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"Video game community? What's next, 'the necromancy community'?" note 
Jack Thompson

The game behind the games. Like any other medium, gamers have a culture all their own, replete with jargon and its own brand of social maneuvering. Be warned: The stuff in here will inescapably ruin your eyesight, twist your spine, and keep America from winning the war, as it documents scarily obsessive gamer jargon that barely resembles English.



  • Abandonware
    A piece of commercial software that's not for sale anymore.
  • Achievement Mockery
    Achievements awarded for doing something stupid or for playing poorly.
  • Achievement System
    How close are you to 100% completion? Gotta achieve 'em all!
  • A.I. Breaker
    Using a particular aspect of the computer's AI to "cheat" at a game.
  • After-Action Report
    A type of Fan Fiction for strategy games that involves a blow-by-blow description of a campaign.
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  • Allegedly Free Game
    Although advertised as "free", the game actually has restrictions that you need to pay to override.
  • Alt-itis
    A malady that causes a player to compulsively create alternate accounts for a game.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore
    When a Japanese game gets to America, the packaging and ads have to look Darker and Edgier or just angrier.
  • The Anime of the Game
    When a popular game is adapted into an anime.
  • Anti Poop-Socking
    When breaks are built into the game, or the game reminds you to take one.
  • Arcade-Perfect Port
    The highest acclaim a port of an arcade game to a console or computer could get.
  • Ascended Glitch
    When a glitch or bug is enjoyed so much it gets turned into a legitimate gameplay element in an update or a sequel.
  • Attract Mode
    The display a game shows when nobody is playing.
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  • Awesome: Video Game Bosses
  • Awesome: Video Game Levels
    You know that part, where you have to jump that bit, and then ride that thing, and oh man, it's awesome!
  • Balance Buff
    Something weak in the original game is made better in a sequel.
  • Beta Test
    The video game testing process.
  • Button Mashing
    Don't know which button to press? Completely new to a Fighting Game? Mash the keys and pray!
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation
    Publishers with an annoying tendency to release one game, and then release it again several times with minor changes before any wholesale sequel ever comes along.
  • Casual/Competitive Conflict
    Is it just a game and we should really just relax, or should we squeeze all we can out of it? Careful which one you choose.
  • Catharsis Factor
    We kill stuff in video games to let off stress!
  • Challenge Gamer
    A gamer who focuses entirely on improving his skills in a game to the point of insanity, and often showing off about it.
  • Character Tiers
    Where fans argue about which characters are the best in a competitive game.
  • Checkpoint Starvation
    There are long periods of time between checkpoints or save points.
  • Cherry Tapping
    Purposely using weak attacks to bring down a powerful opponent, often for humiliation's sake.
  • Child's Play
    A charity started by Penny Arcade that organizes worldwide toy drives to children's hospitals, distributing toys, games, books, etc.
  • Classic Cheat Code
    Cheat codes from one game are referenced in another.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome
    The phenomenon where players stick to the settings or characters they are used to no matter what.
  • Console Wars
    The competition between electronics companies to increase their video game market share.
  • Copy Protection
    Ways of ensuring you own the game you're playing.
  • Country Switch
    Where the same game is released in different locations, and programmed to act differently depending on where it's being played.
  • Cross Player
    A person whose online avatar is of the opposite gender.
  • Daddy System
    A situation in which both a "next-gen" console and its predecessor are both still being made, sold, and developed for concurrently.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!
    Where you're used to playing with a particular control scheme, then start another game that uses one that's almost the same, and you keep getting killed because you're pressing the wrong button.
  • Default Setting Syndrome
    The game offers a wide variety of modes, options, and characters, but none of that matters because everyone's too lazy to use anything other than the defaults.
  • Defunct Online Video Games
    The servers of an online video game have gone down, or the game itself has been removed.
  • Demoscene
    A computer art subculture which specializes in producing demos, which are audiovisual presentations that are run in real-time on a computer or other platform.
