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Michael Duetzmann


Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to Board Games, Video Games and Movies: Kaiju

Kaiju: A genre of action and horror movies that originated from Japan. Kaiju’s direct translation from Japanese is “Strange Monster”. The Kaiju genre has always featured a gigantic, building sized creature, often several of them fighting each other, or a large monster against many, many people.

In the context of gaming, The Kaiju genre refers to games where the player either plays as or is pitted against a giant monster, and is either the general theme of the game, or the centerpiece of a dramatic climax in the story.

Example of Famous Kaiju:

  • King Kong
  • Godzilla

Kaiju in Video Games:

  • 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
  • City Shrouded in Shadow
  • Shadow of the Colossus Remake

Kaiju in Board Games:

  • Last Defense
  • Kaiju Crush
  • King of Tokyo

Kaiju in Movies:

(There is an extensive library of movies with Kaiju, this is just a small sampling of films)

  • Pacific Rim (2013)
  • ‘Kong: Skull Island (2017)
  • Rampage (2018)

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many video games: Farming/Grinding

Farming/Grinding: Intentionally and repeatedly performing the same game sequence in order to guarantee in game experience/levels, resources, materials, or equipment. This can be as simple as playing in the same area for long lengths of time, or as complex as repeatedly organizing and replaying entire multiplayer encounters. Farming can also be more materials and resources focused. In contrast Grinding tends to focus more ion gaining levels or XP. Grinding can also refer to an extreme case of farming where the optimal sequence to guarantee what is being sought after is not fun, or even worse, frustrating and disengaging. The line between farming and grinding is subjective and can differ wildly between players.

Examples:

  • Horizon Zero Dawn: You can search an area and collect the parts. Once you have gathered everything leave the area and reenter. This may trigger a new battle in certain areas and the resources will respawn.
  • World of Warcraft: Provides areas you can continue to reenter to battle and gain resources or experience
  • Minecraft: You can create spawn points for resources that you can repeatedly harvest and structures called mob grinders allow the structure to gather the enemy. Depending on how the structure is created, the destruction of the enemies can be automated or not.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many video games: PvE/PvP

PvE/PvP: Shorthand for Player Versus Environment and Player Versus Player. The phrases describe the type of interaction players will experience in the game and where they receive feedback and interaction from. Many games have both PvE and PvP components to their experience, each gaining benefits to the other.

PvE

Player Versus Environment (PvE) interactions are situations in which one or more players collaborate to interact/overcome a computer-controlled threat or problem.

Wii U Splatoon screenshot
Tower Control – one of the game modes in the ranked battles!

PvP

Player versus Player (PvP) puts players in competition with each other, often providing a direct threat or problem to each other. PvP often provides a short play experience for players, but since they involve other people they cannot be paused or stopped early without disrupting the experience for other players.

Entire PvE narratives have been designed as tutorials to bring players into the PvP experiences (eg. th story mode for many first-person shooters ).

Examples:

  • Splatoon is PvP: Players are shooting other players with paint and trying to send them back to start point for your team.
  • Super Mario Odyssey is PvE: Your challenges in the game come from the environment not other players.
  • World of Warcraft contains both PvE and PvP: most of the content in the game is PvE, but players can opt into a PvP experience or enter specific PvP battlegrounds.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many video games: Skill Tree

Skill Tree: A set of abilities listed in a linear path (often with some or many branches) where access becomes available in sequence. As a player purchases skills in the beginning of a tree, it unlocks the next skill, or choice of skills, in the linear path. Skill trees are often themed, and are designed to encourage a particular style of play (or several closely tied styles of play). Skill Trees are often visible to the player, showing potential abilities (and potential styles of play) that are available through spending resources on this particular path. Skill Trees are often built in collections of multiple Trees, and often share the same resource, requiring the player to make careful choices to best suit their style of play. The availability and combination of Skill Trees are often used to help better describe a character (or a class) and its interactions with others.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

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Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many video games: Port

Port: A reference to import/export. Port refers to a game originally designed or published for one console or device, that has been redesigned or republished for a new one. Porting a game intends to provide players with a similar experience, but as the differences between the original and new device/console increase, the greater the difference in quality or play experience.

