Untitled - The Videogame Style Guide and Reference Manual

Untitled - The Videogame Style Guide and Reference Manual

C OM PLLIIM EN OFF

FO R C NS LT G,, C PY TIIN G,,

M OC K R VIIE WS AN D M RK TIIN /P R S UP OR

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The International Game Journalists Association and

Games Press Present

T HE VIID

A ND

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ALL

DAVID THOMAS

KYLE ORLAND

SCOTT STEINBERG

EDITED BY SCOTT JONES AND SHANA HERTZ

THE VIDEOGAME STYLE GUIDE AND REFERENCE MANUAL

All Rights Reserved © 2007 by Power Play Publishing

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic or mechanical – including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher.

Disclaimer

The authors of this book have made every reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in the guide. Due to the nature of this work, editorial decisions about proper usage may not reflect specific business or legal uses.

Neither the authors nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible to any person or entity with respects to any loss or damages arising from use of this manuscript.

FOR WORK-RELATED DISCUSSION, OR TO CONTRIBUTE

TO FUTURE STYLE GUIDE UPDATES:

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TO INSTANTLY REACH 22,000+ GAME JOURNALISTS,

OR CUSTOM ONLINE PRESSROOMS:

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A CK WLLE DG ME S

Our thanks go out to the following people, without whom this book would not be possible:

M atttte Biitttta nttii, B ecce ntte o, JJoohhnn D avviisso n, LLiibbee G oa and D ea n T ak assh for editorial review and input.

D an arrcc S allttzzm

JJaam ess B

M eg an erryy for the front cover design.

Alliisso n K urrttzz and B nd err//H ellp err for help with public relations.

n and the entire ZZiiffff D avviiss editorial team, for their copyediting assistance and contributions.

Ga me etth od

Those who contributed to the original guide when it was just a wiki project:

D an

T ho ass A pp

Go od k H ea

He nd errsso n

C arrll M he n

A ma de o P

D avviid

R ob eiirr

D ED TIIO

D d

For Sam and Linc. Thanks to Becky.

For Michelle, the epitome of my love.

To Karyn, for her patience and support.

T AB OFF C ON NT S

RE WO

IIN TR UC TIIO

A QUESTION OF STYLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

EDITORIAL PRINCIPLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

HOW TO USE THE GUIDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

T HE UIID E .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1

A PP ND CE S .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 6

SYSTEM NAMES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

OPERATING SYSTEMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

GENRES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

REVIEW GUIDELINES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

TOP-SELLING SYSTEMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

A BRIEF HISTORY OF VIDEOGAMES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

NOTABLE CHARACTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

NOTABLE COMPANIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

NOTABLE NAMES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

NOTABLE GAMES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

O TH R R ES UR ES 1

WEBSITES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

ARTICLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

BOOKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

ER WO D .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 9

GAME CRITICISM REDEFINED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

ABOUT THE IGJA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100

ABOUT THE AUTHORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100

2

FOREWORD

“Early in the millennium, the gamers were the real winners: The Playstation 2,

Gamecube, and XBox provided countless hours of gaming goodness.”

Ugh...that was pretty ugly, wasn’t it? Besides its generic garbage of a message and two horrendous clichés, that opening sentence has style problems that a blind copyeditor wouldn’t tolerate. For the record, it’s “PlayStation” (with an internally capitalized

“S”), “GameCube” (again, with an internally capitalized letter), and “Xbox” (breaking the pattern with a lowercased “b”).

Why does it matter? After all, we’re talking about videogames – kids’ stuff, right?

Little Billy Pokégamer doesn’t care whether it’s GameCube, Gamecube, or Game Cube.

He knows what it is, and isn’t that enough?

Except that it’s not just Little Billy Pokégamer who’s reading about videogames. The average age of my magazine’s readers is over 21 years old. Heck, the average age of gamers in the U.S. is over 29 years old. And for videogame writing to be taken seriously by adults, it has to be written for adults. That doesn’t just mean correct grammar and spelling (though those are musts, obviously). It also means a level of consistency that shows writers aren’t just pulling industry terms out of their asses (or worse,

Wikipedia).

That’s why I was thrilled when I heard about a style guide designed to help game journalists everywhere. It’s not as though I’ve been clamoring for one myself—my publishing company has its own style guide, which is enforced by a team of copyeditors.

But not every magazine, major website, fansite or blogger has access to such resources.

The thing is, for any one publication (including mine) to be treated with respect, all game writing must be held to the same high standards. In other words, who really gives a rat’s behind if a few publications or websites are well-written if the general public thinks game journalism as a whole is meant for the 10-and-under crowd?

The kicker being this: Overall, game writing has a great deal of room to mature, and it starts with this style guide.

Now if only we can somehow get everyone to retire the phrase “gaming goodness” once and for all...

Dan “Shoe” Hsu

Editor-in-Chief

EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly

3

4

INTRODUCTION

A Question of Style

When it comes to presenting a consistent vocabulary and style, videogame journalism is sloppy at best. At worst, it’s a complete mess.

How much of a mess is it?

Consider the term Xbox. When reproducing this seemingly simple product name in print, a writer is faced with many different stylistic decisions, including:

• Whether or not to capitalize the first “X”

• Whether or not to capitalize the “B”

• Whether or not to capitalize the entire term

• Whether or not to place a hyphen between the “X” and the “B”

• Whether or not to insert a space between the the “X” and the “B”

Considering these quandaries alone, a writer is looking at about 15 different ways of writing the name of Microsoft’s first console. This doesn’t count totally wacky capitalizations, unnecessary “scare quotes” around the name and the question of whether or not to precede it with the word “Microsoft.” (And, if so, whether to do this only on the first reference or each and every time…) Unfortunately, I can assure you all of these different forms have been used by innocent journalists who were either unaware or uninformed.

I’ve been writing about videogames in one form or another for nearly 10 years now, and reading about them for almost twice as long. However, it took some college journalism courses and exposure to The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook to make videogame journalism’s inconsistencies come to light for me.

The AP Stylebook, for those not in the know, is designed to arbitrate the nitpicky arguments about the proper utilization of the written word (such as Presidents Day vs. President’s Day vs.

Presidents’ Day). It was The AP Stylebook that made me start to take a more critical look at the words that fill up videogame magazines and websites.

Things that once seemed like minor quibbles (for example, the fact that “console” and “system” were always used interchangeably) started to get under my skin. I began to wince while reading my favorite magazines. I remember finding a review in which “Xbox” was spelled three different ways in the very same paragraph.

These sorts of inconsistencies are all too commonplace in videogame journalism.

From the most respected magazines to the most obscure websites, from enthusiast periodicals to consumer publications, these editorial gaffes abound.

So where does a good videogame journalist turn?

The AP Stylebook features separate sections for business, sports and Internet journalism, but is of little use for videogame-specific issues of style.

Wired Style includes a few videogame terms, but it can’t tell you when to use “power-up” and when to use

“item” instead.

The bottom line: If we as journalists specializing in computer and videogames ever want to see these questions answered, we’re going to have to answer them ourselves.

I imagine some of you are thinking, “Lighten up! It’s just videogames. Punctuation and grammar are for squares. Who cares how to capitalize Xbox – the reader will know what you mean! Take two Xanax and call me in the morning!”

So why bother with all of this? I’ll tell you why: e h ellp s e ng en de stt ffrro m rre d,, o n a nd sttrry videogame player, one who has never read a game magazine, wants to browse a few

5

6

reviews of recent releases. He/she reads one publication that says the game has great

“cut scenes,” then spies another outlet that claims the disc’s “FMVs” are excellent. A third publication praises the title’s “cinematics.”

Sure, the reader can probably use contextual clues to infer that all three articles are essentially saying the exact same thing. However, this inconsistency makes these stories harder to parse for a non-specialist reader. What’s more, the reader might also stop to wonder why it is that three different publications, each supposedly penned by industry experts, can’t agree on a name for the short animated movies interspersed throughout most of today’s games.

Over the years, avid gamers have developed a sort of organic shorthand that is perfectly clear to them but perfectly incomprehensible to a mainstream audience.

This jargon is standing in the way of mainstream understanding and acceptance of videogames, and we’ve noted it as such in this guide.

However you slice it, having an inconsistent style is embarrassing and detrimental to the cause of our beloved industry. Addressing these issues will inevitably build trust and respect for both our art and the emerging field of gaming as a whole.

s e du na PONG, you guessed wrong. Even those familiar with gaming history tend to accidentally overlook more correct answers such as Computer Space or Willy Higinbotham’s venerable Tennis for Two.

But if those same people were to go on record in a major news publication stating that PONG was the industry’s true progenitor, the publication would no doubt receive sacks of angry mail from well-read enthusiasts. (Not to mention disapproving glances from the copy desk and angry phone calls from upper management.) This style guide is also a reference manual of industry facts and trivia for the benefit of the busy writer or editor.

orrtta ntt tto viin g v back at an article that references “SMB,” they may well wonder if the author is referring to

Super Mario Bros., Super Monkey Ball, the fictitious Sega Marketing Board, or countless other terms with the same acronym. Unless properly annotated, another information seeker might potentially confuse 1989 best-seller

Prince of Persia with its

2003 remake,

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, merely because an author forgot to reference the subtitle. A standardized method for referring to definitive games and terms is essential to keeping a clear and comprehensive historical record of this growing medium.

eccttiio n o nd us its component parts of “video” and “game” to become “videogame,” a one-word cultural idiom unto itself? What about “interactive entertainment?” Is the term “man” – as in

“eat the mushroom to gain an extra man” – sexist? How are “life” and “death” defined in a videogame? Is “karaoke simulation” its own genre? As the industry evolves, these and other questions about self-perception deserve consideration and meaningful attempts at answers.

o h olld ga me off tth e IIn s,, e ve n F AQ mp orrtta hiig err nd d.. With website message boards that drip with egregious violations of the

English language and videogame FAQs that practically require a translator, flaunting one’s ignorance is dangerously close to becoming fashionable on the Internet. Writing well, even in informal forums like Internet message boards, should be celebrated and valued.

me an stto e.. As the title implies, this volume is simply a suggested

guide to navigating previously uncharted waters. No rule featured here is without exception, and we don’t expect readers to agree with all our decisions. The guide will continue to be updated, both online and in print, with regular updates and revisions that reflect the latest trends in this ever-changing industry. We welcome your comorrs @g me stty eg de

In the grand scheme of things, the correct spelling of

Xevious won’t permanently change anyone’s life. However, good, sound writing with simple, sturdy sentences, no

“l33t speak” and proper punctuation is the quickest and easiest way to communicate ideas, find the widest possible audience and become successful in this business.

Kyle Orland

7

8

Editorial Principles

“Videogame” or “video game” – one word or two? It all depends on whom you ask, which continent you live on, and which media outlet you work for. And it’s not the kind of debate that anyone will resolve soon.

But someone had to make a choice and draw a proverbial line in the sand. So that’s what we did, because that’s what journalists and editors have to do every day – make tough decisions. We hope this guide will save you the trouble of agonizing over minutiae and let you spend more time actually writing.

Whether or not you agree with our choices, you should know that we were guided by one general principle: Journalism is about clear, concise communication. More specifically, we tried to consider the following criteria in making our decisions, listed below in order of importance: he nssiio ge ne on ve ylliin g,, a errrre d b y g am ev ello errss a pu blliissh

Note that this guide was designed with mainstream readers in mind. Publications that specialize in videogames and/or technical matters will likely want to append it with individual in-house rules that suit their more specialized audiences. Terms that might be familiar to an avid gaming audience but not to a mainstream, non-enthusiast readership are labeled as jargon.

How To Use The Guide

grroou d

This style guide is a suggested approach to videogame journalism. It is, and always will be, a work in progress. Future generations of media experts, journalists, teachers and editors will amend the guide as they see fit. We recognize that many publications will have their own in-house standards. As such,

The Videogame Style Guide and Reference

Manual may function best as an appendix to your publication’s own editorial guidelines.

The definitions and direction provided herein are meant to help the working journalist and editor accurately and consistently report on the videogame industry. All definitions and rules are meant to clarify usage and increase reader understanding. We therefore encourage you to think of the book as an all-purpose map that was written to guide you through the forever-growing tangle of game-related terms and jargon.

The preferred usage of a term, including correct capitalization, spelling and punctuation, is found in the bold title for each entry. Interchangeable terms, related terms or abbreviations that might potentially be used in certain situations are also noted in the entry text in bold.

Teecch niiccaall T

Terms marked as “Jargon” will be familiar to an avid gaming audience but unfamiliar to a general mainstream readership. Terms marked as “Technical” won’t be familiar to those without extensive experience in computers and games. Use of jargon and technical terms in mainstream contexts is discouraged. If use of such a term is absolutely required, writers should explain the term after the first use with a supporting parenthetical or definition.

Most terms have a short definition included in their entries. All definitions are intended to clarify the meaning of the term for writers and editors unfamiliar with gaming or game-specific rhetoric. These definitions are by no means comprehensive, but are provided to focus on and illuminate core meanings of terms. They are intended to help writers employ the correct word in the correct context routinely and consistently.

Writers and editors should always keep in mind that certain terms can have very different connotations depending on the context in which the term is employed. For example, the term “background” would likely have a very different meaning for a game developer than it would have for a traditional gamer.

Exxaam plleess

Many entries have examples of correct usage listed after any usage rules and definitions. Some entries also have further examples listed in italics within the text of the entry.

Where common mistakes are anticipated, examples of incorrect usage have also been provided under the heading “Wrong.” Always refer to the term’s title and text for the correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation and usage.

O n ““A

Terms listed under the “Also See” heading provide additional context or guidance for a particular usage question. These secondary references aren’t crucial to comprehending the primary term’s proper usage, but may offer additional insight.

nss aan d S ug nss

Just as the videogame business continues to grow exponentially each and every year, so too does the body of terms used to describe, critique and catalog the medium.

We have made every attempt to include in this volume what we consider the most important terms and concepts, especially those we feel are most likely to cause reader confusion or unnecessary ambiguity due to frequent inconsistency or incorrect usage.

That said, it would be foolish to think every issue has been addressed: Please send us utth [email protected] am eg uiid

9

10

THE GUIDE

0-9

2-player

See

multiplayer

.

1-up

An item that gives a character an extra life. Origin: Super Mario Bros.’

1-up mushroom.

In general, only use 1-up if the game specifically refers to an item by that name. Use the specific item name or

extra life

in all other cases.

Do not use 1-up as a generic term for a power-up.

Try to avoid sentence constructions that start with “1-up.” If you have to, use “One-up” to begin a sentence.

1UP is also the name of a Ziff Davis

Media game portal site:

The user reviews on 1UP range from the sublime to the silly.

In some multiplayer games, the first character is referred to 1UP above the character’s status bar (also 2UP, 3UP, etc.) Use player one, player two, etc.

instead unless explicitly referring to the status bar.

2600

See

System Names (appendix)

.

2D

See

dimensions

.

32X

See

System Names (appendix)

.

3D

See

dimensions

.

3D accelerator

See

video card

.

3DO

See

System Names (appendix)

.

480i, 480p

See

resolution

.

7+

See

ratings

.

720p

See

resolution

.

about halfway through the first level of

Super Mario Bros.

o sse e::

life, man, player, power-up

.

1080i, 1080p

See

resolution

.

12+, 13+

See

ratings

.

1337

See

leetspeak

.

16+, 18+

See

ratings

.

11

12

AAA

A high-quality game that is

A

Achievements; use lowercase when referring to more general achievements expected to be among the year’s bestin videogames.

You’ll need to defeat the sellers. Typically, AAA games have

Mother Brain, as well as complete varilarger budgets than so-called “budget ous other achievements, in order to finsoftware.” ish most Metroid games.

Pronounced “triple A.”

Achievement in Dead Rising only adds

20 Achievement Points to your

Gamerscore.

o sse e::

bonus, unlockable

.

Insomniac has risen to fame on the shoulders of a long string of successful

AAA titles.

triple A.

ability

A numerical or graphical measure of a character’s prowess.

Typically divided into categories such as strength, accuracy, stamina, charisma, etc.

action, action-adventure

See

Genres (appendix)

.

ad hoc

A wireless network involving a direct connection between two or more systems or computers with no router or central base station involved.

This is different from infrastructure mode, in which wireless devices connect via a formal networking structure such the Internet.

character’s abilities to see if he’s able to use two-handed swords.

o sse e::

avatar, character, skill

.

accessory

See

peripheral.

Achievement

Specific term for special goals that can be completed on

Xbox Live-enabled games.

Achievement

Points

are awarded for completing

Achievements, which count towards a player’s

Gamerscore.

Capitalize names of specific

Achievements and put them in quotes.

Only capitalize the word Achievement when specifically referring to Xbox Live

Metal: Head-On multiplayer matches in the office to test out the PlayStation

Portable’s ad hoc capabilities.

add-on

See

expansion pack

.

adventure

See

Genres (appendix)

.

AI

See

artificial intelligence.

aliasing

See

anti-aliasing.

alpha

An early, incomplete version of a game.

Alpha code

is typically missing important features or functions planned for the final game. An

alpha version

is often considered an important benchmark in software development as it indicates that the core of the program is working and ready for testing.

An alpha version can be referred to simply as an alpha on all references. Do not refer to a version of a game as alpha unless the game’s developer or publisher has done the same.

office skeptics that Bungie would once again come through with a first-rate game. The alpha code did show some signs of graphical slowdown, which is to be expected at this stage of development.

o sse e::

beta

.

alternate fire

In games that designate a key or button on the keyboard or controller as a primary fire trigger, a second button or key may be designated as the alternate fire key or button

.

Alternate fire triggers a secondary function of a weapon or item, such as launching a grenade instead of shooting bullets.

Alt. fire

acceptable after first reference.

the alternate fire mode causes the shotgun to spit out a grenade. Press X to activate alt. fire.

analog

An internal representation system in a computer that uses a set of continuous values as opposed to discrete on/off values.

The distinction between analog and digital is not always useful in non-technical contexts. A digital system with enough values can mimic a meaningful range of analog values. For example, a high-resolution digital photograph or audio file may appear to have the same quality as an analog (film) photograph or recording.

In some cases, hardware manufacturers may use the term analog to indicate that a device features a wider range of control than usually expected from digital devices.

o sse e::

analog stick, digital

.

analog stick

Any joystick that translates user input as an analog value rather than a digital value.

Analog sticks allow for slight gradations in input force and direction, while digital joysticks can only register preset directions as on or off.

Analog joystick

acceptable on all references. Do not use analog stick to refer to the controller as a whole. Note that not all joysticks are analog.

first system to have an analog stick on its controller. Players can tilt the analog stick forward slightly to make Mario tiptoe past the piranha plants.

o sse e::

analog, controller, joystick

.

anti-aliasing

Technical.

Programming or hardware techniques used to make computer graphics appear cleaner and smoother at the edges of objects. Anti-aliasing is used to reduce aliasing, the jagged edges on the outlines of in-game objects.

improved anti-aliasing capabilities translate into an impressive level of visual detail.

o sse e::

jaggies

.

AO

See

ratings.

arcade, arcade cabinet, arcade game, arcade system

See

system.

arcade-like

Jargon. A game that emphasizes quick action and reflexive response over deep strategy.

arcade-y.

o sse e::

Genres (appendix), mode

.

13

14

arcade mode

See

mode

.

arcade system

See

system

.

arcadey

See

arcade-like

.

artificial intelligence

A set of computer algorithms designed to make computer-controlled characters exhibit the behaviors of human-controlled characters.

Can be used on its own as a noun, or as an adjective to describe an algorithm or routine in technical contexts.

AI

acceptable after first reference.

the game’s advanced artificial intelligence once they see opposing enemies duck behind barrels to avoid gunfire.

The developers said the AI took more than a year to program.

o sse e::

bot

.

artist

A general term for a developer involved in creating the graphical elements of a game. Artists are subdivided into animators, art directors, modelers, texture artists, and other similar categories. Use

developer

to generally describe individuals and teams involved in the creation of a game.

Psychonauts helped give the game its signature, twisted visual aesthetic.

artist behind

American McGee’s Alice.

o sse e::

designer, developer

.

asset

Jargon. Art, sound, and other files used in the creation of a videogame.

development team said, “The game’s art assets really set it apart from previous projects.”

Atari 2600/VCS

(appendix)

.

See

System Names

attribute

See

ability.

avatar

The character a player controls in a game, or the personification of the player in a game’s world.

Although any player-controlled character in a game may be referred to as an avatar, the term is usually reserved for characters whose attributes can be customized by the player rather than characters designed by the game’s developer.

world of Second Life have created avatars that range from personal reproductions of themselves to imaginative fantasy creatures.

should only have three avatars left in the game.

o sse e::

character

.

character, player, player

background

The graphical backdrop

B through emulation. This is not considered backward compatibility because the for a game environment.

Wii can’t play those games on their original media. See

Virtual Console.

Sony:

PlayStation 2 (PlayStation); o sse e:: environment, level, world.

backward compatible

When a game

PlayStation 3 (PlayStation, PlayStation 2) system can run games or use accessories created for an older system, the new system is considered to be backward compatible with the old system. Note that backward compatibility can apply to a system’s software, accessories, or both.

A system may be considered backward compatible even if some older software will not run on the newer system. For example, even though some Xbox titles will not work on the Xbox 360, the 360 is still generally backward compatible with

Xbox software.

