The Ultimate Video Game and System Buyer's Guide: Lingo

The Ultimate Video Game and System Buyer's Guide | Consoles and Handhelds | Video Games Galore | Understanding Video Game Ratings | Talk the Talk: Gaming Lingo

Gamers speak their own language. It's been developing for decades as the gaming community has gotten bigger and more defined.

If you've ever heard someone gush over a game's "co-op" mode, or complaining that their girlfriend cost them a "frag," this video game lingo cheat sheet is for you.

A.I. (Artificial Intelligence): This is the intelligence of a character or vehicle controlled by the computer -- an NPC or non-player character. In a racing game for example, the artificial intelligence of the cars the player is racing against, gives them the ability to try and beat the player by racing better or more aggressively.

Co-op: A mode in some single-player games where multiple players can play cooperatively to complete the game.

Deathmatch: A mode of play popular in first person shooters where the goal is to kill or "frag" as many players as possible. Generally, the player with the most "frags" at the end of the game wins. In a team deathmatch, players are divided into two or more teams where the object is the same.

FPS (First-Person Shooter): A game genre played through the eyes of the player's character. Usually referring to an action game where the player uses force -- via a gun or other weapon -- to get through the game's levels. Popular in this genre are games like the Halo series, Doom series and Unreal, or Unreal Tournament series.

Frag: A "kill" or point in a first-person shooter generally used in deathmatch games.

Game Boy: Nintendo's series of handheld gaming systems including the Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advanced, Game Boy Advanced SP and Game Boy Micro. Not to be confused with Nintendo's latest handheld gaming systems: the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite.

Headshot: Literally a weapon shot to the head of another player or non-player character in a first-person shooter.

MMO (MMORPG): A massively multi-player game, or massively multi-player online role playing game. Games where hundreds of players inhabit the same game world simultaneously. This genre of game include old and new classics like World of Warcraft, Everquest and Ultima Online.

Multiplayer: A game where more than one player plays or competes against other players and/or non-player characters. With consoles, this may refer to either a game where multiple players are playing on the same console or online with other players. For PC games, it refers to games played with other players on a LAN or through an Internet connection.

Newbie (Noob): A new player. A term generally used to describe new players to an MMO, or massively multi-player online game like Everquest or World of Warcraft.

Nintendo DS (Lite): The latest handheld gaming console from Nintendo, the DS and DS Lite -- a smaller brighter version of the DS -- features a touch screen players use to interact with games.

NPC (Non-Player Character): A character or vehicle controlled by the computer or video game console rather than by a player.

PS2 (PlayStation 2): Sony's follow-up to the PlayStaion features the ability to play DVD movies and play games online.

PS3 (PlayStation 3): The latest home video game console from Sony, featuring a built-in Blu-ray DVD player, high definition capability, a robust online service that offers players the ability to connect and play online and also to download games and other media.

PSP (PlayStation Portable): The long awaited handheld PlayStation uses an optical disk format rather than cartridges like Nintendo's line of handhelds. The PSP is capable of wirelessly connecting to the Internet for browsing, play and downloading and can play movies, music and photographs.

RPG (Role-Playing Game): A game genre that generally features a long story line where players "build" their character over time, improving various statistics or attributes and acquiring and utilizing equipment all while working their way through the game's story. Popular games in this genre include the Final Fantasy series, the Baldur's Gate series and the Legend of Zelda series.

RTS (Real-Time Strategy): A genre of game where players control large amounts of characters or armies. Generally players are tasked with acquiring resources that can be used to purchase buildings where various units or characters can be created. Because there are no turns and the games occur in real time, it's referred to as a real-time strategy game. Popular games in this genre include the Warcraft series, Starcraft, Age of Empires series and Command & Conquer series.

Sim: Short for "simulation" the term sim generally refers to any game in the SimCity and The Sims series of games. This term can also be used to describe other simulation games ranging from airplane simulators to games like Roller Coaster Tycoon where players build and control an amusement park.

Single-Player: A mode or game meant to be played by one player alone.

TBS (Turn-Based Strategy): Unlike an RTS, or real-time strategy game, a turn-based strategy game allows players to take turns plotting and planning their moves. These games are usually part board game and part warfare as in the popular Disciples series.

Wii: Initially known by its code name "Revolution," the Nintendo Wii features wireless motion-sensitive controllers that react to players' movements. Play tennis by simply swinging the controller like a racket. The Wii also features an Internet connection for players to meet and play and download classic games from the Nintendo back catalogue.

Xbox: Microsoft's initial entry into the home video game console market came in 2001 with Xbox. Though it took second seat to Sony's PlayStation 2, the Xbox was a formidable competitor for the PS2 and featured two of the biggest hits in video game history: Halo and Halo 2.

Xbox 360: The follow-up to Microsoft's Xbox, the 360 was released a full year before the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3. The machine features wireless controllers and an optional hard drive for storing game information, downloaded games, demos, trailers and recently movies and TV shows.

Xbox Live: One of the Xbox and Xbox 360's biggest selling points, Xbox Live is a 24/7 subscription-based online service that connects players for competition, but also features a robust store where they can purchase classic and new arcade games, demos, trailers and now movies and television shows.

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