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The Gamer's Dictionary

Jax Mandrake

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I've been thinking about this off and on lately, because I use my time wisely.

Like participants in practically any hobby or field of study, I've noticed that video gamers have words or phrases they use that aren't used anywhere else.

I'm curious as to how many such words or phrases exist, and how often we find ourselves using them.

The first that comes to my mind is 100%, used as a verb, as in a conversation I had soon after Banjo-Kazooie was released on XBox Live Arcade. One of my contacts felt the need to inform me that he had, for the first time, "100%ed Banjo-Kazooie!!"

Another example came from a top 10 list I found on screwattack.com that discussed the hardest 8-bit Nintendo games worth playing. Their quote was "There is a reason the term NES hard exists." I wasn't aware that it did, personally, but I understand it.

So there is 100%ing and NES Hard to start. Can you add to this? (If the list gets large enough, I'll make a video of it.)

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Shmup- Shortened version of "shoot 'em up." This term is used for games like Thunder Force IV and Raiden II, where the goal is to clear stages of enemies as you control a ship/person/whatever, and battle the boss at the end of each stage. These games can scroll horizontally (left to right), vertically (top to bottom), or even remain on a single screen (like Asteroids and Space Invaders) or be isometric (Viewpoint, Zaxxon, etc.). They're generally broken up into several sub categories; scrolling/"old school" (Darius, R-Type, Gradius, etc.), manic/"bullet curtain" (Mars Matrix, DoDonPachi, the Touhou franchise, etc.) and "cute 'em ups" (Parodius, Gadget Twins, etc.).

There is a forth sub-category called "rail shooters" (Star Fox, Galaxy Force II, Iridion, etc.), but some argue that these aren't "true shmups." Of course, I say if it still plays like a shmup as it flies into the screen, then it's a shmup.

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Speed Run - Completing the game as fast as possible.

Metroid-vania - A gameplay structure in which the main player(s) travels through an expansive, non-linear area. The player is usually Many of the rooms explored are completely optional, but are usually worth exploring for better weapons and items. Named after the original Metroid game and most of the Castlevania games after Symphony of the Night.

DLC - Downloadable content. Additional content for a game that has already been published.

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It's an older one, but you can add "frag" to the list. MMOs have created a good amount of these types of things too. Like "aggro" meaning to become the one being attacked by an enemy. Speaking of enemies—though I'm not sure if it counts since it also exists as an actual word—what about "mob?" I believe it originated from old MUDs and stands for mobile. "Proc" is another one that's used to indicate when something that has a percent chance of activating does so. A sword that has an occasional chance to inflict a burn condition on hit for instance. When it triggers, it has "proc'd."

Edit: Almost forgot about DC'd, meaning disconnected.

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To Tank is to use a character with high health-limits to soak up damage that would easily incapacitate a more fragile character.

To Kite is a two-fold process of aggroing an enemy and leading it to or from strategic points. (these two are probably wrong somehow)

A Beatmap is a set of rhythms, found in many music games, of which, a certain percentage is required for a player to successfully land to complete the song. The beatmap on Just Be Friends is trippy.

A Full Combo is a continuous string of successfully landed notes, lasting for the entire duration of a given song. Can also be used as a verb. Oh man, I finally Full Comboed Hatsune Miku no Shoushitsu the other day!

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Button-mash: To use most, if not all, of the buttons/control inputs at quickly/at once, resulting in random attacks/commands. In most types of games, it will result in quick failure, but in some, like fighting games, it has the potential to throw another player off, or even accidentally execute potentially powerful attacks.

"I can't believe I lost that match to someone button-mashing Blanka!"

Winner Passes: When playing a two-player competitive game, such as a fighting game, the winner of the round or match passes his/her controller to another player. This give less experienced players more practice, while keeping higher skilled players from monopolizing the game.

"Dude, you have to let him play. We do winner passes here."

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Well these suggestions are all real words, so a little off topic I suppose.