Current prominent instances of backward compatibility

accept non-USB PlayStation or

PlayStation 2 accessories.

am e:: Sony ensured the success of the PlayStation 2 by making it backward compatible with the original

PlayStation. The PlayStation 3 followed this trend, but some users complained that their old controllers would not work with the new system.

on g:: backwards compatible, backward-compatible.

o sse e::

emulator, Virtual Console

.

baddie

See

enemy.

Template: Company: System 1 (System

2) – System 1 is backward compatible with System 2.

Microsoft:

Xbox 360 (Xbox) non-USB Xbox accessories.

Nintendo:

Nintendo DS (Game Boy

Advance), Game Boy Advance (Game Boy

Color, Game Boy), Game Boy Color (Game

Boy), Wii (GameCube).

N e:: The Nintendo DS cannot play

Game Boy and Game Boy Color software.

loadable NES, Super NES, Nintendo 64,

Genesis and Turbo-Grafx 16 games

beat-’em-up

See

Genres (appendix)

.

beta

A pre-release, nearly featurecomplete version of a videogame that’s more advanced, from a development standpoint, than an alpha version.

In many cases, a developer releases

beta code

through a

beta test

to identify bugs before a game’s final release. Beta tests can be

public

(open to everyone) or

private

(open to a select group of invited testers). Anyone taking part in a public or private beta test is a

beta tester.

A

beta version

can be referred to sim-

15

16

ply as a beta on all references. Do not refer to a version of a game as beta unless the game’s developer or publisher has done the same.

xa mp were given a chance to play the Halo 2 beta two months before the game’s scheduled release.

on g:: beta build, beta game.

o sse e::

alpha, bug, gold master

.

BFG

Jargon. Short for

big f***ing gun.

Originally used in

Doom, now generally used to describe any large, powerful personal weapon in a game.

BIOS

Technical. Short for Basic

Input/Output system. BIOS acceptable on all references.

o sse e::

firmware.

-bit

Technical. The basic unit of measurement of information and communication in digital computers.

Often used to classify generations of gaming systems by the throughput of their processors. Most commonly: 8-bit

(Nintendo Entertainment System) , 16-bit

(Super NES, Genesis)

. Use numerals rather than writing out the number in this case.

Note that having more bits does not necessarily mean a system has better performance or games.

xa mp system.

o sse e::

memory

.

bitmap

Technical. An image file structure that assigns a specific color value to each pixel in a grid. Often used for sprite-based graphics.

on g:: bit map, bit-map.

o sse e::

pixel, sprite, vector

.

Blu-ray disc

The high-capacity disc format used by Sony’s PlayStation

3. Also used to refer to the discs themselves.

Blu-ray acceptable after first reference. Note that not all PlayStation 3 games are on Blu-ray discs.

am e:: The PlayStation 3 supports games and movies written on highcapacity Blu-ray discs. The Blu-ray format can hold five times more data than normal DVDs.

on g:: blu-ray, blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, bluray disc, Blu-Ray Disc, blue-ray, bluray.

o sse e::

HD DVD

.

bonus

Jargon. A reward that boosts a character’s abilities or the player’s score in some tangible way.

o sse e::

1-up, power-up, unlockable

.

bootup

Technical. The initial startup sequence on a computer.

Boot

acceptable on all references.

Resetting a computer is sometimes called

rebooting.

Although a game system is a computer, avoid use of boot as synonym for starting up or restarting a game console.

If the game freezes, simply restart the system; as opposed to: If the game freezes, reboot the system.

o sse e::

reset

.

boss

A notable enemy, usually one possessing much greater power than other foes in the game. A boss is typically found at the end of a game level.

Capitalize specific boss names.

A major enemy that comes before the end of a level is sometimes referred to as a

mini-boss

. The last boss in a game is the

final boss

.

am e:: Metroid’s Mother Brain remains one the most unforgettable final bosses in gaming history.

on g:: boss character, end boss, miniboss, sub-boss.

o sse e::

enemy, level

.

bot

Jargon. Short for

robot

– an ally or enemy controlled by the game’s artificial intelligence. Bots are most commonly used as virtual training opponents in first-person shooters.

Bot acceptable on all references.

am e:: It’s easy for players to improve their aim in Unreal Tournament

by practicing in arenas filled with wellarmed bots.

on g:: droids, scripts.

o sse e::

artificial intelligence, non-player

character.

brawler

See

Genres (appendix)

.

bug

A programming flaw that causes a piece of software to function incorrectly.

Bugs, or

glitches

, are supposed to be identified and fixed during beta testing, but some bugs inevitably wind up in most commercially-released games.

xa mp ly impossible to play because of a series of frustrating bugs that caused the game to crash in the middle of frantic boss fights.

on g:: problem, error, issue, syntax error.

build

Jargon. A functional pre-release or released version of a game. Builds are used to test gameplay and gameplay components during development. At later stages of development, a developer may share builds to demonstrate the game. The

final build

of a game is often referred to as the

gold master

.

xa mp

Show allowed us to get hands-on time with builds of games that won’t be released for at least another 12 months.

o sse e::

alpha, beta, gold master

.

Bullet Time

Jargon. A special effect that lets the player move at normal speed while other characters and objects

(e.g. bullets) appear to move in slow motion. Popularized by the Matrix movies, the term is a trademark owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment. As such, use a generic term such as “slow motion” instead whenever possible.

on g:: bullet-time, bullet time.

button

A digital or analog input device on a controller or mouse that is pressed down to register input.

Selectable input on a screen is also called a button.

Use your mouse to click on the start button.

Do not use to refer to directional pads or keys on a keyboard.

Buttons are usually referred to by a single letter or number clearly labeled on the controller. These buttons may be referred to by their name without additional punctuation. The modifier “button” is optional after the button name.

Press

R2 to fire your weapon. Press the X button to jump.

have controllers whose buttons are not single letters or numbers.

Atari 2600:

The single button is referred to as “the button.”

Turbo-Grafx 16:

I and II, not 1 and 2.

PlayStation line:

X, triangle, square, circle (or O). The shoulder buttons are

L1, L2, R1 and R2. Pressing the analog sticks inward is a form of input commonly referred to as L3 and R3 – this usage is considered jargon.

PlayStation 3:

PS button.

Xbox:

black, white.

Xbox 360:

Rear buttons are LB and

RB. Rear triggers are LT and RT.

Central button with light up X is the guide button.

Wii:

+, -, home button.

Mouse:

left button, right button, scroll wheel. Optionally left mouse button and right mouse button. See

click.

am e:: To make Mario jump, press

A. Pressing the B button while Mario is in the air makes him do a jump kick.

on g:: Press button X to fire your weapon.

o sse e::

click, d-pad

.

button combo

See

combo.

button masher

Jargon. A player that hits buttons seemingly at random, without regard for strategy or skill, or a game that rewards

button-mashing

.

17

18

camera

The player’s point of view into

C o sse e::

mission, mode.

the game world.

camper

See

leetspeak

.

Cinematic camera vocabulary such as angle, zoom and tilt may be used to refer to the in-game camera. Cameras can either be

fixed

in place

(a fixed camera)

, controlled by the player, controlled by the game, or employ any combination of the above in a single game.

For first-person games, use

point of view

rather than camera: Halo uses a first-person point of view to make you feel like part of the game.

Technical usage: The camera can also refer to the specific software system used to generate images on the screen.

cart

See

cartridge

.

cartridge

A game stored on hardware contained inside a plastic casing.

Do not confuse with cassettes and floppy disks which house magnetic tape.

Unlike cassettes and disks, videogame cartridges generally have no moving parts.

The abbreviated

cart

is considered jargon.

Quake 4 had load times that were long enough to make most critics nostalgic for the days of quick-loading cartridges.

the static camera angles in the Resident

Evil series until Capcom addressed the issue in the now-classic

Resident Evil 4.

o sse e::

point of view

.

o sse e::

cartridge-based

.

campaign

A linked series of missions connected by a single objective or narrative plotline.

Many games link individual missions together with a larger story in a

campaign mode.

Do not refer to a mode as campaign mode unless the game explicitly calls it such.

cartridge-based

Adjective used to describe videogame systems that use cartridges. Only use cartridge-based when referring to systems (not to games).

The Fairchild Channel F was the first

cartridge-based system.

The Nintendo 64 was the last major non-portable cartridgebased system.

PlayStation was the beginning of the end for cartridge-based systems.

o sse e::

cartridge

.

of Nations: Rise of Legends remains enjoyable, the core fun of this game comes from completing the twisting and turning plotline presented by its engaging campaign mode.

casual game

An easy-to-learn game targeted at and/or played by people without extensive videogame experience. The idea of casual games emerged as a marketing concept used to describe titles targeted at people who do not typically play popular console or PC games.

There is no hard criteria regarding what makes a game casual or not, but in general, casual games tend to be simple action, puzzle, card or strategy games played on a PC or mobile device and are often downloadable for free or for a small fee.

A

casual gamer

is someone who plays these games and/or someone who plays games only occasionally.

Bejeweled and Diner Dash are so easy to understand that even non-gamers can instantly see their appeal.

CD

See

CD-ROM

.

CD-i

See

System Names (appendix)

.

CD-ROM

Abbreviation for Compact

Disc-Read Only Memory, a format used for encoding computer programs and videogames onto CD.

CD-ROM acceptable on all references.

CD

acceptable if context makes the specific format clear.

games were available on CD-ROM instead of the now-standard DVD format. The PlayStation plays games stored on CDs. The PlayStation can play music CDs as well as CD-ROM software.

o sse e::

DVD-ROM, GD-ROM

.

cel shading

Jargon. An in-game art style noted for heavy outlines and bright solid colors wherein featured objects and characters resemble those found in cartoons. Games with this graphic style are

cel-shaded.

Dreamcast was among the first videogames to use cel shading.

shaded.

Cell processor

Technical. A multicore, parallel processor used in certain

Sony products, including the

PlayStation 3.

character

Any computer- or playercontrolled entity in a game (excluding inanimate objects). Characters can typically be divided into player-characters, non-player characters (NPCs) and enemies.

In general, use the specific proper name of an in-game character rather than simply referring to him/her as “my character.” am e:: Tommy Vercetti remains one of the game industry’s most engaging playable characters.

o sse e::

avatar, enemy, non-player character, player, player character

.

character class

In role-playing games, a descriptive categorization for the specific grouping of skills and abilities available to certain characters.

Typical character classes include fighters, wizards, and thieves.

o sse e::

character generation

.

character generation

In games that allow the player to customize their avatar, the series of steps that are taken to fashion a character. Role-playing games pioneered the concept of character generation, but in recent years other genres – including sports games – have incorporated character generation options.

o sse e::

character class,

create-a-player.

character model

See

model.

cheat

Any activity in a game that gives the player an advantage outside of the standard gameplay experience.

o sse e::

code

.

19

20

cheat code

See

code

.

cinematic

See

cut scene

.

circle strafe

See

strafe

.

click

Verb or noun used to describe depressing a mouse button.

Do not use to describe pushing a button on a controller or a keyboard. A click can be a

left-click

(push of the left button) or a

right-click

(push of the right button). Left-click should only be used when it is necessary to differentiate from a right-click. A

double-click

is the press of a mouse button twice in rapid succession.

xa mp left-clicking fires your main weapon, and right-clicking fires your secondary weapon.

on g:: Click the A button to jump.

clipping

Technical. Clipping occurs when in-game objects that should be hidden

(or clipped)

protrude through other visible objects. Some games include a “no clipping” setting which allows players to see through walls and other clipped objects.

xa mp

Fight Night Round 3 has its fair share of clipping errors. Notice how the fighter’s foot will sometimes disappear into the canvas when he gets knocked down.

cocktail cabinet

See

system

.

code

A specific sequence of button presses, letters or numbers in coded form that can be entered in order to alter the standard gameplay experience.

Codes that give a player an advantage outside of the standard gameplay experience are

cheat codes

. However, not all codes are cheat codes. For example, the BIGHEAD code in NBA Jam gives the players large heads, but does not affect their abilities, thus it is not considered a cheat code.

Technical meaning: The written computer instructions programmers use to create a computer program or videogame. Use

program code

if necessary to explicitly differentiate between the two meanings.

am e:: A famous code for Mike

Tyson’s Punch-Out!! lets players skip over all the challengers and take on

Tyson himself.

o sse e::

button, cheat, Easter egg, trainer, unlockable

.

coin-op

See

system

.

ColecoVision

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

collectible card game

Jargon. A game that involves constructed decks of collectible cards, or a videogame that emulates such a game.

CCG acceptable after first reference.

am e:: Magic: The Gathering remains the most popular collectible card game on the market.

combo

Jargon. A specific sequential combination of button presses and/or moves.

Combo acceptable on all references.

Do not expand to button combo.

am e:: A jumping fierce punch followed by a low sweep is one of Ryu’s strongest combo starters in Street

Fighter II.

compact disc

See

CD-ROM.

compilation

See

Genres (appendix)

.

computer game

See

system.

See

console, console system

system.

continue

Noun: An item used by a player to resume a game after the “game over” condition is reached. Verb: To resume a paused or ended game.

am e:: You’re only provided three continues before it’s game over. If you

choose not to continue, be sure to save before turning off the system.

o sse e::

game over, life

.

control pad

See

d-pad.

control scheme

See

controls.

controller

Any external device used to control a videogame.

In general, the keyboard/mouse on a computer and the controls on arcade, portable and mobile games are not referred to as controllers. See

controls

.

A

standard controller

is any controller that is packaged with a system. Standard controllers can simply be referred to as the system’s controller on all references.

The Nintendo 64 controller was the first console controller to feature an analog stick. A

peripheral controller

is any controller not included with the system.

Refer to the official marketing name for peripheral controllers whenever possible, otherwise use a simple description: the dance pad; the drum controller.

A controller with no analog joysticks or buttons is a

digital controller

. All other controllers are

analog controllers

.

Do not use joystick or pad as general terms for the entire controller.

E xa e:: The Wavebird was the first wireless controller released by Nintendo for the GameCube.

o sse e::

analog, analog stick, button, d-pad, dance pad, digital, joystick.

controls

The overall system of input that allows players to manipulate a videogame world, including any physical input devices.

Some games allow a player to edit commands with

customizable controls.

In these games, the

default controls

are the ones set for initial use by the developer.

Used interchangeably with

control scheme.

E xa e:: The default controls for

Metal Slug Anthology for the Wii are adequate, but none of the game’s multitude of control schemes ever feels quite right.

conversion

See

port.

cooperative

Adjective for a game, mode or quest that allows or requires two or more players to work together towards the same goal.

Co-op

acceptable after first reference.

xa mp to The Adventures of Cookie and Cream.

It’s so integral, in fact, that the game is really only worthwhile in co-op mode.

o sse e::

Genres (appendix)

.

copy protection

A software- or hardware-based method of preventing a game from being illegally copied, or

pirated.

Variations may include, but are not limited to: codewheels, dongles, keydisks, serial numbers, CD checks, dummy files, bad data sectors, file references and documentation/manual (a.k.a. “doc”) checks.

Unless going into strict technical detail, it’s usually unnecessary to define the specific form of copy protection used.

xa mp first bypass the copy protection.

check, serial.

o sse e::

pirate, software piracy

.

cosplay

Jargon. Short for costume play – the practice of dressing as a character from a videogame or other pop culture property. Originated in Japan.

Cosplay acceptable on all references.

People taking part in cosplay are

cosplayers

.

xa mp cosplayers of all shapes and sizes.

courier

A software pirate whose sole task it is to illegally distribute software between bulletin boards, newsgroups,

FTP sites and other electronic archives.

xa mp means of transferring the latest pirated games between BBS systems in the late

21

22

‘80s and early ‘90s.

on g:: distributor, spreader.

o sse e::

pirate, software piracy, warez

.

CPU

Technical. Acronym for central processing unit, the main processor on a computer or game system.

CPU acceptable on all references. Do not use as shorthand to represent a computer-controlled opponent unless quoting an explicit game reference (i.e.

Lumines’

Vs. CPU mode). Do not use to represent the system as a whole.

xa mp more powerful than the GameCube’s

CPU.

on g:: Playing against the CPU in

Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis isn’t as easy as it looks.

o sse e::

system

.

crack

Jargon. A software program that sits in memory or permanently patches a game so as to unlawfully allow the user to remove or bypass its copy protection. A person who creates a crack is a

cracker

.

Do not confuse with a

hack

, which alters the way a game is played.

xa mp it’s possible to play

Half-Life 2 from your hard drive without owning the original

CD-ROM.

on g:: bypass, patch, TSR, workaround.

o sse e::

piracy, warez

.

hack, patch, pirate, software

create-a-player

A mode found in many games allowing the creation of customized avatars or other characters.

avatar, character generation, mode

.

o sse e::

cross-platform

See

system

.

cursor

Any freely movable pointer in a game.

In text-based games, the cursor indicates the position where the next typed letter will appear. For first person shooters,

reticle

is preferred.

am e:: In The Battle for Middle-

Earth II: The Rise of the Witch King, the cursor is used to select units.

on g:: arrow, crosshair, pointer.

o sse e::

reticle

.

cut scene

A brief, non-interactive interlude in a game. Usually used between levels to advance a game’s plot.

am e:: The original Half-Life proved to gamers and developers everywhere that, with a little ingenuity, a videogame’s story could indeed be told without relying on the use of cut scenes.

on g:: cutscene, cut-scene, cinematic, movie, FMV, in-game cinema.

d-pad

Jargon. A cross-shaped digital

D o sse e:: pad used for directional input on a controller. Popularized by the Nintendo

Entertainment System (NES) controller.

Short for

directional pad

or

digital pad

; dpad acceptable on all references. Do not

health, life

.

DDR-RAM

See

RAM

.

dead

See

death

.

capitalize the “d” unless at the beginning of a sentence.

Don’t use any punctuation when referring to specific directions on the d-pad.

The quicker you tap left on the d-pad, the faster your character will go.

E xa e:: The Nintendo GameCube controller has a very small d-pad.

D-pad, D-PAD, pad.

dance pad

A controller placed on the floor and controlled by the player’s feet.

Popularized by Dance Dance Revolution.

dance-pad.

damage

An in-game measure of hurt or loss that brings on death, debilitation or destruction incrementally. The notion of damage may be applied to individual character attributes (such as health), equipment (e.g. swords, guns, or armor), environmental objects (i.e. trees and buildings) or vehicles.

E xa e:: The sniper rifle in Halo causes massive amounts of damage to enemies, and is therefore one of the most popular weapons in the game.

death

Death has two specific contexts in videogames. In the case of a narrative game, in which the player character has a life in the story, death is quite literal.

When the character dies, the story is over, at least until you reload or restart.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is an example of this.

In the second context, a death is the end of one of the multiple lives a player is given as a measure of the opportunities to complete a task in a game. See

life.

In most cases, these contexts are blended together to create statements such as, “Pac-Man can only die one more time,” or “You can die as many times as you want in Jak and Daxter without any penalty.”

Because of these ambiguities, use the term death or died to refer to specific story moments. But when referencing gameplay, use more specific terms such as

“lost a life.”

In first-person shooters, the score is often referred to as number of

kills.

xa mp

Fantasy VII remains one of the most memorable moments in any videogame story. Less memorable is Mario losing a

23

24

life by falling into a lava pit in Super

Mario Bros.

ularly difficult jump with Mario and ended up dying.

o sse e::

life

.

debug

The phase of game development where bugs (program glitches) are found and fixed.

Can also refer to

debug mode

, an ofthidden gameplay mode that gives the player complete control of the game’s environment and variables. A

debug unit

is a version of a game console that developers and journalists use to play unfinished versions of videogames.

E xa e:: Whether Rockstar simply missed the controversial Hot Coffee minigame during the debugging process or intentionally left it in the final game is unclear to this day.

o sse e::

alpha, beta, bug

.

demo

A sample version of a game, usually used for marketing purposes. Also referred to as a

demo version.

Jargon usage: Short for demonstrated.

Sierra demoed their latest game for us yesterday.

o sse e::

shareware

.

designer

A person who designs a game, steering its overall direction and bringing to bear a specific artistic vision.

Modern games often involve a team of designers; the head of such a team is the

lead designer

or

producer.

Designers need not be programmers on a game. Do not use designer to generally refer to all people involved in the making of a game

E xa e:: As the lead designer on

Psychonauts, industry veteran Tim

Schaefer worked on the game at every level of development.

o sse e::

artist, developer, producer

.

destroyed

See

death.

developer

A person, creative team or company that creates videogames.

Note that the same company may be the publisher and the developer of a game. In general, be as specific as possible when referring to a game’s developer.

If a game is developed by a specific studio of a larger company, use the studio name.

Okami was developed by Capcom’s Clover

Studios subsidiary.

Any single member of a development team, such as an artist, modeler, programmer or sound engineer, can also be generally referred to as a developer.

Will

Wright is one of the most well known developers in the business.

xa mp

Developers Conference is a regular gathering of game developers held each spring.

o sse e::

first-party, second-party, publisher, third-party

.

died

See

death.

difficulty

The level of challenge involved in playing a videogame.

Most games offer a range of selectable

difficulty levels.

Capitalize the names of selectable difficulty levels in all cases.

Games which adjust the difficulty in response to the player’s actions have

dynamic difficulty.

xa mp

War on God difficulty requires godlike reflexes.

o sse e::

mode

.

digital

Technical. Any computer system which uses discrete on/off values to represent input or output. Digital systems are different from analog systems, which use a continuous range of values to represent input or output.

o sse e::

analog, analog stick, controller, d-pad

.

digital distribution

The purchase and/or delivery of a game or other piece of content via a computer network.

