Video Game Terminology
                    by Marriott_Guy
Glossary of video game terms, acronyms and definitions for the gamer.  This page will be updated regularly as technology evolves.
General Terms
Clone A console manufactured and distributed by a company other than the original developer which is at its core a technical replicate of the original model.
Console An interactive computer with the primary function of being a gaming device, typically dependent upon an external display device and utilizes an interchangeable media format for game programming/delivery through the system.
CIB Acronym for Complete In Box.  Used to define the completeness of a system/game and to indicate that all manuals, inserts, cord wrappings, etc. are included with the respective item.
Easter Egg Hidden features of a game or system that are not readily visible to the user.  Programmer's delight in adding these.
Hack There are two common uses for this term, each completely separate in nature.  When used to describe a game, this indicates that most of the game code has been copied and reused in a new game release.  The 'hacked' game release is often very similar to the original game, but with some slight differences in terms of graphics and game setting (story).  When applied to a console, this term refers to upgrading the hardware outside the manufacturers original specifications and/or releasing certain capabilities of the system that are not part of the general out of the box user experience.
Handheld Portable, lightweight gaming system that has all controls and screen display compiled into one unit.
NIB Acronym for New In Box.  Used to indicate that a system/game is brand new and has never been opened.
PC Hybrid Typically used to define certain home personal computers which primary function is to serve as a computer, but does have certain characteristics of being a console (i.e. has a cartridge slot, controller ports, etc.).
Pong General term to define early systems that were based on the General Instruments AY-3-8500 chip.  Games are all built directly into the system and are generally variations of the original Pong tennis game.
S\H Acronym for Shipping and Handling (mainly used in this site to estimate the cost of this service for items)
Interfaces \ Connections
ADB Acronym for Apple Desktop Bus, which is a type of port used on Apple products for peripheral device connection
Bluetooth Standard communication protocol designed for wireless devices and PANs (personal area network)
Component Cable The current standard for A/V delivery that utilizes cables.  Video is delivered through three separate channels (green, blue and red) that correspond to the respective color signals with standard red/white cabled used to transmit audio.
Composite Cable Followed the RF Connection method by using three cables - Yellow for video, Red for the right audio channel and White for the left audio channel.
GeoPort Port on Macintosh computers which was primarily used for modem communication.  Abandoned in the late 1990's
Hardwired Primarily used to state that game controllers for a system are permanently wired to the system and not removable
HDMI Acronym for High definition Multimedia Interface and is a single cable with a USB type port that transmits uncompressed digital A/V data.  Definitely the way to go if your television supports this.
Input Any port whose purpose is to receive audio, video or other data from an external source
NTSC Acronym for National Television System Committee, which is used to define the analog standards for the display, color, refresh rate and other technical items for televisions to deliver programming\A\V content to the end user. Utilized in North America, Japan and a few other countries worldwide.  Basically, it displays video using 525 lines of information and up to 16 million colors.
Output Any port whose purpose is to transmit audio, video or other data to an external source
PAL Acronym for Phase Alternating Line, which is used to define the analog standards for the display, color, refresh rate and other technical items for televisions to deliver programming content to the end user. Utilized in most of Europe, Australia, China, parts of South America, and a few other countries worldwide.  Basically, it displays video using a maximum of 625 lines of information and up to 16 million colors.  There are many sub groups using this standard.
PCI Acronym for Peripheral Component Interconnect, a type of computer bus used to connect peripheral devices to a computer or system.
Port General term used to describe an interface on a system for use in connecting devices
Power Supply Obvious - some have the power supply built into the system, others utilize an external source contained in the actual cord
RCA Jack Current universal connection method used for basically all standard definition A/V cables
RF Connection Connection through the coaxial cable of televisions.  Many older systems use this.  Audio and Video are delivered through the same cable with overall low quality compared to today's standards.
S-Video Better than Composite in delivering video quality  - audio connection is the same.  The port structure is also different than the other cables in that it uses a computer PS-2 like port and not the standard RCA
SCSI Acronym for Small Computer System Interface, yet another type device connection method
Serial Port Older style port used for connecting a mouse, modem and other devices
USB Acronym for Universal Serial Bus, the current standard for connecting peripheral devices
VGA Acronym for Video Graphics Array, which is the standard 15-pin computer monitor port.
