Idiosyncratic dictionary


Words and phrases that I use, that nobody else uses.

active characterizationn. Occurs when a designer uses gameplay to develop a player-character. Holding Yorda’s hand, for instance, characterizes Ico’s affection and concern in a way that is dependent on the player’s participation. Conflicts between active and passive characterization can produce ludonarrative dissonance.

bafmodad (baf mō dad)n. In a video game, an object which is not of any intrinsic use but which must be obtained in order to advance the plot. The Medallions from Ocarina of Time are a classic example. The bafmodad is conceptually related to the cinematic MacGuffin. Term invented by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik as a corruption of the name of an actual item from Starfox Adventures.

buypassv. To avoid unpleasant or tedious in-game activities by purchasing credits or resources with real money. Especially applicable when the tedious or unpleasant activities have specifically been designed to stimulate microtransactions.

cameralepsyn. The repeated recrossing of a boundary between two camera fields of view. Generally occurs in games which have fixed cameras and camera-relative controls. If the smallest angle between the cameras is > 120 degrees, there is a high probability of a cameraleptic seizure, which can only be cured by ceasing to move or (in games like Grim Fandango) changing the control scheme.

engagegmentn. A player is engaged when his mind is active in the world of the game. An internal, conceptual replacement of realities makes control systems transparent and blends verbs. Contrast with immersion, which is an external, perceptual replacement of realities e.g. due to hyper-realistic graphics.

magibabblen. The fantasy equivalent of Treknobabble, magibabble is pseudoscientific, jargon-filled dialogue concerning technicalities of magical physics that will either cause the destruction of the world, allow the heroes to save the world, or both. Excessive use of magibabble is a particularly common sin of fantasy RPGs. The emphasis on jargon is a critical feature of magibabble. Ordinary myths and legends often hinge on some technicality of magic, but they are not examples of magibabble because the rules are explained in plain language. Magibabble is typically used to disguise plot holes or laziness.

passive characterizationn. Occurs when a designer uses unidirectional, rather than collaborative, methods to develop a character. This is typically achieved using non-interactive cutscenes or dialogue. The Uncharted games extensively use passive characterization.

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