Refer to digital distribution services by

their official names, i.e. Xbox Live, Steam,

Wii Shop Channel, PlayStation Store.

o sse e::

microtransaction

.

Digital Games Research

Association

The primary member organization of international academic and professional game researchers. DiGRA acceptable after first reference.

DiGRA

Association.

See

Digital Games Research

dimensions

A game with

two-dimensional

gameplay is one in which movement is limited to two different axes (leftright and up-down, for instance). A

threedimensional

game allows movement along three axes.

Graphically, a two-dimensional game typically uses sprites to represent characters, objects and backgrounds, while three-dimensional games generally use polygons.

Note that games with two-dimensional gameplay may have three-dimensional graphics, and vice versa. For instance,

New Super Mario Bros. is a two-dimensional game with polygon-based threedimensional graphics, while

Super Mario

RPG uses two-dimensional sprites to allow for three-dimensional gameplay.

2D

and

3D

acceptable after first reference. Do not use 2D or 3D at the start of a sentence.

E xa e:: The Super Nintendo version of Star Fox, which was the first game to use the Super FX chip, represented many gamers’ first experience with threedimensional graphics in a game.

3-d, 3-D, 3-dimensional, three-D, two-D.

o sse e::

Genres (appendix), sprite

.

DirectX

Technical. A set of Microsoftdeveloped programming tools used heavily in the creation and execution of PC game software. Often referred to with the relevant version number.

DirectX 10 is required to run the game.

Do not abbreviate.

disc

Acceptable on all references to optical discs such as CDs and DVDs.

o sse e:: CD, DVD, optical media.

disk

Acceptable on all references to magnetic floppy disks used in computers.

Do not use to refer to optical discs.

o sse e::

hard drive.

distributor

A company or individual that distributes games to retail stores.

Some publishers act as their own distributors; others use separate, dedicated distributors.

xa mp they’ve had problems with their distributor, this usually means that a game will reach stores a few days late.

double jump

A second jump performed in mid-air.

helped set Super Ghouls and Ghosts apart from other platform games of the day.

xa mp o sse e::

genres

.

Dreamcast

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

DS, DS Lite

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

DVD-ROM

Abbreviation for Digital

Versatile Disc-Read Only Memory, a format used for encoding computer programs onto a DVD.

DVD-ROM acceptable on all references. DVD acceptable if context makes the format clear.

xa mp ble of playing games on DVD-ROMs, as well as DVD movies. Many early

PlayStation 2 games were available on

CDs instead of DVDs.

CD-ROM

.

dynamic difficulty

See

difficulty.

25

26

E

See

ratings

.

Easter egg

A hidden message, object or feature found in a game that is generally unnecessary, unrelated and otherwise outside of the course of normal gameplay. Common examples of Easter eggs include messages from game programmers to fans and relatives, pictures of development teams and inside jokes.

Coined by Atari’s Steve Wright.

xa mp initials in Adventure for the Atari 2600 constituted the first instance of an

Easter egg in a videogame.

on g:: easter egg, Easter Egg.

o sse e::

code, unlockable

.

E fans to create their own game scenarios.

o sse e::

mod

.

educational games

Games that explicitly focus on educational topics or methods, such as Where in the World is

Carmen Sandiego? and Mario Teaches

Typing. Educational games are not a genre in and of themselves, and games of practically any genre can have educational content.

on g:: edutainment.

o sse e::

Genres (appendix)

.

Electronics Boutique

See

GameStop

.

elite

See

leetspeak

.

electronic game

See

videogame

.

EB Games

See

GameStop

.

emulation

See

emulator

.

EC

See

ratings

.

editor

A piece of software that allows developers or players to more easily create their own personalized game content.

Typically, an editor provides tools that allow for the creation of new game levels, although the term also can apply to software used to modify other game elements such as gameplay variable values and game art assets.

xa mp vides powerful, yet easy-to-use tools for

emulator

A piece of software that allows code written for one computer or system to run on another. An emulator is described based on both the hardware it emulates and the hardware it runs on.

While there are many NES emulators for

Windows, finding a good Mac-based NES emulator is tough.

This process is called

emulation.

The native code run by the emulator is sometimes referred to as a

ROM

; this usage is considered jargon.

Emulators are probably best known for facilitating piracy, but there are also

valid and legal uses for emulators. Many classic game compilations use emulation to run original code on more recent systems without any noticeable changes in the gameplay experience.

xa mp can easily download and play classic

NES games on an emulator, Nintendo is now offering a legal alternative to this method of reliving your past via its

Virtual Console.

on g:: emulater.

o sse e::

backward compatible, ROM,

Virtual Console.

end boss

See

boss.

end-user

See

user.

enemy

Any in-game character that presents a threat to the player character.

Capitalize specific enemy names. For one-on-one or player-vs.-player games,

opponent

is preferred.

xa mp

Koopa Troopas and many other enemies in Super Mario Bros.

on g:: baddie, foe.

o sse e::

boss, opponent

.

engine

Jargon. The program code that provides the core of a game’s processing system. Engines can also run significant sub-systems in a game’s code, such as the

graphics engine

and the

physics engine

.

Different games can sometimes use the same engine. Capitalize the name of commercial game engines used in multiple games.

xa mp become the standard graphics engine for many game developers.

Entertainment Software

Association

Industry trade group representing the largest videogame makers in

North America.

Never capitalize the article “the” when referencing the ESA except when it appears at the beginning of a sentence.

reference.

ESA

acceptable after first

Prior to July 2003, the organization was known as the

Interactive Digital

Software Association

; use this name only in historical contexts.

am e:: The Entertainment

Software Association lobbies the government on issues of interest to the videogame industry. Piracy is a hot-button issue for the ESA.

Entertainment Software Rating

Board

Industry ratings group established by the Entertainment Software

Association in 1994. Games are submitted by publishers and rated by an anonymous, independent panel of trained reviewers that judge a game based on its content. See

ratings

for a description of

ESRB ratings and content descriptors.

While the ESRB rates most games released commercially in North America, it does not rate all games. ESRB game ratings do not carry the force of law.

ESRB ratings are only for games released in North America. Other regions have their own rating bodies, including: Japan’s Computer

Entertainment Rating Organization

(CERO), Australia’s Office of Film and

Literature Classification (OFLC), and

Europe’s Pan-European Game

Information (PEGI). Abbreviations acceptable after first reference.

ESRB

acceptable after first reference.

on g:: Entertainment Software

Ratings Board (do not pluralize

“ratings”).

o sse e::

ratings

.

environment

The setting where a game takes place. Used interchangeably with

playfield.

o sse e::

background, level, world

.

equipment

Any item that permanently or semi-permanently gives a player new powers, abilities or statistical enhancements.

A specific instance of equipment is

27

28

called a

piece of equipment.

xa mp with a fire-resistant piece of armor to prepare for the raid.

o sse e::

avatar, item, power-up

.

ESA

See

Association

.

Entertainment Software

ESRB

See

Entertainment Software

Rating Board

.

executive producer

See

producer

.

expansion pack

A piece of software that adds content such as new levels or characters to a previously-released game.

Expansion packs require a copy of the original game to run, as opposed to sequels, which do not require this.

Italicize the name of an expansion pack as you would a game name.

Expansion

acceptable after first reference.

The 4MB RAM expansion should be called the

Expansion Pak

on all references xa mp expansion pack for The Sims, adds many new characters and objects to the game.

on g:: add-on, add on, expander, expansion, pack, pak.

o sse e::

patch

.

experience level

See

level

.

experience points

See

points

.

extra life

See

1-up, life

.

extreme sports

See

Genres

(appendix)

.

girl.

fanboy/fangirl

Jargon. An especially

F manufacturer, it is referred to as a

firstparty developer.

Games developed by firstparty developers are

first-party games.

obsessive fan.

on g:: fan boy, fan girl, fan-boy, fan-

Peripheral hardware developed by a console manufacturer is a

first-party peripheral.

fansite

Jargon. A fan-run website devoted to a particular company, individ-

First-party should only be used as an adjective, and never as a noun.

ual, game, series or genre.

Polyphony Digital is a Sony first-party on g:: fan site, fan-site.

developer. NOT: Polyphony Digital is a

fighting

See

Genres (appendix)

.

Sony first party.

Make sure it’s clear which company a

final boss

See

boss

.

first-party developer is working for, either explicitly or by context.

HAL is

final build

See

build

.

one of Nintendo’s most important firstparty developers. NOT: HAL is one of

firmware

Software that is stored on a hardware device rather than via exter-

Nintendo’s most important first parties.

tinue to grow by attracting creative talnal storage or hard disk. Usually used to ent to stable businesses that offer a hold critical system and startup files.

higher chance of getting a product to

Some systems, such as the market. The quality of Nintendo’s first-

PlayStation Portable, have upgradeable party products continues to discourage firmware and require specific firmware other developers from competing for a versions needed to run certain games.

slice of a competitive market.

Refer to these versions by their version number.

The LocoRoco demo requires firmware version 2.7 or higher to play.

am e:: The latest version of the party, First-party.

o sse e::

developer, publisher, peripheral, second-party, third-party

.

PlayStation Portable firmware makes the system more difficult to hack.

on g:: Firmware.

hardware, software

.

first-person, first-person shooter

See

Genres (appendix)

.

first-party

When a game developer is wholly owned by a videogame console

29

30

flight simulation

See

Genres

(appendix)

.

FMV

See

cut scene

.

fog of war

In strategy games, fog of war refers to the obscured sections of a map where enemy movement and territory remains invisible until approached.

Genres (appendix).

force feedback

A feature that causes the controller to physically vibrate, rumble or otherwise react to in-game actions. Often used interchangeably with

vibration

or

rumble,

though this is not entirely accurate for some directional force feedback devices.

xa mp back feature in the PlayStation 3 controller is seen as a major drawback, but

Sony claims gamers won’t miss these rumble options.

back, forced feedback.

four-player

See

multiplayer

.

FPS

See

Genres (appendix)

.

frag

Jargon. Slang for a kill, usually used in player-vs.-player combat games.

Short for fragmented. Players are

fragged

and kills can be referred to as

frags.

xa mp that learning how to strafe is the quickest way to increase the number of frags you’ll rack up in

Halo 2.

death, player-vs.-player

.

frame rate

The number of individual image frames a game is capable of producing in a given amount of time.

Usually measured in

frames per second

; fps acceptable after first reference when paired with a numerical value.

See example.

Frame rate should not be confused with

refresh rate,

which measures how often a monitor or TV updates its image. Refresh rate is measured in hertz (

Hz

acceptable on all references).

xa mp games on the PS2 run at a silky smooth

60 frames per second. This makes them much more playable than older versions, which ran at 30 fps.

frames per second

See

frame rate.

franchise

A set of games, often with similar names, that share one or more key characters, settings or styles of play. Used interchangeably with

series.

Franchises are generally named after a unifying character or the name of the first game in the franchise.

Italicize the name of a franchise only if it shares the name of a game in that franchise. E xa chise; The Mario series.

Franchises can inspire various spinoffs that are franchises in their own right; for example, the Mario franchise encompasses the Mario Kart and Mario

Party franchises.

When discussing sports games, be careful to distinguish between the game franchise and the team franchises within the game.

xa mp acter of Solid Snake has anchored the progression of the Metal Gear Solid franchise.

freeware

Software offered in its entirety by the developer or publisher for free, legal distribution.

xa plle big dollars on videogames, try downloading freeware off the Internet.

demo, shareware

.

FTW

See

leetspeak

.

fun factor

Jargon. A subjective term used to rank how fun a game is compared to other games. Popularized by

GamePro magazine. Always try to use more specific terms to describe the gameplay experience.

xa plle adrenaline-soaked gameplay of firstperson shooters have made them one of the most popular genres among gamers.

first-person shooters makes them a popular game genre.

31

32

game

See

videogame.

Game Boy, Game Boy Advance,

Game Boy Advance SP, Game Boy

Micro, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy

Color

See

System Names (appendix)

.

G

GTA3’s violence and not its novel gameplay.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City expanded on the multi-million selling original, but Vice City was criticized for being too similar to its predecessor.

Game Gear

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

game industry

See

gaming

.

game mechanics

See

mechanics

.

dered as they appear in packaging and marketing materials, including any franchise names, punctuation, and/or

Arabic/Roman numerals. (See the

Notable

Games

appendix for some examples of this rule.) xa mp the first game in the

Castlevania series to appear on the Super Nintendo

Entertainment System.

am ess rre asse d ffo ullttiip

game names

Game names should be placed in italics on all references.

Game names should be written out on first reference exactly as they appear in marketing and packaging material.

E xa e:: Ubisoft’s Peter Jackson’s

King Kong: The Official Game of the

Movie let gamers play as Kong himself.

attiio nss:: After the first reference, unwieldy game names can be referred to by an acronym. In these cases, note the acronym in a parenthetical after the first reference. Game names share the same name but not the same system, refer to that system’s

version

of the game.

xa mp version of The Sims bears little resemblance to the console and PC versions.

In reviews for games that appear on multiple systems, note the version evaluated and other versions available.

xa mp may also be abbreviated to shorter forms after first reference if the context makes the reference apparent. Acronyms and abbreviated names should also be italicized.

E xa e:: Grand Theft Auto III

( GTA3) was notable for its open-ended design. But many politicians focused on

Xbox version of the game. Versions for the

PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360 and PC are also available.

o sse e::

franchise

.

Game.com

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

GameCube

(appendix)

.

See

System Names

game over

An ending condition where the player is forced to restart or continue the game.

Game Over.

o sse e::

continue.

game system

See

system.

game titles

See

game names.

gameplay

The experience of interacting with a game.

Gameplay is a quality of the game rather than of the player.

He was caught up in the gameplay. Not: He spends too much time in gameplay.

E xa e:: While Halo 2 left many gamers feeling unsatisfied, the gameplay is actually quite similar to the original.

o sse e::

mechanics, play

.

gamer

Anyone who plays games.

E xa e:: Gamers around the world are waiting with bated breath for details of the next

Grand Theft Auto game.

o sse e::

gaming, player, videogame

.

Gamerscore

See

Achievement

.

Gamertag

Online nickname used by members of Microsoft’s Xbox Live online multiplayer service.

Do not use to refer to other online nicknames. Maintain given spacing and capitalization when describing specific

Gamertags.

o sse e::

Xbox Live

.

GameStop

North America’s largest videogame retailer. A merger with competitor

Electronics Boutique

was proposed in April 2005 and approved in October

2005 – only refer to Electronics Boutique or

EB Games

in historical contexts.

gaming

The act of playing a game.

Also used as a general term for the videogame hobby.

To avoid confusion with the gambling industry, do not refer to the gaming industry, but rather the

videogame industry

.

game industry

or xa mp increased concentration and focus when gaming.

o sse e::

gamer, videogame

.

gamepad

See

controller.

garageware

Jargon. See

independent

.

GD-ROM

A proprietary, 1.2 GB disk format used on the Sega Dreamcast. See

CD-ROM

for usage guidelines.

Genesis

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

genre

See

Genres (appendix)

.

gg

See

leetspeak.

ghost mode

See

mode.

gibs

See

leetspeak.

gigabyte

See

memory.

gold master

Jargon. The final, finished version of a game’s code sent to the factory for duplication. Games produced in gold master form are said to have

gone gold.

xa mp

Solid 4 were mailed out to leading media outlets for evaluation today.

master.

o sse e::

build

.

33

34

graphic designer

See

artist.

graphics card

See

video card.

grief

Jargon. A practice where other players intentionally try to ruin the experience of other players in a multiplayer game. Types of grief include attacking lower-level characters without obvious reward and using in-game chat channels to communicate antagonistic messages.

Players who cause grief are called

griefers.

E xa e:: Continued griefer activity in Ultima Online discouraged many gamers from returning.

grind

Jargon. The overly repetitive activities often required to advance in a game. Most often associated with leveling up in role-playing games.

E xa e:: Players cannot expect to reach the upper levels of Star Wars:

Galaxies without going through a significant grind.

o sse e::

Genres (appendix), level

.

hack

Jargon. Any unauthorized modi-

H o sse e:: fication to a game or hardware. Hacks

hardware

See

system.

often change the nature or abilities of

ROM, RAM, memory

.

the game or product in question. Can also be used as a verb for the process of creating a hack. A person who creates a hack is a

hacker

.

Do not confuse hacks with mods, which are authorized or encouraged by the game’s creators, or cracks, which allow illegal copies of games to be run.

xa mp

PlayStation Portable firmware allows emulators and other unauthorized programs to be run.

on g:: Hack, hax, haxxor.

o sse e::

crack, mod, leetspeak

.

hack-and-slash

See

Genres

(appendix)

.

hardware requirements

See

system requirements.

HD

See

resolution.

HD DVD

Acronym for high-definition digital versatile disc, a high-capacity

DVD format created by Toshiba for data storage and high-definition playback of movies.

An HD DVD movie player is sold as a peripheral for the Xbox 360.

HD DVD acceptable on all references am e:: Movies on HD DVD have a much higher resolution than those stored on a normal DVD.

on g:: HDDVD, HD-DVD, hd-dvd o sse e::

Blu-ray disc

.

handheld system

See

system.

HDD

See

hard drive

.

hard disk

See

hard drive.

hard drive

Acceptable on all references to the physical drive that permanently stores data used by a computer or videogame system.

Used interchangeably with

hard disk.

See

memory

for terms used to discuss hard drive size.

xa mp space to be free on the hard drive for proper installation.

on g:: hard disk drive, HDD.

HDTV

Acronym for high-definition television – any television technology that provides resolution equal to or higher than 720p or better. See

resolution.

HDTV acceptable on all references.

am e:: HDTV support has finally arrived on the consoles. The question is:

Will consumers pay the additional expense to play games in high definition?

o sse e::

resolution

.

35

36

heads-up display

A set of persistent, on-screen indicators for in-game variables such as health, money, speed, location, etc.

HUD

acceptable after first reference.

heads-up display blocks your view of the track, but overall the HUD is understated.

display.

hi-def

See

resolution.

hidden character

See

unlockable.

high-definition

See

resolution.

high score

The highest score achieved in a game. Be sure to note whether the score applies to the point tally stored on a specific copy of the game, an Internet-linked ranking of worldwide scores, or a record archived by

Twin Galaxies’ Official Video Game &

Pinball Book of World Records or another official ranking body. Note that many older games reset high scores when the system is turned off.

xa mp score for Pac-Man of 3,333,360 points is held by Billy Mitchell. The high score shown on my machine usually strains to break five digits.

on g:: highscore, high-score,

High Score.

o sse e::

leaderboard, score

.

hit points

See

points.

home console, home system

See

system.

homebrew

Adjective used to describe software created in a non-professional capacity by amateur programmers, or the process of creating such software. Do not use homebrew as a noun; refer to

homebrew software

instead.

xa mp created a wide variety of unauthorized games for the PSP. In general, homebrew software doesn’t have the polish of its professionally developed competition.

o sse e::

mod, freeware

.

hotkey

A sequence of commands or button presses mapped to a single button on a keyboard or controller. Used interchangeably with o sse e::

shortcut button, controller

.

and

macro

.

HP

See

hit points.

HUD

See

heads-up display.

IGDA

See

International Game

Developers Association.

in-game cinema

See

cut scene.

independent

Any game or company not affiliated with a major publisher.

These games often have small budgets and/or are funded solely by the developer. Independent games are not a genre in and of themselves, and independent games can encompass many genres.

Abbreviation to

indie

acceptable after first reference.

I

Intellivision

See

System Names

((aappppeennddiixx))..

Interactive Digital Software

Association

See

Entertainment Software

Association.

interactive entertainment

Alternate term for

videogames.

Avoid, except in quoted materials or references to organizations like the Interactive

Entertainment Merchants Association.

“Interactive entertainment is the future of Hollywood.” ent game that has found success, but many other indie games struggle to find a place in the market.

infrastructure mode

See

ad hoc.

instruction manual

The usually brief instructive document included within a game’s box.

Manual

acceptable after first reference.

inter-tainment.

o sse e::

videogame

.

interface

The input/output interaction between a player and a game.

Includes the in-game controls and controller hardware, but also refers to onscreen indicators and the feedback loop they create with the player.

Avoid use as a verb.

ful moves in

Dead or Alive aren’t listed in the instruction manual.

booklet, instruction guide.

o sse e::

strategy guide

.

itive interface allows players to quickly react to the high-speed action.

game.

o sse e::

controls, controller

.

37

38

International Game Developers

Association

The primary member organization for game developers.

IGDA

acceptable on second reference.

Internet play

See

online.

inventory

See

item.

isometric perspective

A method for rendering a scene where the X, Y and Z axes are all held in proportion. As a result, there is no vanishing point in an isometric perspective.

Typically, isometric projections are shown from an angled, bird’s eye perspective.

Disgaea and Final Fantasy

Tactics are two popular game franchises that use the isometric perspective.

on g:: 2.5D, three-quarters view.

o sse e::

dimensions

.

item

An in-game element that aids the player in some way. Items can be stored in a player’s

inventory,

or used immediately upon retrieval.

Capitalize the names of specific items.

Refer to game documentation for official names and spellings of item names.

xa mp that the slain goblin left behind.

o sse e::

equipment, power up

.

