The game industry has lots of problems with vocabulary – not just with the term gameplay (that one’s more useful when describe different sets of mechanics within a game – open world gameplay, for example. And against his point, you do actually say a book is a good read).
But there are oh so many more…
Next gen, for starters – now according to every publisher, and pretty much everyone else, the next generation of consoles has started. Can we just stop using this as a freaking meaningless marketing term? “This is game is next gen” is completely devoid of any actual meaning at this point, if you look at the spectrum of games that have called themselves that. If any game has to proclaim that about itself, it’s quite apparently not. It’s like when a person actually calls themselves a “straight shooter”. They’re not. The fact that they have to sell this idea to anyone is the strongest case against it. By it’s very nature, it’s supposed to be obvious. As an industry we’re always trying to push boundaries and innovate in various ways (maybe not always good ones), but to slap such a overused term, laden with preconceptions, on that process does nothing to help it along.
“Casual” vs. “hardcore” – By now the notion that the term “casual” gamers actually applies to any specific type of demographic should be pretty ridiculous. We attempt to distinguish games with these terms by labeling by their supposed market, which is has got to strike someone else as being silly. We really want to label them by form. Every medium has short and long form works, and there’s typically different terms for them (so people aren’t so stupid, as the game industry is, to compare them). The short story, novella, novel. A short and a feature. You get the idea.
This one came up at work as a pet peeve yesterday – fun factor. That should be self explanatory.
But most important is the lack of any proper verb. Ok, a game designer designs, but what kind of watered down verb is that? A writer writes, a director shows, meanwhile you use the same term to describe picking the color to paint your living room wall, changing the font size on this web page, or making a game. Everybody’s a designer these days. Plus there’s less conveyance in that term of the notion of making a work for someone else. You write, someone reads. You show something to someone, naturally. You design something… for someone? Meh.