Your Banned List Of Gaming Words

As you will all know, I’m in charge of things. All things, all over the world. And as such, it’s well within my powers to ban certain words. So today I have a list of words banned from gaming discussion. Please amend your dictionaries and vocabularies accordingly.

You may well find examples of words in the following list appearing on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. That’s because while I’m in charge of things, I’m certainly not in control of this crew of badduns. That’s Graham’s job. Of course, should they appear again hereafter, the person responsible will be chummed and fed to sharks.

Visuals Oh how I detest the word “visuals”. It’s such an awful way of saying “graphics”. Or even, “What it looks like.” No one talks about a game’s music or sound effects as its “audibles”, and if anyone did they’d be rightly flayed alive. So logic dictates that skin should be painfully stripped away for its eye-based counterpart. There are so many superior alternatives, from “aesthetics” to “artwork” to just plain “looks”. But 99% of the time, “graphics” is the word you were after.

Objectivity I add the “ity” to avoid confusion with a game’s having objectives. An verbal overlap that only further argues against its use. We’ve explained at length why this is a word that has no place amongst discussing artistic works. But let’s put it this way: do you disagree with this ruling? Well, it’s objectively correct, so you can’t.

Eye Candy As in, “the visuals in this game are real eye candy.” Eurgh. No. And not just because it’s an ugly and horrendously over-used term, but because it’s also woefully unimaginative. At least play on it. “Eyeball sweeties”, “Ocular pudding”, “Optic dessert”. Come on, imaginate.

Addictive Addictive is a word that finds its relevance when used regarding substances like heroin, and methamphetamines. It has nothing to do with videogames. For that we need the term “problematic use”, and you can read huge detail about that here. Unfortunately, its inclusion here isn’t because of that more semantic detail. It’s for when it’s used as a positive. It is not a good thing for something to be addictive! Using the term to explain how much you liked something is a bit like saying, “Wow, I love this game, it’s so debilitating!” So stop it.


Visceral Viscera are the abdominal organs in your body. A game being visceral would be quite the thing. “OH BUT JOHN,” you say, “you know full well that the word has another meaning.” Yes! It means to be “characterised by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect.” Which is in no way meaning, “It’s really like real-feeling and gross and stuff!” as the word is inevitably used. So let’s all stop using it, for the sake of clarity.

Gameplay Oh, the behemoth of evil wording. It means absolutely nothing. And yet it’s somehow a word that major gaming sites will use as a scored category when judging a game. It’s the gaming equivalent of saying “moo-cow”, except without actually describing a cow. The closest it comes to defining anything is “how a game feels to play”, which is about as helpful a thing to tell someone as what a pair of trousers sounds like. Others try to understand it as “what you actually do in a game”, which would render it as the most superfluous word ever spoken. What you actually do in a game is not something that either warrants nor sensibly can be scored. “In this game you run down the corridors and shoot the robots – 7/10.” “In this game you build a base and fight the invading orc army – 4/10.” It is an awful, awful word, and it must never be uttered anywhere, by anyone, ever again. Entirely verboten.

Gamer Ha ha only joking!

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  1. silentdan says:

    Innovative Instead, use “novel” or “imaginative” or “unorthodox” or even “unique” if it really does stand alone in some specific way.

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      particlese says:

      Systems I used this last night as shorthand for a number of MMO activities, and my game-enjoying friend responded, “what?” I just about flayed myself when I realized how meaningless it is when used in the way game-enjoyers tend to.

      Exponentially On the Internet, this word is invariably used to describe the improvement of something with only two data points (at times [now or soon] and previously) in question. It refers to a particular mathematically satisfying rapidity of change, not the exaggerated “greatly” or “rapidly” substitute so greatly enjoyed and oft employed by MBAs and benchmarkers. Terms such as “much” and “dudically” are acceptable in its stead.

      • Baf says:

        “Exponentially” should be permitted when it’s used for its actual mathematical meaning, though. For example, “The basis of most clicker games is exponentially-increasing costs for polynomially-increasing benefits” is a sentence I wouldn’t mind seeing in a game analysis.

        • Archangel says:

          That sentence makes me all tingly.

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          particlese says:

          Ooo, yes, that would nice. Ah, the joys of censorship! That seems like something a site like Objective Game Reviews should use, but I have no idea if that’s in their style.

    • jrodman says:

      And for the really special experiences, “very unique”.

    • Kala says:

      Nah. Innovative has a connotation slightly different to the other words you’re suggesting as equivalents, there (to my mind).

      Imaginative is fine, but you can be imaginative without being especially innovative.

      Novel is ok… and mostly interchangeable, though might need more caveats if referring to a concept that isn’t particularly novel, but one aspect of it has been adapted in a way that is. But yes, you can swap “their innovative use of x” with “their novel use of x”.

      Still the connotation is slightly different; novel tends to refer to something completely new, innovation can refer to adapting something pre-existing in a particularly clever way. To be an innovation, it generally also needs to be an improvement. (something can be unusual or novel, and just not work well).

      Out of your list, I’d scrap unique. It’s overused and often misapplied.

  2. GenBanks says:

    Your friend woke up really early in the morning to go for a run ‘He’s a madman’
    Your friend is fun and spontaneous ‘She’s crazy’
    That game is one you (figuratively) can’t tear yourself away from ‘It’s addictive’?

    Also, reminds me of this:
    link to

    • effervescent says:

      This is pretty funny and I was thinking of showing it to a friend of mine who was/is obsessed with TBS games and has been playing them for quite some time.
      But then I remembered that he lost so much (personally and professionally) with them and he went through a depressive phase (maybe still is) and thought I shouldn’t.

  3. caff says:


    Makes me want to scrape y eyes out with an un-sanded loofah.

    • Harlander says:

      At least “hardcore” seems to have mostly succumbed to attrition by now.

      • Janichsan says:

        It’s just “core” now, as in “core gamers”.

        • DeepFried says:

          “core” and “hardcore” mean different things and are used in different contexts.

          “core” refers to a central demographic, or to a game that suits that demographic, i,e, the largest demographic on the main gaming platforms e.g. steam, xbox and playstation – which in general terms is white males aged 15-35 but more specifically the games that are aimed at them, which is most of them sadly.

          “hardcore” is more vague but tends to refer to a subset of the “core” demographic, with more competitive or time consuming games, MMOS, MOBAS, competitive FPS, the connotation usually being spending vast amounts of time playing and attaining a high skill level, or at least an impressive neck beard.

          • Radthor Dax says:

            Or in the case of many games these days, a mode that is more difficult than normal, often through a perma-death mechanic.

          • Josh W says:

            The hardcore is the central kernel of the core, or rather, a group of many kernels, separated from the core as a whole by a thick membrane of time constraints. The gamer core is separated from it’s casual skin by a similar membrane, although it is weaker, and supplemented by a contradictory mixture of dramatic advertising, aromatic internal references, and toxic oils, designed to repel parasites. Unfortunately this is wholly ineffective as most parasites are introduced via the stalk of that connects it financially to the broader business of society.

        • April March says:

          Core is not hardcore. “Core demographics” is a marketing term that happened to seep into mainstream gaming culture because mainstream gaming culture is basically a marketing construct.

    • Cinek says:

      Casual game is the one that doesn’t require any longer commitment or following. Think: Pac Man – casual game, you can pop in and play a round any time, you won’t miss a thing. Simple to learn, simple to follow, quick to play a round, though it doesn’t mean that it’s easy (look no further than Flappy Bird – casual yet (very) difficult). Planescape Torment – definitely not a casual game, requires you to follow the plot, quests, learn quite extensive game mechanics, got hours of varied gameplay, etc.

      • Harlander says:

        You’re missing the pervasive disparaging tone associated with the use of the term (and especially its noun form, “filthy casuals” etc.)

