Video Game Slang: Understanding Your Child’s Gamer Terms

Words by
Abby Alger

SEP 19, 2023

Video Game Slang: Understanding Your Child’s Gamer Terms

Teens love to develop their own slang terms, and video gamers are no different.

Video game slang is not new—it’s been around since the beginning of, well, video games. Gaming slang originates with retro gaming words from arcades in the late 1970s when gamers termed “extra life” and “kill screen” to talk about game elements. 

What is the slang for new video games?

Gaming terms have evolved over time, especially with the development of online games and added communication among players.

Whether you are looking for video game beginner slang or are curious about what your kids mean when they say they were grinding on the latest MMORPG game, check out our video game slang guide below.

Gaming Phrases and Idioms 

AFK – “Away From Keyboard”

AoE – if a teen wants to control where their attack or spell goes, they choose an “Area of Effect” instead of affecting a large area randomly

Bullet Sponge or Damage Sponge – a derogatory term when an enemy soaks in the impact of bullets or damage like a sponge soaks up water. “These Marines are bullet sponges. It takes forever to beat them!”

Camping – when a gamer remains in the same spot in a game to surprise attack other characters

COD – “Call of Duty”; a widely popular FPS (first person shooter, see below) warfare game available on phones and gaming consoles

Comms or Calls – short for communication, refers to talking verbally through a headset. Can also be used to forcefully and explicitly tell another player to stop talking. “Bro, comms! I am trying to focus!

DLC – stands for “Downloadable Content”

Easter Eggs – a hidden feature or message in a video game

EXP or XP – “Experience Points”; a measurement of skill and a gaming term for leveling up

Extra Life
– when a video game item allows the player another life

FPS – “First Person Shooter”; a game where a player takes on the role of a shooter from the shooter’s point of view and acts as a character taking lives with various weapons

Game session – the time between a player starting and ending a game

Game World – the virtual world in a game

GG EZ – “Good Game, Easy”; a demeaning term that implies the opponent was so easy that the player didn’t have to work for the win

GGWP – “Good Game, Well Played”; A term shared among players who worked well together in a game

Griefing – purposely trolling or harassing other players, most often through comms or text chat

Grinding – doing repetitive tasks to gain XP and progress in a game

HUD – “Heads Up Display”; a status bar where information is visually shared with a player, deriving from the heads-up display in modern aircraft

Kill Screen – a video game level that is impossible to win (often due to programming issues) “Level 29 of Tetris is a kill screen.

Killstreak – the number of consecutive kills performed before a player dies

Lobby – a virtual waiting room where players can talk before or after a game begins

MMOs – “Massive Multiplayer Online”; video games where hundreds or thousands of player characters simultaneously interact in the game world

MMORPG – “Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game”

Noob – a player who is new and inexperienced in gaming

Role-Playing – when a gamer assumes the role of a playable character in a game and acts the part

WOW – “World of Warcraft”, a popular MMORPG fantasy game 

Parents Can Protect Kids While Gaming

From video game addiction to predators reaching kids on video games (including Roblox and Pokémon Go), there are a lot of video game dangers for parents to be aware of. Video games can be safer through proper parental controls and educating kids on how to prevent and protect themselves online.

Those conversations become much easier when you better understand your kids’ online activities and language. Getting into their world—even gaming together—can bring you closer together.

Parents know their kids best and can decide when kids are ready for certain games. If you worry your child isn’t ready for online gaming, you may consider safe devices that do not allow video games that are addicting, have explicit content, or access to predators. 

If you feel your child is ready for gaming, then you may still want to be careful to balance safe video games with real life through unstructured play, screen time management, and screen-free activities for summer and winter.

What are your favorite ways to use video games to bring families together? Let us know in the comments below!


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