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.
This week, we want to give you a great big X. Four of them, in fact.
What It Is: 4X = Sub-genre of strategy games
What It Means: Games in which the player’s role is to eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate!
Why You Care: Whether you are requesting GameHub Concierge assistance, or just using GameHub HQ to browse your options, when buying a game as a gift for a young person, its really important to know what kind of games they enjoy playing. Not all games are the same, and a player who loves planning out fiendish strategies may be bored by a game that involves blowing up aliens, and vice versa. (For players who enjoy both of these activities, there is always Civilisation: Beyond Earth.) Rather than trying to wrap your head around the horrible minefield of gaming genres, it’s far better to know what kind of play the person you are buying for is interested in and work from there. Think about their personality: 4X strategy games will appeal to detail oriented players, who love plotting out ways to achieve their goals and are happy to invest many hours in slowly but surely achieving complete and devastating domination. A 4X game is Chess, or High Stakes Poker. It’s not badminton or Snap, or any other short-play, quick-reaction kind of game. 4Xers are in it for the long haul and will likely excel at activities like language learning, playing musical instruments and making travel itineraries for trips. They are great at making plans and understanding complex systems, and are not afraid of investing many hours into practising something they are interested in. In addition, they usually have a great grasp of maths and number sense, and are good at reading charts, graphs and tables to understand the links between points of data.
Almost all games teach new, or develop existing, player skills, from reading comprehension to data interpretation to simply improving the player’s hand-to-eye coordination. To find out what skills and abilities a given game is developing, click the Learning And Skills tab to find out more.