  • Developers' Foresight
    Games which try and predict absolutely everything the user will try.
  • Digital Distribution
    Selling (or giving away) games entirely as Downloadable Content.
  • Disappointing Last Level
    Where a game suddenly has a huge dip in playability and rise in frustration as you near the end.
  • Downloadable Content
    Game data that is downloaded into the game that wasn't there originally.
  • Doujin Soft
    Independently-made games released at Japanese conventions.
  • Dummied Out
    Data, levels, characters, etc. that are still in the game code but are normally inaccessible.
  • Effortless Achievement
    When a game give you an achievement for essentially doing nothing but starting the game, creating a character or just something you would have done anyway.
  • 8.8
    The stir created in the video game community when a high-profile game receives an unexpectedly high or low score from a major reviewer.
  • Electronic Entertainment Expo
    A major gaming event held in California every year.
  • Emulation
    Running an emulator, which is a program that can play games on a platform or PC designed for other platforms.
  • Expansion Pack
    Extra material produced for an existing game, either by the game's original production company or by a third party.
  • Fake Balance
    When concepts are used which, on paper, make a game appear to be balanced (competitively or otherwise), but in reality, it is not.
  • Fake Difficulty
    When developers use things like Luck-Based Mission and Trial-and-Error Gameplay to create the illusion of a challenge. Or, when it is challenging, but for the wrong reasons.
  • Fake Longevity
    Things that pad out a game's length so they can brag about having "100 hours of gameplay!"
  • Fan Game
    A fan-made original video game based on a property.
  • Fan Remake
    A (generally freeware) game created by fans of the original game, which attempts to recreate the original game experience.
  • Fan Sequel
    Where the fan community creates a sequel to a work when the original creators won't.
  • Fan Translation
    The translation of games that only appeared in other languages (almost always Japanese) into the player's native language (almost always English).
  • Fanon
    The set of theories based on that material which, while they generally seem to be the "obvious" or "only" interpretation of canonical fact, are not actually part of the canon.
  • Feelies
    Replicas of video game items or other relevant props that come packaged with a game.
  • Fighting Game Community
    A congregation of gamers primarily focused on competitive fighting games.
  • Freemium
    You can pay to upgrade your Free account to a Premium account with more perks.
  • Four Point Scale
    A derisive term for the (supposed) inability of professional game reviewers to give any game a score under 6.0, even if they're nominally using a ten-point scale.
  • Gaiden Game
    A game that's part of a series but not a main entry: a side story or Perspective Flip.
  • Game-Breaker
    Using some natural feature of a game in an unnatural way, resulting in a huge advantage or benefit.
  • Game-Breaking Bug
    A bug that seriously cripples or destroys the ability to continue with a game.
  • Game Genie
    A cheating peripheral most prominent in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • Game Mod
    Alterations to a game that were not made by the game's license holder.
  • Game Maker
    A software "toolkit" that usually contains a pre-designed framework for a particular type of game, allowing that game to be made more easily by fans.
  • Game Music
    Video game soundtracks.
  • Game Over
  • Gameplay Derailment
    When a bug or feature is found after a game is released which seriously changes the way it is played by a large segment of players.
  • Gameplay Roulette
    A franchise where every game falls into a different gameplay genre.
  • Game Shark
    A console cheat device most prominent around the turn of the millenium.
  • Gamer Chick
    The lone female in a male gaming clan, who's often portrayed as tomboyish, confrontational, and self-aware of her gender (in worst cases, to the point of flaunting it around unnecessarily), and often can whup the other gamers' asses.
  • Gaming Clan
    A team of people that play multiplayer games together.
  • G.I.R.L.
    Guy In Real Life
  • Godlike Gamer
    A gamer who is a naturally talented ace when it comes to gaming.
  • God Modders
    Relative newcomers to a game who nevertheless act as if they know everything about it, and often rely on cheats or exploits to win.
  • God Mode
    Cheat-based invincibility.