        • Cinek says:

          I’m not missing it, I just find it irrelevant. You can find people doing the same to, for example, people using gamepads – in no way it affects the definition of a gamepad.

          • ButteringSundays says:

            Oh, well, as long as you think it’s irrelevant then it must be.

          • Devan says:

            What a useless comment.

            He’s right; just because some people use “casual” as a derogatory noun doesn’t mean it isn’t useful for its (original) adjective definition in describing gameplay. If you disagree, please explain why.

          • Josh W says:

            I can justify this in one simple way; what do we need more? The visuals? Or the casuals?

            And yet one has already been excluded! I leave the rest to your conscience.

      • DeepFried says:

        Yes commitment is the key to defining “casual”, a casual game requires no commitment. An MMO on the other hand is the gaming equivalent of getting married.

        • Kala says:

          …but what happens if you only play that MMO a couple of hours a week or as time allows?

          (I know it’s generally not a thing due to the subscription model, though it’s more likely with ftp. and I certainly know people who’ve popped in just to change skills in EvE. While I would not call it a casual game, if we’re purely defining it by hours invested, that’s certainly a casual way of playing it).

      • Kala says:

        I know people who would completely invert your definitions there :)

        That Pac-Man is the more ‘hardcore’, because it’s an arcade game that depends on player skill and quick reflexes, and that to get a competitive “high score” you would need to practice regularly to improve your skill level.

        Whereas Torment is an rpg which you can save your progress to reload any time, and involves a lot of moving clicking and reading (rather than skilled based challenge).

        Which is not to say I agree with the above! Or yours, especially (for the time investment argument I’ve heard people reference FF series as hardcore, which makes me chuckle as they are the easiest games to complete) – just I think the terms are arbitrary and break down completely if someone happens to be investing a lot of time competitively in something someone can dip in and out of or only dipping in and out of a game that others invest hours at a time in…

        • P.Funk says:

          I would say that the term could be applied both to the design of a game and to the individual commitment displayed by a player to a game, and that they can be entirely separate uses

          For instance, there are casual games which people are hardcore about. There are many people who take your standard cell phone game and end up being hardcore players within it, even bizarrely famous. The game is casual but the individual player commitment can be hardcore.

          An MMO like Eve is rather hardcore I’d say, easily. Its not simple or easy to get good at or even to have any meaningful interactions in. However you can play it casually, get nowhere, and some how enjoy it. The game is hardcore but the player interaction is casual.

          That’s how I break that term down.

          • Kala says:

            Yep. I agree with everything you wrote, except it doesn’t work when someone is calling another player “casual” (especially as an insult meant to demean someone else) or “hard core” (most often annoying self-aggrandizement) on the basis of playing a “casual” or “hardcore” games …without knowing how they actually play them. (E.g someone can approach EVE casually, and they can go full hard core on Candy Crush). You say they can be kept separate but so, so many people seem to conflate them.

            Also definitions of what constitute appear to differ between person to person; usually focusing on the self-aggrandizement part. I.e the definition of hard-core consists of things relating to themselves. Such as specific genres (shooters most often cited by people I’ve talked to.. who exclusively play shooters) or the amount of time spent on gaming (…usually however much they play), how many platforms you play on; I’ve even seen people try to use amount of money or “consumption” spent on games, or the amount of games in your steam library used to attempt to distinguish between a hard-core and casual gamer (apparently it needs to be “above average”). Basically, if the goal posts keep shifting like that, it seems pretty worthless as a term.

            (I find it quite funny that my aged parents showed no interest in modern games, citing time commitments, but will happily spunk hours and hours of time up the wall playing solitare or bubbles to ‘relax’ – time is apparently properly relative here!)

            oh, and I agree with you on EVE in general btw, or at least for the EVE of yesteryear this was appropriate link to

    • jrodman says:

      Geezus yes.

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    Oakreef says:

    Gamefeel – which is gameplay but more pretentious.

    Replay value – Probably used by the same people who send 2000 in a MP game and complain that it’s getting stale and the developer sucks – not everything has to last forever mate

    • Cinek says:

      Replay value isn’t about lasting forever. All it means is that if you’ll play the game again – you’ll see some more unique content that you couldn’t see in a first playthrough. If you don’t like replay value then you don’t like (non)-linear either, cause these two are about the same thing, just biting this topic from the other side.

      • ButteringSundays says:

        Dude, we know what the words mean. Do you understand that often words carry contexts outside of their definitions?

        • Cinek says:

          You’re really here just trolling around, got nothing better to do?

          • jrodman says:

            On the contrary, while he may be rude, you’re very doggedly missing the context of the entire article over and over and over. The idea here is not that these words cannot mean something, nor that they should never be used, but rather that when discussing games they are most commonly used to mean almost nothing.

            Your rejoinders are all along the lines of “just read the dictionary and you will see that this word has a meaning that is not useless” which is totally off point.

    • frymaster says:

      There’s value in knowing something’s “replay value” or whatever the equivalent for sandbox games is. If a single-player campaign takes 10 hours to complete, then whether I’m going to buy it is based on how good the people whose opinions I trust say it is, how much I like the look of it, the current price, and how long I think I’ll be playing it for.

      I don’t have a squillion hours played on civ 5 because the campaigns take ages (even though they do) – I have it because every time I play it it’s a new experience.

      Conversely, even though I enjoyed the COD4: Modern Warfare single-player campaign a lot I’ve no desire to replay it more than once every 5 years or so

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      In the absence of a more elegant phrasing, “gamefeel” is a useful term to describe something highly specific. In the context of game development, like cinematography or mise en scene are essential terms in filmmaking, you need something to describe the texture and inertia of movement and various other feedback that defines how it feels to interact with a game moment to moment.

      “Gameplay” is more general, describing both micro and macro aspects of interactivity… though I’d say it should not be on any ban list either… While too broad to serve as a meaningful category in reviews – that much I agree with – a term for “relating to all interactive aspects of a game and the things a player does” is useful. If you want to describe in one word that something relates not to the narrative and thematic elements of a game, nor its aesthetics, but to its rules and mechanics, “gameplay” works just fine.

      Replayability too, while not the be all end all of a game’s merits, conveys useful information.

    • Awesomeclaw says:

      I don’t agree that how a game ‘feels’ is the same as how a game ‘plays’. For example, I think that Elite: Dangerous ‘feels’ great: the game has great sound and graphics, and the UI and controls reinforce the feeling of actually flying a ship. However, I think that the gameplay is poor: there are not many things to actually do, and most of them require a large amount of repetition (and some are just not really fun) in order to make any real progress.

  5. draglikepull says:

    I had no idea until just now that I’ve been using “visceral” incorrectly for years.

    • Fenixp says:

      Eh, I’m pretty sure they call it “semantic shift” or something along those lines.

      • Mctittles says:

        Yea, words change, styles change. If they didn’t we would be talking in a MUCH different language than we are today and wearing much different clothes.
        It’s how we evolve and keep things interesting, just certain people once they get old start to resent it; “kids these days” etc.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Is it really so incorrect, though? If a game feels visceral, that means that the way it feels hits you on notably deep, instinctual level. Driving a car is visceral, the gentle pushing on your side by momentum as it turns, the way a shiver runs up your spine when it lurches from pushing the gas too hard, it all makes the car feel like an extension of your body. Something, once familiar, which you control with instinct rather than intellect.

      A game with superb controls and punchy animations can be just the same, as the controller in your hand fades away and you feel deeply connected with the game. Yeah, I think I would describe a Touhou, or a great rhythm game as visceral, and it’d be completely appropriate.

  6. Thirith says:

    Anyone going to mention “immersive”?

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      It seems you have, and I would agree. Into Room 101 with it! (the Nick Hancock version anyway, which was endearingly rubbish rather than the newer one which is rubbish in a different way that I don’t like).

