What are some verbs for video games?

Find the right words to describe video games in all their glory, from FPS to card games. In the 40-year history of video games, game developers have consistently used a limited set of verbs to design games. Violent verbs, such as punching, shooting and cutting, form the basis of countless game systems from all ages. These versatile verbs allow for a variety of game scenarios, but basing the gameplay on these familiar verbs makes it difficult to create non-violent games.

Some games have been successful in using these verbs to create non-violent games (Portal uses shooting to solve puzzles), but in general, these verbs are intended for violence. Here are some common game terms, phrases and jargon, along with clear definitions to help you understand them. Non-violent games should take advantage of these types of verbs to create unique and engaging experiences, since trying to reuse violent verbs for non-violent games can only go so far. Both Wandersong and FEZ offer different lessons on how to create atypical, non-violent and more engaging verbs in video games.

If you've decided to dedicate yourself to video games and want to learn the jargon so they don't confuse you any more, you've come to the right place. Pressing something in a video game means using a cheap tactic to complete a task without much trouble. After all, other puzzle games like The Witness and Stephen's Sausage Roll use mundane verbs like drawing and cooking to create amazing and engaging puzzles. Verbs such as painting, dancing, debating and writing are actions with almost infinite depth for them, but they rarely, if ever, appear as the main mechanics of a video game.

By focusing on these verbs as the basis of gameplay, video games have ended up ignoring the rich and complex verbs present throughout the human experience, with the same potential for attractive gaming systems. Luen's greatest love forms the basis of Wandersong's gameplay, since the game's main verb is to sing. Among the many recent games that focus on atypical verbs, two games, Wandersong and FEZ, provided examples of how games can create engaging nonviolent verbs. The FEZ twist is not linked to reality, which teaches an important lesson on how games with atypical verbs can add depth to their verbs.

In general, players use Wandersong singing in contexts other than strictly musical contexts, making Wandersong successful by using “sing” as an atypical game verb. It may not necessarily be unique, but the FEZ twist demonstrates the important fact that verbs in games don't have to strictly follow how they work in reality. He's been covering technology tutorials, video game recommendations, and more as a professional writer for more than eight years.

Dorothy Hetcher
Dorothy Hetcher

Subtly charming food fanatic. Infuriatingly humble travel maven. Friendly web advocate. Avid pizza fanatic. Passionate internet ninja.

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