J-K

jaggies

Jargon. The “stair-step” effect that appears on straight lines in computer graphics.

o sse e::

anti-aliasing.

Jaguar

See

System Names (appendix)

.

joypad

See

controller.

joystick

An input device on a controller that is tilted by the player to indicate direction. Most upright arcade cabinets, as well as the Atari 2600, use

digital joysticks.

Most modern video game systems, however, use

analog joysticks.

See

analog

and

digital

for more on the difference.

Interchangeable with

stick

in familiar contexts. Do not use joystick as a general term for the controller itself.

xa mp kick, first hold down on the joystick for two seconds.

on g:: Billy picked up the Nintendo joystick and played the game.

o sse e::

troller, digital

.

analog, analog stick, con-

K-A

See

ratings.

kill

See

death.

39

40

LAN

See

local area network.

LAN party

A gathering of gamers focused on playing networked, multiplayer games such as Quake, Counter-Strike or Halo.

xa mp online gaming, LAN parties remain a popular way for gamers to get together face-to-face.

o sse e::

LAN, online

.

L the DS is completely engrossing, the game’s steep learning curve could prevent casual gamers from progressing beyond the tutorial.

on g:: difficulty progression, difficulty curve.

o sse e::

difficulty

.

leaderboard

An Internet-linked ranking that keeps track of high scores or other notable in-game achievements from around the world.

Internet leaderboard

is useful for clarification.

xa mp points might seem impressive, it won’t get you a very good ranking on the game’s leaderboard.

on g:: internet ranking, netranking.

o sse e::

high score

.

learning curve

How quickly a player can adjust to the rules of the game and become proficient. A game with a

steep learning curve

becomes difficult quickly, while one with a

shallow learning curve

eases the player into the game and its mechanics slowly. The term is highly subjective, and depends largely on the player’s personal game-playing experience.

xa mp

leetspeak

Jargon. A loose patois of

English and Internet shorthand used by online game players for quick communication inside and outside of games.

Because of its heavy use of jargon and variable nature, avoid using leetspeak except in quoted material. For a general audience, parenthetical descriptions are recommended.

Some common leetspeak terms/phrases and their definitions:

camper:

A player that camps out in an advantageous position on a game map.

FTW:

For the win.

gg:

Good game.

gibs:

A general term for any in-game death. Short for giblets, i.e. what an exploded character generally looks like.

leet/l33t/1337:

Short for elite. Used as a term of admiration for an impressive in-game display.

lol:

Laughing out loud.

newbie/noob/n00b:

A relative newcomer to a game; often used derisively to describe an ignorant player.

You don’t know where to find heal spells? What a n00b!

owned/pwned:

A particularly savage

defeat in a game.

You totally got pwned by that rocket launcher.

rofl:

Rolling on the floor laughing.

level

The term has two separate connotations, one related to the structure of a game, the other to the statistical advancement of a player’s character.

In terms of game structure, a level is an individual, self-contained area, action sequence or scenario into which a game has been subdivided for the sake of design or programming. Levels, in this sense, are usually loaded independently from one another. Certain games are separated into missions, stages or worlds rather than levels – go by the description used by the game itself whenever possible.

In terms of a player’s character, a level is one of a number of discrete, consecutive and measurable achievement milestones that generally provide additional powers, resources and attribute improvements.

Character levels are especially important in role-playing games, where levels also indicate player stature. Raising this level is referred to as

leveling up.

In cases where there may be confusion between these two connotations, use

game level

and

character level.

E xa e:: By the time players reach the third level of Devil May Cry 3, they’ll have endured more challenges than are contained in most other games in their entirety.

world

.

on g:: area.

o sse e::

campaign, mission, stage,

level design

The art and craft of creating game levels.

on g:: stage design.

o sse e::

level

.

life

A distinct gaming attempt that starts when the player takes control of a character and ends with a death (often referred to as

losing a life

). In games with a limited number of lives, the loss of all lives results in game over or a continue.

While it may not make literal sense to describe inanimate objects (i.e. marbles, tanks), or the undead (such as zombies or ghosts) as alive, this term is generally used to describe the period between the start and end of play for any character. Still, some on-screen avatars do not lend themselves to being described in terms of lives. Cars in a racing game, for example, or fighters in a fighting game are usually never described in terms of losing lives.

When writing about lives remaining in a game, remember that some games include the current life in the displayed

“lives remaining” count and some do not.

For example, in the original Castlevania, play continues when “P = 0” is on screen.

In contrast, in Super Mario Bros., dying when “Mario x 1” is on the screen results in a game over.

am e:: Players start Super Mario

Bros. with three lives. When Mario gets hit by an enemy, he loses a life.

on g:: play, try.

o sse e::

playthrough

.

continue, death, game over,

light gun

A gun-shaped controller that uses light to sense the position of a mechanical target or on-screen target.

on g:: laser gun, lightgun, light-gun, zapper.

o sse e::

controller

.

lighting

A general description of how a computer-generated light source illuminates a gameplay scene.

Lighting may also refer to the specific technical aspects of how a game engine draws on-screen graphics.

am e:: The lighting in

Condemned: Criminal Origins helps to create the proper eerie atmosphere.

link cable

A proprietary hardware cable used to connect two systems to allow for competitive or cooperative play and/or data transfer.

The two systems are usually the same, but not always (as with the

41

42

GameCube/Game Boy Advance link cable.) Do not use interchangeably with the Ethernet or phone cables used to connect systems to a LAN or the

Internet.

xa mp get hints in The Legend of Zelda: The

Wind Waker by connecting a Game Boy

Advance to a GameCube via a link cable.

on g:: cable, connection cable, Link

Cable, link-cable, system-link cable.

Linux

See

Operating Systems

(appendix)

.

load time

The amount of time it takes to load a game from disc, ROM or a hard drive into RAM. In games, noticeable load times generally take place at startup or between distinct levels or worlds. Load time is most noticeable in games stored on optical media, though games stored on cartridge and disk can also have load times.

on g:: loadtime, loading time.

o sse e::

RAM, ROM

.

cartridge, disk, optical media,

local area network

Two or more systems connected directly via a cable allowing the machines to communicate with one another.

LAN

acceptable on all references.

on g:: lan, Local Area Network.

o sse e::

LAN party, WLAN

.

Lynx

See

System Names (appendix)

.

M

See

ratings.

machinima

A form of computer animation that uses a real-time virtual environment, such as a game development engine, to create a non-interactive movie.

Typically, machinima is distinguished from in-game animations such as cut scenes, even though the same tools are often used in both.

Pronounced “muh-sheen-eh-mah.” xa mp

M

mini-map

is a small map shown on A the game screen during active play.

am e:: While players can access the map easily in Grand Theft Auto III, it is just as easy to use the mini-map to find mission objectives.

on g:: minimap, mini map.

o sse e::

playfield

.

massively-multiplayer online

See

Genres (appendix)

.

Master System

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

famous Red vs. Blue machinima at the film festival introduced a new era of narrative film making on g:: machinema, mashinima.

o sse e::

cut scene

.

mechanical game

A videogame or arcade game that uses moving parts in its gameplay, in part or in total. Pinball machines are a type of mechanical game.

am e:: Mechanical games are

Macintosh

See

Operating Systems

(appendix)

.

often considered the precursor to today’s videogames.

on g:: mechani-game, Mechanical

macro

See

hotkey.

Games.

o sse e::

magic points

See

points.

pinball

.

man

See

life.

manual

See

instruction manual.

map

An in-game view that summarizes the relative location of objects and/or characters on the playfield.

mechanics

Jargon. The specific rules for interaction between a player and a game. Often referred to as

game mechanics

or

play mechanics;

these terms can be used interchangeably.

Only use as an all-encompassing description of a game’s rules; do not

43

44

refer to a specific game element as a mechanic.

xa mp

Super Mario Bros. focus on making pinpoint-accurate jumps onto a series of ever-shrinking platforms.

on g:: The jumping mechanic is the hallmark of the Mario series.

o sse e::

gameplay

.

megabit, megabyte

See

memory.

memory

Used generally to refer to

RAM, a ROM or a hard disk that holds computer data. Refer to one of these specific types of memory instead of using the generic term “memory” whenever possible.

Memory is measured in

bytes

, which are made up of eight

bits

, each one represented by a one or a zero. Use the following two letter abbreviations when referring to memory size (all abbreviations acceptable on first reference).

KB – kilobyte = 1024 bytes

MB – megabyte = 1024 KB

GB – gigabyte = 1024 MB

TB – terabyte = 1024 GB

PB – petabyte = 1024 TB

Always use Arabic numerals when describing memory size rather than writing out the number.

5 MB; NOT: five

MB.

Never mix different memory size abbreviations. Instead, use decimals to approximate exact sizes.

1.5 MB; NOT: 1

MB, 500 KB.

Games for older systems are sometimes measured in

kilobits

and

megabits

, which should always be written out.

The cartridge was 4 kilobits. A 16-kilobit cartridge.

xa mp more than 600 MB, loading all that data into 4 MB of RAM can slow down games considerably.

o sse e::

CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, hard drive, RAM, ROM

.

memory card

A proprietary external storage peripheral utilized by videogame systems to store game data for later use.

Do not use to refer to hard drives or other standard storage card formats like

SmartDigital, CompactFlash or Sony’s

Memory Stick. Memory cards made by a console manufacturer are

first-party memory cards;

those made by other companies are

third-party memory cards

.

am e:: The standard PlayStation

2 memory card can hold roughly 8 MB of data.

on g:: Memory Card, mem. card, mem-card.

o sse e::

hard drive

.

men

See

life.

microtransaction

A small, online purchase facilitated through a specialized digital distribution system.

am e:: Many Oblivion fans resented the fact that the horse armor item was only available as a microtransaction over Xbox Live.

on g:: micro-transaction,

Microtransaction.

o sse e::

digital distribution

.

mini-boss

See

boss.

mini-game

A small, self-contained game included as a part of a larger game, with its own distinct gameplay.

am e:: Some critics have complained that Bully is really nothing more than a series of mini-games.

on g::

microgame

.

minigame, mini game,

mini-map

See

map.

minimum requirements

See

system requirements.

mission

A specific assignment or objective that the player is tasked with completing.

Certain games are separated into levels, stages or worlds rather than missions – go by the description used by the

game itself whenever possible.

xa mp a host of optional missions that do not need to be completed in order to finish the game.

on g:: area, level, stage, target, task.

o sse e::

level, world

.

MMO, MMORPG

See

(appendix).

Genres

mobile, mobile game

See

system.

mod

Short for modification: A playeror professionally-developed enhancement to a game that updates or changes the game’s existing content.

Mod acceptable on all references.

Italicize names of mods as you would stand-alone games.

Do not confuse with hacks: Mods are generally created using tools provided by the game’s developer, hacks are not.

The

mod community

for a game includes all the players and fans working to develop new content for a title.

xa mp nally just an independently developed and distributed mod for

Half-Life.

Eventually, the mod was distributed as a commercial game on its own.

o sse e::

hack

.

mod chip

Short for modification chip, an external computer chip added to a system, often through soldering, that allows a system to play foreign or illegally duplicated software. Not all mod chips provide both these functions. The addition of a mod chip most often voids the warranty for a videogame system.

Mod chip acceptable on all references.

o sse e::

crack, hack

.

mode

A distinct user-selectable play variant within a game.

Capitalize mode names on all references. Do not capitalize the word “mode” itself. Do not refer to a specific style of play as a mode unless the game explicitly refers to it is as such. Do not refer to a selectable difficulty level as a mode.

Common modes include:

Arcade mode:

A simplified version of the game intended to give the player an immediately gratifying experience without requiring tutorials or significant practice.

Ghost mode:

A mode that pits the player against a computer-simulated replay of a human player’s earlier performance.

Practice mode:

A training area that allows the player to master difficult principles in a game.

Story mode:

A running narrative unveiled as the player completes individual levels or missions.

Survival mode:

Pits the player against a constant onslaught of enemies or challenges with limited resources.

am e:: Playing Street Fighter II:

Hyper Fighting in Turbo mode is guaranteed to challenge even the most accomplished gamer.

o sse e::

difficulty

.

model

General term for the underlying geometric, graphical and animation structure of an in-game object.

am e:: Dead Rising’s convincing character models make the zombies look and behave like organic creatures.

monitor

A computer display. Do not use to refer to a television screen.

o sse e::

screen

.

motion blur

A visual effect generated by the game’s graphic engine, meant to simulate the blurring of moving objects that occurs in traditional film photography.

am e:: Need for Speed’s dramatic use of motion blur heightens the feeling of driving 200 MPH down busy streets.

MP

See

magic points.

MUD

See

multi-user dungeon.

multi-user dungeon

A text-based

45

46

multiplayer adventure or role-playing game. Coined in 1978 by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle as the title for a textbased multi-user role-playing game,

MUD.

MUD

acceptable after first reference.

multiplayer

Describes any game that supports more than one player, either online or by sharing a single system in one location. Games can allow

simultaneous

(all at once) or

alternating

(one at a time) multiplayer support. Clarification is generally needed only when the support is alternating.

Write out the number when referring to X-player games:

two-player

,

three-player, four-player,

etc. Do not refer to a game as X-player unless it specifically requires that many players. Otherwise say the game supports up to X players.

xa mp multiplayer game that allows up to four people to play simultaneously. The fourplayer fights are especially exciting.

on g:: Super Smash Bros. is a fourplayer game.

o sse e::

single-player

.

Genres (appendix),

multiple versions

See

Notable Games

(appendix)

.

N-Gage

See

System Names (appendix)

.

N on g:: Now that the next generation is here, we can finally compare the new

Neo-Geo, Neo-Geo Pocket, Neo Geo

Pocket Color

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

systems side by side.

Nintendo 64

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

nerf

Jargon. To significantly alter the characteristics of a character or class of characters to make a game more balanced.

E xa the paladins to the point that they’re barely more powerful than dwarves!

update

.

Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite

See

System Names (appendix)

.

Nintendo Entertainment System

See

System Names (appendix)

.

NES

See

System Names (appendix)

.

newb

See

leetspeak.

next-generation

Catchall term used to refer to upcoming console hardware.

Hyphenated when used as an adjective

(next-gen acceptable after first reference); no hyphen when used as a noun

(in this case, do not abbreviate to “next gen”).

Do not refer to a system as part of the next generation after its domestic release.

The publication Next Generation (later

Next Gen) should be capitalized and italicized to differentiate.

E xa tems will all include the option for broadband and Wi-Fi connections.

non-player character

A character that is not controlled by a human.

Usually used in role-playing games to refer to computer-controlled characters like merchants, innkeepers, townsfolk and others who aid in your quest. Do not use to refer to enemies.

NPC

acceptable after first reference.

xa mp ulate Oblivion’s towns, saying captivating things like, “Sigh... times are tough” when you talk to them.

on g:: non player character, nonplayer character.

artificial intelligence, bot, character, player

.

noob

See

leetspeak.

NPC

See

non-player character.

Nunchuk

See

Wii remote.

47

48

Odyssey, Odyssey 2

See

System

Names (appendix)

.

O another player. Usually used when describing fighting games. In one-vs.many situations, use the more generic

online

A computer connected to a computer network. A game is

enabled

if it can be played online. Onlineenabled games can be

played online

and support

online play.

online-

term enemy.

am e:: If Guile is your opponent in Street Fighter II, don’t even think about attacking him from the air.

o sse e::

character, enemy, player

.

xa mp erally spend more time online than play-

optical media

Any software storage medium that uses lasers or other lights ers in other massively-multiplayer online games.

on g:: on-line, on line.

o sse e::

Genres (appendix)

.

to retrieve stored information, such as

CDs, DVDs, HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

Use specific format names whenever possible.

am e:: Unlike magnetic media,

otaku

Jargon. Japanese slang for an especially obsessive fan.

o sse e::

fanboy

.

optical media can’t be ruined by exposure to magnetic fields.

on g:: The PlayStation supports

open-world

Jargon. A type of gameplay that allows the player to enjoy a variety of open-ended activities that can be completed in non-linear fashion.

xa mp

Grand Theft Auto III’s open-world design is what sets it apart from other games of its day.

o sse e::

sandbox

.

games stored on optical media.

o sse e::

CD-ROM, disc, DVD-ROM

.

owned

See

leetspeak

.

operating system

See

Operating

Systems (appendix)

.

opponent

A player or character fought in a one-on-one situation, whether controlled by the computer or

P-Q

pack-in

A game included with a game system or a peripheral included with a game.

xa mp include

Wii Sports as a pack-in with the

Wii made the purchase a better value.

on g:: pack in, packin.

particle effects

Technical. Graphic effects such as smoke and sparks which simulate the movement of particles in the air.

am e:: The particle effects in the

Xbox version of Burnout Revenge are nearly blinding, especially when your car scrapes along a roadside guardrail.

pad

See

d-pad.

party

See

Genres (appendix)

.

palette swap

Jargon. When two characters or objects are differentiated only by their color schemes. Palette swaps are used to save memory space, as the same basic sprite or model can be used for both palette-swapped characters.

xa mp

Luigi is nothing more than a palette swap of Mario. This is no longer true by the time Super Mario Bros. 2 comes along.

o sse e::

sprite

.

patch

A file or set of files that fixes bugs in a game after its release. After applying a patch, a game is considered

patched.

am e:: Now that the Xbox 360,

Wii and PlayStation 3 are all able to connect to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to download patches for bug-filled games.

o sse e::

bug

.

PC

See

Operating Systems (appendix)

.

parallax scrolling

Jargon. Refers to two different foreground or background planes that scroll independently from each other to heighten the sense of depth in the image. Popularized on the

Commodore Amiga computer and Super

Nintendo Entertainment System.

xa mp

Super Castlevania IV was unlike anything seen in the game’s prequels.

peripheral

A joystick, racing wheel, hard drive or other optional hardware add-on intended for use with a videogame or computer system. Note that this definition does not encompass mandatory system components, such as a computer keyboard or the controller packaged with a system.

In certain highly specific cases, a peripheral also functions as a system unto itself. For example, the Sega CD

49

50

and 32X function in this way. See the

System Names

appendix.

Capitalize the names of specific peripherals.

E xa e:: Peripherals such as the

Power Pad and the Power Glove were big sellers during the NES era.

eral hardware.

o sse e::

controller, hardware

.

peripheral hardware

See

peripheral.

peripheral system

See

system.

perspective

A specific camera view.

Typical perspectives include first-person, third-person and isometric.

The use of both camera and perspective together is considered redundant.

E xa e:: Tactical role-playing games often show the action from an isometric perspective. The player’s point of view shows them a wide-open vista of the battlefield.

perspective camera worked fine for boss battles.

o sse e::

camera, isometric, point of view, Genres (appendix)

.

physics

The simulation of properties such as a gravity, velocity, friction and elasticity by a game engine.

o sse e::

engine

.

pinball

A mechanical game played on a sloping board with the goal of guiding a steel ball against pins or into pockets, ramps or targets. Early pinball games did not include flippers to redirect the ball.

Even though they include some elements of videogames, pinball games are generally considered

mechanical games

.

Capitalize and italicize the names of all pinball machines.

E xa e:: The Addams Family Pinball was a surprisingly big hit.

o sse e::

mechanical game

.

pirate

One who illegally copies and distributes copyrighted software.

xa mp

2142 within its first week of release.

o sse e::

crack, software piracy, warez

.

pixel

Short for picture element. The smallest distinct part of a digital image; a single point in the image grid. Monitor resolution is measured in pixels.

xa mp sharp and detailed down to the last pixel.

o sse e::

monitor, resolution, screen

.

platform

See

system

.

platform game, platformer

See

Genres (appendix).

play

Any interaction with a game.

xa mp

Devil May Cry...

Devil May Cry...

o sse e::

life, play session, playthrough

.

play mechanics

See

mechanics.

play session

A single identifiable period of time spent with one game title.

Due to its ambiguity, the term should be avoided.

player

A person playing a game.

Use specific names or terms like

avatar

or

player character

to refer to the character the player is controlling.

In multiplayer games, characters can be referred to generically as

player one, player two,

and so forth (don’t use numerals).

In massively-multiplayer games, different players should be referred to by the names of their characters.

xa mp

Ninja Turtles arcade game, player four controls Donatello.

o sse e::

avatar, character, multiplayer, player character

.

player-vs.-environment

In multiplayer games, a style of play where characters battle computer-controlled opponents rather than those controlled by other players in the game.

PvE

acceptable after first reference.

player vs. environment, player-vs-player.

o sse e::

cooperative, player-vs.-player

.

player-vs.-player

In multiplayer games, a style of play where players can inflict damage on other players.

PvP

acceptable after first reference.

vs. player, player-vs-player.

o sse e::

cooperative, player-vs.-environment

.

player character

The character a player controls.

o sse e::

avatar, player

.

playfield

See

environment.

PlayStation, PlayStation 2,

PlayStation 3

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

playtest

See

quality assurance.

playthrough

One complete pass through a game’s story from start to finish. Not applicable for games that have no precise ending, such as many simulation and puzzle games.

Fall of Man, a second playthrough unlocks new weapons.

o sse e::

play, play session

.

point of view

How a player views a particular scene in a game. In most cases, use perspective rather than point of view.

