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Note: Most text of the present article comes from the article published in Issue 3 (July 1985) of of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64.
The world of computer games has already spawned a language all its own, which can leave non-initiates completely baffled. So here's explanation of some of the more commonly used terms, including a few we've invented ourselves. We'll be updating this glossary with new terms as the need arises.

Useful abbreviation coined by the mag Micro Adventurer (RIP) for the long-winded term 'arcade adventure' (see below). Not to be confused with the animal or software house of same name.

In its strictest sense this refers to a game in which you control the action by entering simple typed commands on the keyboard instead of having direct movement control over a character as in a typical 'arcade' game. For example, if you were trying to escape from a dungeon, you might try typing commands such as 'Search dungeon' or 'Kick door' or (possibly) 'Look through keyhole'. If the computer understands the command it will either carry it out and tell you the result, or inform you if the action is impossible. A typical adventure would involve exploring various locations in search of objects to help you on your quest. The main challenge of these games is working out how exactly to use the objects. See also TEXT-ONLY ADVENTURE, GRAPHICS ADVENTURE, and ARCADE ADVENTURE.

The most common type of computer game in which you have direct movement control over a character. The term is also sometimes used in a narrower sense to refer only to games which started life in the amusement arcades.

The movement of a character to indicate different actions such as walking, running, leaping, etc. Animation which is detailed, smooth and realistic (and humourous) can add enormously to the graphical impact of a game.

Basically an arcade game (no typed commands), but one which is based around the adventure themes of exploration, object manipulation and problem solving. A typical 'aardvark' will show on screen only a small part of the total playing area at any one time, and to solve it a player may well have to map out the various locations. Examples of such games are Quo Vadis (strong on exploration) and Pyjamarama (strong on object manipulation and problem solving).


Another term for jerky scrolling. (See SCROLLING)

Stands for Completely Vile Game. (Used only in extreme circumstances).

Describes multi-screen games where the picture jumps to a new location as the character reaches the edge of the screen. Contrast with SCROLLING.

An adventure game in which the various locations are illustrated on screen (as well as described).

Short for high resolution. Describes graphics which are finely detailed.

Another term for 'arcade adventure'.

Short for low resolution. Describes graphics which are 'blocky' and lack detail.

A game where the enemies move in regular patterns, and where the skill lies in understanding the patterns and timing your moves accordingly. Many PLATFORM games are also pattern games.

An unfortunate feature of certain pattern games where the patterns never alter and the player has to move through exactly the same route every time he plays. Also known as PS.

A type of game started by Miner 2049'er where much of the action involves leaping around a series of platforms.

Games are often described as having a certain number of screens. This only makes precise sense in flick-screen games where there are distinct screen pictures, locations or layouts. In games where the picture scrolls the 'number of screens' normally refers to the size of the overall playing area.

A very common game feature where the screen picture moves to show a new part of the playing area. It's as if the player is looking at the view through a moving camera lens. In most games which feature scrolling, the picture moves in order to keep the character you control in the centre of the screen. Scrolling can occur in more than one direction and may be smooth and jerky.

A Zzap-coined term to replace the long-winded 'shoot-em-up'. Any game involving stacks of blasting and zapping.

A program which tries to copy as realistically as possible an activity such as a sport or flying an aircraft.

A term used for certain games which are neither arcade nor adventure. Typically they will put the player in a decision-making position, such as commanding a merchant ship or running a company. On the basis of information supplied by the computer he will make a series of choices in an attempt to achieve some goal. Football Manager, speaking of goals, is an example of a popular strategy game. War games are also a type of strategy game.

An adventure in which the various locations are described in words only. The advantage of this is that the memory space which would otherwise be taken up by graphics can be used on extra locations or added subtleties.

To thrash someone at a computer game. As in: 'Penn tanked Rignall at Dropzone.'

To turn in an utterly useless performance on the joystick. 'The ed wimped out again.'



Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (20 January 2002).

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