© Photo by Daniel K Cheung on Unsplash

Key Points

  • MOB is anything in a game that can move without a player’s input.
  • In early games, MOBs were pretty mundane due to technological limitations.
  • An NPC typically refers to a character that you can interact with but is not controlled by another player.

A seldom-used phrase in the gaming world is MOB. Don’t be alarmed; it has nothing to do with the mafia. It is actually an acronym for mobile and can also refer to mobile objects. However, it specifically refers to moving, non-playable characters in a game.

Typically a MOB is found in video games as a character that the player must battle. However, this is not always the case, as some MOBs just exist to add to a game’s environment. More recently, the term MOB has been used by players of Minecraft as there are plenty of MOBs in the game.

Origin of the term MOB

There isn’t an exact date to pinpoint the origin of the term MOB. However, we can trace it back to the 1980s when multi-user dungeon (MUD) games were very popular. The first user of the term mobile object we know of is Richard Bartle (the creator of MUD) which he used to describe any mobile object in mud source code.

Later, users of the term shortened it to just MOB when discussing mobile characters. These older games featured boss battles that were literal moving objects, compared to older-style bosses that were still. The added mobile element led many players to refer to them as “mobiles” or MOBs.

What Is a MOB

Using this original definition, a MOB is anything in a game that can move without a player’s input. In modern games, this may seem trivial as nearly every person in a game can move on their own, but in the 1980s, it was groundbreaking. Similarly, games featured very few MOBs, and they were typically used for boss battles.

In early games, MOBs were pretty mundane due to technological limitations. This meant that most actually had the same programming, which could be noticeable by the end of a game. Today MOBs are used for thousands of different characters and objects within a game. Some MOB interactions impact the game, while others just add to a game’s experience.

Although MOBs started in MUD programming, they eventually moved into MMORPGs when they became popular. MOBs became an important part of MMORPGs because they featured multiple real-world players that would need to interact with MOBs in order to progress through the game.

A non-playable character (NPC) is the more common term today among gamers. However, it does not encompass everything that a MOB is. An NPC typically refers to a character that you can interact with but is not controlled by another player. Instead, it is controlled by the game.

Use of MOB in Minecraft

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The word “Minecraft” is a portmanteau of two verbs: to mine and to craft.

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The hit video game Minecraft really brought the term MOB into the mainstream. This is because Minecraft uses the term MOB to describe creatures in its games. This is pretty fitting since the moving objects are exactly what MOB was meant to refer to.

Unlike early MOBs, the ones in Minecraft can interact with the world around them and are affected by changes you make in the game. They can also interact with other MOBs in the game. MOBs in Minecraft come in three different backgrounds. The MOBs can either be passive, neutral, or hostile.

The passive MOBs are usually the tamest as they will not attack even if provoked. On the other hand, neutral ones are also fairly laid back, but they will come after you if you provoke them. Last are the host MOBs, which will come after you when too close. Bosses would fall into the hostile category even though they are slightly different.

In Minecraft, players can also create their own MOBs. These are called utility MOBs, and they can be used by the player for various purposes, such as defense from hostile MOBs. Minecraft also holds votes, allowing players to vote for the next MOB to add.

Shorthand and Slang in Gaming

The use of terms such as MOB is nothing new in gaming. Everything seems to have an abbreviation in the gaming world. Genres, features, ratings, and even franchises all have shorthand versions. Whether it was to be cool or chat faster, shorthand and gaming have been together for decades.

steam deck
PlayStation games are coming to the PC and getting Steam Deck verified.

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ESRB

ESRB is one of the most prominent users of shorthand in the video game industry. It is the US rating agency that assigns age restrictions to all video games. The popular terms are E, E10+, T, M, and AO. There are also others, such as one for games designed for young children as well as one for ratings that have not yet been designated. The rating works similarly to movie ratings in that certain criteria dictate what category a game falls in.

Genres

Game genres are always abbreviated, from MMORPG to SIM; there is shorthand for everything. Here are a few that you should know:

Franchises

Sale
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - PlayStation 4
  • In the visceral and dramatic single-player story campaign, the stakes have never been higher as players take on the role of lethal tier one operators in a heart-racing saga that will affect the global balance of power.
  • Experience the ultimate online playground with classic multiplayer.
  • Squad-up and play cooperatively in a collection of elite operations accessible to all skill levels.