      • Sarfrin says:

        endearingly rubbish rather than the newer one which is rubbish in a different way that I don’t like
        Just so you know, I will be stealing that phrase in its entirety.

      • wondermoth says:

        The use of “Room 101” to describe things you don’t like should also to be punishable by a bunch of starving rats hurled at your face.

        “Do anything to me!” he yelled. “You’ve been starving me for weeks. Finish it off and let me die. Shoot me. Hang me. Sentence me to twenty-five years. Is there somebody else you want me to give away? Just say who it is and I’ll tell you anything you want. I don’t care who it is or what you do to them. I’ve got a wife and three children. The biggest of them isn’t six years old. You can take the whole lot of them and cut their throats in front of my eyes, and I’ll stand by and watch it. But not Room 101! I hear it’s got traffic wardens and coleslaw in it”

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      Aerothorn says:

      Thirith hates immersive sims! Into the shark tank with ‘im!

      • Thirith says:

        Ah, the shark tank! Will I fight my way out? Will I sneak-swim through the dark areas, figuring out the sharks’ patrol paths as I go? Will I hack my way out of the tank? Or will I glitch through the shark tank walls, falling into infinite space?

        I choose to talk to the sharks and reason my way out of there.

    • tomimt says:

      I was thinking of mentioning “immversive”. It’s one of the terms I loathe in modern gaming, when everything is immersive from the gameplay to the ui. I’ve always had the feeling some people would sacrifice fun for immersivenes (and realism, that’s another one. Not all games need to be about realism, they need to be fun as well)

      • P.Funk says:

        What if the realism is the fun for that person? What if the immersion is the fun for that person?

        Naturally we need to define realism which is very arbitrary and requires a definition even if its your design goal, while immersion is less academic while equally arbitrary.

        I however don’t see immersion going away as we look at the imminent arrival of consumer VR.

    • King_Rocket says:

      I would totally agree but I would make an exception when talking about VR, it really is a most appropriate word in those instances.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      How about Immersive’s sisters Emergent and Player Agency? Actually, maybe that last one needs to be in every article about gaming.

      • Universal Quitter says:

        Well what else are you going to say instead of “gameplay?”

        Fun factor? Game mechanics? Shit which the game doth do that makes me feel good inside?

      • Universal Quitter says:

        Sorry, forgot to hit “cancel reply.” That wasn’t for you.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      What would you use in place of immersive? I can more think of terms that would make you sound MORE pretentious.

    • Kala says:

      …what would you be using instead? “Realistic” isn’t going to work for something overtly fantastical (though we are essentially saying that something feels like a real experience).

      Involving maybe? Or a combination of convincing and involving?


      (I think immersive works better, tbh)

  7. slerbal says:

    “Content” for creative things like stories, articles, illustrations. Gods, I hate that term. I would also bundle “DLC” into that banned list given its lack of meaning, even though I realise that ship sailed long ago.

    While we are at it “free-to-play” must die as it is very rarely, if ever, actually free to play.

    • wraithgr says:

      Agreed, should be “free to provide punching bag for paying users” or “free to look at our ads while nothing happens in your game” as warranted…

    • Minglefingler says:

      Content is marketing speak taken to a nauseating extreme. In this wretched world everything you do makes you a consumer, everything is a transaction. You don’t play a game, you consume its content. You don’t read a book, you consume its content. You don’t watch a film, you consume its content. I’ve heard people say “I’m going to turn it into content” with regard to something they’re planning on writing about. Its a way of reducing everything to a crass level of monetisation and anyone who cares about unquantifable things like beauty or art should spit in the dirty fucking face of “content.”

    • jrodman says:

      Almost as bad as “franchise” for series and “IP” for setting/world.

    • April March says:

      I motion for ‘free-to-play’ and ‘freeware’ to switch definitions. Freeware brings to mind negative stuff like shovelware, adware and vaporware, so it should be used to freemium games. Free-to-play now is just what is free to play.

  8. liquidsoap89 says:

    Gamer and visceral are two big ones for me. Gamer because it still sounds like the type of word someone who doesn’t really “understand” videogames would call people that do play them, and visceral because Duh! Replay value is another one; I like my single player story games, and to me a good replay value isn’t in the amount of icons on a map, it’s in the quality of the story.

    Also, I find it really odd how many developers AVOID using the term MOBA, when their games are very clearly a different take on them. Team Based Hero Action Arena Fighter is just a weak attempt at sounding unique. Just admit it, you’re making a MOBA. The sooner you accept that, the sooner we can move on.

    Casual was once a feared word, but I feel like it’s making a comeback. I would consider walking simulators to be casual for the most part, and in those cases I wouldn’t consider that a bad thing.

    • mrskwid says:

      i think it’s because MOBAs fail, DOTA and LOL (and may be smite) are so dominant that most others can’t stay alive long.

      MOBA: rarely used but it does’t mean anything , multi-player, online, battle, arena.
      that describes so many thing from COD to star craft 2, to super smash bros.

      • Baf says:

        Oh, please. The fact that the words in “MOBA” don’t adequately describe the genre doesn’t mean there isn’t an identifiable genre called “MOBA”. The exact same argument can be made against “adventure game” and “RPG”.

      • jrodman says:

        Genre titles across most mediums are frequently unable to explain the genre. The ones that are most clear in retrospect (c.f. jazz) don’t explain anything at all. Consider: intelligent dance music, post-modernism, role playing game, adventure game, art nouveau, deep house, california cuisine, etc. etc.

    • Hypocee says:

      I choose to still fight that completely lost battle. Won’t use the word if I can possibly avoid it. I don’t have any animus against Riot, at least not on that front, but I like language and words and communication, and that acronym is an assault on the idea that words have meanings. It’s not just meaningless or vague, or evolved and twisted from its original intent like say ‘role-playing game’ -> ‘There are bars that go up’, but it stands as a beacon of noise, unsense, aggressive anti-meaning. Two pairs of words. Neither pair is unique or remotely distinctive to the genre they supposedly describe. Then, within each pair, a tautology! fnord fnord fnord

      It’s so hard to believe that something so awful could have arisen just because the competition was fragmented. My preferences ground them in action RPGs: (Team|Multiplayer) Action RPG Strategy. I admit it’s an acronym of an acronym for game nerds only, but guess who cares about these games; it seems like a good fit to me. But hey, hero brawler isn’t bad, I like lanepusher but it’s for the whole genre including things like Smite and SMNC not just Dota/LOLlikes. Lords manager is a joke but the more you think about it the more subtly and precisely it fits those core games of the genre wherein you point out orders rather than looking, jumping and punching from ‘within’ their body. So many fun choices, and I’m happy to go along with others that aren’t to my personal taste. Just anything but that vortex howl.

      Inspiration while writing this: ‘Snowball fight’. It doesn’t describe ‘rat’ strategy, but it’s a one-liner whatchagonnado.

      • Devan says:

        I tend to think of MOBA more as its own word by now. Sure it’s not very descriptive when you expand it to Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, but I don’t think there’s any short phrase that uniquely sums up the genre to everyone’s satisfaction. As an acronym it sucks, but as a name (identifier) I think it’s just fine.

    • rodan32 says:

      I was going to say call us gamites, but then I thought, hey, gametes. But that was so long ago, before things became all zygotic for me. Call me a gamelerizer, I guess.

    • jrodman says:

      I find “gamer” annoying, because when I encounter it, it’s usually invoked to create exclusion, to draw a line between those who are Gamers and those who maybe play games but yet don’t qualify according to someone.

  9. DeepFried says:

    Meh. I like all the words. Sure there are murky clichés and buzz words but they still convey meaning and so are useful. Personally I’m all for adding more words, “banning” words seems childish, like trying to stop the tide coming in, some forces are just bigger than individual opinion.

  10. JiminyJickers says:

    I agree with most, but I’m still going to use Gameplay, haha.