Wi-Fi Stands for Wireless Fidelity, a type of wireless networking standard protocol
Wireless General term to describe any network connection communications are transmitted via radio waves and/or microwaves rather than through a wired connection between sender and receiver.
Controllers \ Peripherals
Analog Controller These controllers respond to the degree of pressure exerted on a button, D-pad, etc, rather than the On\Off mechanics of a Digital Controller
Controller Catch-all term for any interface device to control gameplay
Digital Controller Controllers respond with an On\Off action (shoot, turn left) and does not take into account the pressure exerted on a button
Gamepad Generic term for today's modern controller, which typically feature a directional controller (D-pad) and action buttons
Joystick Controller featuring a handheld directional stick, often accompanied by an action button(s)
Keyboard Obvious, but early models featured Up\Down\Left\Right arrows above the WASD keys to control PC game movement and input.
Keypad Action buttons are aligned in a 3 x 3 grid of buttons, often accompanied by a circular motion button.  Games came packed in with overlays to identify the respective action of the buttons
Light Gun Usually deigned to resemble its name, this type of controller emits a beam of light at the game screen to 'shoot' the target.  A receiver/transmitter unit records the accuracy of the 'shot' and reports back the findings to the game console.
Modem Standard term for the device which allows electronic/digital communication with an external network source
Motion-sensing General term used to describe game control through use of the movement of the controller of by technology enabling the capture of body motion or voice recognition
Mouse Obvious - still a favorite for PC gamers
Multi-Tap Connection device to expand the number of controllers that can plug into a console
Overlay Used with Keypad controllers to identify the action associated with the respective Keypad button.  Also used to describe the plastic film used to cover a television screen to give color and add graphics to early gaes/consoles that technologically could not (Magnavox Odyssey)
Paddle A circular wheel provides directional control, while action buttons are used for firing, etc.
Peripheral Device Generic term for any device that requires a connection to a console or PC
Tablet Wireless keyboard type of device used in a few early model consoles (Bandai Pippin)
Trackball A large ball that interacts with two or three axis wheels that are enclosed in the case.  Centipede was the big starter of this.
Technical \ Performance
Co-processor Other processing units that augment the central CPU, or at times control completely certain system functions (i.e. audio).
Color Palette The number of colors that a system is able to display.  This does necessarily mean that the respective unit is able to display all of these on the screen at one time.
CPU The unit of which a Processor belongs. The CPU is plugged into the motherboard and is the most important piece of hardware
Dolby A sound company that pioneered stereo and surround sound systems
Frame Rate The frequency at which a system is able to display unique images in sequence.  The unit of measurement is expressed in FPS (frames per second).
Full Motion Video Pre-recorded video that is presented to the gamer, usually used during cut scenes to communicate the story line.  Games that allow interactivity (via an additional overlay) are known as interactive movies.  More commonly known as FMV.
Mono Sound that comes through a single channel speaker system
Network A group of computers connected wirelessly or through a system of Ethernet cables
Pixel Single unit is able le to display a color.  The result when combined is a cohesive image.
Pixilation Display of an image/video at a greater resolution that what was intended.  The result is that the user is able to discern the individual pixels that comprise the original content (which is not optimal nor was intended by the creator).
Polygon A flat, enclosed shape that is defined by three or more lines.  Coloring individual polygons can provide a variety of effects, primarily depth.
Processor A computer chip that "thinks" for the computer. Controls and regulates all memory and data as well as system processes not handled by the video and sound cards
Screen Resolution The amount of pixels that are displayed on a display unit.
Sprite Method for displaying an image, or animation, over a background that does not modify that environment.
Stereo Sound that comes through evenly on a two-channel speaker system
Surround Sound A multi-channel speaker system that creates the illusion of sound immersion
Texture Mapping Method for adding detail, surface texture (a bitmap or raster image), or color to a computer-generated graphic or 3D model.
Storage \ Media
Bit Units of memory. Plural - Bytes.  The term was often applied to describe the CPU power of a console (8-Bit, 16-Bit, etc.).
Blu-ray Optical disc storage medium offering up to 128 GB of data (BDXL).
Cartridge A plastic encased unit for storing and then using data to play games. Originally had no memory storage and had a password database, but the addition of a special battery allowed for storage of memory
Cassette Tape Magnetic tape storage for analog storage of data
CD Compact Disc.  Optical disc to store digital data.  Available in a variety of formats (i.e. CD-R, CD-RW, etc.).  Storage capacity is approximately 703 MB.