"Massive damage"

Well the meaning is obvious but it's just the way we use it to pretty much refer to "The damage that matters."


Again almost the same as its normal meaning, but a gamer will know that it isn't just referring to saving time. Eg, Akuma's play style, or "rush the boss" meaning to ignore most of the level, etc.

"Farm" and "grind" are other obvious ones. Also "spam". An Eve Online player will understand that they are not, in fact, emailing the warp button to hundreds of people.

I've never heard "NES hard" but have heard "Nintendo hard" quite a bit.

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Zerg or Zerg Rush - The quick amassing of a large number of players or player-controlled units to rush and overwhelm the opponent(s).

Buff - A—usually temporary—enhancement to one's abilities or stats.

Debuff - A—usually temporary—reduction to one's abilities or stats.

Nuke, Spike Damage, or Burst Damage - A tactic wherein a player spams their highest damaging attacks to cause massive damage and bring down their opponent's HP as quickly as possible, often times through the use of buffs.

Powerleveling - Increasing one's character level as quickly as possible through various methods including bots or having stronger players assist you.

Max Level or Level Cap - The highest character level allowed by the game."I just hit the level cap last night. I'm finally max level!"

Stack - The ability for more than one of the same benefit or buff to be applied at one time. "Oh, you mean those two +10% damage buffs don't stack? Lame."

QQ - An ascii depiction of crying eyes. Often used to insinuate that another player is whining for no good reason. "More pew pew, less QQ"

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Micro - Short for micro-management. The art of individually managing units in an RTS game in order to cast spells or use abilities during a fight. This can involve and combination of using buffs, debuffs, kiting and focus-fire on important targets and requires a good knowledge of unit abilities and their shortcut keys.

Focus-Fire - Having multiple long range units target the same unit in an RTS game to defeat enemy targets in priority order. Although still possible with melee units it can be cumbersome with some units not able to instantly contribute in any way.

Hacking - Cheating in online games through the use of extra software.

Aimbot - A type of hack that automatically locks on to enemy targets. Console based FPS games sometimes include a loose aim assistance to make them easier to play without a mouse.

I could do an entire section on melee but I'm assuming we're keeping it a little more general in terms of gaming.

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Proc- When an ability triggers on an attack, may or may not be probability-based

Spawn-camping- The practise of waiting behind a respawn area, so someone who just spawns can be instantly killed from behind with little to no-effort.

Bug/Glitch/Map Glitch- A common issue in games where something acts unusual outside it's intended parameters as a result of a programming error. Effects can be minimal to game-breaking. Map glitching is used mostly in FPS where a player glitches their way into an area the developers didn't intend to be playable and as such they may be invincible while still being able to shoot players in the regularly playable area.

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I'd argue that kiting doesn't necessarily need strategic points, only that one uses aggro to lead a mob or boss around and attack them from long range while running to avoid damage.

yeah I'd go with that instead

I could do an entire section on melee but I'm assuming we're keeping it a little more general in terms of gaming.

do it anyway

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Spawn-camping- The practise of waiting behind a respawn area, so someone who just spawns can be instantly killed from behind with little to no-effort.

Related to this, there's also Spawner and Spawncamper (also seen Spawnkiller, though not nearly as much), terms I first encountered in Subspace Continuum and have seen in other games since, that refer (usually negatively) to the person who practices spawn-camping.

And don't forget Respawning.

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Broken - Overpowered.

OP - Abbreviation of overpowered.

Sidescroller - A game that occurs on a 2d plane and gradually scrolls to the side to show more of the level. See Super Mario Bros. or Mega Man.

Platformer - A game that is designed around (or has elements of) leaping from platform the platform skillfully. See Portal or Super Mario Bros.

RPG - Role Playing Game, a game where the player steps into the shoes of a protagonist, dictating their movements and guiding the story. See Final Fantasy or Pokemon.

FPS - First Person Shooter, a game where the action is shown from a first person point of view, "through the eyes" of the player-character. See Battlefield, Call of Duty, Halo or Half-Life

Player-character - The character in the story that the player controls.

