Gaming terms A-Z: ultimate megalist of key phrases all n00b gaymers need to know
Whether you’re new to gaming or you’re returning to it after a short time away, you might find yourself a bit bamboozled by popular gaming terms.
If you’re ever found yourself googling things like “what is ip in gaming terms” or “what makes a weapon a crutch”, then you’ll find the answers below in our comprehensive guide to all things gaming related.
From AI to Zerging, just scroll down to find the gaming terms you need to know about. You can also visit our gaming section for the latest gaming news.
A – B – C – D – E – F – G – H – I – J – K – L – M – N – O – P – Q – R – S – T – U – V – W – X – Y – Z
ARPG (Action Role-Playing Games): A genre of role-playing video games where battle actions are performed in real-time instead of via a turn-based mechanic.
Adds: A term used commonly in role-playing video games, MMORPGs, and beat-’em-ups, referring to the “additional enemies” called in by bosses during encounters.
AFK: An abbreviation meaning “away from keyboard”
Aggro: A gaming term, abbreviation of ‘aggravation’ or ‘aggression’.
AI (Artificial Intelligence): Algorithms used to generate responsive, adaptive, or intelligent game behaviour, primarily in non-player characters. Distinct from the computing science concept of ‘artificial intelligence’.
Aimbot: Used as an FPS cheat that lets players shoot other player-characters without aiming. In most cases, the aiming reticle locks onto a target within the player’s line of sight, and the player only has to pull the trigger.
Animation Cancel: Animation Cancel is a term mostly used in strategy games like “Warcraft” or “Dota”. The term is also widely used in fighting games, however, with the famous Z-cancel and L-cancel from the Smash Bros. franchise. In both cases, it is a way to cancel the action of a character’s attack/heal/magic, allowing it to perform the next one without any delay.
Arena Mode: A side game mode, mostly found in some action-adventure games (e.g. Far Cry 4), in which a player-controlled character is placed in a closed area and challenged to defeat enemies using combat abilities.
Assault Mode: A game mode in which one team tries to attack (or capture) specific areas and the other team tries to defend those points.
Assist(s): Assist is a term used in multiplayer games, mostly first person shooters. You start to kill or shoot someone, and then someone else finishes them off. However, the game credits you with an assist.
Avatar: The player’s representation in the game world.
Ban: A ban is when the game or server admin decides to ban you from playing for a set amount of time ranging from one minute to permanently. Bans are usually handed out for unruly behaviour such as harassment, exploiting, cheating, or quitting in the middle of games.
Battle Pass: A type of in-game monetisation that provides additional content for a game through a tiered system, rewarding the player with in-game items by playing the game and completing specific challenges.
Beta: Part of the software development life cycle, following alpha. The software in this stage is quite buggy and prone to crashing, resulting in the loss of data. When developers release the beta version of the software, it is called a beta release.
Big Boss: A big boss is a computer-controlled enemy that players have to defeat.
BM: A gaming term meaning ‘Bad Manners’; conduct that is not considered ‘cheating’ but may be seen as unsportsmanlike or disrespectful. Some games may punish badly-behaved players by assessing game penalties, temporarily blocking them from re-entering play, or banishing them to a playing environment populated solely by other badly-behaved players. What constitutes bad manners is largely subjective.
Buff: An effect placed on a video game character that beneficially increases one or more of their statistics or characteristics for a temporary period. This change is intended to strengthen a particular item, tactic, ability, or character, ostensibly for balancing purposes.
Camping: A controversial strategy in which a player stays in one place – typically a fortified high-traffic location – for an extended period of time and waits to ambush other players. It is most common in first-person shooter games but is also frequent in fighting games with projectile-heavy characters.
Campaign Mode: A series of game levels intended to tell a linear story; some campaigns feature multiple ‘paths’, with the player’s actions deciding which path the story will follow and affecting which choices are available to the player at a later point.
Carry: In team-based video-games, carrying is a term often applied to a player who disproportionately contributes to the advancement or progress of their team. It’s usually used disparagingly to put down the rest of the team, e.g. “they’re being carried by (player name).”
Challenge Mode: A game mode offered beyond the game’s normal play mode that tasks the player(s) to replay parts of the game or special levels under specific conditions that are not normally present or required in the main game, such as finishing a level within a specific time, or using only one type of weapon.
Cheats / Cheating: To play the game unfairly; giving an unfair advantage via illegitimate means. Cheats are used as exploits within the game to either cause a certain effect that wouldn’t normally be possible and/or give the player an unfair advantage. Cheat mode can also be used to remove all the usual rules from a game, meaning it can be played in a fun, over-the-top way.