    • caff says:

      This is probably the #1 most used word in a review, but I think mentioning gameplay – even though this is not a word – is fine, so long as it’s fully de-constructed, analysed, mumbled about, then put back together again into a summary at the end.

  11. Cinek says:

    Gamer, internet user and internaut – all of these are equally stupid and need to die. We live in a western world in XXI century, unless you’re a pygmy goatherd you have no right of using these words.

    • gunny1993 says:

      I’ve never heard of Internaut before but I’m going to start using it because it sounds so silly.

      • benthere says:

        Neither have I but it has a wikipedia entry, so I guess it’s a thing. Guess I’m not as internauty as I thought.

        • jrodman says:

          It was more in vogue when the internaut was first being discovered, and the first pioneers had been hired from the airforce.

  12. draglikepull says:

    If we don’t use “gameplay”, what term(s) should we use to describe the systemic part of a game with which players interact? It seems like a pretty accurate word which has a widely understood meaning.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      The gameplay is tense and exciting which is surprising since the gameplay is turn based. Sometimes the poor controls let down the gameplay, and by the end the gameplay feels quite stale.

      Yeah, you’re right, it’s totally unambiguous.

      Gameplay/10 – would gameplay gameplay.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        “Gameplay” works when it’s wielded by a writer who can use it in a way that adds clarity to the discussion. The real problem with it — and most of these terms — is that they’ve been abused by shitty bloggers and subpar writers for years. Not that they can’t be used effectively.

        • April March says:

          Which is of course true of all words, but an unlucky few get specially bad reps from this. Like ‘experience’, which in my… experience means “I like this game, but it’s different from games I tend to like and I lack the context to explain why,”

    • qrter says:

      Remember the early days of RPS, when Kieron was trying to replace ‘gameplay’ with ‘game mechanics’, if I remember correctly? That was fun!

      Everytime he used it, it only came across terribly forced, most readers just translated it inside their heads – “oh, he means gameplay”.

      • James says:

        Well I use game mechanics when talking about gameplay. Mostly because if I want to refer to ‘an aspect of gameplay’, the term ‘mechanic’ is much simpler to write. For general, overall cohesiveness I would use gameplay.

        Example: This aim assist and arcade-like shooting make Battlefront’s gameplay feel somewhat artificial. Especially in the not-in-space-for-DLC-reasons air combat.

        But when talking about specifics like a bit of a puzzle game for instance, then the word has to go. Not bad for talking about a cohesive whole though.

    • gunny1993 says:

      I think the problem is that its too generic, you could legitimately say “the gameplay lets down the pace of gameplay” when what you meant is “the poorly designed stealth sections throw a great mush of slow pacing into the otherwise fast paced action combat mechanics”

      Also a “gameplay” can either be used to refer to a single mechanical block or a system of blocks that make up the game.

      I mean TBH you’d get the same issue if you replaced it with mechanics and really its just a matter of who is actually thinking about these things and who is hiding their ignorance behind a facade of buzzwords.

      • jrodman says:

        I find “gameplay” sort of excusable when you intentionally mean to refer the entire set of mechanics of a game in a vague and handwavey way, with no illusions about that fact. In a compare/contrast, discuss, or review context, it’s almost always too general to be useful.

      • P.Funk says:

        I honestly feel like gameplay means the sum total of the design of that interactive and flowing part of the game. Gameplay is the sum total of the mechanics at work that lead to what you experience say dashing around a CS:GO map.

        Why do I think this is a perfectly fine term? Because I watch hockey and they refer to the sum total of whats happening on the ice as the “play”. The person who describes this on the TV or radio is called the “Play by Play commentator”. There are a lot of things happening and people assuming roles and making different moves, but the result is called the play.

        We need this word and we know this because we use this word. That most people are inarticulate hacks and can’t weave any poetry into their expression is irrelevant to the use of the word with someone who can use it.

        Honestly sometimes I think RPS is rather pretentious when they get on about these things. It all has a rather silly undergraduate tone to it.

  13. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Good stuff, more creativity and fewer hackneyed old sayings is always a good thing to strive for. The problem with most of these words is not what they’re supposed to mean but that we’ve read them so many times they don’t really tell us anything anymore. They’re just words we expect to see in a game review. You communicate far more about a game by avoiding all of these words than you do by using them even when they’re perfectly accurate there are probably more that could be added too – “indie” for a start!

  14. qrter says:

    The objections to ‘addictive’ seem a bit of a stretch – when used in a positive way, it clearly means that the game has that typical quality of you just wanting to play another 10 minutes, even when you know you should’ve already stopped playing an hour ago and gone to bed.

    We use plenty of negative words to convey something positive.

    • amateurviking says:

      Compelling is a perfectly cromulent alternative without the baggage. Surprises me how rarely you see it used.

      • Kala says:

        Hm…compelling doesn’t necessarily convey the same thing though? Like a NEED to have just…one…more…turn.

        Engrossing maybe? Which might communicate the loss of time, but still, not an urgent need to be doing or to continue doing something.

        Heh. Moreish :p Like jaffa cakes. (…or crack. nope, I think we’re back to addiction).

        • Kala says:

          …Though that said, I guess compelling works in “the power of Christ compels you to have one more turn in Civ!” sense.

          Then it’s a need.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      It’s also wrong, I think. Saying games can’t be addictive is tantamount to saying that gambling can’t be addictive. Or sex. Whether your drug of choice is meth, a slot machine, or 5 dollar hand jobs, it all leads to many of the same chemicals being released in your brain as well as much of the same mechanisms triggering them. Banning the word “addiction” from gaming seems short sited at a time when many games companies design their games based on psychological research.

      That said, I do agree that gaming probably couldn’t create a biological dependence in the same way that being addicted to something like heroin does. But the pleasure of gaming is a biological thing, nonetheless.

      • Chorltonwheelie says:

        I like all three.
        And I like the way you posit our electronic pastimes in our biological pleasure.

  15. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    I had mild objections to some of these at first, but I’ll accept them on grounds of theoretical improvements in verbal creativity and amusing dodges.

    How will these be censored, though? I don’t want to bumblingly use one at 1am and get myself and my nuclear family banned from accessing RPS forever.

  16. dsch says:

    This is what supporters have been paying for?

    • shinygerbil says:

      Among other things, yes

    • GiantPotato says:

      No, we’re paying so we can have the comment boards to ourselves for a week.

    • John Walker says:

      No, they’re paying to access the secret forum where we all talk about how much we hate your mum.

      • Premium User Badge

        distantlurker says:

        I can assure you, his mum is a very generous and welcoming person. She will literally bend over backwards.

      • dsch says:

        Ah, the famous John Walker wit.

        Your descent from one of the few serious journalists working in gaming to spiteful self-caricature is one of the sadder things I’ve seen.

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          John Walker is not, and never has been, a ‘journalist’.

        • caff says:

          John is one of best games observers on the internet and the main reason I subscribe to RPS, so basically, your opinion as a cheap freeloader on the internet is worthless. I mean after all, if you don’t like articles like this an choose to camp out and make obnoxious comments, why are you here?

          • dsch says:

            Hello, capitalism! Where your opinion is worth as much as you’re able to pay.

          • Cinek says:

            As someone said – we’re paying so we’d have a board for a week just for ourselves. Seeing comments like that ensures me that it’s definitely worth it.

          • dsch says:

            If anyone needs further evidence on how reactionary the John Walker bloc really is, look no further than the disproportionately defensive response to a comment that could only be considered mildly critical. The over-compensation here is like a therapist’s wet dream.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Well, someone has to ban all these words, and if I have to pay John Walker to do it, I will!

  17. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Tags: Bumble-puppy

  18. Vartarok says:

    Well, I always understood “gameplay” as “the set of rules and systems that define how the game works in the actual interactive level”, so I don’t know, I actually find that useful! Other thing is that maybe nobody uses that word with that intention, although I do think a term to define and establish that part of a game is important and necessary.

