Quit calling them “Video Games”

Before I get the “Video Game” a most loathsome term for a medium I love…  Hey, who do you think’s going to win 2012’s Best Picture this weekend?!

If it were up to me, it’d have to be this:

And the award goes to… SOME KID ON REDDIT!

What? That is clearly this year’s Best Picture!

Wait, you thought I meant “Movie” and not a photograph…well why the hell didn’t you just say so? Oooooooh, because we’ve entered that one time of year where well-meaning people of the digital age refer to movies, films, flicks, etc., as “Motion Pictures,” for no better reason than they were deemed as such by an organization formed back when theaters didn’t have sound or color – when a movie venerating the Klu Klux Klan could take Tinsel Town by storm!

Is this really who you wanna be, Games?!

I kid, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences! “Motion pictures” owes its continued usage to blind respect for the past. But for many, many (MANY) reasons, games aren’t – and shouldn’t aspire to be – like movies, among them that the medium is more interactive, more creative, and better suited to evolution. (Or to moving the hell on.)

Which is why I have a bone to pick with the term “Video Games,” a phrase that pains me every time I write it. So far, self-appointed linguists and grammar Nazis have only come to the table to bicker over whether or not to put a space in between “video” and “game,” a question which I would argue is fucking stupid.

Yes, “videogames” is at least a stand-alone word, suggesting a medium of its own. Those who vehemently uphold the two-word spelling, just because that’s how it’s always been done, are so pathetically afraid of change, so rigidly affixed to tradition, they’re like people who die in floods for ignoring weather warnings not corroborated by their Shaman.

Plain video

To call them “Video Games” implies that your Marios and Haloz are little more than a subgenre of an outmoded technology. Seriously, when was the last time you picked up a “video” at a local Best Buy or Redbox kiosk? To me, that ancient word conjures images of VCRs, bulky CRT televisions, and tracking errors. And the only things my copies of All Dogs Go to Heaven on VHS and Saints Row: The Third have in common is Burt Reynolds and the fact that I love them. The video below will literally show you the most fun I’ve ever had with playing a “Video Game”

The term “video games” was coined during a time when both were relatively new things. This one you watch, this one you can play. A distinction was made so people still using words like “nards,” “Reaganomics,” and “gay cancer” wouldn’t electrocute themselves trying to figure out which rectangle plugged into what whirl-a-ma-gig. An etymological line was drawn to distinguish what your grandparents watched from what you play. But as Grandpa & Grandma’s generation continues to pop off, is this namesplanation really still necessary?


People wonder why this little medium of ours doesn’t get a lot of respect, and I move it’s got something to do with the fact that the term “video games” relegates them to a stupid subcategory. And for what – so people who’ll never play them aren’t confused? I imagine some irrelevant old fart explaining it as, “this is a video, meant to be enjoyed by the whole family. Art! That is a video game, a silly little spin-off something your friends come over and yell at.” So less than videos, basically. A toy.

Wait, that’s film, ya moron! 

The only publishers who still bother emblazoning the term “video game” across their box are LEGO and licensed movie games, products whose demographic (dumbass kids) aren’t the one’s doing the purchasing (dumbass adults), so I somewhat understand wanting to spell it out in the marketplace. But you know what? If you’re so unobservant, lazy, and out-of-touch with a mainstream medium enjoyed by millions that you can’t understand multicolored jewel cases with banners prominently displaying “PS3”, “Xbox”, and “Wii” in enormous fonts, you probably don’t adhere to traffic signs or read warnings on prescription medication either. Losing $60 is the least of your worries and I hope you do, if only to learn a valuable lesson.


Look: Photographs became “photos.” Moving Pictures became “movies.” Where’s our hybrid, dammit?! I know the gaming press is a largely uncreative, unadventurous lot, so I understand the trepidation in attempting to introduce a hella new, clutchtastically streets ahead word into the lexicon. But I propose we move to “VGs” – or “vijees!” It’ll only sound stupid for, like, a year maybe. And it’ll be a helluva a lot better than walking into a Target, asking, embarrassed, where the “Video Games” are, and being pointed to the toy section.