Checkpoint: Checkpoints can be very different in each and every game but essentially operate as automatic save points that are triggered once a player reaches a certain milestone or location. They’re places that a player will be returned to if they lose a life (unless they are on their last one).
Combo: A series of attacks strung together in quick succession, typically while an opponent is still in their “getting hit” animation from the previous attack and is therefore helpless to defend themselves.
Console: A video game hardware unit that typically connects to a video screen and controllers, along with other hardware. Unlike personal computers, a console typically has a fixed hardware configuration defined by its manufacturer and cannot be customised. The term includes handheld consoles like the Nintendo DS, to differentiate them from computers, arcade machines, and cell phones.
Controller: The controller is a device for computer and consoles, used to control the video game action; the most used controllers are the joystick and the gamepad.
Co-op: A mode that involves two or more people playing the same game on the same system with each other, and working together to achieve a goal. Co-op play is possible via in-game multiplayer mode or system link as long as the group of people has the same game. Popular in games like Call of Duty.
CoD: Abbreviation of popular FPS game Call of Duty.
Critical Hit: A type of strike that does more damage than usual. Normally a rare occurrence, this may indicate a special attack or a lucky hit on the target’s weak point.
Crutch: A term used to describe a weapon that’s fun to use, overpowered and effective, but doesn’t help you improve skills within the game.
CTF (Capture the Flag): A common game mode in multiplayer video games, where the goal is to capture and retrieve a or other item from the opposing side’s territory while defending the flag in one’s own territory.
Cutscene / Cinematic: A game segment that exists solely to provide detail and exposition to the story. They are used extensively in MMOs and RPGs in order to progress the plot. Cut-scenes are more likely to be generated by the in-game engine while cinematics are pre-recorded.
Deathmatch: A deathmatch is is a term for an all-out fight in games, most popular in the FPS genre. A deathmatch is an every man for himself free-for-all. A team deathmatch means there are two even teams. Either way, the only objective in these deathmatches is to kill more people than the other team.
Debuff: The counter of a buff (above), a debuff is used to remove abilities from a character, causing a type of negative status (i.e. silence, poisoned, lowered defenses, slow movement). It also can be used in order to remove a previously conferred positive status on a character.
Demo: A demo is a free playable demonstration of a game that is intended to hook the player, encouraging them to purchase the full version.
Difficulty: Difficulty can be adjusted in many games, and is mostly used in campaign or co-op modes. It alters how easy it is for the character to die, the difficulty of reaching various objectives, and the help one gets from the game itself.
DLC (Downloadable Content): Additional content for a video game that is acquired through a digital delivery system.
D-Pad: Short for the directional pad, it is a control button with four directions. Found on all consoles.
Easter Egg: An Easter Egg is a secret, fun feature in a video game, left there for players to find. The game Grand Theft Auto 5 is crammed with them, including strange symbols, mysteries to solve, aliens, ghosts, monsters and the appearance of characters from previous games in the franchise.
End game: The gameplay available in a massively multiplayer online game for characters that have completed all of the currently-available content. More generally, and historically, refers to the gameplay that arises at the end of a game’s story or campaign.
Endless mode: A game mode in which players are challenged to last as long as possible against a continuing threat with limited resources or player-character lives, with their performance ranked on how long they survive before succumbing to the threat (such as the death of the player-character) or on the score. This mode is typically offered in games that otherwise have normal endings that can be reached, providing an additional challenge to the players once the main game is completed.
esports: A form of video game tournament, competition or series of organised competitions around competitive video games, often played for prize money and recognition.
Expansion Pack: An addition to an existing role-playing game, tabletop game, video game or collectible card game. These add-ons usually add new game areas, weapons, objects, characters, or an extended storyline to an already-released game.
Fangame: A video game made by fans, based on one or more established video games. Retrogamers may clone early video games to take advantage of more advanced hardware and game engines.
Fast Travel: Common in role-playing games, a means by which to have the player-character(s) teleport between already-discovered portions of the game’s world without having to actually interactively move that distance
Fatality: Fatalities are extravagant finishing moves in the Mortal Kombat series. This includes spines being ripped out via decapitation, entire bodies being burned, monsters screaming so loud that heads explode, and many more.
Flesh: In FPS, this term refers to one or more of the opposing teammate’s shields being completely broken.
FPS (first-person shooter): A genre of video game where the player experiences the game from the first-person perspective, and where the primary mechanic is the use of guns and other ranged weapons to defeat enemies.
