Know your RPG from your CPU, OK?

Thanks to a shared affection for Cartoon Network programs like Regular Show  and the joy of monitoring their Internet usage, I don’t think I’m that off-base when it comes to “talking the talk” with my tween-age kids.

Unless they’re speaking the language of video game terms. Then I’m a total gaming term noob (Definition: “Someone who is unexperienced, has just started, and is usually not that good,” according to my 10-year-old).

It’s not that I want to learn this secret language or spend any amount of time traveling to the magical worlds of Zebes, Hyrule, and Mario Galaxy. But man, do I need a translator whenever they get going. So for my benefit and yours, I recently sat down with my sons and their neighborhood pals for a crash course in gaming acronyms.

I think both my Jet editor and I were expecting the young gamers (ages 6, 8, 9, and 10) to walk us through it in an adorable “kids say the darndest things” kind of way. Instead, I was floored at how grown-up and professor-like they were in their explanations. With the exception of one or two cute moments, my Video Game Acronym 101 class was a serious business.  MIT—or at least, Wii U—here they come!


NPCs: Non-player controlled. “NPCs aren’t controlled by players but instead have their own AI (see below) to do things like walk around and sell you stuff. For example, in Minecraft, villagers are NPCs that go in and out of houses to sell you things for emeralds. This gives you a chance to get things without having to locate them on your own.”

AI: Artificial intelligence. “It’s intelligence that’s robotic. The players don’t have AI, the NPCs do, through their coding.”

Super Smash Brothers

CPUs: Computers, basically an NPC. “Like in Super Smash Bros, if you don’t have any friends to play with you can fight a CPU, which is an NPC designed to attack you.”

MarioKart Deluxe

DLCs: Downloadable content. “So on Mario Kart 8, there’s a DLC that gives you an extra kart to ride in and extra wheels. You download that content.”


GG: Good game. “Say you are playing a multiplayer game like Terraria and you do a PVP match in a battle arena you created and it was a tough fight but someone besides you won. You could say GG to the other players to be a good sport.”


PVP: Player vs. player. “When two players engage in combat. Shooter games like Overwatch, Halo, and Call of Duty have a PVP mode.”

XPs: Experience points. “Mostly found in RPGs like Mario and Luigi Dream Team.

RPGs: Role playing game. “If you’re familiar with Pokemon, that’s an RPG.”

WASD: “Not all computer games use the arrow keys as their main movement controls. Some, like Five Nights at Freddy’s or “Bendy the Ink Machine,” use WASD keys instead. W is move forward, A is move left, D is move right, and S is move down. You can remember this because W is on top, A is on the left, D is on the right, and S… hmmm… well… S is under W so it’s down. Yup, that works. Mic drop!”

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