47 thoughts on “Quit calling them “Video Games”

  1. I totally agree with this. I always cringe when I hear someone use the phrase “video game” when talking about games, or gaming in general. It just makes gaming sound really childish, when I know that it’s an entertainment form that deserves a lot more respect.

  2. the medium of entertainment in which I enjoy on a multitude of platforms, calls itself “Vidjya” in my house, mainly due to it’s ease of use and because I am a redneck Australian, and I like to make my own words. I know they’re toys, and I know people make fun of me for still playing them at 22 years of age, but there’s also the people who I give a shit about their opinion, and they also happen to call it “Vidjya”.

    Dad still calls it Nintendo.

  3. “Vijees” could catch on. That would be so clutch.

    “Vidja” on the other hand, is just too fetch.

    (Ine pf the recommended vids after watching the wonderful gump-inos was a tdar classic…

  4. Great article, but I honestly don’t care what they’re called. Hell, I call my music “pictureless videos” just to mess with people!

  5. I feel completely pathetic calling them video games because it does sound silly! The literal meaning to “best picture” is something we need to address.
    I’m a Chicago guy living in Ohio working at a pizza hut and I fucking hate it when people call “pan” crust “deep dish” crust! I know the real meaning of deep dish but most people take it literally! It does have more depth to it but it’s a sub category of pizza not a type of crust! Deep dish pizza has gobs and gobs of sauce and cheese made into like a pie! Before I go off on a stupid contradictory rant about pizza crust and then calling Pizza Hut’s ad department a bunch of hairless baboons throwing “ideas” at a dart board we need to call it something related to gaming. Not casino gaming because that is called gambling not gaming. Gaming title? Device?
    No I’d now go for vigees. When you think about it “moo-ve” is is a dumb name when you forget the number of times it had been ingrained in memory.

    I would consider myself vigee player but do we still call consoles, consoles?

  6. I may be one of the unwashed masses because I don’t mind Video Games. I guess I’m just used to the name and it doesn’t have the same meaning that it used to when I was a kind. When I was a kid the last thing you wanted to be known as was a “nerd” or a geek. Now a nerd or geek is making the mainstream movies or TV shows.

  7. I’ve barely ever thought of the title… But VGs is totally streets ahead.
    Gonna definitely try to spread that one around.

  8. Would love too see this happen, I think “vijee” is the closest to the mark. Could definitely get used to that. Now I can’t not notice how condescending video games sounds, it is definitely streets behind.

  9. Couldn’t agree more Mr. Antista, great article. Nothing comes to mind when thinking of an alternative name for them but saying videogames just makes me feel juvenile. Wouldnt mind vijees catching on really.

  10. Hehe, I remember that old talkradar when you said you hated the term video games. It’s nice to see you elaborate on that. Personally, I like calling the “vidjas”.

  11. I used to call them ‘Computer Games’ because to me ‘video games’ didn’t make any sense. But in recent years saw everyone use the term ‘video games’ so I just excepted it. Frankly this article has opened some old wounds.

  12. God, I agree with this so much, I refuse to use the term “Videogame” unless absolutely necessary, it makes me feel sick.

  13. I think nature is taking care of this slowly by itself. People identify themselves as Gamers rather than Videogamers. When Ive heard people talking about ‘real world’ games, I think they are at the point where they have to describe them as Board Games, Card games or something similar.

    I think we are getting to a tipping point where everyone will realise that the minority of ‘games’ being played are the sort that come in boxes with little pieces and cards and crap. Whats more they are being played by the minority of people.

    Everyone will be gaming shortly, and they will have to call out the physical version as the special case. Like a Vegetarian restaurant. There’s Restaurants, and there’s the niche subcategory that you have to describe.

    1. That’s a pretty good point. Playing Vijees (IT’S WORKING!) is more widespread than that other crap, so they could feasibly be just “Games” and the “old games” would have to be the ones to bear the extra descriptors. More like “Bored Games” amirite?!?!?