Point of view may be used in the literary context to describe the relationship of the narrative to the narrator. To avoid confusion, use the term

narrative point of view

when discussing the story.

in

Half-Life 2 helps to put you into the story without sacrificing a clear perspective on the game’s environments.

o sse e::

camera, perspective

.

points

Used to measure scores or other statistics in a game. Some common types of points found in many games:

experience points:

A measure of a character’s level of progress. Earned for completing certain in-game tasks. After gaining a set number of experience points the character will level up; see

level.

Use of XP is discouraged.

hit points

or

health points:

The amount of energy remaining before death. Do not use the two terms interchangeably – consult the game documentation for which one is appropriate. HP acceptable after first reference. See

life.

magic points:

The amount of power remaining for casting spells. MP acceptable after first reference. Magic points may be shown as a numerical value or displayed in a graphic form, such as a star filled with the color green.

polygon

The basic building block of most three-dimensional videogame models. Most polygons used in games are individual triangles connected together to form the 3D mesh outlining the surface of an in-game object.

The

polygon count

is the number of individual polygons used in a scene or model. More polygons usually mean higher graphical fidelity, though other factors can also affect the look of a model.

o sse e::

model

.

pop-up

Jargon. In three-dimensional games, the effect of background elements suddenly popping into view as they get closer, rather than slowly fading in on the horizon as in real life. Pop-

51

52

up often indicates an overtaxed console or poor programming.

Ex am

Ridge Racer makes it hard to predict your next turn.

on g::

popup, pop-in

port

A version of a game for a system other than the one it originally debuted on.

Do not refer to games that are released concurrently for multiple systems as ports. Do not refer to emulated games as ports.

Ex am the Nintendo 64 in 1996, a port of Super

Mario 64 appeared on the Nintendo DS eight years later.

update on g:: copy, carbon copy, transfer, o sse e::

game names

.

portable console, portable system

See

system

.

POV

See

point of view.

power-up

Any item that temporarily gives a character new abilities, new powers, or a statistical bonus.

Capitalize the names of specific power-ups. Refer to game documentation for official names and spellings of powerups. Do not use as a generic term for any in-game item.

Ex am

Fire Flowers, Super Mushrooms and

Starmen.

on g:: powerup, power up, Powerup.

o sse e::

equipment, item

.

Practice mode

See

mode.

producer

The person in charge of managing a game’s development team and ensuring that the game is released on schedule. Producers are usually employed by the game’s publisher. The responsibilities of the producer can vary greatly depending on the company and the product being produced.

An

executive producer

may oversee a number of games and production teams for one company.

o sse e::

artist, developer, publisher

.

profile

A collection of settings and/or player information that can be shared between play sessions or among other gamers. Profiles can be exclusive to a specific game or piece of hardware or shared online.

am e:: Your Xbox Live profile keeps track of your Achievements, as well as what games you’ve downloaded and recently played.

programmer

Anyone involved in writing the actual program code of a game. Programmers can sometimes hold other titles, such as

software engineer.

Programmers are often focused on specific areas of a game, such as gameplay, sound or graphics, and are often noted as such in a game’s credits. Use the most specific title available when referring to a programmer’s position.

Do not use programmer as a generic term for anyone working on a game. See

developer.

am e:: As the lead physics programmer for the game, John Q.

Programmer was responsible for the game’s inventive gravity effects.

o sse e::

developer

.

PSOne, PSX

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

publisher

The company responsible for the financing, manufacturing and marketing of a videogame. Also often responsible for a game’s distribution. See

distributor.

Note that older publishers may now be defunct or subsumed as part of a currently-functioning publisher. In general, use the original publisher’s name, and note the company’s current lineage if context requires. See the

Notable

Companies

appendix for a list of some

defunct/acquired companies.

o sse e::

(appendix)

.

developer, Notable Companies

puzzle

See

Genres (appendix)

.

PvE

See

player-vs.-environment.

PvP

See

player-vs.-player.

pwned

See

leetspeak.

quality assurance

A phase of game development when the game is evaluated and checked for any remaining bugs before shipping to the manufacturer.

Quality assurance is often called

playtesting,

which is performed by a

playtester.

QA

acceptable after first reference.

xa mp next Grand Theft Auto game will be delayed due to a longer-than-expected quality assurance process.

on g:: play-test, Quality Assurance.

o sse e::

bug

.

53

54

racing

See

Genres (appendix)

.

rails

Jargon. A game, or a portion of a game, that limits player control and forces the player through a highly linear sequence. For example, a third-person action game might include brief

on-rails

portions that put gamers into a constantly moving vehicle.

o sse e::

Genres (appendix).

R

For audiences that are not familiar with the Entertainment Software Rating

Board’s rating system, include a short description of the rating.

Rated E for

Everyone by the Entertainment Software

Rating Board. See below.

RAM

Short for random access memory

– the quickly accessed internal memory inside a computer or videogame system.

Game code is loaded from a hard drive, disc or ROM into RAM before being executed by the system. RAM can also refer to the physical

RAM chips

used for computer RAM, which are usually stored on

RAM sticks.

RAM acceptable on all references. Use terms for specific types of RAM (such as

DDR-RAM, etc.) only if technical context requires it.

E xa e:: You’ll need to add plenty of

RAM to your PC in order to run Crytek’s latest game, Crysis.

o sse e::

memory, ROM

.

ratings

An evaluation of the ageappropriateness of a game’s content by an independent body.

The game is rated E.

An E-rated game. See special note about

Rating Pending below.

given the following ratings by the

Entertainment Software Rating Board, an offshoot of the Entertainment Software

Association .

EC (Early Childhood):

May be suitable for ages three and older.

K-A (Kids to Adults):

May be suitable for ages six and older. Retired by the ESRB on Jan. 1, 1998. Use only in historical contexts.

E (Everyone):

May be suitable for ages six and older.

E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older):

May be suitable for ages ten and older. Added by the ESRB on March 2, 2005.

T (Teen):

May be suitable for ages 13 and older.

M (Mature):

May be suitable for ages 17 and older.

AO (Adults Only):

Should only be played by persons 18 years and older.

RP (Rating Pending):

Submitted to the

ESRB and awaiting final rating. Write out as

Rating Pending

or

not yet rated

on all references.

From 1993-1994, Sega’s Video Game

Rating Council rated games

GA

(General

Audiences),

MA-13

(Mature Audiences:

Parental Discretion Advised), and

MA-17

(Mature Audiences: Not Appropriate for

Minors).

European games are currently rated under the

Pan-European Game Information

system (

PEGI

acceptable after first reference), with ratings of

3+, 7+, 12+, 16+

and

18+

(slightly different in Finland and

Portugal).

C on ntt D essccrriip

PEGI ratings both come accompanied by specific content descriptors that detail specific potentially objectionable content in the game. These descriptors are not required when mentioning a game’s

ESRB rating, but it’s recommended that they be included in all game reviews.

E xa e:: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Stories is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for blood and gore and intense violence.

real-time strategy

dix)

.

See

Genres (appen-

recommended requirements

See

system requirements.

refresh rate

See

frame rate.

replay

Any further play of a game after the first playthrough.

A game’s lasting value is often referred to as its

replayability

or

replay value.

E xa e:: Resident Evil 4 is fun while it lasts, but its replayability suffers after the first playthrough.

o sse e::

play, play session, playthrough

.

reset

The act of restarting a game, system or computer.

Restart

acceptable on all references.

Many game systems have a

reset button.

o sse e::

bootup

.

resolution

The number of pixels contained in an image or screen. Note that the resolution of which a system or computer is capable, the resolution of which a screen is capable and the resolution for which a game is programmed may all be different.

When describing computer games and monitors, list resolution as horizontal pixels and vertical pixels separated by an

“x.” The game requires a monitor capable of 1024x760 resolution. (Pronounced “tentwenty-four by seven-sixty.”)

When describing TV-based systems and games, express resolution as the number of vertical scan lines (usually

480, 720 or 1080), followed by the letter p

(for

progressive scan,

which refreshes all scan lines every cycle) or i (for

interlaced,

which refreshes only half the scan lines each cycle).

A resolution of 480i or below is referred to as

standard definition.

720 and higher TV resolution is referred to as

high-definition.

xa mp homes that have TVs capable of a 1080p picture is growing every day.

o sse e::

framerate, HDTV

.

respawn

See

spawn.

restart

See

reset.

reticle

A small graphic overlay most commonly used for targeting in shooting games or action sequences.

xa mp turns from green to red when placed over an enemy unit.

o sse e::

heads-up display

.

reticule

See

reticle.

retro

Catch-all term used to describe older games and systems. Generally, anything two console generations old (or roughly 10 years old) is considered retro.

am e:: The Atari Flashback 2, a modern reworking of Atari’s classic 2600 system, should make fans of retro videogames very happy.

review build

Technical. A final, or near-final, version of a game’s code that

55

56

is mailed out to journalists for evaluation. Reviews should note whether a game is being reviewed based on a review build or a retail copy.

xa mp

MotorStorm arrived in the office yesterday via FedEx.

on g:: final CDs, finals, golds.

o sse e::

build, gold master.

rhythm

See

Genres (appendix)

.

right-click

See

click.

role-playing

See

Genres (appendix)

.

ROM

Technical. An acronym for read only memory – the type of memory used to store most game data. A digital copy of a game’s code run by an emulator can also be referred to as a ROM.

ROM

acceptable on all references.

Games for cartridge-based systems are encoded on

ROM chips;

games for optical media systems and modern PCs are stored on CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or another disc format. Games are loaded from the ROM into RAM, where the program code is actually run by the system.

In general, use the specific ROM format (cartridge, CD-ROM, etc.) instead of the more general ROM when referring to the media used to store specific game code.

xa mp original

Super Mario Bros. now fits onto a 3-megabit ROM chip.

on g:: Rom, rom.

o sse e::

cartridge, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, emulator, memory, RAM

.

RP

See

ratings.

RTS

See

Genres (appendix)

.

rumble

See

force feedback.

sandbox

A type of gameplay that pro-

S equivalent to an entire level, or a discrete sub-section of a level. In three-dimensionvides players with a broad variety of tools al games, the notion of a screen is arbiand allows them to determine their own trary, and the usage is discouraged.

objectives.

SimCity is an example of a

Can also be used to describe a monitor sandbox game.

or TV on which a game is played or as an

Sandbox may also refer to open-world abbreviation for a screenshot.

games such as the Grand Theft Auto series and

Scarface: The World is Yours.

o sse e::

open-world

.

ers would walk to the edge of the screen before the game would scroll over to the next room.

o sse e::

monitor, screenshot

.

Saturn

See

System Names (appendix)

.

score

A method of measuring progress and ability in many games.

Score is usually measured in points, but can be measured in any unit, depending on the game.

Do not refer to in-game elements such as number of kills, money or time remaining as the “score,” unless the game itself specifically calls them such.

screenshot

A static snapshot of a gameplay screen. Coined by Bill Kunkel.

Abbreviation to

screen

acceptable on all references.

for God of War 2 gave a glimpse of the kinds of beasts hero Kratos would face in his new adventure.

o sse e::

screen

.

only first-person shooters to measure a player’s score.

o sse e::

high score, points

.

screen

An individual static frame or

TV/monitor-sized background displayed on a TV or computer monitor. Can also describe a specific in-game interface.

Players can quickly access the weapon selection screen by pressing the triangle button.

In older games, a screen was often the

scrolling

The direction in which a twodimensional game progresses. The most common types of scrolling are

side-scrolling

(left-to right or right-to-left) and

vertically-scrolling

(top-to-bottom or bottom-totop).

Auto-scrolling

games or portions of games scroll the playfield without direct player input.

Mario. Bros. 3’s levels are of the standard side-scrolling variety and allow you to

57

58

play at your own pace, a few of the later levels are auto-scrolling.

o sse e::

Genres (appendix), rails

.

second-party

When a game developer is not wholly owned by a videogame console manufacturer, but has an exclusive relationship with that manufacturer, it is referred to as a

second-party developer

for that manufacturer. Games developed by second-party developers are

second-party games.

Second-party should only be used as an adjective, and never as a noun.

Rare ended its second-party relationship with

Nintendo when it was purchased by

Microsoft. NOT: Rare stopped being a

Nintendo second party when it was purchased by Microsoft.

Make sure it’s clear which company a second-party developer is working for, either explicitly or by context.

Insomniac is one of Sony’s many second-party developers.

with second-party developers helped Sony get a bevy of exclusives for the

PlayStation.

party, Second-Party.

o sse e::

third-party developer, first-party, publisher,

Sega CD

(appendix)

.

See

System Names

Sega Master System

See

System

Names (appendix)

.

series

See

franchise.

serious games

Games that utilize interactive tools towards a specific purpose besides entertainment, such as training, politics, rhetoric or education.

Serious games may be fun, but fun is not necessarily their central purpose.

o sse e::

educational games

.

shader

See

shading.

shading

Technical. The graphical display of variable light intensity on various parts of an in-game model. The specific technical systems responsible for shading are

shaders.

o sse e::

lighting

.

shareware

Software that is free to distribute and use in limited form or for a predetermined trial period. Usually used to allow audiences to sample a product before making a full purchase.

cess is attributed to the fact that the first few levels of the game were available as shareware.

o sse e::

demo, freeware

.

shmup, shoot-’em-up

See

Genres

(appendix)

.

shortcut

See

hotkey.

side-scrolling

See

scrolling.

simulation

See

Genres (appendix)

.

single-player

A game designed to be played by a single person.

Only refer to a game as a

single-player game

if it offers no multiplayer modes whatsoever. Otherwise, refer to a game’s

single-player mode

or the single-player portion of a game.

Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon: Advanced

Warfighter shine, you’ll need to ditch the static single-player experience and try the game online.

o sse e::

mode, multiplayer

.

sit-down cabinet

See

system.

Sixaxis

Brand name for the standard controller on the PlayStation 3. May simply be referred to as the PlayStation 3 controller on all references.

o sse e::

controller

.

skeletal model

See

model.

skill

Areas of expertise in which ingame characters may specialize, such as swordplay, armed combat or computer hacking. Most commonly encountered in role-playing games.

Old Republic, you can’t repair droids if your hero doesn’t possess the proper repair skill.

o sse e::

ability, statistics

.

software

Any computer program, regardless of the storage medium or system. Videogames are a type of software.

o sse e::

firmware, hardware

.

software piracy

The act of illegally copying and distributing copyrighted software.

Piracy

acceptable on all references.

a global epidemic, resulting in billions in lost sales.

o sse e::

courier, cracker, pirate, warez

.

spawn

Jargon. The appearance of a player character, enemy, or object in the game world for the first time. Subsequent appearances after death or destruction are called

respawns.

Pac-Man is eating the fruit that spawns underneath the ghosts’ house in the center of the maze.

o sse e::

spawn point

.

spawn point

Jargon. The location at which a dead player character, enemy or item appears on the playfield. Generally used in multiplayer contexts.

spawn point, then trigger it once your enemy respawns to watch his internal organs fly.

o sse e::

enemy, player character, spawn

.

specifications/specs

See

system requirements.

sports

See

Genres (appendix)

.

sprite

Technical. A fixed-size set of pixels.

Jargon. A distinct two-dimensional graphic representing an in-game character or object.

Sprites may be used in both twodimensional and three-dimensional games.

ance, each and every monster in the game is a 2D sprite.

o sse e::

dimension, pixel, texture

.

stage

See

level.

standard controller

See

controller.

statistics

A numerical or graphical measure of your in-game character’s skills/talents/physical prowess. Typically divided into categories such as strength, accuracy, stamina, charisma, luck, etc. In most cases, the higher the score or greater the value, the more able-bodied and skilled in a particular discipline your avatar is.

Can be abbreviated to

stats

on all references.

multiple areas is an easy way to create a well-rounded character in Neverwinter

Nights 2.

readout o sse e::

ability, skill

.

stats

See

statistics.

stealth

See

Genres (appendix)

.

stick

See

joystick.

strafe

In three-dimensional games, a side-to-side movement made without changing the direction a character is facing.

Strafing

is sometimes accomplished by

59

60

holding down a

strafe key.

Using strafing to circle around an enemy while constantly facing it is referred to as a

circle strafe.

how to strafe, or they won’t make it far in

Quake 4’s single-player campaign.

o sse e::

WASD controls

.

strategy

See

Genres (appendix)

.

strategy guide

A published guide focusing on hints, tips and strategies for a particular game.

Guide

acceptable on all references.

When referencing specific guides, be sure to note the publisher as well as whether or not the guide is branded as an official guide. Capitalize and italicize all strategy guide titles.

Do not use interchangeably with walkthroughs, which simply provide step-bystep instructions for progressing through a game and are usually available online.

to Kingdom Hearts, in all of its hardcover glory, is guaranteed to be a collector’s item.

o sse e::

walkthrough

.

instruction manual,

studio

A distinct subset of a videogame developer that works largely independently from the rest of the company.

Capitalize the names of specific studios in all references. When referencing developers, use the more specific studio name rather than the larger company name whenever possible.

responsible for some of the company’s greatest arcade hits.

o sse e::

developer

.

Super Nintendo Entertainment

System

See

System Names (appendix)

.

survival horror

See

Genres (appendix)

.

system

The following terms are often used to describe videogame hardware and software.

arcade cabinet

A single arcade game unit. Sometimes used to refer solely to the outer casing that holds the game.

Use

arcade game

to refer to a game as a concept.

biin nccllu

cocktail cabinet:

Table-shaped arcade cabinet with a monitor facing upward; often used for competitive two-player games.

sit-down cabinet:

An arcade cabinet that requires the player to sit down to play; most commonly used in racing and flight simulator games.

upright cabinet:

A free-standing vertical arcade cabinet.

arcade game:

General usage for any coin-operated videogame. See

arcade cabinet,

above.

arcade system:

Use only to refer to the specific hardware used to run an arcade game or set of arcade games.

System 12 arcade system made converting games to the PlayStation simple.

coin-op:

Jargon. Short for coin-operated. Any machine designed to operate only when money is deposited.

More specific terms like

arcade game

or

arcade cabinet

are preferred for coin-operated videogames. See above.

computer:

While all videogame systems are technically computers, in videogame contexts, only use the term to refer to general purpose computers that are designed primarily for uses other than games. A

computer game

is a game specifically designed for a computer. Do not use computer game to refer to games for console, portable, or mobile platforms.

console:

Any device designed primarily for playing videogames on a television.

Used interchangeably with

home system.

See

portable system,

below.

console system:

Redundant; do not use.

See

home system

below.

game system:

Use on first reference to a system if context is unclear.

Home game system

and

portable game system

also acceptable. See

system

below.

handheld system:

Use

portable system

instead.

hardware:

The physical components of a console, computer, portable or mobile device. Often used to refer to a system as a whole. Usually used in contrast to software.

hardware has skyrocketed during the holiday season.

home console:

Use

home system

or

console

instead.

home system:

Any device designed primarily for playing videogames on a television. Used interchangeably with

console.

See

portable system,

below.

mobile:

In videogame contexts, refers to mobile phones, PDAs, portable media players and other portable devices that play games but are not designed primarily for game playing. These devices should be referred to as

mobile platforms

or

mobile devices,

not mobile systems. Games designed for these devices are

mobile games.

Do not use interchangeably with portable system.

Gage was partially due to the fact that no one could tell whether or not is was a portable system or a mobile device.

peripheral system:

Use when referring to hardware that attaches to another system in order to work. See the

System

Names

appendix for examples.

platform:

Jargon. Used in the context of game development to denote a specific system. A game under development for multiple platforms is a

multiplatform

or

cross-platform

game.

Madden NFL 08 on all major platforms.

portable console:

Use

portable system

instead.

portable system:

A travel-ready, battery-powered system with its own screen.

system:

Any computer, console, portable system or mobile platform capable of playing games.

system, the NES, in the United States in

1985.

unit:

Jargon. Use only in business contexts to discuss hardware or software sales.

lion units of the Wii last month.

system requirements

The hardware, operating system and supporting software recommended by the publisher to run a computer game effectively. Most games have

minimum system requirements

(those required to play the game without significantly affecting the gameplay) and

recommended system requirements

(those required to run the game at optimal speed and graphical fidelity). Most games will run on machines that do not meet the minimum system requirements, but players may encounter performance issues.

In reviewing computer games, both minimum and recommended system requirements should be included as a guide for the reader, as listed on the games’ packaging. Also, be sure to include the

system specification

(system specs after first reference) of the machine the game was reviewed on.

requirements for

Half-Life 2 were so high that most fans had no choice but to upgrade their system in order to play it.

specifications, specs, sys reqs, sysreqs.

61

62

T

See

ratings.

technology tree

In some videogames, a technology tree defines a hierarchy of gameplay skills, units or abilities players must attain in set or branching succession.

Generally, in order to access more powerful units or powers in the hierarchy, the player must first research or build the lower-ranking units or powers. For example, in a real-time strategy game, it may be necessary to erect a basic barracks before a building that produces super-soldiers can be constructed.

In some cases, the game design may reward players with units/abilities further along the tree without meeting lower-tier tree requirements.

Tech tree

acceptable on all references.

xa plle included with Civilization help players strategize the development of their army.

Genres (appendix).

tester

A paid member of the game development team who examines and helps eliminate bugs and other programming errors in the game. Not to be confused with a

beta tester,

who is usually a member of the public and usually unpaid.

T

Playtester

acceptable on all references.

beta, developer, quality assurance

.

texture

Technical. A two-dimensional sprite that is placed onto a threedimensional polygonal model to give it a deeper, textured appearance.

