Gaming jargon coined by, or in reference to, specific games Sept 28, 2018 15:21:58 GMT -5
Post by phediuk on Sept 28, 2018 15:21:58 GMT -5
This thread is for video game jargon that has a concretely-identifiable origin. Note that we are tracking terms, not the concepts they signify, which are almost always older.
1-up -- Super Mario Bros. (1985) -- in the sense of "extra life", appears in-game whenever the player acquires an extra life, later used as a synonym for extra lives. The term derives from pinball, where it simply signified the player's turn (i.e., "player 1 is up"); there are some early arcade video games that use this sense.
4X -- Master of Orion (1993) -- coined in the Computer Gaming World review for the game; short for "eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate".
Battle royale -- DayZ: Battle Royale (2013) -- in the sense of "last-man-standing multiplayer game", derived from the DayZ mod of the same name, which itself got its name from the 2000 film.
Cel shading -- Jet Set Radio (2000) -- coined by Sega in their promotion of the game to emphasize its cel-animation-like visual style.
Cutscene -- Maniac Mansion (1987) -- coined by Ron Gilbert in reference to the scenes that would "cut away" from the gameplay to what the other characters are doing. It is not clear when it was first used to mean any non-interactive part of a game.
D-pad --one of EA's Genesis games from 1990 -- derives from Electronic Arts' instruction manuals for their Sega Genesis games, though it's not clear which game was first; Populous, Zany Golf, and Budokan were their first Genesis games, so if anyone wants to check the manuals for those, go right ahead. Note that EA was an outlier for a few years here; Sega's official term for the D-pad was the "D-button" (following on from the A, B, and C buttons), and referred to it as such in their manuals; Nintendo, on the other hand, has always used the term "Control Pad".
Deathmatch -- Doom (1993) -- coined by John Romero and/or Carmack in reference to its multiplayer mode.
Easter egg -- Adventure (1980) -- coined by Warren Robinett in later interviews to describe the secret initials he hid in the game to get around Atari's policy of not crediting game creators.
Fatality -- Mortal Kombat (1992) -- in-game term for finishing moves, later applied (usually unofficially) to other games.
Gibs -- Doom (1993) -- developer jargon humorously comparing in-game gore to giblets; also used in-game in multiplayer when causing a lot of carnage with the rocket launcher ("Ludicrous gibs!")
God game -- Populous (1989) -- coined by Peter Molyneux to distinguish Populous from strategy and simulation games.
Horde mode -- Gears of War 2 (2008) -- in-game term for mode of the same name.
Immersive sim -- Deus Ex (2000) -- Coined by Warren Spector in a Gamaustra postmortem on Deus Ex in December 2000 to differentiate it from other first-person shooters and to emphasize its lineage with first-person RPGs like Ultima Underworld and System Shock.
Ludonarrative dissonance -- Bioshock (2007) -- coined by Lucasarts creative director Clint Hocking in a blog post shortly after the game's release, in which he argues that Bioshock is "dissonant" in its simultaneous promotion of self-interest in gameplay but selflessness in narrative.
Miniboss -- Metroid (1987) -- its first known use is in the English manual, though it is used in a different sense from usual: Kraid and Ridley are referred to as the "Mini-Bosses" in relation to Mother Brain, who is "the boss" of the game. It is not clear when this term was first used to mean a weaker boss within a single level preceding a stronger one.
Mirror match -- Mortal Kombat (1992) -- In-game name for the level where you fight a copy of the character you're playing as.
MMORPG -- Ultima Online (1997) -- coined by Richard Garriott during the game's development to emphasize the "massive" scale of the game and possibilities for interaction with other players.
MOBA -- League of Legends (2009) -- coined by the devs to distance their game from RTSes and to prevent it from being called a "DOTA clone".
New game + -- Chrono Trigger (1995) -- in-game name used for completed files that start the game over again with experience and equipment intact.
Quick time event -- Shenmue (1999) -- uses the term "Quick Timer Event" in-game for button prompts during cutscenes. It is not clear when the "r" was dropped.
Smart bomb -- Defender (1981) -- Appears on the original arcade cabinet beside the button that activates the weapon, which kills all onscreen enemies instantly.
Spawn -- Doom (1993) -- Developer jargon for the event of an enemy becoming an active in-game object.
Strafing -- Wolfenstein 3D (1992) -- Used as a synonym for sidestepping in the instruction manual.
Super effective -- Pokemon Red/Blue (1998) -- In-game term used in the English version to signify an attack's elemental advantage over the opponent.
Survival horror -- Resident Evil (1996) -- coined by Capcom for their promotion of the game, the word "survival" emphasizing scarcity of resources.
Tool-assisted speedrun -- Doom (1993) -- Derives from the first website devoted to such runs, "Tools-Assisted Speedruns" (note the plural), which launched in 1999.
Warp zone -- Super Mario Bros (1985) -- used in-game in the area of the same name.
World -- Super Mario Bros (1985) -- in the sense of "a group of levels"; used in-game for that purpose, although the usage is ambiguous and could also just be the game's term for an individual level.