Frag: A type of game, usually on the PC, that is free to access. Some popular free-to-play games are Wizard 101, Trove, and World of Tanks.
Foozle: The final boss in a game.
Free-to-play: Games that do not require purchase from a retailer, either physical or digital, to play.
Game Mode: A game mode is a distinct configuration that varies game mechanics and affects gameplay, such as a single-player mode vs a multiplayer mode, campaign mode, endless mode, or god mode.
Game Over: The end of the game. Also known as the failure screen shown after a game loss.
Gameplay: A player’s interaction with a video game, defined through game rules, player-game interface, challenges, plot, and the player’s connection with the game.
GG / GGez: Abbreviation meaning “good game”. Used when a multiplayer game has gone well, with no one breaking the rules, causing trouble, or rage-quitting.
Gamer: Anyone who enjoys playing a lot of games and does so for a lengthy period of time. Enjoys games thoroughly either competitively, casually, or as a collector.
Gaymer / Gay Gamer: Gaymer and gay gamer are umbrella terms used to refer to the group of people who identify as LGBT+ and have an active interest in video games or tabletop games.
Gimp: A character, character class, or character ability that is sufficiently underpowered to making using the gimp a severe impediment in the context of the game.
Glitch / Glitching: A glitch or glitching is also known as a bug. It’s a problem with a game that makes the characters or the scenery seem different from usual, or which spawns bizarre things. Glitching usually happens a lot when a game is launched, but with time, the producers start fixing it with patches.
Grinding: In video games, grinding means performing repetitive tasks, usually for a gameplay advantage or loot, but in some cases for purely aesthetic or cosmetic benefits.
HvH (Hack vs Hack): Referring to using cheats to compete against other players who are also using cheats.
Hacker(s): Hackers are people that break a game, often using cheats. Many people regard cheating hackers as annoying because they have an unfair advantage against normal players people, who in turn have very few options to stop them. The people that run a game must keep a lookout for any hackers.
Headshot: An attack that strikes the head of its target, causing extra (often fatal) damage. See also: critical hit.
Hitbox: Especially in fighting games, the area or areas that can inflict damage or other effects to a character (usually not the one which created the hitbox).
HP (Hit Points): This is the amount of health that a character may have and is usually shown on the health bar.
Horde Mode: A type of game mode in co-operative multiplayer games. Players work together to defend one or more objectives or simply to have at least one man standing as they fight through discrete waves of enemies, with each subsequent wave featuring more numerous and powerful enemies.
Hurtbox: The area where an attack (or more precisely its hitboxes) must overlap to do maximum damage.
IAP (In-App Purchase): A micro-transaction in a mobile game (or regular app), usually to obtain virtual goods in free or cheap games.
IP: Intellectual property. The term can refer to game franchises or just individual games
Influencer: A video game player or social media personality who is used as part of a game’s promotion. Typically the influencer will be given a pre-release copy of a game to play and review to those people that follow them on social media or streaming sites.
Interface: Graphic elements that communicate information to the player and aid interaction with the game, such as health bars, ammo meters, and maps.
Joystick: An input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Modern gaming joysticks have several buttons and may include a thumb-operated analog stick on top.
JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game): A subgenre of RPGs that originate from Japan.
KD (Kill Death Ratio): Typically found in FPS and player-versus-player video games, measuring the ratio between the number of opponents the player defeated and the number of deaths the player suffered at the hands of opponents. More skilled players typically have higher kill-death ratios.
Kill Screen: A stage or level in a game that stops the player’s progress due to a software bug.
Kill Stealing: Defeating an enemy that someone else was about to defeat, usually to receive the reward or credit without doing most of the work. Considered ‘bad form’ in many online communities.
Knocked: In FPS, the term knocked means when you’ve downed an enemy but they aren’t yet dead.
KO: An abbreviation for “knock-out”.
Konami Code: A fixed series of controller button presses used across numerous Konami Games to unlock special cheats. The term applies to variations on this sequence but nearly all begin with “up up down down left right left right”.
Lag / Lagging: A delay between input or action and its corresponding result, most commonly in an online environment. This is often the result of delayed network traffic.
Level / Levelling up: Usually related to RPGs. Players are rewarded for completing various tasks and missions with experience points or a similar tracking system, which can be exchanged for improved abilities, higher damage, or better gear. This in turn allows them to beat more difficult enemies.
LMS (Last Man Standing): A multiplayer deathmatch mode in which the objective is not to achieve the most kills but to survive the longest, or alternatively to have the fewest character deaths in a given period of time.
