1. Computing

Glossary - Classic Video Game Terms and Definitions

Although gaming is now more mainstream than ever, there are still many confusing and technical terms. Heck even most of us hardcore fans don’t know all the technical jargon. This section provides all the terms and definitions that the laymen and enthusiast will need to know.

Get To Know Your Retro Gaming Terms: The Video Game Port
Often times you'll see me refer to a game as a port, or having been ported from one video game system or format, to another. The term Port has been used pretty much since the beginning of video games as it is also a commonly used software term, however the meaning of "Port" has become a bit fuzzy over the years to include more than just it's...

Get To Know Your Retro Gaming Genres - Platformers aka Platform Games
One of the most famous and common retro video game genres is the platformer. Since the genre's first introduction in arcades thanks to Donkey Kong, the platformer is a familiar and fun standard in video games, allowing for multiple styles and presentation. From the single-screen, to the side-scrolling platformer, and in the more modern age of...

Arcade
A location/venue populated primarily with coin-operated amusement devices such as video games, pinball machines, and amusement rides.

Cartridge
The casing and hardware containing a video game software program.

Cathode Ray Tube
A vacuum tube (later known as the picture tube) though which electrons are projected onto a phosphorescent screen creating images. This technology is used for oscilloscopes and pre-digital/flat screen monitors and televisions.

Coin-Op
An abbreviation of coin operated. 1. A machine that runs when a coin or coins of a determined amount are inserted into it, typically via a coin-slot. 2. Term used to describe a type of arcade game that allows the user to play a game when a coin is inserted into it.

Console
A home video game system that connects to a television and/or monitor and utilizes external controllers.

Dedicated Console
Dedicated Console: A self-contained video game console with games pre-programmed into the system.

Gaming
1. Alternate term for the video game genre.
2. The act of accessing or playing video games.

Graphical Adventure
A game genre combining animated images, text, and audio in an interactive narrative. Players interact with the game and environment by typing in commands, then watching the results of their actions in the game graphics.

Isometric
A top down perspective skewed at a 30° angle to provide a three dimensional appearance.

Port / Porting
To modify video game software for one platform so it can be used on a different platform.

ROM Cartridge
A read-only memory (aka ROM) software contained within a casing and read by a compatible video game console or computer system.

Shareware
An independent software distribution format that became popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Consumers would gain access to software for free, or for the cost of goods (IE: floppy disk or CD-ROM). The creators of the software would then request a donation if the consumer enjoyed the software.

Vector Graphics
Line based graphics used as an early technique to create both two and three dimensional shapes in video games.

Guide to Video Game Terms
A brief overview of the more common terms used in the video game world.

Get To Know Your Retro - Arcade Conversion Kits aka Mod Kits
What started as a way for arcade manufacturers to alter video games for clones and phony sequels quickly became a cottage industry selling conversion kits to video arcade owners. These "mod kits" came with everything you need to turn an old arcade cabinet into an all-new game.

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