  • Good Bad Bugs
    A bug in a video game which ends up being fun or useful.
  • Good Bad Translation
    A translation which is So Bad, It's Good, and ends up being so popular that better-made remakes will refuse to correct it.
  • The Great Video Game Crash of 1983
    A sad day in history.
  • Green Boy Color
    The use of a specific shade of green, meant to evoke old Game Boy games (and nostalgia).
  • Griefer
    A particular species of troll who exists to ruin other players' fun.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics
    Defeating a strong but slow enemy by repeatedly moving away and throwing weak long-range attacks at him.
  • Hollywood Game Design
    Where TV and movies do not do the research when they depict video games being made.
  • Import Gaming
    The trials and tribulations of getting a game meant to be played in one country to be played elsewhere.
  • Indie Game
    A game developed without the backing of a major publisher.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!
    I miss all that Fake Difficulty, dangit!
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!
    RAWWWWWWRRRR!! Games are supposed to be fun, and frustration isn't fun!
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!
    Any game less than 100 hours can't be worth the money I paid for it!
  • Just One More Level
    The game is quite addictive. Really, really addictive.
  • Killer App
    A game that's so good it's a reason to buy the system it's on.
  • King of Games
    A character that is a master of multiple types of games.
  • Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game
    Shoehorning a sexy woman in a commercial to trick players into buying the game, i.e. assuming most gamers are perverts.
  • Leeroy Jenkins
    An inexperienced gamer who has no patience for complex plans and prefers to rush in and kill something, generally screwing up the plan entirely.
  • Loot Drama
    An item that's so rare, powerful, and unique that gamers will do horrible things to get it.
  • Lord British Postulate
    If it exists as a living creature in an MMORPG, someone, somewhere, will try to kill it.
  • Machinima
    Movies made with images from game engines.
  • Machinomics
    Like Machinima, above, but of static images instead of movies, in a Web Comic format.
  • Macrogame
    Some part of a game that carries over between multiple playthroughs or multiple players.
  • Madden Curse
    Whoever appears on the cover of the latest edition of the Madden NFL series will either not be up to snuff in the upcoming NFL season, or will suffer a major injury and be sidelined for a year.
  • Manual Misprint
    The game manual is wrong. Hilarity ensues.
  • Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros."
    Where a character's crossover appearance in a game will be exported before the character's actual original appearance, confusing people as to where he/she actually originated.
  • Master Console
    A means to issue commands or change game settings, which can ostensibly allow cheating.
  • Media Watchdog
    A government-appointed body whose job it is to field complaints about media and censure or penalize the creators if deemed necessary.
    • Banned in China
      If a repressive government doesn't like it, it's gonna get banned.
    • Moral Guardians
      Groups of people who want to protect children from being exposed to some level of sex, violence, etc.
  • Metagame
    With competitive games, the collection of strategies in common use; how everyone else is playing.
  • Microtransactions
    You can spend real-world money for individual pieces of in-game content.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel
    A sequel that's really just extra levels or content for the original game.
  • Most Annoying Sound
    If Baby Mario doesn't stop crying right now there is going to be some major child abuse going on.
  • Most Wonderful Sound
  • Most Gamers Are Male
    Bring on the fanservice.
  • Most Writers Are Male
    Er... ditto?
  • Moved to the Next Console
    A video game is released for one console generation, and its sequel is released for the next generation.
  • Multi-Platform
    A game is developed for release on multiple gaming platforms.
  • Munchkin
    A player who plays the game to "win" at any cost, even if that isn't the point of the game.
  • Murder Simulators
    The allegation that (for example) because games feature killing, they are the cause of increased homicide amongst video game players.
  • Nerf
    A change to a game that weakens a particular item, ability, or tactic.
  • New Game+
    Once you finish a game, this is the ability to unlock special abilities or endings when starting it over, using the same save file.
  • Non-Linear Sequel
    Although called a sequel, the second game may not share much with the first other than shared setting and references.
