PC gaming terms and their true meanings

Let Lq1

Lag: The ultimate excuse for poor performance, whatever you think it means. (ed. note: can we all please agree that it doesn’t refer to framerate?).

Lane-pusher: What we call MOBAs because Chris Thursten told us not to call them MOBAs. See MOBA.

Level: Thing your parents and every TV writer who has to make up a game for a show thinks that all games are still split up into, to the sadness and amusement of all gamers watching.

Ludology: Fancy way of saying ‘stuff about games’.

Microtransactions: An ongoing industry attempt to redefine the word ‘micro’.

Mana: The limited resource that takes all the fun out of being a wizard.

Matchmaking: An attempt to automate finding an opponent suitable for every skill level, sometimes stymied by rocks and particularly slow animals not owning copies.

Middleware: All that nonsense that pops up at the start of the game to tell you how it made its trees and what powers its physics engine and other things they know you don’t and never will care about.

Mob: A single enemy. It made sense at the time.

MOBA: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. A magic incantation guaranteed to summon hordes of angry MOBA players demanding you not call them MOBAs. See Lane-pusher.

Mouselook: A way of using the mouse to scan the environment while moving and shooting that seems like the easiest thing in the world until you watch your parents try and do it.

Multiple endings: Something to watch on YouTube after finishing a game once.

MMORPG: Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. A genre that began as an exciting glimpse into a world where everyone could play together in fantasy kingdoms, before being completely swallowed up by Personal Quest design and ironically becoming one of the most actively antisocial genres and one of the hardest to play with your friends.

Myst: Gaming’s most ironic hit.

Nerf: Your favourite character/weapon sucks now, while everyone else’s remains OP.

Noob: The most accursed type of human, all others emerging from the womb able to pull off advanced Dota 2 strats while rocket-jumping in another game at the same time.

NPC: A non-player character. Often has a missing dog or cow you need to find; sometimes sells you things.

NVIDIA: The way it’s meant to be played. Unless AMD paid for their logo at the start of the game instead. Then that.

Open-world: Most games trap you in a small box. These games offer a much bigger box.

Overpowered (OP): Thing that just killed you. See nerf.

Permadeath: One life, one chance. Also a really bad haircut.

Persistent World: The game goes on whether you’re there to do things or not, though probably doesn’t actually change all that much unless you’re gone for years.

Pixelbitching: Having to sweep the screen in search of the one hidden or obscure item that will allow progress, from the Where’s Waldo Game Design School of Fuck You.*

Port: A chance to play a game made for the consoles that performs about as well as trying to play it on the previous generation’s hardware. If you’re really lucky.

Procedural generation: The art of creating game worlds, items, and more using algorithms instead of handcrafting. The promise is that this will create games you can replay forever, though finding guns with 0.5% faster reload speed gets old long before forever.

PvE: Player vs. environment, where players team up against enemies rather than each other; trying to overflow landfills with empty bottles of Mountain Dew.

PvP: Player vs. player. A staple of action games, and every forum/comment thread.

Quest: A word that began as a suitable descriptor of epic tales of action and adventure, but quickly became the polite way of saying “Shit To Do”. Slay a dragon to save a kingdom? Quest. Kill 10 rats? Quest.

Quick time event: An innovation in games that helped developers offer exciting, thrilling battles filled with action, which nobody is watching because they’re too busy looking out for button prompts and flashing arrows. Named for the quick time in which they stopped actually being an event, and for being about as interactive as the average .mov.

*Not a real school. Tyler feels bad for editing an a sweary bit into Richard's entry.