Load-out: A specific set of in-game equipment, abilities, power-ups, and items that a player sets for their character prior to the start of a match, round, or mission. Games that feature such load-outs typically allow players to store, recall, and adjust two or more load-outs so they can switch between them quickly.
Loot: Loot boxes (and other name variants such as booster packs for online collectible card games) are awarded to players for completing a match, gaining an experience level, or another in-game achievement. The box contains random items, typically cosmetic-only but may include gameplay-impacting items, often awarded based on a rarity system. In many cases, additional loot boxes can be obtained through microtransactions.
Main: To focus on playing a certain character in a game, sometimes exclusively.
Manic shooter: Shoot ‘em up is a subgenre of video games within the shooter genre.
Map: Most games that require navigation around a place include a map, which most of the time displays the player’s current location. Maps range from showing an entire chunk of territory to just the player’s closest surroundings. You can often zoom in and out, and also set waypoints to help you reach a goal.
Moderator: Moderators (also known as mods) ensure that the chat meets the behaviour and content standards set by the broadcaster by removing offensive posts and spam that detract from conversations. Mods can be easily identified in chat by the green sword icon that appears next to their name. Moderators operate on streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube.
MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online): A type of game that allows for a large number of users to play and interact online simultaneously.
MOBA: Short for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. A sub-category for real-time strategy games which is specifically composed of two teams against each other, the player controlling a single character with the objective of destroying the other team’s base as well as the enemy characters.
Multiplatform: A game that can be played on multiple platforms. Also known as cross-platform.
Nerf: A change, usually a patch, intended to weaken a particular item, tactic, ability, or character, ostensibly for balancing purposes.
Newbie/Noob: Someone new to the game, generally used as a pejorative, although often light-heartedly. Sometimes referred to as a n00b.
NPC (Non-Player Character): A computer-controlled character or any character that is not under a player’s direct control.
OHKO: The action of knocking out an opponent with a single hit. Though this action can be performed by just landing a hit on a target that causes more damage than the target has hit points (HP), several games have included moves that, under certain conditions, would automatically be OHKO’s, no matter what.
One-shot-kill: A one-shot kill is a fairly self-explanatory term, meaning you downed an enemy with a single hit. Often a head shot.
One-trick: When a player continually chooses to play as a specific character in a wide roster and often refuses to switch.
Online gaming: A game where part of the game engine is on a server and requires an internet connection. Many multiplayer games support online play.
Open World: A type of game world where the player has much greater freedom in choosing the order that they visit areas within the world, rather than being restricted to a pre-defined or heavily constricted order of visiting areas or a set mission order.
Overpowered: An item, ability, or another effect that is too powerful, and gives players an unfair advantage, disturbing the game balance.
Party Chat: A way of communicating amongst your friends via console. Getting into a party chat allows you to speak with them and them only during a game.
Ping: A means of highlighting a feature on a game’s map that is seen on the user interface of allied players.
Permadeath: Generally refers to when a player must restart the game from the beginning when their character dies, instead of from a saved game or save point. This may also refer to the case of a player having to restart the game due to failing to meet a certain objective. The term may also apply to squad-based games such as tactical role-playing games if the death of the character eliminates that character from the game completely, but the character may continue on with other characters.
PvP: PvP means player vs. player, and refers to a type of game in which the in-game combat takes place between two human players (gamers) rather than a player and a computer-controlled opponent.
Pro: A shortened version of the word “Professional”. Someone with experience, skill, and especially know-how in a certain game.
Quest: Any objective-based activity created in-game for the purpose of either story (story quest) or character-level advancement (side quest).
QTE (Quick Time Event): An event within a game that typically requires the player to press an indicated controller button or move a controller’s analog controls within a short time window to succeed in the event and progress forward, where failure to do so may harm the player-character or lead to a game-over situation.
Quickscope/Quickscoping: Mainly used during FPS games. It happens when the player uses a sniper rifle to shoot the enemy, but he doesn’t take too long positioning the scope.
Rage Quit: Rage quit or quitting is the act of quitting a game mid-progress instead of waiting for the game to end. Typically, this is associated with leaving in frustration. It can often disrupt the game for the remaining players.
Raid: Raid is common terminology on the streaming platform Twitch. Raid or raiding helps streamers send their viewers to another live channel at the end of their stream to introduce their audience to a new channel. Raiding a channel at the end of your stream can be a great way to help another streamer grow his or her or their community. We have a full guide to Twitch here.
