Sprites, in the days of the C64, were also called "MOBs" or Movable Object Blocks. A sprite is a rectangular graphic which is overlaid on the rest of the screen, and can be moved around just by altering the contents of certain video chip registers. Another feature is that the hardware provides sprite collision detection, which makes programming easy, but can suck. You could actually display more than 8 sprites.

The soft drink Sprite is a product of the Coca-Cola Company. It is clear, carbonated, and has both lemon and lime flavorings. Sprite is non-caffeinated and has 140 calories per 12 ounce can.

From the can label:

The ingredients are carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and/or sucrose, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate (to protect taste).

(Sprite is) canned under authority of the Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, GA by a member of the CCE Bottling Group, Atlanta, Georgia, 30339.

In computer games and similar applications, sprites are graphics or animations that represent scene elements. For example, plants, weapons, or big fire-breathing dragons. In Super Mario Brothers, Mario is a sprite, as are the goombas. Sprites are generally partially transparent; 2d graphics that have no transparency are called "tiles".

I had a really long write-up with code snippets, but X crashed and I lost it.
When using Macromedia Director, any Cast Member on the Stage is called a Sprite.

A Sprite may be animated or have it's blend, ink or background altered. A Director movie is sprites manipulated according to instructions from the coded LINGO behaviours.

Some interesting factoids about sprites (computer graphics sense) that spring into mind:

  • In Commodore 64, sprites (or MOBs, as they were super-officially known, even when everyone called them just sprites) were 24x21 pixels, each either single-colored or (with half horizontal resolution) 3-colored. Sprite data was organized in a fairly easy way: The sprite data was 3x21=63 bytes, with each horizontal row of the sprite represented with 3 bytes (24 bits). Due to multi-color resolution thing, One common technique was to create the character out of n*2 sprites - one colored sprite on bottom, giving the colors, and one hi-rez black sprite on top, giving the outlines. They could be expanded in both directions to double size, but one hack I saw used video chip rasters quite cleverly to expand them up to 8 times! On hardware, C64 supported only 8 sprites.
  • Nintendo Entertainment System supported gigantic amount of 64 sprites... at 8x8 or 8x16 pixels. See NES PPU.

On these two systems, there's almost always the problem of running out of sprites - The 8 sprites on C64 are definitely not enough for anything involving many characters, and on NES, constructing anything large enough eats up lots of sprites. The problem is solved (though not in very programmer-friendly way) by using raster interrupts: Once the sprite has been drawn, you change the sprite pointers in memory, and the system thinks it hasn't yet drawn the sprite on this scanline and starts over again. This often works pretty well, but it sometimes gets a bit out of hand, particularly in quickly written and hastily produced games (I think TMNT games sprite-bugged a lot on both C64 and NES!) - but sometimes this bugs in even high-profile releases (The squashers in Mega Man 2 Dr. Wily levels with their chains magically appearing in walls...)

(Thanks for corrections to yerricde)

Sprite (?), n. [OE. sprit, F. esprit, fr. L. spiritus. See Spirit, and cf. Sprightly.]

1.

A spirit; a soul; a shade; also, an apparition. See Spright.

Gaping graves received the wandering, guilty sprite. Dryden.

2.

An elf; a fairy; a goblin.

3. Zool.

The green woodpecker, or yaffle.

 

© Webster 1913.

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