Writing about videogames has its own set of style guidelines you should be aware of.

Game-Specific Terms

  • Esports or esports. Only a big E at the start of a sentence, no hyphen, no big S
  • Videogames, not video games
  • Cooperative, and co-op
  • Triple-A, not AAA or Triple A
  • Multiplayer, not multi-player
  • Singleplayer, not single-player
  • Microtransaction, not micro-transaction
  • Minigame, miniboss, minimap
  • Playthrough
  • Role-playing, real-time, turn-based, third-person, two-dimensional


For the most part, there's no obligation to spell out common gaming acronyms at the start of the article. Though depending on who the target reader is, the author may feel it necessary to refer to a "first-person shooter (FPS)" before using the shorthand "FPS."

This could also apply if an article is aimed at one group of gamer but references another genre or concept. If writing an article about Hearthstone, for example, it's expected that readers will know what RNG stands for. But unless you're specifically writing an article aimed at the hardcore Call of Duty crowd, it's unlikely the reader will know that TTK means Time To Kill, and this should be spelled out.

Mechanics, Dynamics, and Aesthetics

These three terms have specific definitions. Though "mechanics" is often used as a catch-all term for systems, dynamics, genres, structures, etc, this is technically wrong. These three terms have much narrower meanings, and we should only use them when appropriate.

  • Mechanics - Refers to base-level functions. Rules that are enforced by the engine. A jump arc is a mechanic. Accelerating and decelerating while moving is a mechanic. Aiming and shooting is a mechanic. All of these might be present in an FPS game. To quote the MDA framework: "Mechanics are the various actions, behaviors and control mechanisms afforded to the player within a game context. Together with the game's content (levels, assets and so on) the mechanics support overall gameplay dynamics." Be sure when using the term "mechanics" that you're referring to an individual element like these.
  • Dynamics - The interplay between mechanics. With the above FPS examples in mind, two players might be jumping around while trying to shoot each other. This is a dynamic. These are the larger wholes made up of individual mechanics. When someone thinks of the "mind games" that arise when both players reach a certain level of mastery, these are dynamics at play. If a card game's mechanics involve placing bets or shuffling, bluffing would be considered a dynamic. 
  • Aesthetics - The audio/visual communication of the mechanics. The sensations that a player witnesses and experiences. The game is nothing without aesthetics to communicate its mechanics and dynamics, even if the aesthetics are quite minimal. A game with no aesthetics would be a blank screen, offering no feedback whatsoever. This also refers to the kind of fun the designer wants the player to experience – be that narrative, challenge, discovery, or one of the other eight (more reading linked below).

These three terms were designed as a part of the MDA framework to help developers put themselves in the players' shoes. While a developer often makes the game from the mechanics, then into the dynamics, and into the aesthetics, the player experiences the game from the opposite direction.