viewpoint whereby you can actually see the entire character you are controlling. (Reference Point: Grand Theft Auto IV)

Trophy – an achievement unlocked by performing a specific act within the game world, set by the makers of the game. These vary greatly from game to game but are recorded all together on your online profile so others can view what you have and haven’t unlocked compared to themselves.

XP (Or EXP) – Experience Points. Most commonly found in RPG games as a way of ‘levelling up’ (see separate ‘Level Up’ entry) your character. Has recently crept into the other genres via multiplayer, where you will now often find yourself being given XP for competing in online modes of the game. (Reference Point: World Of Warcraft)


So there we go, a look at some of the commonly used gaming terms.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any to add, any you would like explained that I’ve missed or if you’ve spotted any mistakes in the above.

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  1. GregHorrorShow?s Guide To Gaming ? Part 1: The Terms…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Well done, mate, great read! Here’s one I’d add:

    DLC – stands for Downloadable Content and is any piece of game content that is supplemental to initial release of the game. Sometimes free, but usually for a price, DLC is supplied digitally via PSN or XBL (see separate ‘PSN / XBL’ entry) and may add new maps or side stories that weren’t available in the original title. However, more often than not, DLC adds content that should’ve been in the frickin’ game in the first place, is probably on the disc you already bought and is a marketing strategy that game publishers use to own (or pwn) your ass into spending more money on a game! (Reference Point: anything by CAPCOM)

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Greg Turner, GamingFeedz. GamingFeedz said: GregHorrorShow's Guide To Gaming – Part 1: The Terms (source: WordPress) […]

  4. This is all good and probably really helpful to those with little or no gaming knowledge, but the terms i have the problem with are when gamers suddenly just make up new ones and then turn them into verbs – it takes it all a little far don’t you think?

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