Tis the season that parents and other family members get gaming things for their tiny, and sometimes yelling, spawn. And getting gaming things can be difficult for some as sometimes it can feel like a different language. So that is why I am here. I am here to help drudge through the nonsensical words that the game industry has decided to use. So a parents guide to games. Just at Christmas.
First, lets look and the genre shorthand’s. Most of the time, games use film genres, like sci-fi and horror and such. The anachronisms can be a bit daunting so there are some of the common ones;
FPS = First Person Shooter. These are the ‘in-thing’ right now and most kids want a game that is an FPS. Game like “Battlefield 4” and “Call of Duty: Ghosts“. Just as a note, most FPS’s are 18 (or equivalent) rating and your 14-year-old really shouldn’t be playing them. Having a 14-year-old learn swears from a game is never pretty. Especially when games get the blame for the ensuing shootout. Least in America anyway.
RPG = Role Playing Game. This is usually an add-on. Like ‘fantasy RPG’ or ‘sci-fi RPG’. It just means that the person playing the game is acting as the person they are playing in the game. Just role play but in games. Their maybe sex.
MMO = Massively Multiplayer Online. A game, usually with a subscription fee (or at least micro-transactions), where hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, play all at the same time and with each other. Thank god it’s in a video game. Saying hundreds of people playing with each other can be rather distressing. Site regulars would know that “Second Life” is an MMO. The big MMO is “World of Warcraft” and its many expansions. But is comes with a monthly/yearly fee. In comparison, games like “Second Life” have (“effectively”) micro-transactions but no fee. As does my loved/hated “Planetside 2“.
Platformer: It’s not really short hand for anything but it is usually used for games that involve jumping and climbing. If you’ve player a “Mario” game then you’ve played a platformer. More modern games like the “Uncharted” series are also platformers. They’ve become a popular thing to make. Their fairly easy to play and usually go well so they are a save bet most of the time.
Now on to terms:
Micro-transactions: This is a complicated thing right now in the industry and with consumers. Not what they are but how they are used. Micro-transactions are things you can buy in a game, either to advance quicker in the game or just as cosmetic features for characters in-game, but you pay with real money. Most of the time, things are cheep. Like under a dollar. But sometimes they are expensive or you just don’t realise how much you are paying for it in the long-term. For example, a kid in the UK played a Facebook game that has micro-transactions. His mom paid for a small thing in the game for him but the kid ended up racking up £1500 in costs because he kept pressing the buy button. Cases like this are becoming more common. The reason why they are becoming a big issue at the moment is that large companies like EA are putting micro-transaction into their $60/£40 games. Which if anything else is sheer cheek. Espicaly when they put out DLC like mad. [As consumer advice; If you use micro-transactions, put in your details, buy, they take your details out. Its takes a while but with companies like Apple recording your account data for future reference it may be best.]
DLC = Downloadable Content. This is extra content but you have to pay for it. Sometimes it’s not that much like with “Call of Duty” as it just maps game modes or sometimes it’s additional mission to add to the main story. But there is Stand-Alone DLC which is a new game but using an old game engine. Only one stand-alone comes to mind and that’s “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon“. Far Cry 3 was a FPS that was about survival and the horrors you do to survive. Blood Dragon was an 1980’s style, neon coloured, bombastic shooter. They just used the Far cry 3 engine and map design from Far Cry 3, slapped together a short (but eminently fun) game and sold it cheep. It is the future but normal DLC makes a lot of money for publishers so they are not giving that up any time soon.
That’s pretty much the main ones. I may do this again if there was anything I missed.
May your purchases be cheep and go down well with who you bought them for.