The Bitcoin developer guide mentions stale blocks as not being in the longest chain, then moves on to orphan blocks. It states you don't get orphan blocks, "and if you do" they are just dropped. But it doesn't mention whether stale blocks are also "abandoned" (for lack of a better term).
p.s. I'm thinking of using a blockchain for scores in my game, to have a universal top ten sort of thing. Any comments welcome.