    • jrodman says:

      Maybe, but I do find there’s a bit of a false belief in these elements existing independently of visual and audio feedback, pacing, tone and other elements which really interrelate quite closely in a successful work.

      • April March says:

        Gameplay doesn’t exist independently of other elements of games, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist (which is more or less what’s being claimed here).

        • jrodman says:

          That is not being claimed. What’s being claimed is it’s uselessly vague. In the context of game discussion, it’s an accurate claim.

          • P.Funk says:

            No I think its merely used in a uselessly vague way.

            Its like when someone who’s fearmongering says “they” alot. Well its a perfectly useful term when someone isn’t being a prick.

            Really this entirely article is quietly railing against horrible unimaginative derivative and confused writing, not the actual necessary terms. If you change the term its still the same thing but then you end up with issues, like game mechanic. I think this is a poor replacement for gameplay because gameplay isn’t a mechanic, its a net effect of mechanics and designs.

            Nothing irks me more than wanting to replace necessarily nonspecific descriptive language with uselessly specific language. Vague terms are useful when applied correctly, that hack writers hide behind them is irrelevant.

    • Kala says:

      I think because, as a term, it’s so vague and all-encompassing.
      What does someone mean by gameplay?
      What it’s like to play the game.

      …Well, that’s going to depend on both the game and the person so it’s going to need more specific terminology than that to describe.

      “Good gameplay” tells you little as a descriptor, other than someone enjoyed the experience of playing the game. (Which gets redundant if someone was to say “Gone Home has good gameplay; I enjoyed playing it and was involved in the story” and someone responded “it has NO gameplay, I did not enjoy playing it because you don’t DO anything apart from move around and read.”)

      (though it’s fair enough to say “the gameplay consists of [list of things]” – as in, an introduction to a bunch of other descriptors, but that’s not really any different than saying “the game consists of [list of things] that you do as the player”. I think the problem is when it’s used as a singular descriptor meant to convey some kind of objective measure of fun).

  19. Dale Winton says:

    I hate the words content and apps with regards to gaming. That is all

    • Minglefingler says:

      I fully agree agree with both. I had something of a rant about content above.

  20. Hobbes says:



  21. Marclev says:

    What’s wrong with “Gameplay” all of a sudden? I’m pretty sure I remember that being used as far back as the 80s in the 8 bit days, and it meant the same thing then that it does now, “How the game plays”, i.e. controls, mechanics, interface, etc. Same with “visuals” and “eye-candy”, they’re hardly a new term in computer gaming, so seems a bit strange to suddenly decide that it’s not right to use them.

    I’m not sure I see what’s wrong with “addictive” either. I guess “engrossing” may be a better word, but I think everybody understands when someone says “Playing civilization is addictive” they don’t mean that they’ll get withdrawal symptoms and mug homeless people to afford the next fix of it.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      It’s part of the misguided all-digital-entertainment-is-a-game movement. We can’t accept that “gameplay” has a meaning, because that would be admitting that “game” also means something.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I agree that “gameplay,” at present, doesn’t have a distinct meaning, but that’s only because game critics have refused to define it. Which I think is absurd. That’s like a poet not defining poetics or art without aesthetic theories. Of course, I don’t think there will ever be any one definitive theory of “gameplay” anymore than there has been any one definitive theory of “poetics” or “aesthetics,” but I think coming up with theories of “game play,” however imperfect, should be one of the objects of games criticism, since it seems to me that “gameplay” (or game mechanics….however you want to phase it) is the one unique element that games have which make them distinct from paintings or movies. No matter how imperfect a definition of “gameplay” will inevitably be, the act of developing such theoretical approaches to games is what will give games criticism its vocabulary, history, and objectives. All new artistic mediums experienced that to some degree (theater, novels, film, etc, etc.) and the writing that grew up around them was ultimately better for it.

      I’m not saying this is completely new territory or anything (some in academia have been moving in this direction for a while), but it is still an emergent area and territory that’s ripe for defining. Which is why it always bothers me when writers at RPS (or any video game critic) sneer at the question of whether or not something constitutes a “game,” as if defining “game” isn’t important to games criticism. If you write criticism of video games what constitutes a “game” should very much be something you are actively thinking about. Indeed, even if you refuse to define it overtly, you will be implicitly defining it anyway via the sorts of things you choose to review and the types of assumptions about them that you make. So refusing to define them, even if such a definition is a more “open” one and not in any way “final,” seems mostly just to display a lack of self-reflection (and being open about and reflecting upon one’s own assumptions is, ultimately, probably the most valuable thing about the exercise of trying to develop aesthetic theories of this sort).

      • Chorltonwheelie says:

        I need a lie down after that.

      • April March says:

        But why is it a bad thing to let your definition of game be implicit in what you choose to cover in your game-covering website? The definition of game is important to academia, in the same way that the definition of poetry is important to the literary critic; the poet needs not give a shit. What happens when you say ‘this is what a game is’ and then you meet something that’s outside of your definition and say ‘wow, this is totally a game’? The good academic may then decide that their defintion does not actually cover the meaning of the word and strive to change it; it’s the academic’s role, more or less, to theorize as to what these definitions are. But I don’t think a journalist/blogger/reviewer/wordyman should be subject to the same oath – they can and should have a broader definition, to better keep their minds open to new things. And I believe it might be actively harmful for the actual creators to try to be mindful of what the boundaries of their art form should be. Anyone giving tips as to any creative works will tell you that finding out these boundaries is the critic’s and academic’s jobs, and thinking of them when you create will cause your work to be at best rote and at worst just… bad.

  22. king0zymandias says:

    “Engine”. Please never use this unless you actually have ever used an engine, or at the very least opened it up and tried to import some assets into it. Whatever you think it means, it really isn’t that. I can almost certainty guarantee that whenever you think you are seeing the engine at work, it’s really just the assets. Shaders, textures, models, animations, player-controller none of these are engine dependent.

    • ikanreed says:

      I’m going to disagree, ever so slightly.

      Engines influence the following things in ways that can be quite noticeable:
      1. Texturing, different engines make different choices about when to load textures, and that can be apparent in the “suddenly not blurry” effect you get in some engines.
      2. Animations: the underlying process of how to interpolate animations is one of the biggest separators in visual quality between engines. Think of (early) gamebryo’s stilted animation transitions, and how jarring it was in pre-skyrim bethesda games. Some engines allow animation blending too. That’s not just an asset.
      3. Physics. The difference between different physics engines can be readily apparent to players too. Particularly where extreme bugs are concerned.

      • king0zymandias says:

        1) Yes, texture loading, LOD switching and occlusion culling does differ from engine to engine but even then the engine will always give the developers the options to fine-tune and optimize it to their heart’s content. So if you have texture loading issue and you are using any of the commercially available engines I can guarantee it’s the fault of the developer.

        2) Yes animation blending is very important, which is why every single engine I have taken a look at has robust set of tools that allow it. Additionally there’s hardly anything complicated going on technically when it comes to blending animations, it’s simply a linear transformation of joints from one vector to another. Even things like fades and whatnot are mathematically trivial. So even if there was a modern engine that didn’t allow proper animation blending, creating such a system should be no trouble for a game developer of any pedigree. I personally think it’s more sub-par keyframing work that makes most in-game animation look bad. And of course the lack of blend-shapes doesn’t help either when it comes to facial animation. Thank god these days most engines can import blend-shapes through FBX too.

        3) Absolutely true. However a lot of engines don’t create their own physics system and instead use third party middleware like PhysX, Bullet, Havok etc. In fact both PhysX and Bullet are both free. So if you are not happy with the physics simulation of your game you are free to implement them however you like yourself. Lots of work, true, but what I am pointing at is that anything that you dislike in your proffered engine you can always choose to not use. So the blame/credit should always fall on the artists/coders/designers and not the engines.