Random(s): Someone who’s not well known, or is simply a stranger. Usually being used online while playing games.
Rekt: Usually used by FPS gamers against somebody they’ve just eliminated/humiliated.
Respawn/Revive: The reappearance of an entity, such as a character or object, after its death or destruction.
Rez: Shorthand for resurrect. When a teammate has been knocked and is weak but not dead, you can rez them to bring them back to health. A term mostly used in FPS games like Apex Legends and Call of Duty.
RPG (Role-playing video game): An RPG is a game in which the human player takes on the role of a specific character “class” and advances the skills and abilities of that character within the game environment.
Season Pass: A purchase made in addition to the cost of the base game that generally enables the purchaser access to all downloadable content that is planned for that title without further cost.
SHMUP (Shoot ‘Em Up): A sub-genre of the shooter genre, wherein a single, usually mobile character has to shoot at enemies while all of the enemies attacking or moving toward it.
Skin: When the opposing team member has their shield broken and is damage points away from being eliminated.
Smurf Account : An alternative computer account used by a known or experienced user in order to deceptively self-present as someone naïve or less experienced.
Spray and Pray: The act of blindly firing an automatic weapon with the intent of potentially hitting the target; tends to be ineffective.
Squad Wipe: Taking out an entire squad during a game.
Streaming: Streaming refers to any gaming content – live or recorded – delivered to computers and mobile devices via the internet and played back in real-time. Gamers tend to use Twitch or YouTube to stream.
Survival Mode: Survival Mode is a game mode in a video game in which the player must continue playing for as long as possible without dying in an uninterrupted session while the game presents them with increasingly difficult waves of challenges.
Teabagging: An act usually considered disrespectful and provocative, consisting of a player-character repeatedly crouching and standing back up right next to or over a knocked down or dead opponent.
Trickshot: A trickshot is a gaming term that originated in FPS such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. Whilst doing a “trickshot” a player will typically jump and shoot while falling.
Triple Jump: A move that involves being able to jump twice in mid-air after leaving the ground, and must then typically touch the ground before being able to mid-air jump again.
Troll/Trolling: A troll is someone who deliberately stirs up drama in a game in some way or another to cause hassle for other players.
Try hard: A type of gamer who tries very hard and is extremely serious at all times while gaming. Also known as playing sweaty.
Twink/Twinking: This is the MMO/RPG version of smurfing and is most often used in games like World Of Warcraft. A twink is when a high-level veteran player makes a new alt character and uses his high-level character to buy best in slot gear for his alt so the alt can dominate the low-level playing field.
Twitch: Twitch is the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers.
Underworld: A collection of isolated dungeon- or cave-like levels that are connected by an open overworld.
Unlock: Gaining access to previously unavailable content in a video game by fulfilling certain conditions.
Upgrade: A game mechanic to make a given item, character, etc. more powerful. Equipment is commonly upgraded through crafting while a character upgrade may be an alternative to advancing a character level.
VR (Virtual Reality): Virtual reality is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment, that incorporates mainly auditory and visual, but also other types of sensory feedback.
Walkthrough: A step-by-step description of the gameplay experience, intended to guide players who are unsure how to complete it.
Wallhack: A cheat that makes walls translucent. Some wallhacks let players shoot weapons or physically pass through walls.
Wipe/Wipeout: Especially in FPS games, a wipe/wipeout is when you eliminate the entire squad either by yourself or with your teammates.
WoW: An abbreviation for World Of Warcraft, one of the most successful and polarizing MMOs on the market.
XP (Experience Points): In games that feature the ability for the player-character to gain levels, such as role-playing video games, experience points are used to denote progress towards the next character level.
Youtube Bait: Games made for an audience; games created with YouTubers or Twitch streamers in mind.
YT: YT is the abbreviation of YouTube; a streaming platform gamers also use as well as Twitch.
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YY: A trickshot in the Call of Duty series (and some other FPS’) that requires you to press the Y or triangle button twice. Your first switch to your secondary weapon and before you pull it out you switch back to your sniper and take a shot, making the crosshair smaller and more accurate.
Zerging: Tactic in strategy games in which the player uses overwhelming numbers of inexpensive, disposable units rather than skill or strategy.
Zero-player game: A game that has no sentient players and only has CPUs.
Z-Targeting: Z-targeting is a 3D targeting mechanic created by Nintendo for their game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that, once shown in this game in 1998, was carried over in numerous 3D action-adventure games, becoming a standard for aiming in this genre.
Is there a gaming term we’ve missed that you want to tell us about? Email [email protected] and we’ll add it in.