  • Noob
    A novice at a particular game, usually with negative connotations.
  • Noob Bridge
    A point in a game where a unique and unusual aspect of the controls is necessary, frequently leaving inobservant gamers stuck.
  • No Export for You
    When a game is released in one country but not another.
  • No Port For You
    When a game is released for one platform but not the other, even if nothing's technically keeping it from being ported.
  • No Scope
    The act of shooting a Sniper Rifle or other scoped weapon without a scope. Requires considerable skill in some games.
  • Not the Intended Use
    The player equivalent of Fake Difficulty.
  • Obvious Beta
    A rushed piece of software that is full of bugs.
    • Perpetual Beta
      A piece of software receiving regular support that remains full of bugs.
  • Oddball in the Series
    One game in the series which is the "odd man out" for whatever reason.
  • Open Roleplaying Decay
    As MMORPGs get more players, the game eventually mutates into something the original members don't like.
  • Pause Scumming
    Abusing the pause button by pausing at a specific time or pausing repeatedly.
  • PC vs. Console
    Similar to the Console Wars, this is the never-ending fight between PC gamers and console gamers.
  • Pick-Up Group
    Where an MMORPG player broadcasts a request for other gamers to join him and form a party to go adventuring.
  • Pinball Spinoff
    When a company creates a pinball game based on a successful franchise.
  • Player-Generated Economy
    Where games have a trading system that the players develop.
  • Player Killing
    The act of killing another player's avatar in a multiplayer game, generally used in cooperative games to denote "unnecessary" kills.
  • Player Tic
    You keep doing things in video games even when they aren't necessary.
  • Player Versus Player
    Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Play Every Day
    Some games would rather you play a few minutes today, tomorrow, and the next day than ten hours right now.
  • Polygon Ceiling
    When a series goes from 2D to 3D, it often has issues.
  • Polished Port
    When a game is ported from one platform to another, things go wonderfully right.
  • Porting Disaster
    When a game is ported from one platform to another, things go horribly wrong.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games
    Games based on existing licensed properties suck.
  • Product Facelift
    When an older system is revamped into something physically smoother and sleeker to boost sales.
  • Quicksand Box
    An Wide Open Sandbox game that fails to give you any indication about what to do next.
  • Rage Quit
    When you're about to lose, you just quit the game in anger rather than actually see the Game Over screen.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear
    When players equip their characters with gear solely based on stat bonuses without consideration to how it will look on them.
  • Random Drop
    The item you need for that quest has a 0.005% chance of dropping when you defeat the boss of this area. Good luck, and see you in four years... maybe.
  • Rated M for Money
    Developers include blood, guts, and sexual content to target the hardcore gaming market.
  • Reformulated Game
    When a game changes radically between its various versions.
  • Region Coding
    The assignment of a number representing a geographic region to a DVD or console.
  • Remade for the Export
    Where a game that was never released in a specific region is remade or ported to a new system specifically to be localized.
  • Replay Value
    A measure of how fun a game is after you've beaten it.
  • Retro Gaming
    An interest in playing older video games.
  • Revenue-Enhancing Devices
    Design features that seem solely designed to ensure increased profit for the manufacturer without adding any value for the consumer.
  • Reviews Are the Gospel
    Video gamers tend to place more stock in professional reviews of works than fans of any other medium.
  • Rule of Fun
    It doesn't have to make sense, as long as it's fun.
  • Save Scumming
    Save the game often, and if you do something wrong, just reload the save.
  • Scrappy Mechanic
    A gameplay mechanic in an otherwise fun/enjoyable game that generates a sizable hatedom.
  • Script Breaking
    Doing something which is technically allowed but messes up the assumed order of events, often resulting in an unwinnable game.
  • Scrub
    A player of a competitive videogame who adamantly believes that his or her "house rules" should apply to everyone to promote his or her view of "fair play". Most of the said "house rules" are things he or she makes up on the spot and his or her view of "fair play" is "as long as I win 95% of the time".