        • noerartnoe says:

          Problem is that there is a significant amount of lazy and/or incompetent management out there. So “engine”, doesn’t really mean “engine” it means “software that will let you use our engine, but only in the ways we have enabled for you. Oh, and here’s the API. The documentation was actually written by our cat, but don’t tell your devs.”

        • Geebs says:

          I heartily endorse your proposal to ban the use of the word “engine” by idiots and humbly submit “unoptimised” for consideration,

  23. Imbecile says:

    “Dumbed-down”. Typically used to describe any change the commenter doesn’t like and wants to feel superior about.

    • jrodman says:

      It’s ridiculously imprecise. Does the speaker mean that the game is easier to succeed at? Streamlined? Autobalancing? Lacking in subtlety? Undemanding of intellectual consideration of the plot elements provided? etc.

      • Cinek says:

        Dumbed down = features removed in order to appeal to a wider audience.

        • jrodman says:

          That is certainly not the only context in which that truly unfortunate phrase is used.

  24. Boosh says:

    Only in internet land does this seem to be a thing. It’s ‘customer’, or at best ‘subscriber’.

  25. PancreaticDefect says:

    I could not agree more with the inclusion of both Addictive and Addicting on this list. I have an old friend whom I’ve been struggling to convince to enter rehab for a severe methamphetamine addiction. I’ve known a lot of gamers and even the ones that spend the majority of their free time playing come nowhere close to the nightmarish need and complete disregard for personal well-being I’ve seen my drug addict friend display. I’m not saying that a person can’t become overly invested in a game, and it can begin to negatively impact a persons life, but the true face of addiction is far more destructive than any game could possibly be at present.

    • Blackcompany says:

      I beg to differ with your opinion on this matter. Not the one stating drugs are harmful and destructive. NOT that one; I completely agree, and have also witnessed the downfalls of persons and families because of these things. Because of the addiction they foster.

      But games can foster addiction as well. Encourage it, even. There are those that are built primarily for this purpose, in fact. And others which just happen to dole out their ever slightly increasing rewards in a manner the brain may well interpret as akin to drug use. Some games are built to function like drugs, at least where the brain is concerned, and can very much foster addiction.

      This is a fact we as gamers, and games journalists, need to face. To write about, even. Because the trend to use games as a digital drug is one that threatens gaming as a medium in the long term. By the negative attention its capable of drawing from the wrong places. By the stigma it could help attach – or reattach – to games and gamers. By ludicrous, ill conceived legislation it could encourage. Some games are built and designed as digital drugs and its a trend that needs to stop.

  26. Radiant says:


    • Radiant says:


      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        Badass Verticality, would be a pretty good name for a protagonist, though.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          Badass Verticality sounds like the grappling hook game I’ve always wanted.

        • Aetylus says:

          WWF would have been so much cooler if Andre the Giant was called Badass Verticality

  27. Muzman says:


  28. Phantasma says:

    Cinematic…. experience.

    Now i feel sick.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Just experience can be bad enough for me. It’s like when I play this game I am fully experiencing it in real time. Wow, mind blown.

  29. CobraA1 says:

    Not sure about “objectivity” – yes, ultimately a game review is subjective, but there are some objective facts that could affect my buying decision, such as if the game doesn’t work with certain hardware I have on my system.

    One term that irks me is the usage of “MMO” for something that doesn’t have a large open world. Such as World of Tanks. If you make the definition so broad, then basically any multiplayer game ever devised with a large player base could be an “MMO,” which renders the term rather meaningless.

    • Distec says:

      It’s a shame that “objective” has become a kind of dirty word in some places. Poor thing didn’t even do anything wrong itself. :( The corresponding hard-on for subjectivity also seems to have introduced a lot of “This can mean whatever the fuck I want it to mean!” writing about games which is beyond useless.

      • GWOP says:

        Do you consider your opinion objective? CAn I have some metric on the hard-on for subjectivity?

        • Distec says:

          It’s this hard.

          /gesticulates ambiguously

          • April March says:

            The actual hardness is represented by a wildly gesticulating man at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures.

        • Geebs says:

          Hard-ons are measured in pounds per square inch or pascals.

      • Kala says:

        Objective is a fine word. it’s more that it’s (as with many words on the list) often misused.

        it works great when referring to quantitative data (well, until you get to the ‘interpreting the data’ bit, but we’ll leave that for now…). Or a verifiable fact – which can absolutely be in game reviews, but if that was all there was, it would either be a short spec list or stating things that are obvious/redundant such as Jim Sterling’s 100% Objective Review link to

        The problem comes in when people want to use qualitative data – such as how fun something is to play or how pretty something looks, and apply an objective measurement to that as if it were quantitative, thereby attempting to dress up their opinion as fact. Maybe fearing that if they admitted their perspective was subjective, it would be dismissed as useless. (Which is silly, as informed and well articulated opinions are valuable and worth having).

    • death_au says:

      MMO literally stands for Massively Multiplayer Online, which implies lots of players and nothing else. So World of Tanks fits. I sort of agree that it’s often a useless term, but it always irked me as solely a description of the type of open world games you’re referring to. MMO does NOT mean open-world and never has.

      • jrodman says:

        I’m not really sure how many players participate in a World of Tanks match, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess it’s around 16.

        • CobraA1 says:

          The largest match I know of in World of Tanks is the random battles format, which is 15 vs 15 (30 tanks total).

          • Cinek says:

            In that case: World of Tanks is as far from being an MMO as it gets. Stupid BF3 offers 32vs32 matches and noone calls it an MMO.

      • CobraA1 says:

        MMO literally stands for Massively Multiplayer Online, which implies lots of players and nothing else.

        For me, that means “lots of players in the game’s world,” rather than “lots of players, total.” MMO is supposed to define a genre, not merely describe how many people play the game. The word basically becomes useless if it’s merely about the game’s popularity. Heck, Angry Birds could be considered an MMO by such a lax definition. It has to be about something more than merely the total number of players.

        MMO does NOT mean open-world and never has.

        Until shooters and other games decided to start hijacking the term, I’ve always heard it used to describe open world games. I never heard it used differently in my childhood.

        • Distec says:

          You have it right. “MMO” was a useful term when it actually differentiated worlds of people from your typical lobby affairs. At least to me.

          I don’t know when exactly this started losing its meaning. My earliest memory of raised eyebrows was probably when games like Diablo 3 and Destiny began heavily flirting with the term. And in D3’s case it seemed like this was one of many excuses used to justify the always-online component and auction house.

          If this is the way things are now, then I guess I’ve technically been playing MMOs since Counter-Strike Beta 6.5

    • iainl says:

      Yeah, if you want to use “objective” in the context of saying, for example:

      Objectively, there’s a lot wrong with Morrowind; there are many progress-breaking bugs to avoid, the character animation is pretty awful and the way magic potions stack allow for all sorts of ways to wreck the difficulty curve. But the storytelling, and the feeling the world evokes through incidental detail, mean that it’s generally considered to be a much better game than Oblivion.

      Then I’m fine with that.

    • Cinek says:

      Totally agreed, about both of these things.

      I’m especially frustrated by the abuse of “MMO” to call any game that happens to save some data on a server that other players can see (look: World of Tanks, World of Warships, War Thunder, Star Citizen, etc.), The MMO literally stands for Massively Multiplayer Online is surprisingly short-sighted definition – by that pretty much every game is an RPG and either FPS or TPS. Even Warhammer Total War allows you to shoot from the catapults and control that flying thing to it’s death, theoretically qualifying it as an RPG/TPS game. I guess it’ll have a multiplayer in style of Shogun 2? In that case it’s a Strategy-RPG-TPS-MMO. lol.

      Stupidity of the way some people and companies use term “MMO” sometimes is just difficult to comprehend.

