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Understanding PC Games: Acronyms

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One of the perennial problems of videogames journalism is the jargon. Too quickly people become used to an abbreviation that makes sense to them, but can leave others in the dark. In response to this, Rock, Paper, Shotgun proffers its thirty-eighth entry in a four hundred and seventeen part guide to Understanding PC Games.

FOV: Field Of View
As anyone who has played RTS games will know (see RTS), such games tend to contain a “fog of war”. As over 90% of RTS games take place in large, boring fields, these ridiculous games attempt to disguise this by hiding them in smog. The small area you’re allowed to see at any one time is known as the Field Of View.

FPS: First Person Shooter.
There is a lot of controversy over the true definition of this term, with gamers divided into two camps. There are those, generally thought of as fundamentalist gamers, who ardently believe that the First Person Shooter depicted Adam, in the Garden of Eden, slaughtering the local fauna as he named them, 6,000 years ago.

43“KAPOWETH!” shouted Adam. “You shall be named a deer.” 44“BLAMMO!” he crieth to the Lord. “From now thou shalt be known as a panda.” – SegaGenesis 1:43-44

Others vociferously dispute this, saying that all scientific evidence suggests the First Person Shooter was a proto-shooter, not immediately recognisable as a part of the genre today, that was then developed over millions of years. Those who suggest that FPS (see FPS) can also stand for “Frames Per Second” are liars.

HUD: Heads Up Display
One of FPS (see FPS) gaming’s greatest achievements over the last decade has been to increasingly complicate the amount of information shown on screen at any one time. The idea, to put it in layman’s terms, is to distract the player from the action in the bulk of the screen. Ideally this should involve needlessly cropping up to half of the available space with the inside of a helmet, and some animated details that constantly snag the attention of your eye.

MMO: Massively Multiplayer Online

MMOG: Massively Multiplayer Online Game

MMORPG: Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game

MMOGIRPGE: Massively Multiplayer Online Game Incorporating Role Playing Game Elements

MMOGIRPGEAITFRTSG(SRTS): Massively Multiplayer Online Game Incorporating Role Playing Game Elements And Ideas Taken From Real Time Strategy Games (See RTS)

RPG: Role Playing Game
This is, as the title suggests, a game in which you play a role. Although it’s not as broad as you might immediately think. While many games ask you to play a role, the only ones that earn this title are those that ask you to play a role that would socially ostracise you if other people found out.

RTS: Real-Time Strategy
There was serious concern among strategy gamers that TBS (see TBS) that while their games were required to be mind-numbingly boring, too many players were dying of lethargy or old age during play. In response to this, the RTS was created, resulting in an all new hectic pace for strategists. Based on its name, the games take place in a realistic time, with merely up to fifty or sixty years between major conflicts for players to engage in.

TBS: Turn-Based Strategy
Like an RTS (see RTS), but played by ancient giants who sleep for thousands of years between gos.

TPS: Third Person Shooter
Such was the ego of shooter developers that they began to refer to not only themselves, but also their games, in the third person. “Quake II is very pleased to be so good,” said the opening message of Carmack’s brown-tinged classic. “Quake II is glad you have bought Quake II, and looks forward to allowing you to shoot Quake II’s creatures.” Very embarrassing for all involved.

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John Walker

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One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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