Monday, February 15, 2010

Vocabulary lesson for the modern gamer

Vocabulary lessons are fun! At least they were fun in grade school. Today I will be playing the role of teacher, and giving the gaming community a vocabulary lesson. Don't worry it's merely a tool to educate you all about the terms some of you use every day without giving them a single thought. This won't count towards your final grade.

Ready?

la⋅zy

[ley-zee] adjective, -zi⋅er, -zi⋅est, verb, -zied, -zy⋅ing. –adjective
1. averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.
2. causing idleness or indolence: a hot, lazy afternoon.
3. slow-moving; sluggish: a lazy stream.
4. (of a livestock brand) placed on its side instead of upright.

How does the word "Lazy" apply to gaming? Well you guys aren't calling out developers and companies for being a hot afternoon, or slow moving or sluggish. I seriously doubt that Casamassina, and Daemon Hatfield wanted Nintendo to lay on it's side by writing their editorials (or did they?) . So The logical answer would be number 1.

However this definition also implies that people who are lazy don't even want to do any activities let alone work. So by that definition then NSMBWii should of just been an upscaled port of the DS game. Of course, anyone who's played both games obviously has seen the effort that has been put into the Wii version to make it better than it's predecessor.

Definition no 1. can be applied in a more logical way; being used to describe anyone who's willing to use this term to describe a game which they have probably never played or have written off due to what someone else has told them.

Example: "Calling a game lazy, without doing research on why or how it is, is lazy."

niche

[nich] noun, adjective, verb, niched, nich⋅ing.
–noun
1. an ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object.
2. a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one's niche in the business world.
3. a distinct segment of a market.
4. Ecology. the position or function of an organism in a community of plants and animals.

–adjective
5. pertaining to or intended for a market niche; having specific appeal: niche advertising.

–verb (used with object)
6. to place (something) in a niche.


Definition 3 is correct for this usage. The word 'niche' in gaming is used as an Adjective; pertaining to a particular type of game. It's actually more about a market targeted at a specific type of gamer. These types of games include (but are not limited to) the following:

Fighting Games
Shoot-em-ups (SHMUPS)
Sports games
Beat-em-ups
Music games
First Person Shooters (FPS)
Role Playing Games (RPGs)
Real Time Simulation (RTS)

and yes Rail Shooters are a niche market.

It's easy to confuse the term since games of niche markets can have long stints of mainstream appeal depending on what the "flavor of the generation" is at the time. Sometimes, developers combine two niche markets together to widen it's target userbase. This is where we see the Shooter with RPG elements, and the Music based Rail shooter. Niche also does not limit itself to regions. Modern Warefare 2 is just as niche as Final Fantasy XIII or Sin and Punishment in respect of who these particular series cater to.

cas⋅u⋅al

[kazh-oo-uhl]
1. happening by chance; fortuitous: a casual meeting.
2. without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing: a casual remark.
3. seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned: a casual, nonchalant air.
4. appropriate for wear or use on informal occasions; not dressy: casual clothes; casual wear.
5. irregular; occasional: a casual visitor.
6. accidental: a casual mishap.
7. Obsolete. uncertain.


Where o where would the casual definition lie in relevancy with gaming? A lot of people would like it to be definition 6 and 7. Definition 2 seems to fit more appropriately, as Casual gamers do not have the serious intention that their "hardcore" counterparts have. Granted that doesn't make them any more or less a gamer than those "hardcore" gamers, either. Quite the opposite. In some cases the Casual gamer was formerly "hardcore" but fell out of gaming due to things like disinterest or monetary constraints, or due to other responsibilities.

When used as a Synonym, or Antonym the definition of "casual" in gaming takes on even more interesting context. One implying a happenstance, while the other seems like we should have seen the casual gaming movement coming generations ago.


1. unexpected, fortuitous, unforeseen. See accidental. 5. random.


1. planned.

hard-core

[hahrd-kawr, -kohr] –adjective
1. unswervingly committed; uncompromising; dedicated: a hard-core segregationist.
2. pruriently explicit; graphically depicted: hard-core pornography.
3. being so without apparent change or remedy; chronic: hard-core inflation; hard-core unemployment.

Why is it that the definition of 'Casual' is so loose when used in context with gaming, and yet the definition of Hardcore is so dead on? During this generation we've seen just about every option applied to gaming in some form. Unwavering uncompromising dedication in the face of some pretty harsh anti-consumer practices (like day-one DLC, Removing dedicated servers, or gimping community support), The graphic and explicit features commonly used in "Mature games" (No i'm not saying Mature games are pornography), and the refusal of some to move out of their current gaming niche (see what i did, there?). A good example could be the anti motion control responses from Sony and Microsoft users in the face of the Natal and Arc controllers. Don't fret, Hardcore gamer. There's nothing wrong with you wanting your dual analogs and four button, 2 shoulder button sets layout. Gaming is all about choices.

ma⋅ture

[muh-toor, -tyoor, -choor, -chur] adjective, -tur⋅er, -tur⋅est, verb, -tured, -tur⋅ing. –adjective
1. complete in natural growth or development, as plant and animal forms: a mature rose bush.
2. ripe, as fruit, or fully aged, as cheese or wine.
3. fully developed in body or mind, as a person: a mature woman.
4. pertaining to or characteristic of full development: a mature appearance; fruit with a mature softness.
5. completed, perfected, or elaborated in full by the mind: mature plans.
6. (of an industry, technology, market, etc.) no longer developing or expanding; having little or no potential for further growth or expansion; exhausted or saturated.
7. intended for or restricted to adults, esp. by reason of explicit sexual content or the inclusion of violence or obscene language: mature movies.
8. composed of adults, considered as being less susceptible than minors to explicit sexual content, violence, or obscene language, as of a film or stage performance: for mature audiences only.


When people think "mature" the first thought comes to mind is definition 7. However definition 8 should be kept in mind as well. Mature doesn't always have to mean sexual scenes and graphic violence to validate itself, either. Many children's movies or cartoons have provided mature themes like murder and prejudice in them as well, including this disturbing scene from a personal favorite of mine.



There are games that do provide mature themes along with it's fair share of sexual content and violence. The ones that come to mind at this moment are Mass Effect, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, but these games are also noteworthy for the consequences that follow those actions as well.

That's it for now. Expect to see more vocabulary in the future, as it seems that vernacular in gaming is ever changing.

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