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How To Speak Like A Gamer, For Dummies
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How to Speak Like A Gamer, for Dummies

Have you ever gone to a video game website or listened to a video game podcast or heard your friends passionately speak about games and felt completely lost because you couldn't keep up with the conversation? Have you spent countless sleepless nights trying to understand leet speak? (I sure hope not!) Well, I've made a short list of a few common words that could help you on your way to understanding, and ultimately sounding, like a knowledgeable gamer. This list is by no means definitive, its a list for the casual gamer who has to bow out when he hears "lag!" or "I like the UI in that game."

The list isn't in any specific order, its basically a novices' guide to understanding video game jargon. Words like FPS and "casual gamer" won't be explored here as I figured those would be very easy to decipher.

Invisible Walls - These are basically boundaries that developers put in place so that you don't accidentally get stuck in geometry or go somewhere you don't need to be going. A common place to find invisible walls in games are around mountain sides so you don't fall off or long bridges with no safe guards (this has become less previlent in bridges as it makes the experience more immersive when real-world logic of a bridge is applied in-game).

Shmup - This is a short-hand term. It basically means "Shoot-em-up." The Shmup genre is basically any 2D game that has you at the bottom of the screen shooting things while enemies come from different sides.

Bullet Hell - This is a variant of the Shmup genre and is very common in japanese loli games. These games have so many bullets and projectiles on-screen at any given time, thus the name Bllet Hell.

Lag - You'll hear this term alot in online games. When someone has a poor connection while playing with you, they seem to appear and disappear and stop-and-pop all over the place. A common misconception is that lag can also happen offline. This is not the case, this usually has to do with the frame-rate of your game. Speaking of which...

Frame-Rate - This is the number of frames per second your game runs at. When you have alot of things onscreen you could experience a drop in frame rate sometimes. This does not happen in bullet hell games very often because the bullets are usually low resolution pixels instead of polygons.

Metroid-Vania - This is very uncommon, but it is used to define a game that borrows heavily from two other games by the names of Metroid and Castlevania (Maybe you've heard of them?).

UI - I always see people having trouble understanding what this means. It just means User Interface. It means the menus in the game. The pause screen, the character select screen, the upgrades screen, etc.

HUD - This stands for Heads Up Display. Its supposed to communicate to the player different things. See your life bar and magic bar at the top of the screen, or how much ammo you have in a Call of Duty game, or the amount of cash/gold/zenny/munny/ryu/double dollars you have? Those are all considered part of the HUD.

Developers are always trying to have less clutter on the screen to make it more of an experience worth 60 dollars rather than a video game. One of the more recent triumphs was a little game by the name of Dead Space. It displayed health as a tube on the protagonists back. Ammo count was clearly visible on the guns instead of on the side. A very big step towards immersion in my opinion.

Like I said, not an exhaustive list, just a "How to speak like a gamer for dummies" Kinda thing. Hmmmm... Sounds like a good name for a title, actually. Anyway, Hope this helps out you casual gamers in a meaningful way. If you think there are other words that casual gamers would find useful, leave a coment!


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