  • Self-Imposed Challenge
    A playthrough of a game wherein the player plays under an restriction not required by the game itself in an attempt to increase the difficulty and replay value.
  • Sequel Displacement
    Where one sequel ends up being considered where a series "begins" and earlier games tend to be ignored or forgotten.
  • Sequelphobic
    A subculture that is so jaded by Sequelitis and Capcom Sequel Stagnation that its members are predisposed to dislike any product that is a sequel, regardless of its actual value.
  • Sequence Breaking
    Where you can do things in a different order than intended, skipping past "required" events or items.
  • Shovelware
    Software that's so low-quality, you'll wonder how (and why) it was released at all.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer
    A mini-game or secondary quest that's so addicting and fun, you forget about the main game.
  • Sideways Compatibility
    Games for one system can be played on another system.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning
    Games that start out very slow, with lots of exposition.
  • Song Association
    The seemingly endless repeats of songs heard in a video game makes a song distracting in other environments because of the association with said video game.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys
    An expert player who always plays to win and can't understand why anyone would play the game to have, you know, fun.
  • Spiritual Successor
    A type of sequel that is not part of the same world or story as its predecessor, but is nonetheless considered to be a successor because of shared creators, themes, or gameplay elements.
  • Strategy Guide
    A printed guide stuffed full of information on a game and purty pictures.
  • Succession Game
    A form of multiplayer gameplay where, instead of competing against one another, the players take turns controlling a single faction.
  • Super Title 64 Advance
    The title of a game that indicates what system it's released for.
  • Temporary Online Content
    Online content that the creators of a videogame add for a while and then withdraw. Cannot be recovered by Save Scumming or starting the game over.
  • That One Achievement
    Why must it be so hard to get this achievement???
  • That One Boss
    Dear God, how the heck do I beat this guy?!?
  • That One Level
    Oh God, the level with the lava and the spikes and the Medusa heads and AHHHH!
  • That One Player
    Someone who's so skilled at a game that whenever anyone plays with or against him it's no longer any fun.
  • That One Sidequest
    Yeah, there's that great sword... but seriously, less than zero seconds on a Chocobo race?
  • The Tetris Effect
    The game draws you in so much, you begin to see its elements in Real Life.
  • Tournament Play
    Professional video game players in national or international competitions for real money.
  • Translation Style Choices
    The various ways that companies can choose to approach the finicky business of localization.
  • Treasure Hunter
    A player who's more interested in the monetary value of items than their actual impact on gameplay.
  • Try Everything
    EXTRA! Frustrated gamer throws up hands, just tries using every single inventory item and skill to continue!
  • Twinking
    Using a high-level character to make life easier for a low-level one.
  • Two Gamers on a Couch
    A work where two video gamers discuss life on a couch.
  • Unexpected Character
    A strange or unknown character makes an appearance in a video game adaptation of a franchise.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda
    A video game rumor that seems almost plausible and just won't die.
  • Vaporware
    Computer or video game software or hardware that's constantly hyped but never seems to actually be released.
  • Version Exclusive Content
    The practice of making certain content in a Video Game exclusive to particular versions or players, usually as a means to encourage connecting with other players (who have the other content).
  • Video Game 3D Leap
    When a Video Game series makes the leap from sprite graphics to Polygonal Graphics.
  • Video Game Caring Potential
    The game presents characters in such a way to make you care about them past their utility in the gameplay.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential
    The potential a video game has for the player to do awful, horrible things to enemies or even friendly and neutral NPCs.
  • Video Game Demake
    A game is voluntarily remade to look and play like it comes from an older generation.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential
    The tendency of some players to use a game's editing tools to create porn.
  • Video Game Movies
    An index page of all of the video game movies with their own pages.
  • Waggle
    Trying to shoehorn motion controls into a game just because they're the hip new thing is a sure-fire way to make it suck.
  • Walkthrough
    A document that shows how to play through a game and win.

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