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Definitions Of Some Commonly Used Adventure Gaming Terms


2D   3D   360-Degree   Cut Scenes   Cheats (Cheat Codes)   Easter Eggs   Educational Game   Escape   First Person   Gone Gold   Graphic Adventure   Hint   Hot Spot   Interactive Fiction   Interface   Inventory   Keyboard Controlled   Labyrinth   Linear   Load   Map (Maps)   Maze   Multiple Endings   Non-Linear   Patch   Pixel   Pixel Hunt   Point and Click   Points   Polygon   Puzzle   Puzzle Game   Quest   Real Time   Realms   Restore   Riddle   Save   Slider   Solution   Spacebar   Spoiler   Text Adventure   Third Person   Walkthrough (Walkthru)   Worlds

2D or 3D

2 Dimensional or 3 Dimensional.  A 2D Game is one in which the graphics are rendered in 2 dimensions (height and width).  The effect is very much like looking at and interacting with a painting that is alive.  A 3D game is rendered in 3 dimensions (height, width and depth) so the objects in the painting look solid, and you feel as if you could walk around behind them.

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A game that allows you to turn around and look in any direction, not just at certain views or along a predetermined path.

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Cheats (or Cheat Codes)

A cheat (or cheat code) is a secret code or series of keys that you can type in to cheat in a game.  For example, you might be able to type in a series of letters and/or numbers that put you in 'God Mode' so that you cannot die in the game.  Cheats are very rarely found in Adventure Games.

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Cut Scenes

A term used by developers to describe both the opening and closing title sequences, as well as the videos and other animations that are inserted into (or cut into) the rest of the game.

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Easter Eggs

Things the developers thought were funny (inside jokes, photos of themselves, etc) and hid in the game.  They can only be seen if you know some secret code to type in at a particular place during the game.

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Escape (or Spacebar)

In most games you can skip past or jump through the opening credits and videos and certain dialogues within the game (if you have seen them before) by hitting the Escape Key or Spacebar on your keyboard.  Your game's manual will tell you if this is possible.

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First Person or Third Person

Refers to your point-of-view in a game.  First Person (1st Person) means that you see and manipulate things as if looking at them out of your own eyes.  Third person (3rd Person) means that you see the character that you are playing (the hero) on the screen, and your actions manipulate that character.  A game is usually primarily from one point-of-view or the other, and individuals usually prefer one of the two viewpoints.

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Gone Gold

A term used by developers for when a game has been completed, and the final version (or 'Gold Master Copy') has been cut (the one from which all the other copies are made).

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Hint or Spoiler

A Hint is a helpful suggestion on how to think about a particular puzzle or situation in the game, without telling you the solution outright, so that YOU can solve the problem.

A Spoiler, on the other hand, is the complete solution for some puzzle or situation in a game.  It is called a 'Spoiler' because it spoils the fun and satisfaction that you would have had if you had figured out the solution yourself, with maybe only a hint to help.

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Hot Spot

An area of the picture on the screen that your cursor can react with if you click on it.  Usually (but not always) indicated by some change in the way your cursor looks when placed over that spot on the screen.

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How the game is set up for play by the developers.  The term includes both how the screen looks (can you see the Inventory items, etc) and the actions you must perform while playing the game in order for the game to progress (is it point and click or keyboard controlled, etc).

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The term used for the area where the game stores items that you pick up while playing (it usually shows on the screen).  To use an item in your inventory, you usually position the Cursor over that item and click, then position your Cursor over the object you wish to use it with, and click again.

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Linear and Non-Linear

A linear game is designed so that you must complete one specific puzzle or action before the game will progress (that is, you have to do one thing at a time, in order).

A non-linear game allows you to complete puzzles and areas of action in the order that YOU choose.

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Some games contain a map of the imaginary setting in the game so that you can navigate more easily.  How to access the map (if there is one) is described in the game's manual.

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Maze (or Labyrinth)

A puzzle that is found in different forms in many games.  A confusing, intricate network of winding paths that you must find your way through.  It may have one or more blind alleys.