      • Cinek says:

        (In before someone jumps on “Star Citizen” – I’m talking here about the current version, aka. “Arena Commander”)

  30. Wulfram says:

    I’m normally more interested in the gameplay than the visuals, but the eye candy in this game is objectively addicting

  31. stblr says:

    Tryhard: The kids who used to get their jollies by ending Quake 2 matches with “u mad?” have gone on to create a single word to encapsulate the concept of losing by winning, the ultimate censure of effort. Oh, you won? Well, you must have tried very hard to accomplish that feat, and I didn’t have to try at all to lose this ultimately meaningless game, therefore I am the real paragon of manly restraint and measured jollity here. Are you mad, brother?

    • Universal Quitter says:

      I always thought “try-hard” was just a person that tried to hard to be funny.

      It’s not the word’s fault that kids today made it mean something stupid.

      • Universal Quitter says:

        And of course I notice the “to” right as I post it. So how long does the “supporter” program have to be running before you pay someone to add in a fucking edit button?

    • jrodman says:

      Does “try hard” actually mean anything at all? I have not seen any consistency in its usage other than to imply something vaguely bad.

      • jrodman says:

        To be clearer, I’ve seen “try-hard” used to mean:

        * People who are diligent (somehow this is bad?)
        * People who are worse at some types of skill in the game, but are attempting to compensate by being sure to gain advantages through other parts of the game which the speaker values less
        * People who choose to pursue a strategy that has a high success chance (because it’s only valid to try to win by bad choices…)
        * People who won (no actual criticism, just a grasping at random words. The misspelled “noob” goes here too.)

        I’m sure there are other cases.

    • iainl says:

      Wasn’t the point of “tryhard” as an insult that someone’s taken a pastime -really- seriously and pushed it so far they’ve still done awfully? Seems a good description of the online equivalent of Pastor Maldonado, who causes a first corner pileup because they won’t brake sensibly.

      • jrodman says:

        For example, in the game of Go / Igo / Baduk/ Weiqi / the one with the black and white stones, there are players who are identified as “book learned”. In other words they study the game really hard, and do exercises and problems, but they haven’t put in the time and elbow grease playing to get good.

        There’s such an archetype in most competitive games, but I view it not as something to be mocked, but something to be aware of, if you’re trying to become good at that game.

        “Try hard” as a phrase is so imprecise though, and viddeo/computer gamers are so sloppy with language use, that it was pretty inevitable that it would quickly mean nothing at all.

        • X_kot says:

          The most common usage I have observed have been in random matches of online games (lane-pushing games, for example) where is mode is unranked or casual, yet a player is vigorously coordinating teammates, getting upset at losing fights/objectives, and critiquing skill choices. The assumption is that all of these things have their place in an official ranked game but that you shouldn’t try that hard in casual matches.

          • jrodman says:

            Yes, “annoying director of others” is another one to put on the list.

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      The way I’ve seen tryhard used, it’s usually by a worse player trying to look cool by insulting a better player for winning.

      • jrodman says:

        Yes. Of course that falls into the “means nothing” category. Or at best “you are bad for trying to win”, which is odd.

  32. Minglefingler says:

    Excited for. “Why are you excited for that game, is it its birthday soon? Did it get a new job? Oh, you’re excited about it. I see now. Lovely”

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      “Excited for”

      Anticipating? I don’t see much wrong with it, tbh.

      • Minglefingler says:

        Well, if you’re excited for something or someone you’re excited due to empathy with it or them. So you may be excited for a friend because they’ve just got engaged. So its a bit odd to be excited for a game because you’re saying that you’re excited on behalf of the game. Excited about means anticipating it eagerly.

  33. technoir says:

    Content and consumers. Cultural works aren’t some sort of gray sludge that’s endlessly poured into the insatiable mouths of the public. Every game is unique, and should be remembered and cherished/scorned instead of being thrown away like a broken toy after you’re done with it.

    • popej says:

      Yes! Content is an awful word when used in this context. HATE!

      Also Franchise like the guy below said.

    • Minglefingler says:

      This is my not something that I’m proud of doing but I’m going to copy and paste my diatribe from above down here as I hate the word content that much.
      Content is marketing speak taken to a nauseating extreme. In this wretched world everything you do makes you a consumer, everything is a transaction. You don’t play a game, you consume its content. You don’t read a book, you consume its content. You don’t watch a film, you consume its content. I’ve heard people say “I’m going to turn it into content” with regard to something they’re planning on writing about. Its a way of reducing everything to a crass level of monetisation and anyone who cares about unquantifable things like beauty or art should spit in the dirty fucking face of “content.”

      • king0zymandias says:

        You should be proud though. It made me smile the second time too. As someone who has spent a large part of his life dealing with marketing and digital agencies, it’s comforting to see others share my distaste for this bullshit.

        • Minglefingler says:

          Thanks. Most people I know that play games use terms like this regularly. I can’t help but get irked.

    • P.Funk says:

      As soon as purchasers and enjoyers of games as a whole stop acting like fucking idiotic putz consumers then yes I’m happy to retire the term. Until then I need something to use when describing the idiots that continue to pour cash down the Ubi downgrade conveyor belt.

  34. DanMan says:

    Franchise – keep your salesman/marketing speech out of my hobby. It’s a series! Thank you very much.

    • Sin Vega says:

      YES. God why did it take so long for someone to say it. Awful, hateful, teeth-chewingly soulless word of supreme badness. Death and fire.

    • Awesomeclaw says:

      I feel like you could break something like CoD into multiple ‘series’ (WW2, Modern Warfare, Black Ops, Advanced Warfare), each existing within the same franchise. ‘Franchise’ is probably still the wrong word, but it doesn’t mean the same thing as series.

    • Ejia says:

      I’m much more willing to accept franchise than universe.

      • April March says:

        I support any use of -verse as a suffix. CoDverse? Battleverse? I don’t even care, thumbs up emojis all around.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Also Intellectual Property or it’s abbreviation IP, which is shorthand for “I am a shill”.

  35. VeritableHero says:

    “Ocular pudding” made me chuckle. This is a nice start to what could no doubt be a long list…

    • Holderist says:

      Same. I need more “ocular pudding” used in my game descriptors.

  36. SuddenSight says:

    Visuals versus graphics – I actually feel the opposite. To me, graphics always seems to come down to polygons and lighting effects, while the games I find most beautiful often came to be so due to some artist drawing and layering stuff. I feel like visuals does a better job of putting the focus on the artistic aspect of the way a game looks, rather than the technical side.

    • gunny1993 says:

      Isn’t aesthetics a better fit for that?

      • Baf says:

        “Aesthetics” is less specific. Sound falls under aesthetics. Even the way things respond to controls arguably has an aesthetic component.

      • P.Funk says:

        Can we split the difference and just say visual style? The visual style of (pre-remastered) Grim Fandango far outshone the graphics wouldn’t you say?

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Not to mention that “audibles” is frequently used, except it’s spelled “audio”. The adjective “audiovisual” was coined long before the first gaming console was invented.

  37. popej says:

    • popej says:

      Stupid phone “pick up” instead of “I intend to buy”

      Eurgh, no.

  38. Armadillo says:

    I would like to point out that in this article, under ‘addiction’, John then links to another article he wrote that contains the word ‘objectively’ in the opening paragraph.

    • John Walker says:

      Um, yes, but that’s because… *runs*

    • Hypocee says:

      I would like to point out that that article is an investigation of connections between PC gaming and addiction, i.e. a scientific and journalistic context rather than a review or critical examination of a videogame which is the context of this list.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      There’s nothing wrong with “objective” for things that are actually objective. It’s only a problem when people start demanding for things like “fun” to be evaluated objectively.

  39. Brigand says:

    Derivative – It’s not a good criticism! Creative works aren’t created in a void.

    • ikanreed says:

      It can be, though, right?