Texture map

acceptable on all references.

ping in Gears of War results in a virtual world that’s convincing and cohesive.

model, polygon, sprite

.

third-party

When a game developer is not owned in whole or in part by any videogame console manufacturer, it is referred to as a

third-party developer.

Games developed by third-party developers are

third-party games.

Third-party should only be used as an adjective, and never as a noun.

Electronic Arts is a third-party developer. NOT: Electronic Arts is a third party.

the key to the PlayStation’s success.

party, Third-Party.

developer, first-party, publisher, second-party

.

third-person

See

Genres (appendix)

.

three-dimensional

See

Genres

(appendix)

.

three-player

See

multiplayer.

tie ratio

In business contexts, the number of games sold for a system divided by the number of systems sold. For example, a tie ratio of 3.2 indicates that consumers have bought, on average, slightly more than three games for each system purchased.

Be clear about the interval being discussed for a specific tie ratio, such as a lifetime tie ratio or annual tie ratio. Use numerals when referring to a specific tie ratio. Round specific tie ratios to the nearest tenth (one decimal place) unless additional precision is needed to differentiate two different ratios.

E xa e:: The PlayStation 2’s tie ratio remains among the best for any console over its lifetime.

trainer

A computer program that allows players to cheat at a specific game automatically or by hitting specific keys.

E xa e:: First, load the trainer, then press F12 to instantly get 50 grenades.

o sse e::

cheat, code, hack

.

troll

Jargon. A message board poster who posts provocative claims and statements designed to generate a hostile or angry response. This behavior is referred to as

trolling.

o sse e::

grief

.

TurboDuo, TurboExpress,

TurboGrafx-16, TurboGrafx-CD

See

System Names (appendix)

.

turn-based

See

Genres (appendix)

.

two-dimensional

See

Genres

(appendix)

.

two-player

See

multiplayer.

63

64

U-V

UMD

See

Universal Media Disc.

base of the console.

on g:: usb, Usb, U.S.B.

o sse e::

peripheral

.

unit

See

system.

unlockable

Hidden content or items that are unlocked through specific in-

Universal Media Disc

The proprietary storage format designed for the

PlayStation Portable system. It consists of an optical disc housed inside a clear plastic shell.

UMD

acceptable after first reference.

UMDs can be used to store both games and movies; be sure to distinguish between the two if context requires.

E xa e:: Sony is sticking with the game actions. Unlockables are usually not essential to play and/or complete the game, but are added as a bonus for players who complete difficult tasks.

am e:: GoldenEye 007’s

Invisibility mode is one of the most difficult-to-obtain unlockables in videogame history.

o sse e::

Achievement, bonus, cheat code, Easter egg

.

Universal Media Disc format even though sales of UMD movies are down.

on g:: Universal Memory Disc,

Universal Magnetic Disc, umd, universal media disc, UMD-ROM.

o sse e::

CD, CD-ROM, disc, optical media

.

Universal Serial Bus

A standard for connecting peripherals to hardware.

USB

acceptable on all references.

Devices that use a USB connection are said to be

USB-compatible.

Use USB 1.1,

update

A piece of software that adds or fixes content in an already existing game. An update is not a sequel or an expansion pack, but usually expands the world of the game in a small, but significant fashion.

An update can include a patch, but the terms are not interchangeable.

am e:: The latest update to Auto

Assault introduces two new free areas to play in.

on g:: upgrade.

o sse e::

expansion pack, patch

.

upright cabinet

See

system.

USB 2.0, etc., to differentiate various

USB standards in technical contexts.

xa mp wireless controller, simply plug it into one of the two USB slots found at the

USB

See

Universal Serial Bus.

user

Technical. General term for any-

one using a computer or video game system. Sometimes called

end-user

in business contexts. Use

gamer

or

player

in non-technical contexts.

o sse e::

gamer, player

.

vaporware

Jargon. A piece of hardware or software or a peripheral that has languished in development limbo despite heavy promotion.

xa mp remains vaporware over 10 years after it was originally announced.

vector

Technical. A graphics format that represents 2D images as a collection of lines and other geometric shapes.

Vector graphics can be scaled to any size without a loss in quality.

Vector graphics can be seen in action on old arcade games such as Asteroids as well as the Vectrex game system.

o sse e::

(appendix)

.

bitmap, System names

vehicular combat

(appendix)

.

See

Genres

version

See

game names.

vibration

See

force feedback.

video card

Technical. The piece of hardware that stores a graphics processor used by a computer to render and output a high-quality video signal on a monitor or television.

xa mp the office didn’t have updated video cards, and therefore couldn’t run the latest

F.E.A.R. expansion pack.

on g:: 3D accelerator, 3D-accelerated, graphic accelerator, graphics card, videocard, video-card.

videogame

Catch-all term for any type of interactive entertainment software. Always write as one word.

Videogames can be divided into subcategories including:

console games, portable games, computer games, arcade games

and

mobile games.

All can be generally referred to as

videogames.

See the

system

entry for more on the differences between these subgroups.

Game

acceptable on all references, except those in which the context makes it hard to distinguish videogames from non-electronic games, such as sports, tabletop or board games.

am e:: Videogame fans always looked forward to seeing the best upcoming games at the Electronic

Entertainment Expo.

on g:: electronic game, VideoGame,

Video Game, video-game, video game o sse e::

gamer, gaming, interactive entertainment, mechanical game, software, system

.

Virtual Boy

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

Virtual Console

A service offered on the Nintendo Wii that provides downloadable, emulated games. Be sure to note the system Virtual Console games were originally released for when discussing them.

o sse e::

emulator, system

.

virtual reality

Jargon. Catch-all term for technological attempts to create a more immersive gaming experience by using hardware such as stereoscopic goggles, glove sensors or motion-sensing equipment.

VR

acceptable after first reference.

am e:: Whether or not games ever achieve the kind of virtual reality made famous by

Star Trek’s Holodeck, players will continue to enjoy games for current systems.

65

66

W-Z

walkthrough

A detailed, step-by-step description of how to complete a videogame, in part or in its entirety.

Strategy guides may include walkthroughs, but the terms are not interchangeable.

xa mp play through Myst without having to consult a walkthrough once or twice.

on g:: walk-through, walk through.

o sse e::

strategy guide

.

warez

Jargon. Slang for pirated or illegally copied software.

xa mp be beneficial to your bank account, but people have been sent to prison for doing so.

o sse e::

pirate, software piracy

.

WASD controls

Jargon. A videogame control scheme that used the W, A, S and

D keys on a keyboard to control forward, leftward, backward and rightward character movement, respectively. Often used in first-person computer games and paired with mouse control of the player’s direction and perspective.

xa mp nal Doom ensured that WASD controls would become the standard for the firstperson shooter genre.

o sse e::

controls, strafe

.

network (WLAN) based on the IEEE

802.11 standard.

Note that not all wireless networks use the Wi-Fi standard. Wi-Fi should not be used as a generic term to describe any wireless LAN.

am e:: Though the Xbox 360 doesn’t have Wi-Fi support built in, Microsoft offers a small USB attachment to connect the system to your Wi-Fi network.

on g:: Wifi, WiFi, wifi, wireless fidelity o sse e::

WLAN

.

Wii

See

System Names (appendix)

.

Wii remote

Acceptable on all references to the standard Wii controller. The optional attachment that includes an analog stick is called the

Nunchuk.

am e:: The Wii remote is all that’s necessary for most Wii Sports minigames, but the boxing mini-game requires the Nunchuk as well.

on g:: Wiimote, wii remote o sse e::

(appendix)

.

controller, System Names

Windows

(appendix)

.

See

Operating Systems

WLAN

Technical. Short for wireless local area network – a local network that connects network nodes together wirelessly. Wi-Fi is a popular form of WLAN.

WLAN acceptable on all references.

Wi-Fi

A form of wireless local area

xa mp dramatically simplifies the coordination of a LAN party.

o sse e::

LAN, LAN party, Wi-Fi

.

WonderSwan

See

System Names

(appendix)

.

world

A game’s overall environment or setting, or a specific in-game area which shares a common conceptual and graphical theme.

Certain games are separated into levels, missions, or stages rather than worlds – go by the description used by the game itself whenever possible.

xa mp dangerous for two reasons: Sub-zero temperatures and the fact it’s filled with giant bugs.

o sse e::

level, mission, stage

.

Xbox, Xbox 360

(appendix)

.

See

System Names

Xbox Live

Microsoft’s network for online multiplayer gaming, communication and content downloads on the Xbox and Xbox 360.

on g:: Xbox Live!, Xbox 360 Live,

Live.

leaderboard, multiplayer, online.

o sse e::

67

68

APPENDICES

System Names

General Rules

Precede system names with an article.

The Xbox sold well this month not

Xbox sold well this month.

In general, avoid pluralizing system names; use terms like units, consoles or systems instead.

Microsoft sold 100,000 units of the Xbox 360 this month. NOT:

Microsoft sold 100,000 Xbox 360s this month. See the

system

entry.

List the company name with the system name on first reference unless the company name is included the system name (as in Super Nintendo

Entertainment System or ColecoVision).

Company name is optional after first reference.

System abbreviations listed below should never be used on first reference.

In mainstream contexts, list the abbreviation in parentheses after the first reference.

Foreign System Names

In general, identify a system by its domestic name unless you are specifically referring to the foreign version of the system. Identify the domestic counterpart to the foreign system on the first reference in mainstream contexts.

The

Nintendo Famicom (the Japanese version of the Nintendo Entertainment System) was a phenomenal success in its native land.

System Listing

Entries are in the form: First

Reference – Further References

(Abbreviation). If no further reference form is listed, use the full name on all references. Abbreviations should never be used on first reference; do not abbreviate system names with no abbreviation listed. Refer to original packaging and the general rules above for unlisted systems.

3DO

Panasonic was one of a number of licensees that secured rights to produce

3DO systems. The systems were designed by The 3DO Company, which does not have to be listed with the name.

It’s an O (“oh”) not a 0 (“zero”).

Atari 2600 (2600)

Also referred to as the Atari Video Computer System –

Atari VCS acceptable on all references;

VCS acceptable after first reference.

Atari Jaguar – Jaguar

Atari Lynx – Lynx

Bandai WonderSwan – WonderSwan

ColecoVision

Magnavox Odyssey – Odyssey

The first videogame console sold commercially.

Magnavox Odyssey2 – Odyssey2

Mattel Intellivision – Intellivision

Microsoft Xbox – Xbox

Microsoft Xbox 360 – Xbox 360

NEC TurboGrafx-16 –

TurboGrafx-16 (TG-16)

n J ap

NEC PC Engine

NEC TurboExpress – TurboExpress

n J pa

PC Engine GT

NEC TurboGrafx-CD –

TurboGrafx-CD (Turbo-CD)

Peripheral system for the TurboGrafx-16

NEC TurboDuo – TurboDuo

Combo system with the TurboGrafx-16 and

TurboGrafx-CD in one unit.

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Nintendo 64 Disk Drive (N64DD)

Peripheral system for the Nintendo 64.

Released only in Japan.

69

70

Nintendo DS (DS)

Do not expand to

Dual Screen.

Nintendo DS Lite (DS Lite)

Use only when referring to a specific Nintendo

DS Lite unit or units. Use the more general Nintendo DS in other cases.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

n J ap

Nintendo Famicom

Nintendo Game Boy – Game Boy (GB)

May be referred to as the original Game

Boy for clarity.

Nintendo Game Boy Advance – Game Boy

Advance (GBA)

Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP – Game

Boy Advance SP (GBASP)

Use only when referring to a specific Game Boy

Advance SP unit or units. Use the more general Game Boy Advance in other cases.

Nintendo Game Boy Color –

Game Boy Color (GBC)

Nintendo Game Boy Micro

Use only when referring to a specific Game Boy

Micro unit or units. Use the more generic Game Boy Advance in other cases.

Nintendo Game Boy Pocket

Use only when referring to a specific Game Boy

Pocket unit or units. Use the more generic Game Boy in other cases.

Nintendo GameCube – GameCube (GCN)

NGC is the name of a Japanese phone company. Do not use it as an abbreviation

Nintendo Virtual Boy – Virtual Boy (VB)

Nintendo Wii – Wii

From Nintendo’s E3

2006 Style Guide supplement: “The name works best at the beginning of declarative statements. For clarity, it is best to avoid passive verbs and prepositions.”

Nokia N-Gage – N-Gage

Phillips CD-i – CD-i

Sega 32X – 32X

A peripheral system for the Sega Genesis

Sega CD

A peripheral system for the

Sega Genesis

Sega CDX

Only use to refer to the small Sega Genesis/Sega CD combination unit released in March 1994

Sega Dreamcast – Dreamcast (DC)

Sega Game Gear – Game Gear (GG)

Sega Genesis – Genesis

n J pa

Sega Mega Drive (MD)

Sega Master System (SMS)

Do not shorten to Master System.

Sega Saturn – Saturn

SNK Neo-Geo – Neo-Geo (NG)

SNK Neo-Geo Pocket –

Neo-Geo Pocket (NGP)

SNK Neo-Geo Pocket Color – Neo-Geo

Pocket Color (NGPC)

Sony PlayStation – PlayStation (PS)

Do not abbreviate PSX or PS1, as these can be confused with distinct products in the

PlayStation line.

Do not refer to as PlayStation 1 or

Playstation One.

May be referred to as the original

PlayStation for clarity.

Sony PlayStation 2 – PlayStation 2 (PS2)

Sony PlayStation 3 – PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Sony PlayStation Portable –

PlayStation Portable (PSP)

Sony PSOne – PSOne

Only use to refer to the smaller white PlayStation unit released in January 2002

Sony PSX – PSX

Only use to refer to the PlayStation 2/DVD-recorder combo drive released in Japan in 2003

Super Nintendo Entertainment System –

Super Nintendo (SNES)

n J pa

Super Famicom

Tiger Game.com – Game.com

Vectrex

71

72

Operating

Systems

An operating system is a special piece of software that controls the basic functions of a computer.

OS

acceptable after first reference.

Always capitalize the names of operating systems. Preceding the name of an operating system with the company that makes it is optional.

When referring to computer games, identify what operating system they are developed for.

EA is releasing Madden

NFL 08 for Windows PCs. NOT: EA is releasing Madden NFL 08 for the computer. Specify individual versions of the operating system only if context requires (i.e.

in discussions of system requirements).

e tth e ffo wiin op erra xa mp wh n

Microsoft DOS

– DOS acceptable on all references.

DOS 6.0

Microsoft Windows

– Windows acceptable on all references. Windows computers can be referred to as PCs on all references.

Windows 3.1

Windows 95

Windows 98

Windows 2000

Windows ME

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Apple Macintosh

– Macintosh or Mac

OS acceptable on all references.

Mac OS 9.1

Mac OS X

Linux

– Do not refer to specific distributions of Linux.

Genres

General Rules

Be wary when placing a game into an explicit genre.

Different readers have different ideas about what qualifies as a genre and what makes a game part of a particular genre. Many readers – and writers – consider putting games into predefined genres as a false distinction. Whenever possible, describe the gameplay more fully instead of simply shoehorning gameplay into a strict genre definition.

Examples are given only for guidance.

In general, avoid describing a game genre in terms of a prototypical game. Avoid describing a game as a clone of another game unless absolutely necessary.

Sonic is a platform game. NOT: Sonic is your basic Mario clone.

Genre names should always be written in lower case.

Noun versions of genre names (i.e. racer, fighter, first-person shooter) are considered jargon.

When possible, use the full form: racing game; fighting game.

Genres are constantly being created and becoming defunct, evolving and intersecting into totally new categories.

In fact, some entries on this list will likely be obsolete by the time this guide goes to press.

Combining Genres/New Genres

If a game blends two distinct genres that are not listed as a combination on this page, combine them using hyphens: racing-platform; rhythm-puzzle. Be certain that the game contains sufficient elements of both genres to justify a new term. If one genre is dominant, the game might be better described as having elements of the second genre.

Underground is an extreme sports game at its core, but the option to traverse levels on foot adds adventure elements to the mix.

Common Modifiers

The following terms are often used to distinguish major subsets of larger genres.

first-person:

Any game where the player views the action through the eyes of the player character for most or all of the gameplay.

er ( Doom, Serious Sam); first-person action (

Metroid Prime).

massively-multiplayer online:

Any game featuring a large number of players interacting in a persistent world through online communication with other players. Abbreviation to

MMO

is acceptable after first reference.

mo n u ag e:: massively-multiplayer online role-playing game

(MMORPG acceptable after first reference).

real-time:

A game in which action does not stop for the entry of commands.

mo n u ag e:: real-time strategy.

simulation:

When used alone, describes a game whose sole or main purpose is to simulate real-world processes, often without a final goal or explicit purpose ( SimCity, Humans).

When used with another genre name, describes an example of that genre that favors realism over abstraction.

Sim

acceptable after first reference.

( Gran Turismo), fighting simulation

( Virtua Fighter).

73

74 text-based:

A game in which input and output are largely limited to text.

Text-based games can have graphics, but they are usually secondary to the text itself.

om mo ture, text-based role-playing.

third-person:

Used to describe games or situations played from a perspective removed from the character. The action is generally viewed from above or behind a character via either a user-controlled or fixed camera.

C om on ag ess:: third-person action, third-person shooter.

turn-based:

A game that pauses the action periodically to allow the input of commands.

C om on turn-based role-playing.

List of Common Genres

This list of genres is by no means exhaustive, but it represents some of the genres most commonly encountered in videogame discourse. Descriptions, distinguishing characteristics and examples are provided as a general guide – different readers will have different ideas of what makes a game part of a particular genre.

action:

Games that emphasize combat and fighting. Usually involves working through distinct levels to reach boss battles. Historically, action has been used as an incredibly broad catch-all genre for any game that involves combat.

E xa ess:: Ikari Warriors, Monster

Madness: Battle for Suburbia.

Differs from

adventure:

Action games focus more on combat and hand-eye coordination

Differs from

platform

: Action games focus less on jumping puzzles and navigating complex passages.

Differs from

fighting

: Action games focus on a succession of massive battles with some exploration rather than distinct one-on-one fights.

action-adventure:

Games combining elements of both the action and adventure genres.

xa mp

The World is Yours.

The line between action and actionadventure (or action-role-playing) is often very thin, usually depending on the relative importance of combat (action), puzzle-solving (adventure) and statistical character development (role-playing). Use your discretion.

adventure:

Games which focus on problem-solving and puzzles with little to no action. Examples: Maniac Mansion,

King’s Quest.

Differs from

role-playing:

Adventure games have little to no statistical character development or leveling up involved.

Common modifier:

point-and-click

– An adventure game in which your character is displayed on screen and control is primarily mouse-driven.

beat-’em-up:

Jargon. Action games that feature hand-to-hand combat against swarms of opponents. Interchangeable with brawler, also jargon.

xa mp

Streets of Rage.

compilation:

A single disc or cartridge that collects many previously-released games into one package.

xa mp

Namco Museum.

extreme sports:

Games featuring representations of unconventional action sports; games that require, or encourage, the execution of tricks.

xa mp

SSX Blur.

fighting:

Games that focus exclusively on one-on-one combat.

xa mp

Fighter.

flight simulation:

Games that represent a realistic simulation of airplane physics, sometimes with an emphasis on combat.

E xa ess:: Falcon, Microsoft Flight

Simulator.

god game:

Jargon. Use simulation instead.

hack-and-slash:

Jargon. Games that focus on melee-heavy fantasy combat.

E xa ess:: Dynasty Warriors, Golden

Axe.

party:

Games that focus on short, simple mini-games which are designed to be played by multiple players.

E xa ess:: Mario Party, Fuzion

Frenzy 2.

platform:

Games focusing on jumping or navigational challenges. Often include elements of action games.

E xa ess:: Pitfall, Super Mario Bros.

Differs from

action

: Platform games focus more on jumping and navigating complex passages than on combat.

puzzle:

Games that involve abstract puzzle-solving exclusively.

E xa ess:: Tetris, Bust-a-Move.

racing:

Games featuring time-based competition between characters or vehicles.

E xa ess:: Super Mario Kart,

Gran Turismo.

role-playing:

Games in which you assume the role of a character or group that must solve problems, interact with non-player characters and engage in combat, with statistical character development paramount.

RPG

acceptable after first reference. Combat may be

turn-based

or

real-time.

E xa ess:: Final Fantasy, Dragon

Quest.

Common modifiers:

action role-playing:

Role-playing games with an emphasis on real-time exploration and melee combat.

Action RPG

acceptable after first reference.

xa mp

Diablo.

tactical role-playing:

Turn-based roleplaying games that emphasize character positioning, movement and attack range on a clearly delineated battlefield.

RPG

acceptable after first reference.

Tactical

xa mp

Disgaea.

rhythm:

Games which focus on keeping time with music, whether through button presses on a standard controller or manipulation of a special controller such as a dance pad or microphone.

xa mp

Space Channel 5.

shoot-’em-up:

Jargon. Games defined by their frenetic pace, emphasis on ostentatious weapon-based combat and massive body counts. Games that usually involve flying or driving a vehicle and shooting everything on screen other than yourself. Often abbreviated as

shmup

, also jargon.

xa mp

Differs from

first-person shooter:

Shoot-

’em-ups don’t use a first-person perspective.

sports:

Games featuring representations of real-world sports.

xa mp

Sensible Soccer.

stealth:

Action games that emphasize conflict avoidance and encourage the use of stealth tactics, including hiding and observing enemies from afar.

xa mp

Splinter Cell.

