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Game on! The language of video games explained

99% of 8-15 year-olds play video games. The gaming industry makes £74 billion a year worldwide, dwarfing the cinema and film industry. Word of Mouth's Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright have been exploring how gaming is influencing our everyday language. With terms like 'epic fail' entering education and politics, it's time for you to level up.

Video game vocab

  • Game On / Game Over - these originated from Arcade games.
  • Epic Fail - originating from MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), it's a term now picked up by politicians.
  • Levelling up - when you go up a level you've skilled up or conquered something. It's used lots nowadays to indicate a success or gaining knowledge of some sorts.
  • Ding – saying or typing ding let’s people know that you’ve gone up a level.
  • Noob - as in newbie or new player, or just a player that is demonstrating amateurish play-tactics.
  • Laggy – comes from the actual game itself slowing down, or your particular version of the game slowing down perhaps due to poor wifi connection. Used when you need to signal to other people that your character is perhaps moving more slowly. This is often done by typing it in a lengthened form, for example you’d type: Laaaaaagggggggg!
  • KK – This stands for 'ok'. People often type two k by accident on the keyboard, which is where this comes from.
  • AFK – away from keyboard. Use this one when you're popping off for a while.
  • BRB - be right back. Use this one when you're popping off to get a cup of tea or go to the toilet.
  • Pwn - this originated from a typo as p is next to o on the keyboard. It stands for 'own', as in, to own someone or win.
  • FPS - first person shooter. This is a game where your play experience is through the eyes of one protagonist and the game itself is centered around weapon-based combat.
  • RPG - role play game. As you play you act out roles of characters in a narrative.
  • OP - overpowered.
  • GLHF - good luck and have fun.
  • GG - good game.
  • MUDs - multi-user dungeons (sometimes 'dimensions'). Similar to an MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) but entirely text-based.
  • Barks - short lines of dialogue, usually said by the enemies you encounter in the game. If you play a FPS or a multi-playered shooting game, enemies say things like 'reloading!', 'flanking!' or 'he's over there!'.

Non-verbal communication during gaming, dubbed spill cries.

The controversial secret language Martian.

From warcraft to reality: the changing subject matter of gaming.

Where does the word 'game' come from?

Where does the word ‘game’ come from?

We've always loved gaming. Did you know there are places named after games in the U.K.?