NPC - Non-Player character, any character in the story that the player does not control.

Random Encounter - A battle that occurs randomly when traversing a game area. A common aspect of RPGs.

Experience - A common aspect of MMORPGs and RPGs, experience is usually gained through fighting enemies and other things and is the main way to level up a character.

Level up - To raise your player's abilities through training.

MMORPG - Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, a variant of the RPG that makes use of online play and playing with other players, forming guilds and parties to fight larger enemies. Also called "MMOs" or "MMORPGers" (pronounced "mm-or-puh-gurz"). See World of Warcraft.

Guild - A group of players (usually in MMORPGs) who have banded together to help make each other stronger and help each other out.

Scrub - In fighting games, a player who uses a high-tier or spammable character, and overuses certain cheap attacks. Is not usually an effective strategy.

Tier - In fighting games, tiers are a way for the players to define which characters are the best to use and which are the worst. They usually involve in-depth study of advanced concepts like frames per attack, dash speed, the amount of hits before they become stunned, and attack speed.

Point-and-click - a genre of games, generally in the style of adventure games, that were popular in the late 80s-early 90s. Generally exclusive to computers (such as the Commodore 64), these games involve point at and clicking on objects in the game to find out about them, pick them up, and use them to progress through the game. Some would include combat, but it was usually either turn-based or very clunky.

Adventure games - A genre of games, usually point-and-click, but not exclusively, that involve searching for clues to progress through a game. Good examples include Tales of Monkey Island and the Sherlock Holmes series of games.

Turn-based combat - A convention brought over from the world of dice-based fantasy games, turn-based combat involves two or more fighters in an arena (either physical or metaphorical) taking turns to attack each other, heal each other (and themselves), and buff each other's stats. See Final Fantasy Series.


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I'm glad I started this topic. The field is a lot larger than I anticipated, and I suspect we're hardly scratching the surface. Tournament fighting enthusiasts should remember this one that just came to mind:

Turtling - A strategy consisting of ducking and blocking to minimize damage, often seen as a cheap or cowardly way to fight as it limits the opponent's options to specialized attacks such as throws.

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poopsocking -- camping a rare and valuable mob in an MMORPG for an absurd and life-disrupting period of time; name derives from Chinese gold-farming sweatshop incident in which a worker who was forced to work long hours was discovered dead with a sock full of poop nearby, presumably because he was not allowed to leave the chair until he had reached his farming quota.

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Crit - Referring to a critical hit, a blow that does significantly more damage than normal.

Hax - Used a lot in the Pokemon community, and refers to chance circumstances that affect the outcome of a battle. Example: If you are paralyzed by your opponent, a status that carries a 25% chance of not being able to move every turn, and you are unable to move three or four turns in a row (it happens), it would be acceptable to say you lost that battle due to hax.

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please do it so i don't have to. several of the terms from melee have become more broadly used terms in fighting games (wavedash, etc.) so they're worth having regardless

Fiiiiiiiine, but I really don't play any fighters except melee to if someone could point out the one's with wider use.

Melee sub-dictionary:

Wave-dashing - Instantly air-dodging diagonally into the floor after jumping causing the character to slide along the floor. This is usually faster then running and allows a movements that would otherwise be impossible, such as moving backwards without turning around in order to evade and counter simultaneously.

Tech - Pushing the shield button as your characters falls towards the floor or an edge to allow a quicker recover or a directed evasive roll.

Power-shield - Pressing the shield button in the exact frame

Spike - Using a move that causes the opposing character to move downwards. There are a few moves which result in both this trajectory and a stun period making them almost impossible to recover from. These are known as 'true' spikes, and spikes with no stun are referred to as 'meteor' smashes.

DI - Directional influence. By holding different directions when being hit, a player can influence their trajectory in helpful (or very unhelpful) ways to either evade being combo'd or to prevent a direct KO.