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76 strategy:

Games emphasizing tactical management of resources and territory against a human or computer controlled opponent or opponents.

Common modifiers:

real-time strategy: RTS

acceptable after first reference.

E xa ess:: Starcraft, Total

Annihilation

turn-based strategy:

E am ess::

Advance Wars, Civilization

survival horror:

Adventure or actionadventure games focused on generating fear and suspense, often with limited resources provided to the player character.

xa mp

vehicular combat:

Action games featuring the explicit use of vehicles.

xa mp

Destruction Derby

Differs from

racing:

Vehicular combat focuses more on destruction rather than quick navigation of a course.

Review

Guidelines

The style of game reviews ultimately depends on the editorial direction and philosophy of the publication running them. There are, however, some general guidelines to keep in mind when crafting game evaluations.

Avoid first- and second-person references in your reviews. Keep your writing squarely focused on the subject matter.

Remove yourself and the reader from the review.

xa mp defeat the boss found in the third dungeon.

on g:: I defeated the boss in the third dungeon with the boomerang.

on g:: You defeat the boss in the third dungeon by using the boomerang.

Remember that each player’s experience with a game in unique. Avoid generalizing about experiences or features that might be unique only to your playthrough. For instance, avoid using the phrase “hours of gameplay” to describe the longevity of a game, since different players will spend different amounts of time with the title.

Craft the review to the audience.

Avoid use of jargon like “boss” or “1-up” if the readers might not have a deep familiarity with gaming.

Use specifics as often as possible.

Avoid abstractions. The more specific details included, the more likely you will engage a reader with your writing.

xa mp ture allows players to spend less time aiming and more time trying to figure out how to defeat the enemy troops.

on g:: The game’s targeting system is well-designed and fun to use.

Ask yourself: How did the game make you feel while playing it? Frustrated?

Angry? Powerful? Overwhelmed?

Useless? Make those feelings come through for the reader.

Avoid cleverness and word games.

Don’t waste time trying to come up with an overly complicated, clever opening and/or closing. Get to the heart of the matter. Be quick about it.

Keep your reviews concise. Time spent reading about videogames is time that your reader could be spending playing videogames!

The easiest games to write about are the ones that are very good or very bad.

The hardest games to write about are the mediocre and/or nondescript games.

Unless specified by your assigning editor or formal publication policy, don’t separate your review into distinct sections. (Paragraph one covers graphics, paragraph two deals with gameplay, etc.)

Instead, weave all these elements into a single, compelling critical narrative.

When editorial policy calls for giving a game a review score, be fair. Not every game produced is an A, and most probably are not even a B. In a world where C is average, dole out the praise sparingly.

Puffing up the score for an average game is not fair to the game or the reader.

Be bold. Be brave. Say something interesting. Ask yourself: What makes your review stand out from the hundreds of other reviews being written at this very moment?

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Top-Selling

Systems

Figures represent the best data available at press time (April 2007) unless otherwise noted and should be considered estimates. Data was obtained from a variety of sources, including public company records and news reports. For up to date sales data estimates for current systems, see http://www.vgcharts.org.

Unlisted systems sold less than five million units worldwide. All numbers are in millions and represent worldwide units shipped unless otherwise noted.

Atari 2600: 25

Nintendo Entertainment System: 61.91

Japan: 19.35

North America: 34

Other: 8.56

Game Boy: 118.69 (Including Pocket and Color)

Japan: 32.47

North America: 44.06

Other: 42.16

Sega Genesis: 30.75

Japan: 3.58

North America: 8.8

Other: 18.37

Super Nintendo Entertainment System: 49.1

Japan: 17.17

North America: 23.35

Other: 8.58

Sega Saturn: 9.26

Japan: 5.74

Other: 3.52

Sony PlayStation: 102.49

Japan: 21.59

North America: 40.78

Europe: 40.12

Nintendo 64: 32.92

Japan: 5.54

North America: 20.63

Europe: 6.75

Sega Dreamcast: 10.6

Japan: 2.3

North America: 4.6

Other: 3.7

Sony PlayStation 2: 115.36

Japan: 24.76

North America: 46.53

Europe: 44.07

Microsoft Xbox: 24

Nintendo GameCube: 21.52

Japan: 4.02

The Americas: 12.74

Other: 4.76

Nintendo Game Boy Advance (including

SP and Micro): 78.86 (through 2006)

Japan: 16.64

The Americas: 40.7

Other: 21.52

Nintendo DS (including DS Lite): 38.26

(As of March 2007)

Japan: 15.68

The Americas: 10.97

Other: 11.61

Sony Playstation Portable: 20.98 (As of

March 2007)

Japan: 5.43

USA: 7.99

Europe: 7.56

Microsoft Xbox 360: 9.68

Japan: 0.38

The Americas: 6.04

Others: 3.26

Nintendo Wii: 6.58

Japan: 2.12

The Americas: 2.64

Other: 1.82

Sony PlayStation 3: 3.15

Japan: 0.87

The Americas: 1.37

Other: 0.91

A Brief History of Videogames

Antecedents

Prehistory

• People play…with rocks and sticks.

• Sports and physical competition are born.

• Board and card games originate.

1800s A political cartoon shows Abe

Lincoln playing Bagatelle, a pinball precursor.

1889

The Marufuku Company is founded in Japan to make playing cards. The company will later change its name to

Nintendo.

1931

Gottlieb releases Baffle Ball and launches the pinball industry. Use of pinball by gambling and organized crime interests leads to government regulation in many locales.

1933

Williams builds

Contact, the first electro-mechanical pinball machine.

1937

The first electronic computer, the

Atanasoff-Berry Computer, is built.

1947 Tokyo Telecommunications

Engineering Company is founded by

Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka. The company starts building pocket transistor radios and grows into the global consumer electronics company known today as Sony.

1954 David Rosen begins importing photo booths to Japan; his company will eventually become Sega.

1957 The Soviet Union launches

Sputnik. Machines grow as entertainment devices alongside growing fears about technology.

The Dawn of Videogames

1958 Willy Higinbotham builds an oscilloscope demonstration that allows players to enjoy a form of tennis at Brookhaven

National Labs.

Tennis for Two is widely considered the first videogame.

1961 MIT student Steve Russell creates

Spacewar on a $120,000 PDP-1 mainframe computer. Other early mainframe games include Hammurabi – a simulation game; Advent – an adventure game; and Lunar Lander – a text-based spaceship landing simulation.

1966 Sega’s coin-operated mechanical game Periscope becomes a hit in Japan and is exported to the rest of the world.

Players pay 25 cents per game. Although this was considered an excessive cost at the time, the quarter becomes the standard fee for arcade game play.

1968 Ralph Baer patents the idea of an

“interactive television game.”

1971 Nolan Bushnell ships Computer

Space for Nutting Associates; the game is generally considered the first nonmechanical coin-operated arcade game.

The game fails to attract an audience – many consider it to be too complicated.

1972 Magnavox releases the Odyssey, the first home videogame system, using

Baer’s technology.

1972 Bushnell starts Atari. Al Alcorn creates PONG, inspired by Baer’s designs.

The game quickly overflows the coin box at its first test location and goes on to become a massive arcade hit.

1972 - 1977 Many companies enter the videogame market with

PONG clones for the arcade and home. By 1977 the fad has died and the videogame market experiences its first “hardware crash.”

79

80

The Atari Era and the Golden Age of Arcades

1976 Mattel releases Auto Race, the first handheld videogame.

1977 Atari releases the 2600. It comes bundled with Combat, a game based on the arcade hit

Tank.

1978 Taito’s Space Invaders arrives in arcades. The game causes a nationwide shortage of 100-yen coins in Japan.

1978 Bushnell forced out at Atari; founds

Chuck E. Cheese restaurant/arcade franchise.

1979 Ex-Atari engineers start Activision, the first third-party developer.

1979 Asteroids is released.

1979 Adventure, the first game to feature an Easter egg, is released for the Atari

2600.

1980 Battlezone, considered the original first-person shooter, is released.

1980 Defender, the first game to feature a mini-map, is released.

1980 Pac-Man is released.

1980 Tempest is released and helps start the games-as-art debate.

Personal Computers Arrive

1979 Flight Simulator released for the

Apple II and TRS-80.

1979 Roberta and Ken Williams found On-

Line Systems, which will eventually become Sierra Entertainment.

1980 Zork is released for the Apple II.

1980 Richard Garriott codes Akalabeth on

Apple IIe; the

Ultima series is born.

1982 Trip Hawkins founds Electronic Arts.

1983 EA’s One-on-One featuring Julius

Erving and Larry Bird becomes the first licensed sports videogame.

The End of the Atari Era

1982 Shigeru Miyamoto repurposes old

Radar Scope arcade cabinets into

Donkey Kong. The game is the first appearance of Mario and becomes an improbable hit for Nintendo.

1982 Retailers return millions of unsellable E.T. and Pac-man cartridges for the Atari 2600. The cost of absorbing the returns is identified as one of the causes of the second videogame crash.

1983-85 Second videogame crash. Too many low-quality games result in a rapid drop in software prices. In 1982, industry revenues sat at $3 billion; by

1985 they decline to $100 million. Atari alone loses $539 million in 1983.

The 8-Bit Era:

The Return of the Consoles

1983 The Family Computer (Famicom) is released in Japan.

1984 Alexei Pajitnov creates a computer version of Tetris while working at

Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the

Academy of Science of the USSR.

1985 The American version of the

Famicom, the Nintendo Entertainment

System (NES), is test-marketed in New

York City.

Super Mario Bros. debuts.

1986 - 1991 The NES is a huge hit worldwide, selling over 60 million units and dominating the home videogame market.

The 16-bit Era

1989 Sega launches the Genesis, the first

16-bit game console. Interest in the NES starts to decline.

1989 Nintendo launches the Game Boy with Tetris packed in. The system will go on to sell over 100 million units worldwide and dominate the handheld gaming market until the release of the Game

Boy Advance in 2001.

1990 Super Mario Bros. 3 is released. It becomes a huge hit for the NES, grossing

$500 million.

1991 The Super Nintendo Entertainment

System (Super NES) is released.

1991 id Software’s first-person shooter

Wolfenstein 3D ships and puts computer gaming back on the map.

1991 Civilization is released for the PC.

1992 Westwood releases Dune II, establishing the real-time strategy genre.

The PC Strikes Back

1989 Will Wright creates SimCity.

1993 Myst is released for the Macintosh and becomes the first major videogame to push CD-ROM technology and high-end multimedia.

1993 Doom is released for the PC.

The Next Generation and Beyond

1994 The Sony PlayStation and Sega

Saturn are launched in Japan. The

PlayStation goes on to become Sony’s best selling product while the Saturn quickly flops.

1995 The Saturn and PlayStation are released in North America.

1996 The Nintendo 64 launches, and is the last major cartridge-based home system.

1999 Sega launches the Dreamcast in an attempt to overcome the mistakes made with the Saturn. The system flounders in the marketplace despite critical praise for games such as

Seaman and Soul Calibur.

First system with a built-in modem.

2000 Sony launches the PlayStation 2.

The system goes on to dominate the market with over 100 million systems sold worldwide over the next seven years.

2000 The Sims launches and goes on to become the biggest selling PC game of its era.

2001 Dreamcast pulled from the market,

Sega leaves the hardware business to become a third-party software publisher.

2001 Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance and

GameCube are both released.

2001 Microsoft launches the Xbox and loses a reported $1.5 billion in the first 18 months. Still, the system establishes

Microsoft as a viable player in the games business.

2004 Halo 2 attracts approximately 1.5

million pre-orders, gaining worldwide media attention.

The Rise of the MMO

1996 Meridian 59 is released as the first graphical massively-multiplayer online game.

1997 Ultima Online successfully expands the audience for MMOs.

1999 EverQuest and Asherons’ Call released. MMO role-playing games reach new level of popularity and relevance.

The slang term “Evercrack” enters the cultural vocabulary to represent the genre’s addictive qualities.

2002 Microsoft launches Xbox Live; millions of gamers pay a fee for the premium online service.

2002 The Sims Online ships.

2003 Star Wars Galaxies, an MMO set in the Star Wars universe, ships.

2004 World of Warcraft ships, goes on to dominate the MMO market with over 8 million subscribers.

81

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The High-Definition Generation

(The Next Next Generation)

2004 The Nintendo DS, the first dualscreened portable, launches. The touchscreen-enabled device grows from curious gaming oddity to top-selling portable system.

2004 Sony launches its long-theorized handheld system, the PlayStation

Portable. The all-purpose device plays movies, games, and music, and can connect to the Internet wirelessly.

2005 The Xbox 360 ushers in the era of high-definition console gaming with support for 720p resolution in every game.

2006 Brain Age: Train Your Brain in

Minutes a Day on the Nintendo DS generates a new level of mainstream interest in gaming.

2006 The PlayStation 3 ships in North

America.

2006 Nintendo’s Wii becomes the nextgen console of choice over the 2006 holiday season, thanks in part to its novel motion-sensitive controller and the release of the first Zelda game –

Twilight Princess – in three years. Still, the PlayStation 2 outsells all other consoles during the same period.

Notable

Characters

Capitalize character names as proper names on all references. For characters not listed below, refer to in-game text or accompanying instruction manual for spelling. If no name is given, use a short description of the character.

xa mp warp to another level.

on g:: Use the warp to transport

Ship to another level.

If a character shares his/her/its name with the game, italicize the name only when referring to the game, not the character.

CHARACTERS:

Aeris Gainsbourough: Aeris acceptable on all references. Not: Aerith.

Bowser: Final boss of many Mario games. Not: Koopa.

Crash Bandicoot: Star of popular series developed by Naughty Dog. Crash

Bandicoot is not the official mascot of

Sony or the PlayStation. Crash acceptable on all references.

Dr. Robotnik: The main boss/antagonist of nearly every Sonic the Hedgehog game.

Duke Nukem: Never use Nuke’m,

Nuk’em, etc.

Dig Dug: Italicize the game name, but not the character name.

Donkey Kong: Star of Donkey Kong series of games. Appeared in Donkey

Kong Country, but not its sequels.

Frogger: Proper name for the main character in the Frogger series.

Jak and Daxter: Stars of the eponymous action-adventure series.

Ken Masters: The popular, blond

American from the Street Fighter series.

Ken acceptable on all references.

Lara Croft: The buxom main character from the Tomb Raider franchise.

Immortalized in a series of films starring actress Angelina Jolie.

Leisure Suit Larry: The libido-driven lead of the eponymous series of saucy, tonguein-cheek adventure games.

Link: Protagonist in The Legend of

Zelda series.

Luigi: Mario’s brother, eternal understudy of the Super Mario Bros. series.

Mario: Plumber (originally carpenter) mascot of Nintendo, star of over 100 games. Never refer to him as Super

Mario.

Master Chief: Protagonist in the Halo game series.

Mega Man: Robotic star of dozens of action games. Always two words.

Ms. Pac-Man

Pac-Man

Princess Toadstool: Used interchangeably with Princess Peach to describe the damsel-in-distress/heroine of the Mario series.

Ryu: Popular Japanese brawler from the Street Fighter series.

Ryu Hyabusa: Headliner of the Ninja

Gaiden series.

Samus Aran: Armored heroine of the

Metroid series. Samus acceptable after first reference.

Sims: Use specific avatar names for individual Sims.

Solid Snake: Protagonist for most of the

Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid series.

Snake acceptable after first reference, but be careful of context to avoid confusion with other characters named Snake.

83

84

Sonic the Hedgehog: Sega’s mascot, known for his speed and trademark sneakers. Sonic acceptable on all references.

Tommy Vercetti: Star of Grand Theft

Auto: Vice City, but not its sequels or prequels.

Yoshi: Mario’s mountable dinosaur pal.

First appeared in Super Mario World.

Zelda: Princess rescued in the Legend of Zelda series. The hero/protagonist of the series is Link.

Notable

Companies

Specific units, divisions and branches of each company may use specific style or nomenclature not listed below. Do not follow company names with Co., Ltd.,

Corp., etc. except in business contexts.

Be as specific as possible when referencing subsidiary companies; see

developer, publisher

entries.

2K Games

2K Sports

The 3DO Company (now defunct)

Acclaim Entertainment (now defunct)

Activision

Aspyr Media

Atari

ATI

Atlus

Bethesda Softworks

BioWare

Blizzard Entertainment

Disney Interactive Studios (formerly

Buena Vista Interactive)

Capcom

Codemasters

Crave Entertainment

Crystal Dynamics

Data East

EA Mobile Games eGames

Eidos Interactive

Electronic Arts

Enix: Merged with Square Soft to form

Square Enix in April, 2003. Refer to Enix only in historical contexts.

Epic Games

Funcom

Gameloft

Groove Games

GT Interactive (acquired by Infogrames)

Hands-On Mobile

Harmonix (acquired by MTV)

I-play id Software

Ignition Entertainment

Iguana Entertainment

Interplay Entertainment

KOEI

Konami

LucasArts

Mad Catz

Majesco Entertainment

Mattel

Maxis (acquired by Electronic Arts)

Microprose (acquired by Hasbro

Interactive)

Microsoft

Microsoft Game Studios

Midway

Namco Bandai Games

NCsoft

Neversoft

Nintendo

NIS America

NVIDIA

Nyko

85

86

O3 Entertainment

Origin Systems (acquired by

Electronic Arts)

Psygnosis (now defunct)

Raven Software

Razer

RedOctane (acquired by Activision)

Rockstar Games

SCi Games

Sega Sammy Holdings

Sierra Entertainment (acquired by

Vivendi Unviersal Games)

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Sony Online Entertainment

Sony Pictures Digital

(mobile phone games)

Spectrum Holobyte

(acquired by Hasbro Interactive)

Square Soft: Merged with Enix to create Square Enix in April 2003. Refer to

Square Soft only in historical contexts.

Square Electronic Arts LLC (owned by

Square and Electronic Arts. Folded back into Squaresoft, Inc. and changed to

Square Enix, Inc.)

Square Enix

Stardock

Strategic Simulations, Inc. (“SSI”)

Taito

Take 2 Interactive

Technos Japan Corporation (now defunct.

Assets acquired by Atlus)

THQ

THQ Wireless

Ubisoft

US Gold (acquired by Eidos Interactive)

Virgin Interactive Entertainment

Vivendi Universal Games

Webzen

XS Games

XSEED

Notable Names

Al Alcorn: Designer of PONG.

Robert “Robbie” Bach: President of the

Entertainment & Devices division at

Microsoft, where he is in charge of the

Xbox/Xbox 360 product line.

Ralph Baer: Creator of the first home gaming console, the Magnavox Odyssey.

Clifford “CliffyB” Bleszinski: Energetic designer for Epic Games, known for his work on the Unreal series and Gears of

War.

Bruno Bonnell: Founder of Infogrames, and former chairman and chief creative officer of Atari.

Ed Boon: Creative director at Midway; responsible for the Mortal Kombat series.

Nolan Bushnell: Creator of Computer

Space, the first coin-operated arcade game, and founder of Atari.

John Carmack: Lead programmer and technical visionary on

Doom and Quake.

Responsible for creation of id Software, along with John Romero and others.

Louis Castle: Responsible for the Dune and

Command and Conquer series.

Reginald “Reggie” Fils-Aime: Popular and outspoken president of Nintendo of

America.

Richard “Lord British” Garriott: Creator of the Ultima series.

Ron Gilbert: Computer game designer and programmer; creator of the Script

Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion

(SCUMM) toolset, which was used to create iconic adventure games Maniac

Mansion and The Secret of Monkey

Island. Also known for his groundbreaking work on the

Putt-Putt series.

Trip Hawkins: Founder of Electronic

Arts, 3DO and Digital Chocolate.

Kaz Hirai: President and group chief operating officer, Sony Computer

Entertainment Interactive.

Yuji Hori: Developer at Square Enix responsible for the Dragon Quest series.

Sam Houser: President of Rockstar

Games; the creative force behind Grand

Theft Auto series.

Koji Igarashi: Producer for the

Castlevania series.

Keiji Inafune: Producer at Capcom who created Mega Man.

Tomonobu Itagaki: Producer at Tecmo’s

Team NINJA; Creator of the Dead or

Alive series.

Satoru Iwata: President and CEO,

Nintendo Co., Ltd.

Toru Iwatani: Creator of Pac-Man.

David Jaffe: Game designer and producer known for his work on God of War and outspoken game industry critic.

Eugene Jarvis: Creator of Defender and

Robotron 2084.

Hideo Kojima: Creator of the Metal Gear

Solid franchise.

Koji Kondo: Nintendo composer, best known for his work on the Mario and

Zelda series.

Ken Kutaragi: Chairman and group chief executive officer, Sony Computer

Entertainment Interactive. Father of the

PlayStation.

Lorne Lanning: Creator, with Sherry

McKenna, of the

Oddworld series.

Sid Meier: Lead designer of

Civilization, Pirates! series.

87

88

Steve Meretzky: Designer noted for his work on classic text-based games such as

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and

Planetfall.

Shinji Mikami: Creator of the Resident

Evil series.

Rand and Robin Miller: Brothers responsible for the Myst series.

Shigeru Miyamoto: Designer responsible for the creation of

Donkey Kong, Mario,

Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda and other popular Nintendo franchises.

Tetsuya Mizuguchi: Game designer for Q

Entertainment, formerly of Sega; responsible for such critically acclaimed titles as

Rez, Lumines and Space Channel 5.

