One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

Now, you see, if we were lesser people, we would use this space to make a series of excruciatingly awful dog puns, “its ruff” and “life’s a bitch” and “its pawfect” and so on. We are a classy gang of gamers, so we will leave this space dog pun free. Aw, you were hoping for dog puns? Genuinely, sincerely? Well, we aren’t going to do any. No, really. We aren’t. Stop looking. If you want dogs, go check out our Pinterest boards. We have an entire board of cute puppies, as well as more, ehem relevant things.

What It Is: Barks = short snippets of spoken or shouted dialogue

What It Means: A bark is a small snippet of dialogue for the NPCs to communicate information to the player. “I need some help!” “Look out, it’s a trap!” “I’m hurt!” and “Goods for sale here!” are all examples of barks.

Why You Care: Barks are different from dialogue conversations, in that barks are prompted by events in the environment, rather prompted by the player pressing the “Talk” button. For example if the player falls over, characters around them may notice and shout “hey, careful!” or “look out, clumsy idiot!” These verbalised reactions make the player feel like they are inhabiting a more believable world. This adds to a game’s immersion, as the characters feel like people with their own lives and agency, not robots who’s sole calling in life is to make the player feel special (which, of course, is what they actually are!) To find out more about whether a game is trying to build a believable other world to immerse its players in (and not all games are) look under the “Creativity And Engagement” tab in GameHub HQ and scroll down to the Engagement section.

For more fun, try this quiz by PC Gamer. Can you guess which game each bark came from?

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