People also use abbreviations when referring to franchises. A common shorthand is COD, which stands for Call of Duty. Another well-known abbreviation is GTA for the ever-popular Grand Theft Auto series. Many other games also have a short form, but it can get a bit confusing, especially when old and young gamers may use different terminology.

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Grand Theft Auto V - PlayStation 5
  • STUNNING VISUALS — Enhanced levels of fidelity and performance with new graphics modes featuring up to 4K resolution, up to 60 frames per second, HDR options, ray tracing, improved texture quality, and
  • FASTER LOADING — Quicker access to the action as the world of Los Santos and Blaine County load in faster than ever before
  • ADAPTIVE TRIGGERS AND HAPTIC FEEDBACK — Feel every moment through the DualSense controller, from directional damage to weather effects, rough road surfaces to explosions, and more
  • TEMPEST 3D AUDIO — Hear the sounds of the world with pinpoint precision: the throttle of a stolen supercar, the rattle of neighboring gunfire, the roar of a helicopter overhead, and more
  • English (Subtitle)

Communication

Here’s what everyone has been waiting for. When communicating in video games, slang and shorthand have, at times, appeared like cryptic language. But it was absolutely essential for communicating and got its start in the early days of multiplayer games.

While it was indeed very popular on computer-based MMORPGs, things really got wild on consoles because most users didn’t have a keyboard in front of them. As a result, even those who had chat pads would find it difficult to communicate and would do so with just a few letters. Text messaging on early cell phones also helped these terms get even more traction, as it was very time-consuming to type full words with just numbers.

Other “Slang” Gaming Terms You Should Probably Know

If you play video games or just want to know what the heck people are talking about, check out this list of popular gaming terms:

  • Creeper- A creeper is another term for a hostile MOB.
  • Griefer- An person in a multiplayer game who is annoying.
  • Grinding- Describes the hard work that goes into playing a game, particularly mundane tasks.
  • Metroidvania- Play on words to describe a blend of Metroid and Castlevania, both of which let players explore open worlds in a side-scroll game.
  • Camping- A gaming tactic typically used in multiplayer games, where you hide out to evade enemies.
  • MC- Shorthand for Minecraft.
  • 1V1- One vs one is any game where two players directly battle each other, such as in fighting games.
  • Split screen- A type of multiplayer where the screen is divided by the number of players, and each player has a screen focused on their character.
  • Permadeath- When you permanently die in a game and cannot respawn, meaning you have to start over.
  • Sandbox- A type of game that features an open world for players to explore and play through at their own pace.
  • AAA- Triple A refers to video games made by big developers such as Rockstar, Activision, or EA.
  • SMP- Survival multiplayer are games like Minecraft where you try to survive but are typically given no weapons to start with.
  • SHMUP- Shoot ’em-ups are games where you try to survive as long as possible by killing enemies that are constantly moving toward you.

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Last update on 2023-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Does MOB Stand for in Gaming? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a MOB?

A MOB is a moving object in a video game.

What are MOBs in Minecraft?

Any non-player character that is alive and moving.

Is a MOB bad?

Specifically, in the Minecraft world, a MOB can either be passive, neutral, or hostile.

Do all games have MOBs?

Most modern video games use MOBs as there are a lot of non-playable objects that can move.

Where did the term MOB originate?

The term MOB originated from the code for MUD1, which used the expression to describe newly created moveable objects.

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More from History-Computer

  • Wikiversity Available here: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Minecraft/Mobs
  • Wikipedia Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mob_(video_games)#:~:text=A%20mob%2C%20short%20for%20mobile,or%20NPCs%20vulnerable%20to%20attack.
  • Wikipedia Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MUD1
  • Minecraft Wiki Available here: https://minecraft-archive.fandom.com/wiki/Mobs
  • BH Photo & Video Available here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/computers/tips-and-solutions/gamer%E2%80%99s-glossary-terms-and-acronyms