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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 find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!


NPCs

The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many well-known games: LARP

LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role-Playing. It Incorporates physical action, improv, cosplay, and roleplay into a single event. Players inhabit a fantasy world at a set location in real-time, and can be based in a wide variety of genres.

LARPing involves social interaction with players and NPCs (non-playing characters). LARP events will require specific costumes and props to further the set environment. More experienced players will likely be better outfitted for LARPing events having collected gear over a longer period of time. New players can purchase supplies at various stores and online sites. LARP organizations such as Alliance have forums to guide new players. Preparation: character creation, backstory, props, costuming, etc. assist players with fuller immersion into the event.

A PC attacking an NPC

References can be similar to tabletop role-playing questions, general gameplay, character class and race choices. Parents may need to assist with forum surfing, costuming. As with sports or a new instrument, it is advisable to invest minimally at first to ensure your player is interested enough for larger financial investments.

LARP Found in Shows and Movies

There have been TV shows and Movies, not all that are family friendly, that have depicted LARPs. Our experience is that some aspects that are portrayed are quite accurate and some are not, as one would expect in a fictional story.

Examples

  • Supernatural
  • Hawkeye
  • Role Models

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 both video games and roleplay games: Class

Class refers to a collection of attributes and abilities that define the overall play experience for a character. Class descriptors can either come from within the game itself using its own story and language to provide definition, or the descriptors can come from the community of players. A game that has classes will often include different, but connected styles of play that are encouraged by a choice of class. Class not only describes what a character is, but defines what that character does, and suggests a specific style of play and interaction with other characters.

Examples

  • Healer: In many games these are spell casters who focus on healing magic.
  • Fighter: These characters are proficient in a weapon or many weapons. They focus on taking damage and/or causing damage.
  • Mage: A spell caster, often their spells can be used offensively.
  • Rogue: These characters tend to be sneaky and do well hiding in the shadows.

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 other 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 actually relevant in both the gaming space and elsewhere: Parasocial Relationships.

In the age of the influencer, the line between the audience and the personality on the other end of the camera has become rather blurry. We’re made to feel like the person we’re watching on Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram is our friend, someone that surely must care about us as much as we care about them. In actuality, this one-way parasocial relationship was defined back in the 1950s by psychologists Donald Horton and R. Richard Wohl as the result of television hosts establishing “the illusion of intimacy” and making their fans feel like the broadcast is just for them. 

Parasocial relationships rarely apply to one-off viewers, since they can sometimes treat the person on the other side of the camera with much more detachment. 

Now that we’re interacting with both social media stars and actual celebrities in more ways than not, parasocial relationships have wormed their way into our lives in relatively normal, but sometimes insidious, ways. Streamers and influencers create interactions that feel deeply personal to those that they’re interacting. Parasocial relationships are entirely one-sided, which means that even if you feel particularly attached to a streamer or influencer, they aren’t your friend. It’s not that parasocial relationships are bad. In fact, quite the opposite! There are a number of studies out there that have explored parasocial relationships and their benefits, including for young people finding their own identities and for those with lower self-esteem.

Dr. Rachel Kowert published a great video on this subject. I’ve embedded it below so you can take a look!

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 other 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 video games: Compulsion Loop

Compulsion Loop describes a series of gameplay actions designed to be repeated multiple times. offering feedback in such a way as to encourage constant, continued play and discouraging or penalizing shorter play sessions.

The compulsion loop was first defined in game design by John Hopson, then a researcher at Bungie (now a business intelligence analyst at NCSoft), in a Gamasutra article about Behavioural Game Design. Compulsion loops are often confused with core loops, which is the loop that defines the gameplay experience. However, Adam Crowe defines a compulsion loop as “a habitual, designed chain of activities that will be repeated to gain neurochemical reward: a feeling of pleasure and/or a relief from pain.”

Compulsion loops are composed of three stages: take an action, gain a reward to trigger a biological response with either dopamine or serotonin, and build anticipation.

The key in compulsion loops is the biological response, which is how the game establishes the compulsion. Many mobile and free-to-play (F2P) games have compulsion loops built-in to ensure that players come back over and over again, otherwise known as user retention. It’s important to note that everyone is susceptible to this because of the biological response that the compulsion loops elicit.

For children and vulnerable players, compulsion loops can be particularly challenging to break out of, especially if the rewards might be locked behind paywalls or hefty in-game currency.


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!


Video games are often launched in an incomplete state prior to a full release in order to gauge player response and fix problems that would only arise from a large player base that would be otherwise difficult to find. These “Beta Releases” are often defined by whether it is “Open” to all comers or “Closed” and restricted to invitation only.

Fighting Games like Street Fighter and Smash Bros, will often feature a beta test before launch to test online connections and overall game feel from their player community.

Another wildly successful example is Fortnite. It has been around for years at this point, but is still technically in Open Beta.