Combo - A sequence of moves that can only be evaded using DI to make the combo more difficult to execute.

Infinite Combo - A sequence of moves that, if executed perfectly, are capable of continuing indefinitely until the player chooses to end it. They usually revolve around attacks with a set knockback at all damages, such as Fox's shine attack.

L-Cancelling - Pushing the L button whilst executing a falling aerial attack just before hitting the ground. Drastically reduces the time taken to land after the attack and allows for faster combos.

Shffl - Short hop fast fall l-cancel. The fastest way to execute an aerial attack. It begins with a short hop executed by pushing the jump button for a very short time, fast-falling once the jump has reached it's full height by pressing down, and finally l-cancelling the landing.

These are a bit more general.

Counter-picking - Choosing a character that has a generally accepted advantage over another character in tournaments.

Metagame - The hypothetical perfect game a character's characteristics and moves allow them to achieve given the tactics and approaches developed by the community. The metagame is constantly developing with the community as new players begin to succeed.

Ditto Match - Playing a 1v1 match using the same character, removing all matchup advantages.

Hitbox - The actual area that causes or receives damage to a character. Attack hitboxes will often have sweet spots that cause more damage. Some characters such as Marth in SSBM have a 'disjointed' hitbox, whereby their attacks all happen very far away from their own hitbox through the use of swords. This allows a character to keep a safe distance whilst still attacking.

Sandbagging - Playing badly on purpose in order to surprise opponents or conceal techniques early on during tournaments.

That's all from me.

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Ditto Match is usually known as Mirror match in non-smash bros Fighting games.

Speaking of fighting games:

OCV - One Character Victory, used in fighting games with multiple characters (Usually 3) where the first character of one team defeats the opponents entire team.

Reverse OCV - OCV but in the other direction, meaning that if you lost all but one character and your enemy has his whole team, but you still beat him with that one character.

Free - term used for a player or battle that's an easy win. "This is free! I didn't even take a hit!" (Probably a better way to explain this one.)

Fraud - Referring to someone not as skilled as others in a tournament but due to luck or circumstance has not been knocked out yet, usually used to mock someone "Mike Ross is a fraud!"

Meter - Refering to the Super/Hyper/Focus/SP (Whatever it's called) Meter in the fighting game being played.

Normal's - referring to a characters normal attack (just one button, possibly a direction added)

Special - Characters moves that need special input (Ryu's Hadoken, Guile's Sonic Boom)

EX Special's - Specials that are improved from the normal special but require a little bit of meter, Usually referred to as EX move name (EX Hadoken, EX Sonic Boom, ect.)

Super's - Character special attack that use meter. Very powerful or quick.

Cancel - Moves usually have recovery frames, some moves (Especailly supers) you can cancel into, making longer combos.

Punish - The term for when a player misses or is blocked by an attack, the opponent can move in an usually get a combo in dealing a lot of damage.

Drop - The term for when a combo does not go as long as it could of. "Oh he dropped the combo!"

scaling - the term used for longer combos getting weaker and harder to combo as they go along.

Bread and butter combo (BnB) - The term for a characters combo that is often used because of its ease of use to damage ratio.

OTG - off the ground, referring to certain moves that 'pick up' enemies that are knocked down.

Wallbounce - The term where an attack slams the opponent into the wall, giving a large amount of hang time to allow more combos.

I'm sure I'm missing a ton of stuff, but I'll add more when I've got time.

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Some ones from specific games, since we have a Melee section:

Hyper - Variant of Super exclusive to the Marvel vs. Capcom series.

DHC - Delayed Hyper Combo. Exclusive to the Marvel vs. Capcom series, a DHC is done when one character's Hyper attack is interrupted by another character on their team switching in and doing his or her own hyper combo.

Switch In/Out - In fighting games that use tag teams, switching a character in or out is when one character moves onto the field to replace the character who is currently fighting, who moves off the field.

Tag Team - In fighting games, a team of two or more fighters who switch in and out during the battle.

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