Ports vary depending on the limitations of the machines being imported to or exported from, and features will be removed or altered (such as removal/additions of touch screens, simplified controls, and graphical resolution and frame rate).

Examples of Ports:

  • Minecraft Pocket Edition: Originally on PS3 and Xbox 360 and ported over to mobile
  • Fortnite: Originally on PS4, Xbox One and PC and ported to mobile
  • Mario Kart 8: Originally on Wii U and ported to the Switch

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is Buff/Debuff/Nerf

Buff /Nerf

Buff, when paired with Nerf, are mechanical changes made to a game by designers after launch to balance play. These changes either balance play between other players, balance the player’s interaction with the difficulty of a single-player experience, or both. Players find Buffs and Nerfs paired together and distributed in collections known as Patches. Patches release with the buffs and nerfs specifically identified and typically designer commentary on why the changes were made.

Buff/Debuff

Buff, when paired with Debuff, refer to game abilities . The ability applies to player and computer controlled characters, often only lasting a set amount of time or connected to specific pieces of equipment. These abilities change the availability and preference to choices made in play without completely changing the flow. A buff that increases damage to a particular action encourages its repeated use while the ability is active. A debuff that prevents you from using certain abilities (such as silence/mute in the Final Fantasy Series) encourages finding alternate action, either physical attacks or the use of items or abilities to recover from the limitation


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You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many mobile games and some video games: Microtransactions

Microtransaction: A piece of content, either cosmetic or gameplay related, set at a very low price point. Players typically purchased these pieces of content individually. Frequently there is the option to purchased similar content repeatedly or bundled together as a part of larger collections. You will find Microtransactions typically in games that are free-to-play. These Microtransactions offer an improved quality of game experience or entirely different types of play.

Microtransactions, primarily in PC and console games may also include Loot Boxes, Loot Crates, or in card based games Booster Packs. Gachas are another term used in mobile games for Loot Boxes.

Pokemon Go Logo
Pokemon Go Logo

Examples of Microtransaction in Mobile Games:

  • Candy Crush Saga: Players can purchase more live, so they do not have to wait for them to refresh. Boosters, which make levels easier can also be purchased.
  • Pokémon Go: Players buy Pokecoins to buy in game items such as more Pokeballs or Lucky Eggs.

Examples in Console/On-line Games

Day 1 Ready: Fortnite Arrives Next Week on Xbox Series X|S and PS5
  • Fortnight: Players purchase V-Bucks to buy Skins, Skin packs, and other cosmetic items.
  • Overwatch: Loot boxes may be purchased or earned in game. They include four items which may include alternate skins, emotes, and lines of dialogue, or other items.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

Your Family Game On!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many video games: Achievement/Trophy

Achievements or Trophies are an unlockable, purely cosmetic award that is given to someone when playing a video game. They are a set of points, badges, or icons that show successful completion of a particular type of play. Some games allow Achievements or Trophies to be publicly facing online. These awards are often visible on a player’s profile associated with a specific game console, and often represent important milestones that can be found during game play. Achievements and Trophies are mostly split into several categories: 

Awards for progressing the game either in time played, levels beaten, and game completion. These awards come as part of the natural progression of play, and are often used to represent a percentage completed of the base game.

  • Chapter progression (Beating a World in Mario)
  • Bosses Defeated (Defeating a gym leader in Pokemon)

Awards for performing difficult tasks. These tasks often require an in-depth understanding of the game, and represent both individual feats of skill or game completion on increased game difficulty.

  • Completing the game on higher difficulty
  • Finishing encounters quickly or without getting hit
  • Finishing the entire game under a certain time limit

There also are Awards for performing absurd or unintended tasks. Trophies are often jokingly rewarded for gameplay that is not often found, but conceivably possible through game play. The existence of the awards themselves are often the only motivation needed for players to find and perform these absurd tasks.