  14. I like Videogames, but I can see a point in changing it entirely. As a kid I never really said I was going to play videogames, I said I was going to play Nintendo or Sega… and even the occasional Atari (2600). Really until someone wins the console war outright, we will be stuck coming up with names to call it to please ourselves. That’s fine but the industry will still call it what it wants till then as well so we will have to deal with the fact that the only discussion will be is there a space or not.

  15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game

    The word video in video game traditionally referred to a raster display device,[1] but following popularization of the term “video game”, it now implies any type of display device.

    Video is also Latin for “to see, observe”

    Yes, I actually found more facts pertaining to this article’s subject by typing video game into Google than whatever C. Ant did.

    If you have a problem with the term video games, a problem so severe that the term frustrates and angers you, I believe you might have mental or psychological problems and should consult a physician of some sort.


      Never proclaimed to do any research, but I appreciate the fact you were willing to do the leg work. While you’re at it, feel free to look into Humor, Trolling, and Asperger syndrome!

  16. Well you can’t really pronounce that something should be called a certain thing. Language is funny in that it just naturally evolves over time, do to social changes and such. No one just demands that something be called something and every abides. It doesn’t work like that. You can already see it happening to the word “video games.” Nowadays, people will completely understand what you mean when you ask, “Hey wanna go play some games?” or “Did you here about that one game?” They dont ask what kind of game, because they know you mean video games. It’s because video games as a medium grew as large as it is and have become so commonplace that the word “game” is implied to mean “video game”. It’s a natural evolution.

  17. What do you call the things you watch on YouTube? Did you ever watch a music video on VHS? Video doesn’t just refer to the medium that video material comes on, that’s a video tape, or video disc. If it’s a game that uses video, why would anyone but a retard object to the name? Why do people object so much to the use of retard, now, when it wasn’t that pejorative before? Do we really want to be part that group that has to change the name of everything because someone’s decided to be offended by everything that’s ever existed?

    Vijees sounds like something the Brits would say, like Ninty, Shigsy, Resi, etc., but it doesn’t fit America. Maybe we should call them Freedom Vijees.

  18. Wh-whoa…

    All I can say other than loving the subject matter is that your writing skills are beautiful to behold.

    Thank you for elevating the rant to proper literary prettiness.

    From one (still terribly amateur) word nerd to another,

  19. I was totally thinking “vidya games” myself lol. It is such an outdated term, but the only other thing I could suggest would be either “Digital Entertainment” or “Game.”

    @chriszewski: Stop trying to make Fetch happen! (Mean Girls reference, *ding*)

  20. I personally hate the term “movies”. Stop to think about it for a second and it sounds so fucking 1930s, one step away from the flickies. In the UK we ended up calling them Films more, which I always thought sounded better.

    How about “Computer Games”. 🙂

  21. Over here they’re called Games or sometimes Computer Games (which is also better). Board games etc are almost never referred to as ”Games” so I don’t see the problem using that term.

    And while we’re at it I can’t stand the term ”Gamer”. You PLAY games just like you do sports or cards. I’m not a sporter or a carder for fucks sake.

  22. I’m sorry but vidja gams is offensive to my ear holes and I have never liked the term. Do we need a new word? That’s not really for me to decide. The argument all sounds like a bad marketing meeting to me. And I don’t think the term is a sub genre of videos as much as it’s a sub genre of games. You’ve got Board Games, Card Games ect. and the newest format was going to be Video games. I guess trying to market them as “TV Games” or “Interactive Games” doesn’t have the same ring as “Video Games”. I suppose Computer Games comes the closest but at this point, it’s such a dominent medium it could just usurp the term Game for itself and have older games be their own subcatagories.

  23. Agreed, I liked how my media studies major back at Buffalo called them, interactive environments. However like you pointed out, that’s way too progressive thinking for society lol.

  24. I generally just call them “games” and it “gaming”. Because as you said the video part is totally archaic and irrelevant. Unfortunately though, both those words are taken (by children’s playthings and gambling respectively) and have, objectively, negative connotations. To me “VGs” or some variation of such, sounds stupid, but at least it’s more wieldy than “interactive media. We do need a new name though. I shall give VGs a try.

    TL:DR, great article, all names to which our glorious medium lays claim are stupid , thanks for pointing it out. Also, I feel old typing in this manner.

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