CD+G Compact Disc + Graphics. Optical format for combing low level graphics alongside audio.  Often used for karaoke programs.
Digital Distribution Content that is delivered and/or stored on the console
DVD Digital Video Disc\Writable\Rewritable - Most games and movies are released in DVD format. R and RW are used for burning discs on your computer for personal or commercial use
External Memory Portable and Enclosed HDDs as well as flash drives, jump drives, and microdrives. Memory storage, ranging from 56KB to over 1TB
Flash Card Memory storage for cameras, camcorders, and PSP systems. It uses a small card inserted in a slot on the electronic device or PC for data storage and transfer
Flash ROM Flash memory is an electronic (i.e. no moving parts) non-volatile computer storage device that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed.
Floppy Disk Removable media type that is used to store data
GB Gigabyte; One Billion Bytes
Hard Drive Officially called a "Hard Disk Drive", a solid memory system for storage of massive amounts of data over a period of time
HD DVD High-Definition Digital Video Disc, a DVD that plays in High Definition formats
Homebrew A game, usually a cartridge game, that is made by indie or garage developers and designers, usually based off of NES or SNES cartridges
HuCard Proprietary memory card used to store game code.  Used in the PC Engine, TurboGrafx-16 and SuperGrafx consoles.  Also known as the TuirboChip.
Internal Storage Dedicated area on either a Hard Disc or memory that is allocated for game saves and user preferences
Laserdisc Large discs that were meant to be the wave of the future. Large, expensive, and the release of the DVD killed Laserdisc
MB Megabyte; One Million Bytes
MP3 MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III encoding format for digital audio
MPEG Generic term for the encoding of audio and video digital data
RAM Random Access Memory. What is used for temporary storage on computer systems
ROM Read Only Memory
Streaming Generic term used to describe content delivery.  Computing power is performed at a dedicated server, with the result sent to the device for user interation.
TB Terabyte; One Trillion Bytes. Currently the highest available commercial size for data storage
VHS Acronym for Video Home System and the analog magnetic tapes used for data storage
Gaming \ Software
Action\Adventure Typically played from a third person point of view, these games focus on investigation of one's surroundings and retrieval of item(s) compiled with combat versus various foes.
Adult Uncommon for games released in the USA and more widely available in Japan and certain European markets; game content is obvious
Anime Games based on the Japanese style of motion-picture animation. 
Compilation Used to describe a single software release containing more than one game.
Demo Game demonstration software that has either a time/level limit or other features disabled to encourage purchase of the full software.
Edutainment Games focused on learning activities for both children and adults.  Most are the Point & Click affairs.
Fighting "Beat'em Ups" - usually one-on-one combat between two characters. 
FPS Acronym for First Person Shooter.  The point of view is always from the perspective of the character the player is controlling (like looking through the character's own eyes).
Game Simulator Any game th
MMO Acronym for Massively Multiplayer Online.  A network required environment where interactions with other 'real' characters is the key.  Most games in this genre are RPG based, but there are a growing number of RTS games that are springing up in this category.
Music\Rhythm Probably the newest genre, games are all about music and audience participation. Growth in this area has been exploding as of late.
Platformer Mostly presented in 2D, games in this genre require the character to start from point A and get to point B by jumping and traversing various obstacles (bad guys as well) to reach the next level.  A Boss battle typically is the culmination of one's efforts.
Puzzle Mind over matter - complete objectives using your brain to navigate through problems and/or puzzles.
Racing Hop in your vehicle and get to the finish line.  This genre is all about vehicles and games are presented from all points of perspective (2D, 3D, Third person)
RPG Acronym for Role Playing Game.  This genre focuses on a central protagonist that is controlled by the player and involves them adventuring through a world(s) to achieve various objectives for the story to continue.  Item collection and stat\level building is also a mainstay of this genre.
Shooter Usually 2D scrolling affairs, the action is simple - keep mashing the fire button and kill all the bad guys.
Simulation Games attempt to simulate real life situations, actions and/or events. 
Sports The genre with the most titles ever released.
Strategy Overall game play is usually slower than most and requires extreme thinking and planning to achieve objectives.  Usually defined as RTS (real Time Strategy) and TBS (Turn Based Strategy)
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