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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: Casual Game

Casual Game: A game designed to be played with little to no game skill or knowledge ahead of time. Qualities of a casual game include a wide range of playability by age, an intuitive and recognizable game play experience, and a steady and slow rate of increasing complexity as the game progresses. Casual games will often develop advanced styles and methods of play among more experienced players, but these developments never impact the initial, approachable game experience.

Casual board games have very few simple rules and are easy to pick up and play. Often party style games are casual games too, since their rules are streamlined.

Examples of Casual Video Games

  • Tetras
  • Mario Cart 8 Deluxe
  • Many mobile games, such as Candy Crush

Examples of Casual Board Games

  • Codenames
  • What Do You Meme, Family Edition
  • Cinco Linko (formerly known as OK Play)

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 well know games: Abstract Strategy

Abstract strategy: A strategy game in which the theme is not important to the game experience of playing. Some of the oldest games are abstract strategy games. While they with may have a light theme associated with them, such as in Chess, the theme is not essential to the game.

Chess Set
Chess Set

Abstract Strategy games are often for only two players, and have streamlined rules. They also do not use shuffled cards or dice to create random chance. Without the random element Abstract Strategy games, as their name indicates rely exclusively on the players using strategy to win. Typically, these games also have an infinite number of alternating turns until the win condition is met.

Tak

Examples of Classic Abstract Strategy Games:

  • Mancala
  • Chess
  • Checkers

Examples of Modern Abstract Strategy Games:

  • Tak
  • Onitama
  • Hive

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!


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!

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

Follow us on Facebook!

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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!

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 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!

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 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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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 the game design term “gameplay loop.” This is, admittedly, a heavier word than we have defined before, but understanding what a gameplay loop is will help understand the games that our kids (and we) play a great deal!


A Gameplay Loop is a game design term that is used to describe the repetitive activities that a player will take while playing a game. It, essentially, defines what the player DOES while playing. Every level you complete in Super Mario Run, Pokemon you catch in Pokemon Go, and level you gain in Final Fantasy XV is an example of one (or more) gameplay loops.

Example

One gameplay loop example from a shooting game might work like this: (Shout out to Morten Grauballe for the killer example.)

  • a target appears
  • you aim at the target
  • you pull the trigger
  • the projectile moves towards the target
  • you hit the target
  • the target loses life

This is a “core” gameplay loop because, with a shooter, this is the activity that a player will be doing most often. It is worth noting, though, that games will often have more than one loop going at the same time. This is especially true in more complex games like RPGs.

Take a look a this example of a gameplay loop you might take from the game World of Warcraft. This is very complex game so each of these steps might include several other smaller loops that players would complete in the process.

  • You enter a new zone
  • You gather all of the quests from all of the different NPCs in the first quest hub
  • You move around the zone completing quest objectives
  • You return to the quest hub
  • You turn in all of the quests you have completed and collect your rewards
  • You move to the next quest hub
  • … and so on.

Thinking critically about the games our kids play and the way that our kids play them provides great insight. It is also a great way to connect with them. You’ll understand the games they enjoy better. You might even enjoy them a little better too!

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 we chose the term “Skins.” Free to play games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Rocket League are dominant right now and this dominance shows no signs of slowing down. All of these free games make up for their incredibly low price by selling what are often referred to as “Skins.”

A “skin” is a kind of item that players can acquire in games. They change the appearance of the players avatar (the character on the screen that represents the player). Skins can be as simple as a change in color scheme (often referred to as a Palette Swap), or as complex as a new avatar with different lighting effects and animations. Most companies are very careful to make sure these skins don’t effect the actual gameplay though. The characters will still play the same. They will just look different doing so.


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 we are going to define the term “Generation” with regards to how it is used in the video game space.


Video game consoles have been around since the late 70s and have increased in power exponentially as time has passed. One inescapable problem with home consoles is that you can’t really upgrade them over time. Some companies have tried to circumvent it (the Nintendo 64 released a RAM expansion pack that you could plug into it), but it has never really been successful.

As a result, console manufacturers will release a new system and then throw all of their support behind it for a number of years before moving on to a new piece of technology and forcing consumers to upgrade.

This pattern has been playing out for decades. At this point, consumers generally understand that their systems will only last a certain number of years before a console manufacturer will replace it with something new and more powerful that they will need to buy in order to play the latest and greatest games. (This wasn’t always the case though. There was a great deal of outcry against the Super Nintendo because people did not originally understand that it wasn’t just a slightly different Nintendo Entertainment System.)

Console manufacturers tend to release new consoles all at once (or at least over a short span of time). This behavior has lasted almost as long as consoles have. So gamers and game historians have taken to referring to the time that a set of consoles is available as a “generation.”

There have been eight generations of video game consoles so far (and we are about to step into the ninth). The list below includes the major consoles included in each generation. Game historians may argue some of the finer points regarding what might be included in each generation, but this list is generally accepted as accurate.

  • First Generation: Magnavox Odyssey, Pong, etc.
  • Second Generation: Colecovision, Atari 2600, Atari 5600
  • Third Generation: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
  • Fourth Generation: Nintendo SNES, Sega Genesis
  • Fifth Generation: Nintendo N64, Sony PlayStation , Sega Saturn
  • Sixth Generation: Nintendo GameCube, Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft  Xbox, Sega Dreamcast
  • Seventh Generation: Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft  Xbox 360
  • Eighth Generation : Nintendo WiiU, Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft  Xbox One
  • Ninth Generation: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S/X

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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