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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!

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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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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 “Speed Running.” Awesome Games Done Quick is a week long charity marathon where speed runners from all over the country come together to play. The event starts on January 7th so it makes sense that we take a moment to actually explain what the heck they are doing!


Speed running a video game is the act of attempting to complete a game, in whole or in part, as fast as physically possible.

Anyone can speed run a game the same way that anyone can play basketball or baseball, but only a special few will be able to complete a video game and hold a world record. This can take preternatural reflexes, countless hours of study, and hundreds if not thousands of hours of practice.

Below is a YouTube video that was filmed live as the current world record holder for Super Mario Bros. earned his record. Most of these world records are not caught live thanks to streaming services like YouTube and Twitch, so large communities of fans have built up around some of the great players.

One of the hallmarks of speed running is the quest for glitches. These are points in the game where players are able to break the normal sequence of game play and gain some time.

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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!

But, without further delay…. this week we are defining sports games. This is a very relevant topic considering the number of games in the genre that have come out in the last few weeks. There are also a few different kinds of sports games that people might not think about. Take a look below!

Sports Games

Sports games are some of the most easily recognizable games on the market today. They are games that attempt to emulate the playing of a “traditional” or “real world” sport like football, basketball, American football, tennis, etc. They may not be readily available on store shelves, but the digital age has breathed life into the sports game genre. There are titles available for fishing, lacrosse, and even cricket that can be purchased on app stores and digital store fronts.

Sports games come in two main varieties: simulations and arcade sports games. Both of these sub genres are focused on emulating the play experience of “real world” sports. The difference, however, comes in the execution.

Simulations focus on realistic recreations of sport. The designers set out to make sure all of the different game elements from the art to the physics all accurately represent the act of playing (or watching) the sport. They do this to attract fans of the different sports. The goal is to get these fans to build a steady audience to help with sales. Some of the communities built around games like Madden and FIFA are HUGE! Some of the more common sports simulation games are the Madden series, the FIFA series, and the NBA 2k series.

Arcade sports games are focused more on creating a fun gaming experience without emphasis on accuracy. These games might include exaggerated physics, bizarre art styles, and sometimes even power ups. Sometimes these games are dismissed by hardcore fans as being “too casual,” but those types of comments miss the point. These games are often targeted at broad audiences that might not notice (or care) that some design liberties were taken. Some of the more common arcade sports games are  NBA Jam and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games.

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