Peter Molyneux: Founder of Lionhead

Studios; known for his work on

Populous, Black & White and The

Movies.

Peter Moore: Corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment

Business, Entertainment and Devices

Division.

Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk:

Founders and joint CEOs of BioWare; famed for their work on Baldur’s Gate,

Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars:

Knights of the Old Republic.

Yuji Naka: Designer at Sega; responsible for Sonic the Hedgehog.

Gabe Newell: Co-founder of Valve software; creator of

Half-Life.

Alexey Pajitnov: Creator of Tetris.

Dave Perry: Founder of Shiny

Entertainment and creator of

Earthworm Jim.

Ted Price: President and CEO of

Insomniac Games, creators of the

Ratchet & Clank and Spyro series.

John Riccitiello: Chief executive officer for Electronic Arts.

John Romero: Co-founder of id

Software; co-creator of Doom.

Hironobu Sakaguchi: Creator of the Final

Fantasy series.

Tim Schafer: Inventive game designer who has worked on titles such as Full

Throttle, Psychonauts and Grim

Fandango.

Warren Spector: Iconic game designer; oversaw franchises such as Deus Ex,

System Shock and Thief.

Yu Suzuki: Noted game designer credited with the arcade classics Out Run,

Virtua Fighter and Shenmue.

Roberta and Ken Williams: Husband and wife founders of On-Line Entertainment, which later became Sierra Online; creators of the King’s Quest series as well as many other popular adventure games.

Will Wright: Designer of SimCity, The

Sims and the upcoming Spore.

Hiroshi Yamauchi: President of Nintendo from 1949 - 2002; oversaw transformation of Nintendo from a playing card manufacturer to a videogame giant.

Kazunori Yamauchi: Producer of Gran

Turismo franchise.

Gunpei Yokoi: Inventor of the Game and

Watch and Game Boy product lines; designer of the Nintendo Entertainment

System; creator of Metroid. Killed in a car accident in 1997.

Notable Games

Civilization: Civ acceptable after first reference. Series sequels use Roman numerals: Civilization II, Civilization III and Civilization IV.

Computer Space: The first coin-operated arcade game. Based on Spacewar for the

PDP mainframe computer.

Counter-Strike: Originally a mod for

Half-Life; later became a standalone game and went on to achieve independent success. Not: Half-Life: Counter

Strike.

Dance Dance Revolution: DDR acceptable after first reference.

Final Fantasy: Use Roman numerals for all sequels. Note that games before Final

Fantasy VII had different numbering schemes inside and outside Japan. Also note that some unreleased Japanese games have been subsequently released outside Japan under the original numbering (so, in North America, there are two completely different games named

Final Fantasy III; one for the Super NES and the Nintendo DS). Make sure the correct numbering scheme and release is clear from context, or else note it in the text.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft

Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty

City Stories, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories:

Note the lack of a 3 or III in all of these titles.

Half-Life: Note hyphenization and capitalization.

Madden: The original game, published in 1989, was titled John Madden

Football. In 1994, the series was retitled

Madden NFL ‘94. Subsequent releases use the year as a part of the title. Refer to the series as a whole as the Madden or

Madden NFL series.

Ms. Pac-Man: Note hyphenization and captialization.

Pac-Man: Hugely popular 1979 arcade game; also shares its name with first international videogame star. Note hyphenization and captialization.

Pokémon: Note the accent and direction on the e.

PONG: Not the first videogame, but the first large-scale commercially successful videogame.

Quake: First-person shooter franchise which rose to popularity by being amongst the first to champion head-tohead multiplayer combat over the

Internet.

SimCity: The game which established the simulation genre. Note the lack of a space between the two words.

Spacewar: The first computer game.

StarCraft: Widely acclaimed sci-fi realtime strategy game spin-off of the successful Warcraft franchise. Especially popular in South Korea. Note the capital C.

Super Mario Bros.: Popular series of platform games first appearing on the

NES. Pronounced as “Super Mario

Brothers,” but it’s always written as

“Bros.” Original arcade game is Mario

Bros. (note: no super). Sequels are Super

Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3.

Subsequent sequels do not include the

“Bros.”

Super Mario Bros. 2: Significantly different games going by this name were released in Japan and other territories.

If the version is not clear from context, be sure to note it in the text.

Super Mario World: Not: Super Mario

Bros. 4: Super Mario World.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island: Yoshi’s

Island is acceptable after first reference.

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The Legend of Zelda: Series name may be omitted for sequels. Do not use numbers except to reference Zelda II: The

Adventure of Link.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Tony Hawk’s

Underground, Tony Hawk’s Project 8: Note the apostrophe and “s” in all these titles.

Tetris: Original version was developed/published by Nintendo for consoles and handhelds, Atari for arcades and

Spectrum Holobyte for home PCs.

Current rights belong to The Tetris

Company.

Unreal, Unreal Tournament: First-person shooter franchise notable for its stunning visuals. A major rival to id’s Quake series.

Warcraft: Fantasy real-time strategy series. One of gaming’s most revered.

Unlike StarCraft, the “c” is not capitalized.

World of Warcraft: Benchmark massively-multiplayer online role-playing game currently with over 8 million subscribers worldwide.

XenoSaga: A popular series of roleplaying games from Tetsuya Takahashi.

OTHER RESOURCES

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Websites

A+E Interactive

http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/gaming

Breaking news and commentary from the San Jose Mercury News.

Buzzcut

http://www.buzzcut.com

Critical videogame theory by

Videogame Style Guide author Dave Thomas.

Digital Games Research Association

http://www.digra.org

Academic resources and articles.

Embassy Multimedia Consultants

http://www.embassymulti.com

Copywriting and industry consulting from Videogame Style Guide and Videogame

Marketing and PR author Scott Steinberg.

GameDaily Media Coverage

http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/media

Criticism and commentary on game journalism by Videogame Style Guide author Kyle

Orland.

GameDev

http://www.gamedev.net

Technical information and articles.

GamePolitics

http://www.gamepolitics.com

Political and social news related to games.

GameSetWatch

http://www.gamesetwatch.com

Breaking news and commentary.

GameStats

http://www.gamestats.com

Real-time tracking of game popularity.

Games * Design * Art * Culture

http://www.costik.com/weblog

Insight from industry insider and Manifesto Games head Greg Costikyan.

Games Press

http://www.gamespress.com

Press releases and game images for working members of the media.

Grumpy Gamer

http://www.grumpygamer.com

Wit and commentary from Ron Gilbert, creator of The Secret of Monkey Island and other landmark games.

International Game Developers Association

http://www.igda.com

The primary membership organization for game developers.

Joystiq

http://www.joystiq.com

News, commentary and witty attitude.

Kotaku

http://www.kotaku.com

News, commentary and witty attitude.

Reality Panic

http://www.realitypanic.com

Industry commentary from the director of the International Game Developers

Association.

Slashdot Games

http://games.slashdot.org

News for nerds. Stuff that matters.

Terra Nova

http://terranova.blogs.com/terra_nova

Academic game blog focused on virtual worlds. Indispensable news and insight.

Videogame Media Watch

http://www.vgmwatch.com

Game media criticism and commentary.

VG Charts

http://www.vgcharts.org

Global hardware and software sales estimates.

Water Cooler Games

http://www.watercoolergames.org

Serious discussion of serious games.

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Articles

Straight to the Source

http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/media/?id=15267

Videogame Style Guide author Kyle Orland explains how to properly source your articles.

The New Game Journalism

http://gillen.blogspot.com/2004/03/new-games-journalism-this-may-turn.html

Follow up: http://gillen.blogspot.com/2005/03/new-games-journalism-year-one.html

Journalist and raconteur Kieron Gillen attempts to define a progressive form of game journalism and criticism inspired by the school of “New Journalists” such as Tom Wolfe.

10 Unmissable Examples of New Games Journalism

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/games/archives/game_culture/2005/03/ten_unmissable_examples_of_new_gam es_journalism.html

The UK’s

Guardian newspaper gives a supportive nod to Gillen’s notion and some of the best examples of the form.

New Game Journalism, An Update

http://mbf.blogs.com/mbf/2005/02/new_games_journ.html

Matteo Bittanti offers some direction for post-NGJ game journalism.

Why Videogame Journalism Sucks

http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/feature/?id=13240

Follow up: http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/feature/?id=13290&page=1

Chris Buffa takes a crack at the eternal question.

The Lester Bangs of Videogames

http://www.esquire.com/features/articles/2006/060610_mfe_July_06_Klosterman.html

Media critic Chuck Klosterman wants to know why game journalism doesn’t have a Lester

Bangs. So do we.

Editorial Integrity

http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=6228583&publicUserId=5379799

Electronic Gaming Monthly Editor-in-Chief Dan “Shoe” Hsu’s editorial on game journalism ethics remains relevant.

Power PR

http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/feature/?id=15160

Videogame Style Guide author Scott Steinberg reveals how public relations representatives and journalists can better relate.

The Good, the Blogged and the Ugly

http://vgmwatch.com/?p=1026

Videogame Style Guide author Kyle Orland explores the brave new world of videogame blogging.

So You Want to Make a Fansite?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/71/25

Videogame Style Guide author Kyle Orland tells you everything you need to know to get started.

Books

Bloom, Steve.

Video Invaders. New York: Arco Pub., 1982.

Burnham, Van, and Ralph H. Baer.

Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age

1971-1984. MIT Press, 2001.

Cohen, Scott.

Zap: The Rise and Fall of Atari. McGraw-Hill, 1987.

DeMaria, Rusel, and Johnny Lee Wilson.

High Score! The Illustrated History of

Electronic Games. McGraw-Hill Osborn Media, 2002.

Herman, Leonard.

Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames. Rolenta Press, 2001.

Herz, J. C.

Joystick Nation : How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts, and

Rewired Our Minds. 1st ed. Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1997.

Kent, Steve L.

The Ultimate History of Video Games : From PONG to Pokémon and

Beyond – The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World.

Roseville, Calif.: Prima, 2001.

King, Brad, and John Borland . Dungeons and Dreamers : The Rise of Computer Game

Culture : From Geek to Chic. Emeryville, Calif.: McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2003.

Kohler, Chris.

Power-Up : How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life.

Indianapolis, Ind.: BradyGames, 2005.

Kunkel, Bill.

Confessions of the Game Doctor. 1st ed. Springfield, NJ: Rolenta Press,

2005.

Kushner, David.

Masters of Doom : How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed

Pop Culture. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 2003.

Poole, Steven.

Trigger Happy : Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution. 1st U.S.

ed. New York: Arcade Pub., 2000.

Railton, Jack.

The A-Z of Cool Computer Games. London: Allison & Busby, 2005.

Sellers, John.

Arcade Fever : The Fan’s Guide to the Golden Age of Video Games.

Philadelphia: Running Press, 2001.

Sheff, David, and Andy Eddy.

Game Over: Press Start to Continue. New York:

Cyberactive Publishing, 1999.

Steinberg, Scott.

Videogame Marketing and PR: Vol 1 – Playing to Win. Atlanta: P3:

Power Play Publishing, 2007.

Takahashi, Dean.

Opening the Xbox : Inside Microsoft’s Plan to Unleash an

Entertainment Revolution. 1st ed. Roseville, Calif.: Prima, 2002.

Takahashi, Dean.

The Xbox 360 Uncloaked:: The Real Story Behind Microsoft’s Next-

Generation Video Game Console. Lulu Press, 2006.

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AFTERWORD

Game Criticism Redefined:

“Is This Game Any Good?”

Because the videogame business is, at heart, a product-driven business, journalists covering the industry constantly face this question time and time again. In fact, videogame reviews and criticism often overshadow other forms of game journalism, from news to investigative reporting and commentary. Oddly, while reviewing turns a quick critical eye toward games, the art of reviewing games receives little critical attention of its own. So turning the tables of game criticism for a moment, we can ask the question: “Is this review any good?”

A final answer to this question will always depend on the basic skills of the writer, the needs of the reader and the style, tone and editorial direction of the publication running the review. Still, a basic framework for game reviews and criticism can help a writer judge the quality of their criticism as well as improve upon it.

First off, it helps to separate the ideas of “reviews” from “criticism.” In a very simple sense, reviews work at the level of explaining what something is while criticism seeks to explain what something means. A review might encourage players to check out

World of Warcraft by describing what it is, championing this feature or that and giving it a place in the world of massively multiplayer online games. A critical piece might explore what it means when so many adults spend so much of their leisure time pretending to be winsome elves.

In this way, reviews and criticism form two ends of a spectrum of game evaluation.

Reviews provide the basic descriptive material of the subject at hand while criticism looks to answer bigger questions around meaning.

In between these two poles sits a form of critical reviewing that borrows from each end and asks the question: What does this mean to me?

The urge to evaluate or produce criticism begins with some form of the statement “I liked” or “I didn’t like.” It’s a natural starting point. From an early age teachers instill this idea. “Why did you like the book?” “What did you see in that film?” “What makes this story more compelling to you than other stories?” Introspection starts the process of discovery and articulation brings out those ideas for others to see and consider.

But really, this sort of criticism is just the theater of taste. If you tell me what you like and don’t like, then I am left to unravel whether your taste means anything to me.

How do I turn what you like into the raw material for the judgments I want to make about what I like? In a sea of uncertainty dotted with isolated islands of ego, everyone gets to be their own critic and no bigger picture emerges.

For this reason, the notion of “criticism” has become associated with reviewers and wags who simply stand on the sidelines and nitpick. Even when the people are smart and articulate, if they simply spit out taste, then the quality of delivery remains a fancy wrapper on a fairly empty package. When you hear a run-of-the-mill movie critic cry, “I loved it!” you only care to the degree that you might agree with them taste-wise.

You don’t have any information to form more sophisticated judgments.

And for many critics, this is as far as criticism goes. Some critics make a career out of broadcasting their personality and opinion in this manner. Readers become familiar with what a critic likes and doesn’t like, so they become a sort of standard measure through consistency, rather than depth of critical insight. Whether you agree with the critic or not, you at least know where they stand. You might actually buy a game or watch a movie simply because a critic you regularly disagree with trashes something.

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You figure if they hated it that much, then there must be something there.

Outside of games, we generally split our reviewers from our critics… and in some cases very vigorously. Pauline Kael wrote criticism; Harry Knowles spouts opinions.

Roland Barthes wrote literary criticism; the book editor in your local paper writes reviews. Lester Bangs wrote rock criticism; Dick Clark only asked “Does it have a beat?

Can you dance to it?” And so on.

From this background, we can put together a model with reviewing as the “tip of the iceberg,” basic criticism reflecting a bit on the subject and popular criticism providing a more fundamental kind of analysis that digs deeper than the review. And, at the base, a form of developed criticism that searches for more fundamental answers to the bigger question of “is this game any good?”

GAME CRITICISM MODEL

• Review – What is it? •

•• Basic criticism – Do I like it? ••

••• Popular criticism – Would other people like it? •••

•••••• Developed criticism – What does it mean? ••••••

Of course, a useful critical perspective can blossom from a review culture. Over the years, many videogame critics have realized that timeless criticism is about more than the opinions of the reviewer. These critics try to place a title in the context of other games. They compare features and player reception between games and try to make more universal judgments about the title. In reviewing Grand Theft Auto, for example, they will talk about the arch of the game series, and compare GTA to other missionbased driving games. They will emphasize what the game does that is new and what it does better than games in the past. They try to answer the question of “Where does this game fit with regards to other videogames?” And, at times, they tackle the question of what the game means to other gamers. “Do you like driving and shooting games?” they ask, “Then

GTA III is for you!” No longer is the review simply about the reviewer.

It is about anyone who might play the game.

Much of professional game criticism today is of this type. Dedicated journalists try to steer their fellow gamers toward quality product. And along the way, they attempt to define what quality is. Unfortunately, many critics stop at this point. They never move fully into the next phase of criticism. They never ask the big question, “What does this mean?”

Many writers shy away from these big questions because they feel that bringing up these kinds of issues is pretentious or making a big deal out of a little thing — a videogame. Really, this is more an issue of style than of substance. Blowhard academics can make simple things sound complex and great writers can make the sublime sensible. Rock and roll and film are mediums filled with critics that manage to entertain, incite and explore their subjects without dipping into self-serving postulation and pondering. Critics such as Lester Bangs and Robert Christgau made sense out of rock and roll without sterilizing it. Pauline Kael turned film criticism into a popular art form without dumbing it down. Roger Ebert carries on that tradition today by striving for meaning in his reviews without resorting to specialized academic vocabularies. Chuck

Klosterman may not get videogames, but he manages to render cheap pop culture into a meaningful reflection on modern society.

Rather than threatening to turn game reviewing into an esoteric art, the desire to plumb the critical depths really comes from the basis of reviewing and popular criti-

cism. Each level of criticism relies on the previous. A critic starts asking about the meanings the game has to themselves, whether or not they like it. Next, they may generalize their tastes into whether others might like the game. Finally, they try to figure out what truths might be contained within that mean something in a more universal context.

If you reviewed GTA III, for example, and really liked it, you could look at it mechanically and wonder why it was enjoyable. You could abstract those reasons to come up with reasons why other gamers might like the game. And, as you reached the next level of criticism, you might start to ask questions like:

• Why is it fun to be bad?

• Does playing a criminal make me want to do bad things in real life?

• If the character I play is a thieving, murdering ex-con, why do I feel such sympathy for him?

• Do we live in an age where media violence has become so normal that we can only laugh about it?

• What is happening in society where behaving badly in a virtual world is so satisfying?

• What is it like to live in a world where a game like this is a best-seller?

Of course, these are only examples. Still, these questions lead far from the sort of review that is concerned with graphics, voice acting, particle effects, control set-ups or cut scenes alone. Certainly, these elements matter, but they are most compelling when looked at in the context of bigger questions that matter not only to the game and the player, but also outside that closed and isolated loop.

Over time, expect to see the evolution of criticism in videogames continue as academics bring their philosophical and structural tools to bear in creating conceptual criticism that will surely disturb gamers accustomed to simpler forms. Look for game reviewers tired of simple recitations of product features to mature into critics. These writers will most likely form the lead column in an advancement of game criticism.

Why? Because, simply, as common reviewing convention grows toward more sophisticated criticism, the critics can help make sense of the medium in both a personal and larger cultural context for gamers.

And this is good news for games.

For videogames to actually grow as an expressive art form and reach beyond the status of toy products built as simple diversions and recognize their full potential as a renowned creative and aesthetic pursuit, people need to talk about them differently.

Game journalists can help lead that conversation by finding more interesting answers.”

David Thomas

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About the IGJA

The International Game Journalists Association was formed in 2004 in an effort to promote the quality and professionalism of videogame journalism. Recognizing both the rapid growth and relative newness of the medium, the IGJA seeks to support individual and group efforts to advance the art of game criticism, news gathering, writing, and reporting. Please join us at

www.igja.org.

About the Authors

Kyle Orland

began writing about games when he founded fansite Super Mario Bros.

HQ (

www.smbhq.com) in 1997. Since then, he’s worked as a freelance journalist for many publications including National Public Radio, Electronic Gaming Monthly,

Gamespot, The Escapist, Next Generation, Joystiq, GameDaily, and Paste Magazine. A complete list of his published works can be found on his workblog

(

http://kyleorland.blogsome.com). Kyle graduated from the University of Maryland,

College Park in May 2004 with degrees in computer science and journalism. His favorite game of all time is Super Mario 64.

Scott Steinberg

is the author of Videogame Marketing and PR

(

www.sellmorevideogames.com) and works as the managing director of Embassy

Multimedia Consultants (

www.embassymulti.com), which counsels game industry leaders on hardware/software development, marketing and promotion. He’s also a former vice president of product acquisitions for Microids and director of acquisitions for

DreamCatcher Interactive/The Adventure Co. He remains gaming’s most prolific journalist, having covered the topic for 300+ outlets ranging from CNN to the New York

Times, L.A. Times, Playboy, Rolling Stone and TV Guide. Other ventures include independent game publisher Overload Entertainment, copywriting company Clandestine

Media and GamesPress.com, the ultimate resource for game journalists.

David Thomas

(www.buzzcut.com) has spent 20 years as a newspaper veteran and teacher specializing in arts and technology criticism. A founder of the IGJA

(

www.igja.org), David remains an advocate for a professional approach to game journalism that doesn’t dilute the fun inherent in the medium. For the past 10 years, he has covered games for The Denver Post and his column is syndicated through King

Features. He regularly freelances for The Escapist online magazine. He also teaches the history of digital media, critical videogame theory, and other game and media-related classes for the University of Colorado.

The definitive guide to mastering the essentials behind making, marketing and promoting product to the world’s most exciting entertainment business – the $13.5

billion computer and videogame industry – is here.

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What critics are saying about

The Videogame Style Guide and Reference Manual

“Long overdue and most welcome… well worth the price of admission.”

Bill Kunkel

Co-Creator, Electronic Games/Editor-in-Chief, Tips & Tricks

“An excellent resource that provides much-needed clarity.”

Scott Alexander

Senior Editor, Playboy Magazine

“A roadmap to help create a consistent style for those wanting to take the next step in their careers.”

Brian Crecente

Editor, Kotaku

“A small step for experienced journalists. A double jump for professionalism across the industry.”

Johnny L. Wilson

Co-Author, High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games

Former Editorial Director, Computer Gaming World

“An essential read for game journalists of any level.”

James Brightman

Lead Business Editor, GameDaily BIZ / AOL Games www.gamestyleguide.com

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