1 gramer (n.)
Someone who buys only the most popular games with the biggest advertising budgets, such as Halo, Call of Duty or Madden. Despite this, they proclaim themselves hardcore gamers and denounce anyone who enjoys other kinds of games as some sort of lesser player.
2 hardcore (adj.)
A gramer (see above) would say that hardcore games are anything that has a mature rating and realistic violence. Anything else would be casual (see below). A better description of a hardcore game would be one that takes some dedication to play and get the most enjoyment out of. A hardcore game is one that the player wants to keep playing because of its narrative or mechanical sophistication—a “gamer’s game.”
3 casual (adj.)
A time-waster—a game anyone can pick up, play and enjoy quickly. Tetris, Bejewled, Farmville and those with simple, intuitive controls, such as Super Mario, could all be termed casual.
4 western (adj.)
Video games made by western developers, mostly from the United States, which are often faster-paced, with more action and a realistic presentation, with high-fidelity graphics. The narratives are generally more cinematic, and—by leaving the player-character a blank slate—more centered on the player becoming his own character in the game. Western developers also tend to put games in settings familiar to western audiences, such as a Middle Earth-type Lord of the Rings fantasy land, Stars Wars-esque sci-fi, or World War II or other modern war scenarios.
5 eastern (adj.)
These are games made primarily in Japan that usually have a simpler narrative with a strong focus on intuitive gameplay. The action is more subdued and slower-paced, the environments more imaginative, the fictional worlds unique. There is major gameplay and story segregation, since the character the player controls in the game is meant to be not a reflection of that player but a character in its own right with its own development and story.
6 level (n.)
A video game’s “chapter.” Each level in a game usually has its own exposition, conflict, climax and resolution that ties in to the game’s overall plot. From a gameplay perspective, early levels should introduce players to a new mechanic and instruct them on how to use it, while later levels reinforce what has already been learned and teach players new ways to use those mechanics. Levels sometimes culminate in a boss fight (see below).
7 boss (n.)
A big enemy to be defeated, usually with some significance for the game’s plot, so-named because bosses are usually leaders, or of higher rank than the enemies the player fights earlier in the game. They provide a great way to test players on their understanding of the game’s mechanics, and when done well can be some of the most enjoyable and memorable parts of a game. Most games end after a final boss is fought and defeated.
8 four-point scale (n.)
While most reviewers judge video games on a one-to-ten scale, they tend to actually only use seven through ten in practice, with seven denoting an average game. Many gamers have complained about this “four-point scale,” observing that its (presumably) unintentional spread has had the effect of inflating the scores of poor games and undermining the achievements of better ones.
9 hate-out-of-ten (n.)
A term coined by Jim Sterling of Destructoid.com to describe another unintended consequence of the four-point scale (see above), whereby people who like a particular game think that a reviewer’s score of eight out of ten for it means the game is bad and thus get upset with the reviewer. This can lead to situations where reviewers are called out for “attention-mongering” if the score is lower than what reviewers have usually given it.
10 beat the game (v.)
Beating a game means finishing it. While most games’ endings are still often punctuated by the defeat of a final boss (see above), but the games are not designed to actively prevent players from winning, the word beat is a bit of an artifact from the days when you won a game based on a point system and, originally, playing on machines run on quarters in arcades. Now that most games build a narrative for the player to work through while playing, finishing a game is really more like getting to the end of a book than winning in a sport.—NOAH WALDMAN
Noah Waldman is a student at Hunter College in New York City, where he was born and raised. His favorite games are Tetris, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Batman: Arkham City and anything with “Mario” in the title. He urges anyone interested in more about video games to check out Destructoid.com and Extra Credits.