Video game playing is certainly one of the most prolific and ever changing recreational activities of our youth today. As parents, this is another area that often leaves us feeling left behind as we try to keep up with the technology and keep it all under control. All the while, we are trying to ensure their game playing safe, healthy and appropriate for their age and level of development and maturity.
With all things parenting in the modern world, I am always advocating for a connection with your kids that is based on understanding and perspective. One of the greatest ways we can do this is to make an attempt to keep up with what our kids are doing and maintain some semblance of relevance to their world .
Sometimes just being aware of some of the terminology can go a long way in helping us gain that understanding.
When it comes to video games, here are a few definitions for parents to help keep you in the loop.
Gamer: starting off with an easy one, but this is the word used to describe someone who plays video games. Did you know that the average age of a gamer is in their 30’s?
FPS or First Person Shooter: refers to games whereby the person looks just above the gun or weapon that is being used in combat. Popular first person shooter games are Call of Duty and Halo.
Alias: a username, or person used instead of your own name, also known as a nick or a handle.
Griefer: a person who intentionally causes grief or harassment to another person playing video games online. They may harass and bully or intentionally set out to destroy someones work, for example deliberately sabotage a Minecraft creation.
KOS: a term referred by other players about someone who needs to be “killed on sight” in a particular game, due to their passed actions online.
Lag: a word referring to the time between hitting a keyboard and the time for the computer to respond. Many gamers get very frustrated when a slow internet connection causes a lag.
MPORPG: translates to Mass Multi Player Online Role Playing Game. Also referred to as MPOG (Multi Player Online Game). This happens when thousands of people online play the one game. People start at a lower level or rank and work their way up. During their lifetime playing these gmes they will gain greater skills, access to weaponry and other gear to get to levels that require groups of people to complete. eg World of Warcraft
NOOB: also known as Newb, Newbie, nooblet or nub, this term refers to someone who is new or inexperienced at a game. It is often used as a derogatory term for someone with limited skills or understanding.
Avatar: the game characters model or picture used to represent a player.
Frag: a term referring to killing someone. e.g. “I just fragged him”
Owned: meaning you have been defeated. Also used is Pwned which I imagine resulted from a typo that stuck!
Sandbox: refers to games that are open ended and allow for an exploration of an environment rather than a game that is played from start to a finish. They allow freedom to play at ones own pace. eg Minecraft, Grand theft Auto, The Sims
Simulation Games: refer to those games that attempt to simulate experiences and situations that might happen in the real world. eg The Sims
Remember the best way to help your kids enjoy gaming in a safe and healthy way, is take an interest in what they are doing and be aware. Talk about the games they are playing with them, offer to play a game to understand (or not) the appeal, and be sure that the content in the games are age appropriate for your kids.
Have you ever played any video games with your kids? What sorts of games are your kids playing?