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Multiple Endings

Some games have more than one way that the game can end (or more than one result), depending on choices or decisions that you make while playing.

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A small addition to the game, made by the developer, which is supposed to fix some technical problem that people have reported having while playing the game.  It is downloaded from the developer's site and then installed with the game.

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Pixels and Polygons

The characters, objects and background in a 2D game are made up of tiny squares called 'pixels'.  3D characters or objects are made up of tiny shapes called 'polygons', which have more than 4 sides and angles in order to create the illusion of a 3 dimensional solid.

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Pixel Hunt

The picture on the screen is made up of tiny squares called 'pixels'.  So the term 'pixel hunt' refers to having to move your cursor over every square inch of the screen in order to find something that your cursor reacts to.

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Most older games (and a few recent ones) gave you points for solving each puzzle in the game, with an optimal total number of points that you could earn if you completed all of them successfully.

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Point and Click or Keyboard Controlled

A Point and Click game is one that relies on use of the mouse (instead of keys on the keyboard) to move and/or interact with objects.  You simply move the cursor across the screen to point at whatever you want to pick up and then click your left mouse button in order to pick it up.  You do the same thing when you want to move in a certain direction (point in that direction and then click).

A Keyboard Controlled game is one that requires the use of the keyboard to play (instead of the mouse).  If your game is keyboard controlled, the game's manual will tell you which keys to use for which purpose.  Note that some of these games may offer you the option to use a Gamepad or a Joystick to play instead of the keyboard.

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Puzzle (or Riddle)

A game situation or obstacle to be overcome.  Puzzles may be some problem that is logically related to the story, or may be totally unrelated to it (for example, a slider puzzle).

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Puzzle Games and Educational Games

An adventure game is called a 'Puzzle Game' if it consists of primarily puzzles to solve, with a minimal story that is only used as a device to present the puzzles.

An adventure game is called an 'Educational Game' if its story is completely or partially factual and it's primary purpose appears to be educational (about history, etc) rather than just entertainment.  Sometimes these games are referred to as 'edutainment' (instead of 'entertainment').

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Your quest is the mission that you are on in an Adventure Game.  Some games contain several mini-quests that contribute to the successful completion of the main quest.  Note that in some countries the word 'Quest' is used to mean the same thing as 'Adventure' game.

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Real Time

When the scenery changes in response to your actions, rather than just showing you the same scene no matter what you do.  For example, it would get darker the deeper that you walked into a cave.  Games with this innovation require a very fast computer because the computer has to calculate your change in position moment by moment, as if you were really there.

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Save and Restore (or Load)

When you want to be able to restart the game at a certain position (after you have quit for awhile, or in case you die in the game), with everything that you have accomplished up to that point intact, then you 'Save'.  It is a good idea to save often, under different names.  And ALWAYS save after you have completed some puzzle or found an important object.

When you restart the game, it will ask you which saved game you want to 'Restore' (or 'Load').  See your game's manual for how to Save and Restore.

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A puzzle found in some games that shows a picture that has been cut into squares (or 'tiles'), and then the squares are mixed up.  It always has one blank space so that you can slide the tiles around until you re-create the original picture.

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Text Adventure or Graphic Adventure

Text Adventures (also called Interactive Fiction) were the way the first adventure games were made before computer technology had progressed to the point of being able to handle pictures and sound.  Some Text Adventures are still being developed today, by and for fans who enjoy them.

They are like reading a book that you can interact with and determine the outcome.  The game describes in words some scene or situation, then you type in what you want to do, and then the game describes the result of your action.

A Graphic Adventure is one of the more recent adventure games (since about the mid-1980s) that contains pictures (scenery, characters, objects, animations, videos, etc), instead of just words as the earlier games did.

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Walkthrough (Walkthru or Solution)

A step-by-step complete solution to a game, including all of the correct moves in their correct order and how to solve each of the game's puzzles.

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Worlds (or Realms)

Completely different locations that you can explore within a game.  Developers try to offer several different 'worlds' or locations to explore in a game, in order to keep interest high and prevent boredom.

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Mr. Bill's   Adventureland
Copyright  January 2001
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