A console is a command line interface where the personal computer game's settings and variables can be edited while the game is running. Consoles also usually display a log of warnings, errors, and other messages produced during the program's execution. Typically it can be toggled on or off and appears over the normal game view.
The console is normally accessed by pressing the backtick key ` (frequently also called the ~ key; normally located below the ESC key) on QWERTY keyboards or the ² on AZERTY keyboards, and is usually hidden by default. In most cases it cannot be accessed unless enabled by either specifying a command line argument when launching the game or by changing one of the game's configuration files.
A classic console is a box that scrolls down from the top of the screen, and is found in most computer games. This style was made popular with Quake (1996). There are other forms of console:
Quake III Arena has one or two consoles, depending on the platform the game was released for. The first is the internal console, which exists on all platforms. The second is an external console, created via the Windows API. The console printing function directs to both, likewise, both consoles can also have text input to them. The external console is used for dedicated servers and to log startup of the engine. Finally, the external console is also used to show errors and display debugging output should the game crash.