  • Jump Rope Challenge in Super Mario Odyssey.
  • Knocking on a door over 500 times in The Stanley Parable
  • K.O. an opponent using a taunt in Street Fighter Series

Finally, there is the “100%” award. These trophies are given to players who complete every other trophy that can be found in a game and represents a comprehensive exploration and mastery of the game.

Other Examples of Achievements and Trophies:

Minecraft:

  • Taking Inventory Achievement: The first time a player opens their inventory
  • Adventuring Time: For finding every biome

Star Wars Squadrons:

  • Galaxy’s Finest (story mode): For completing the campaign on story mode difficulty

Stardew Valley:

  • Bronze trophy for catching 100 fish

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

Your Family Game On!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many video games: DLC

DLC is shorthand for Down Loadable Content. This refers to features available to a game after its initial launch. These features can be as simple as changes in a player’s appearance, or as complex as entire sections of new gameplay. These features are accessible either via the console’s online store or directly through the game itself. They can be purchased individually, in collections (bundles) or available for free (or free with purchase of the game).

DLC Examples

  • Animal Crossing regularly has updates, one update included masks you can get for your character to win. There are also seasonal updates too.
  • Super Smash Bros. version 9.0 updated to add Steve and Alex from the Minecraft Series as well as well as added Minecraft World as a stage.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn had DLC released that players could purchase which added a new section of map, new story, new equipment, and additional monsters.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

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This past weekend was not only PAX East, but it also featured the first Mythic Championship AND a panel featuring the full unveiling of the next expansion for Magic: The Gathering.

War of the Spark is the next set. It will be released on May 3rd, 2019 and will feature the dramatic conclusion to a story that has been building up for years. (Yes. You read that right. Magic has had a continuous story that has been building up to this moment.) Nicol Bolas (a crazy elder dragon who is seeking ultimate power) has been visiting various planes to gather armies (Ahmonket) and artifacts of great power (Ixalan) to help him attack the city of Ravnica. His goal has been to dominate the city and draw planeswalkers from across the multiverse to attack him and stop him. Why, you might ask? Because he is laying a trap for them. It’s all very intense and will play out through the themes represented in the cards and their art.

War of The Spark preview season is going to include card previews for every card in the set, instead of single card reveals. These previews happen ing in the next couple of weeks will now feature sets of five cards, and are going to be from every level of rarity, and for all types of players. These cards will be used to tell a complete scene in the ongoing story in War of The Spark

Planeswalkers Matter

War of The Spark will feature thirty six planeswalkers, with one planeswalker as the buy-a-box promo. With the previous promise of a planeswalker in ever pack, we now know they are going to fulfill that promise with planeswalkers at various rarities (The infinite cohost called it). There are going to be twenty uncommon, twelve Rare, and three mythic planeswalkers in the set. These characters are drawn from throughout the multiverse of Magic and throughout its history.

In addition to uncommon and rare planeswalkers, War of The Spark features new abilities and mana costs never seen before on cards before. Hybrid mana symbols are being printed on planeswalkers for the first time ever, allowing for flexible casting costs and fitting them in as many decks as possible. Wizards also confirmed in their War of The Spark Panel at Pax that all thirty seven planeswalkers will feature a static or triggered ability as part of their rules text.

Having abilities on planeswalkers where their vary presence influence the battlefield leads to many more opportunities for cool cards and cool play

Positive Proliferation

Proliferate shows up as a returning mechanic for War of The Spark. Last featured in the Scars of Mirrodin block, this mechanic lets you add any kind of counter to any number of permanents that you own. Which not only supports planeswalkers but creatures with +1 counters.

Amass an Army

Amass is a key word focusing around the Dreadhorde, Nicol Bolas’s personal army of zombie warriors. Each card with Amass lets you create a zombie army token with +1/+1 counters or add more counters to your existing creature. The intent behind the ability is to create a single giant creature to destroy your opponent in only a few crushing attacks. Where it lacks in its ability to create multiple army tokens, the ability to go big leads to a massive creature dominating the battle field. Hope you don’t find a way to give it trample!

That Trailer Though

The War of the Spark trailer is the most viewed trailer in the history of Magic for a reason. Give it a look!

I didn’t know I wanted a CGI Magic Movie until right now.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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