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!

The EFG Essentials

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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!


Spawn Location

The areas where players, threats, or resources return to play after being either defeated or collected. Spawn Locations are sometimes marked if they are commonly used during play.

Spawn Camping

Spawn Camping is the behavior, sometimes unintended but often malicious, of staying near or directly on a Spawn Location in an attempt to gain an advantage, either in defeating players or collecting resources.

Spawn Camping in multiplayer games is often considered bad sportsmanship by players.

Example:

There are dedicated spawn locations on Overwatch maps that change as objectives are completed.


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!

The EFG Essentials

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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!


This week the EFG Staff is going to define (and help explain the different between) Roguelikes and Roguelites.

These two popular genres are VERY similar, but the terms are not interchangable.

They share the same roots as they are inspired by the game “Rogue: Exploring the Dungeons of Doom.”

Rogue is an adventure game where you control a character who is trying to get to the various levels of a dungeon seeking treasure. Sounds normal right?

It is. BUT, the big difference between Rogue and most newer games is that when you die in Rogue you have to start over. No matter what. Every death in the game is permanent.

Rogue!

Roguelike

RogueLIKE games are just what they sound like. They are modern games that are … like rogue. Death is permanent and you don’t get to keep anything when you start over.

Roguelite

RogueLITE games are different because while you are playing you can earn powers, treasures, or currency to help increase your power for subsequent runs. You are able to build your power between runs so that you can move further into the dungeon/castle/whatever on subsequent lives. Example: Rogue Legacy, Dead Cells, Star Renegades

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 both video games and board games: Polyomino.

A Polyomino is a geometric shape made up of a group of equal squares touching on their edges.

These shapes are very important to the game design world because of all the different ways that they can be pieced together into a bigger puzzle.

The best, and most popular, example is Tetris. In Tetris, five different polyominoes that each contain four equal squares (called tetrominoes) fall from the top of the screen. Players are tasked with interlocking them at the bottom of the screen with as few holes as possible. Any complete rows that the player creates are cleared from the board as a reward.

The shapes in Tetris even have names. There was a meme that flew around in the last year or so that came just short of personifying them, but their names are straightforward.

  • Square
  • L
  • Skew
  • T
  • Straight

Polyominoes are also quite popular in the board game space. Part of this is because their shapes make great plastic and cardboard components. Their flat surfaces are also a great place to showcase interesting artwork or bright colors. The design reason is simple. The number of different available shapes is relatively small (especially if they are all made of a smaller number of equal squares), and the number of ways that they can be interlocked is vast. This leads to wide variety in game play situations.

Suggested Activities

Polyominoes are a great learning tool and there are all sorts of activities on the web that you can do with your kids.

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!


This week the EFG staff is going to define the term “Invincibility Frames!”

Invincibility Frames are a short period of time, lasting one frame of animation, often after the player has suffered an error or negative consequence, where players can briefly not suffer the same or similar consequence.

For the every day gamer, invincibility frames allow for players to have a moment to collect themselves after an unlucky sequence of play. Getting hit by a red shell in Mario Kart or coming back to the stage after losing a life in Smash Brothers Ultimate will both result in a moment where the you can get back into the game without other players effecting you.

This is a video that teaches how to create Invincibility Frames in GameMaker, but it also serves to explain how it all works.

Invincibility frames are often indicated visually, with the character briefly flashing a different color or becoming transparent. Occasionally, there might also be a sound effect such as when Mario shrinking down from his mushroom power.

In more advanced play, players may injure themselves intentional to use their invincibility frames to their advantage during play. This is often referred to as “Damage Boosting.”

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!

This week we are going to define pixels! Pixels aren’t talked about very often, but they are relevant when we talk about resolutions on modern consoles and the art on older games.

But… What are pixels exactly? Why were they called pixels in the first place?

Pixels

The term Pixel has a number of different definitions depending on the context. In general though, pixels are the basic building blocks of digital images.

The word “pixel” was first published by Frederic C. Billingsley of JPL in 1965. He used the term to help describe the different picture elements of video images from space probes to the Moon and Mars. You see, these pictures and images from back then weren’t exactly the hi-res images we get from Mars. They weren’t even as good as the images we received from the Rosetta probe as it crashed into a comet. He used the term Pixel (“pix” being short for “pics” and “el” being short for “element”) to help refer to the component parts of the images they received.

The volume of pixels in an image help to determine how clear the image is. More pixels also gives a greater likelihood that the captured image will be accurate compared to the subject.

More pixels means better-looking images and more clear animations. Just compare an image of Super Mario running in the original Super Mario Bros. Game and compare it to the same animation in New Super Mario Bros. Wii U. The Wii U is a much more powerful machine so it can display more pixels on the screen. As a result, Mario’s run animation is clearer.

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!

The EFG Essentials

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