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Important Glossary

While Rock Paper Shotgun attempts to be friendly even to those Neanderthal readers who’ve emerged blinking from a time-portal, we’re aware of certain pieces of Jargon which may occasionally penetrate the site. To this end, we provide this Glossary – to be expanded whenever something comes to mind and/or we can be bothered – of important PC terminology. Yes.

Contributions to The Important Glossary are very welcome. We want it to be big, but are too busy writing blog posts to fill it for now. So, we need your help – it’s like Wikipedia, but infinitely more crude (this also means that there are factual innacuracies or non-funnies in any of the below, it’s not our fault. Necessarily). If there’s an amusing, obscure or fascinating term you think’s deserving of the incomparable honour of appearing in black text on a white background up there, please send it here and perhaps we’ll stick it in.

Please remember grammar and humour are massively important to such entries, though the latter can take a second place to genuinely enlightening information. Also, if possible please send entries in an attached document rather than in the body of an email, as it takes cocking forever to take all the line breaks out that most email clients/sites inexplicably insert.


: i) Noise one makes when one is fatally wounded. ii) Noise one makes when one is trying to talk like a pirate, tediously. iii) Alternate Reality Gaming which basically is – er – quite hard to explain. Let’s give it a shot. It’s a game played by many people simultaneously, through all forms of communication – internet, computers, real world places, mail, phone, whatever. They permeate life. They’re also mainly ad campaigns. Pah!

Camping: i) common British holiday activity, which generally involves travelling to remote parts of Wales in the most miserable weather possible, spending several hours trying to get a tent to stay up, then giving up and heading to the nearest Bed and Breakfast instead ii) holding one’s character in a single (usually strategically valuable) position in a game, and waiting for unwitting enemies to stroll onto your path. Applies to a variety of genres (all multiplayer), but is perhaps best known as an issue in FPSes. Camping is often frowned upon by other players, as any player who has dared to take cover in an online game will likely have found out.

Dave Perry: i) gaming personality of the 90s, now less well-known. Has an affinity for bandanas. ii) gaming personality of the 90s, now less well-known. Has an affinity for earthworms.

Doom-like: A term used by our friends across the pond (no, not /that/ pond, the smaller one. You know, the one with a tunnel through it) for – well, work it out. The clue’s in the name, really.

Dumbing Down: A phrase guaranteed to dumb-down any argument.

Griefer: i) Being a cunt in an online game. ii) Cunts.

IF: i) “If”, but over-capitalised. ii) See Interactive Fiction.

Interactive Fiction: Seriously, if you have to ask, it’s unlikely you’ll ever going to be the sort of play ’em. Which is a shame, but – alas – it’s the way of the world. Those who don’t know and will play ’em… well, you’ll take this as a challenge to go get it yourself. GO NORTH and USE IFARCHIVE.

Interactive Movie: Now defunct genre introduced when CD-ROM was rising to prominence in which live-action film was used. This reliance on pre-filmed sequences limited interactivity, so more sensible developers only used the live-action sequences for non-interactive cut-scenes (as in the Wing Commander series). ‘True’ Interactive Movies used video throughout – however, gamers reacted poorly to games such as Rebel Assault where the gameplay was strongly constrained by the use of live-action video, and Interactive Movies soon became a byword for barely-playable shovelware – unsurprisingly, developers soon stopped using the term.

Massively Multiplayer online role-playing game: Whoever invented this inelegant cancer should be executed for sins against games writing. It’s horrible. Er… online roleplaying games with kerzillions of people all killing boars and stuff.

MOM: You don’t call her enough. You really should.

MMO: MMORPG minus the RPG.

MMORPG: See Massively-multiplayer online role-playing game.

New Games Journalism, AKA NGJ: “Don’t mention the war.”

Point ‘n’ Click Adventure: A form of gaming in which the player traditionally controls an on-screen persona by clicking on parts of the screen with a cursor. An engaging storyline and/or humour is important, furthered by solving puzzles (such as combining rubber chickens with overhead cables, or freezing a hamster from the past and making it a pullover in the future). Companies such as Lucasarts and Sierra helped establish the PC as a gaming platform with this sort of game back in the 90s, but it is a genre which has been repeatedly accused of dying out over the past decade. It has held on to survival with the dogged resilience of a mutant cockroach, consistently producing new offerings but few of which are the delights of narrative and comedy hoped for. All reviews of such games must begin with “adventures games are dead” or “adventure games are not dead” – whichever one will annoy Walker most at the time.

QTE: Quick Time Event – form of interactive cut-scene popularised by Shenmue, in which the player must press buttons as they appear on screen in order to direct the action. This intertwining of cut-scene and gameplay harks back to the days of the Interactive Movie, and indeed the games which have made most use of this technique – for instance Fahrenheit, aka The Indigo Prophecy – have prided themselves on their cinematic quality.

Real-time Strategy: A genre involving tactically maneuvering troops around a battlefield. Differs from turn-based strategy games by being played in real-time. No, really. It was formalized with Dune 2 and then popularised with Westwood’s Command and Conquer then really popularised in Korea with Starcraft. As Westwood’s game suggests, the genre generally involves commanding (By dragging a box over your unit with a mouse) and conquering (by right clicking on your opponents). Particularly anal people will note that the vast majority of RTS games are actually real-time tactical games, but they are – as their name suggests – particularly anal.

Rock Paper Scissors: i) Popular game based around hand gestures and shit. You know. ii) Gamer term to describe the sort of interactions you see in strategy games, allowing balance and counter-attacks depending on the formation of the troops. So – say – Spangles beats Doobies beats Mangos, if they come at you with a load of Doobies, you build Spangles to win. iii) Shit! Kieron’s typoed again. We’re Rock Paper Shotgun, you dolt.

RPS: i) Rock Paper Shotgun. This site, you fool. ii) Role-playing Strategy, a genre people have made an attempt to popularise, but never quite managed it somehow.

RTS: See “Real-time Strategy”.

Shoot ‘Em Up: sometimes thought to encompass the entire spectrum of computer games which involve shooting your enemies, most gamers will tell you that it specifically refers to 2D, flying-vehicle shooting games, as pioneered by Space Invaders. Others may tell you it also includes 2D, scrolling, platform-based shooting games, such as Contra. To be honest, nobody’s really sure where exactly the line should be drawn, except that all the games within this category should lack a Z-axis. Probably.

Shmup: also Schmup or (erroneously) Shump. Affectionate term for the Shoot ‘Em Up genre.

Turtling: i) In a real-time-strategy game where you avoid expanding and purely sit behind increasingly ornate defensive structure, building up your forces. If you think about it, Turtling’s a fairly inappropriate name. It’d be better off as “Hedgehogging”. Whether a Turtle has its head out or not, it’s still really defensive and isn’t going anywhere quick anyway. A hedgehogs movement between ball and trundling mammal is more like what an RTS player does, but we suppose they couldn’t risk a piece of genre-jargon be in any way connected to Sega’s mascot. ii) Letting the head of a poo just slide out of your anus, before sucking it back in. Ideally, repeatedly.

Warren: first name of greatness, as attributed to both Mr. Spector, President of Junction Point Studios and Project Director on Deus Ex; and Mr. Ellis, comics writer extraordinaire and – more relevantly – scriptwriter for Rage’s classic Hostile Waters. Which you bought, yes? It is also not where badgers live. Badgers live in a set.