      Part of the gaming experience is chasing novelty. It’s stimulating the part of our monkey brain that asks “What does this button do?” It’s not everything. Testing our skills, exploring a story, enjoying the aesthetics, there’s a lot else to chase.

      But bringing nothing unexpected, particularly to gaming, fails to player in at least that way. It’s a valid criticism.

      • jrodman says:

        I think the problem with “derivative” is in lazy way it’s frequently used, rather than the meaning.

    • P.Funk says:

      Sure it is! Douglas Copeland is the poster child for a derivative churning out of calculated cultural media.

  40. Geebs says:

    Ok, I’ll give you “gameplay” if we can also ban “ludic” – which is nothing but a pretentious synonym.

    While we’re at it, can we ban referring to something as a “space” when misused basically as a wanky pronoun.

  41. xfstef says:

    “Video” Games – Why video ? Whoever used video to brand computer or console games was an absolute moron and I’m surprised that this term stuck around until now. I’m frankly surprised that I seem to be the only one that is bothered by it.
    In order to play a game on a computer you need a handful of subsystems: input device (controllers), speakers, a network connection to the internet, all of the components that make a PC or a console and finally a monitor (which obviously uses video to work but it in no way resembles the other video categories which may not be actively interacted with).
    It just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like we would call Cardboard games Text and Picture games, ignoring completely the medium that they are using in order to be played. Even then it still wouldn’t sound as dumb as Video games who use a whole lot more components.

    • Marclev says:

      No, as far back as I can remember a “video game” has always meant a console game, as opposed to a “computer game”, which meant a PC / Amiga / C64 whatever game.

      When you think about the fact that in ye olden days you’d plug your Nintendo or Sega into the same SCART (if you were lucky) socket that you’d plug your video recorder into, it makes perfect sense.

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      You’re not alone, it bothers me too, at least when refering to computer gaming, it’s somehow a blanket description for all kind of electronic games, no matter what machine you play it on.

  42. Carcer says:

    Nobody talks about “audibles” because audible is the audio equivalent to “visible”, not “visual”. Aural would be the term, and though it’s certainly not widespread I’m sure I’ve seen “aurals” used to refer to the audio component of something – I suspect it’s probably not prevalent because it’s a homophone for “oral” and that somewhat disinclines people to say it or therefore write it.

  43. Swordfishtrombone says:

    Really channelling Orwell in this one, John. P.S. I’m sure someone above will already have expressed similar sentiments, but “Ocular Pudding” needs to become a thing RIGHT NOW.

  44. Wulfram says:

    Exploration – Because it always means wandering aimlessly grabbing collectibles, rather than anything really resembling exploration

  45. Ejia says:

    Fine, “treyefle” instead of eye candy, then?

  46. alw says:


  47. jonfitt says:

    Yes well done. you made a computer from parts. I’m sure you’re very proud of the off-the-shelf consumer parts you assembled like lego. But no, it is not a hand made unique snowflake, nor is it an industrial machine. You have a computer. Just like the one your mum uses, but with more expensive parts and a graphics card.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Nothing about “rig” necessarily implies any of those things, though.

      nounapparatus for some purpose; equipment; outfit; gear: a hi-fi rig; Bring your rod and reel and all the rest of your fishing rig.

  48. RealWeaponX says:

    “Addicting GO TO SLEEP IN A VOLCANO.”

    This is the most important thing that has ever been written.

  49. Mungrul says:

    There’s a few that MMO players use that really wind me up:

    Mostly used in a disparaging tone by those with a PvP focus when talking about those who prefer PvE.
    I prefer to call people who use this term “TWATS”.

    This has become a generalised term in MMO circles to refer to weapon and armour models, but having even a little knowledge of the difference between skins and models thanks to some minor dabbling in Quake modding is enough to make me twitch like Herbert Lom in the presence of Peter Sellers whenever I see this.

    I would be okay if they were using it to refer to enemies in the traditional playground meaning, but nooooo, there’s a weird, socially inhibited stratum of MMO gamers who use the term to refer to players they perceive as having less skill. These are the kind of people I dream of Jay & Silent Bob visiting. Except this time, they’re bringing the anal probes.

    And not MMO related, although I’m actually almost over it (I’m down to breaking out in hives when I see it now rather than bursting into violent, mouth-frothing spasms), but “reticule”.
    I’m sure Jeremy can relate.

    • Mungrul says:

      I meant Tim, not Jeremy.
      Sodding lack of arsing edit function.

    • Marclev says:

      Well according to Google, “reticule” is either a “woman’s small handbag” or a variant spelling of “reticle”, so I hate to break it to you but it seems you may have been getting angry incorrectly. The Firefox spell checker even wants to correct “reticle” to “reticule”…

      • Mungrul says:

        Hence me saying I’m getting over it, but even than, as you say reticule’s noted as being a variant spelling.

        I can handle it.


    • jrodman says:

      Huh, I feel “carebear” and “baddies” are so obviously poorly reflecting on the speaker that it seems almost superfluous to suggest they be dropped. But yes, I subscribe to this one.

      I always assumed “skin” meant the set of textures (and maybe some shader effects) applied to a model in a precise sense. I’m willing to cut that word some slack where a specific character has specific dress-up looks you can buy, regardless of whether they involve model tweaks as well as texture etc changes. Different contexts, different meanings.

    • utzel says:

      Another term from MMO players I noticed :

      It’s used instead of saying monster or just enemy. They mean a single one when saying this.
      I wish for a mob to form in front of their house when they do this. The proper one, with torches and pitchforks.

      • Harlander says:

        “mob” is a term with real history. It comes from the original MUD and is short for “mobile” – things in the game which wander around by themselves.

        Still annoying, though.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          Sure, and that makes sense if you have a background in MUD programming, which 99.99% of modern MMO players don’t. “Mob” exemplifies a pair of really annoying gamer habits: anything with more than three letters must be abbreviated; and once a term gains currency, it must override the proper names of all other remotely similar concepts–e.g. “shard,” which only ever made sense in the context of the background fiction for Ultima Online, still somehow replaces “server” 18 years later.

          • jrodman says:

            Does shard really stem from Ultima Online only? I would have assumed it partly comes from the strategy of scaling a system up beyond a certain point by making implementation nodes that do not have to share state. aka sharding.

    • Harlander says:

      I take utterly undue exception to MMO players referring to their characters as toons, for some reason.

      • Kala says:

        yeah, I’m not keen on that. though oddly I’m fine with avvy or char.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          Those are at least recognizable abbreviations of appropriate words. Nobody even knows WTF “toon” means. (“Cartoon”? Like Roger Rabbit? What?)

      • X_kot says:

        Agreed – there is something about it that sounds perverse to me. Maybe it’s because I saw Cool World at an impressionable age.

    • Cinek says:

      MMO players live in their own world. But even I know that the way you described “Carebear” is waaaay off the mark.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Usually “carebear” is a derisive term for “person who is not an asshole.” This does get applied to anyone who doesn’t enjoy e.g. ganking lowbies in PvP, tho.

  50. X_kot says:

    IP, as in “intellectual property.” This term should only when discussing the business side of games: corporate performance forecasts, marketing campaigns, legal wrangling, etc. Otherwise, “game” will do just fine.

    • Cinek says:

      IP can also be used to describe the whole “universe” of the game or its franchise (cause it’s all the part of game intellectual property). And that is the meaning you’ll encounter most often outside of the business side of the games.

      • P.Funk says:

        I just don’t like the connotation of rendering something cultural in purely commodified terms.

      • X_kot says:

        I see the differentiation you’re making, Cinek, and I agree that “game” wouldn’t cover that. However, like P.Funk, I dislike applying market terms to describe the creative work. There are dramatic terms one could use, such as setting, premise, theme, motif, etc., that would be more accurate and less clinical.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Yeah, it’s like calling people “human resources.”