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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is applicable to board games and tabletop role-playing games, the term applies widely beyond gaming:

Analysis Paralysis

The term Analysis Paralysis is common in board games. However, it is applicable in all gaming, and within decision-making in work and life in general. With Analysis Paralysis many choices are available, often too many choices. The decision maker out of anxiety or a fear of making the wrong decision my take excessive time making their decision, or in extreme cases make no decision at all.

In-game settings, the player spends an excessive amount of time considering their options and plotting the implications. This excessive time can often negatively impact other players by extending the game time and forcing long waits between turns. Often players overthink their options. It can be very frustrating for other players in the game when the gameplay time is extended for this reason. These long wait times take away from the game experience of other players. There are multiple ways to address and mitigate some of the decision making which will be discussed below.

History:

The idea of being paralyzed by decision-making is an old one. We can see a reference to it, though not used by name, in Aesop’s fable The Fox and the Cat. The fable tells of a Fox and Cat that each has tricks to escape the hounds. The cat only had one trick and the Fox had “a whole sackful”. Once threatened by the hounds, that cat did its one trick for an escape without hesitation. The Fox meanwhile started and restarted with different tricks and was unable to escape. You can read the full story here. The idea of the fable is that one may have so many options their failure to act on any of them can be detrimental.

The phrase Analysis Paralysis is credited with being paired together in an 1803 pronouncing dictionary. These words became paired for their rhyming, and also for the memorable phrase they created. The concept has long existed but this phrasing captured it in a more concise manner.

Ways Minimize Analysis Paralysis

With Analysis Paralysis being an old problem, there is a classic game that has come up with a solution. In Chess, players can use a Chess Clock. This is a special clock with two clocks so players can track their available time to make their moves.

Strategies to Minimize Analysis Paralysis in Gaming:

  • Timers/chess clock: By limiting time it reduces the negative impact on other players. A timer provides incentives to prevent overanalyzing the choices, as well as a hard stop to analyzing choices.
  • Choose games with limited choices per turn. By starting with fewer choices it reduces the need for a long analysis of choices.
  • Slowly include games that add more choices. Rather than jumping right to a game with many choices, try to increase the game complexity and choices available incrementally to build the habit of a short decision-making time.
  • Perfect decisions are not the key, so building a culture where perfection is not the goal. The culture at a gaming session is critical to the comfort of players overall, but it can play a major factor in decision-making. If a player feels safe to take a risk and not worry about negative comments they may not be so fixated on making the “right” move.
  • Focus on your main objective, if there are multiple. In more complex games there are usually multiple parts of the game and aspects to focus on. When there are many decisions to make, it can be helpful to go back to the main objective to limit the scope of your choices.

Strategies To Minimize Analysis Paralysis Outside of Gaming

  • Focus on your main objective, if there are multiple: Just like in gaming, when there are multiple objectives, what is the main or most important one. Use that to guide your focus and narrow the relevant choices.
  • Set a time frame/ timer: Create a hard time limit if one does not already exist. Time limits help to focus the analysis by having a firm ending time.
  • Prioritize the Options: Try to eliminate some of the less optimal options. One great strategy is making a list so you can see the options and then cross off less important or optimal options.
  • Take a break: If you are able to, take a break from analyzing your choices. By stepping away from the active analysis you can come back with fresh eyes to the options to aid in decision-making.
  • Ask for Advise: If there is an expert or someone more experienced you can seek their insights and thoughts. They may have a valuable perspective to focus on the most important options you have in your decision-making.

Final Thoughts

Analysis Paralysis is often a term used in gaming, but is certainly not limited to gaming. Many of the strategies above can be applied to all aspects of decision-making. If you find yourself frozen, and struggling to make a decision see if one or more strategy helps you.


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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many well-known games: LARP

LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role-Playing. It Incorporates physical action, improv, cosplay, and roleplay into a single event. Players inhabit a fantasy world at a set location in real-time and can be based in a wide variety of genres.

LARPing involves social interaction with players and NPCs (non-playing characters). LARP events will require specific costumes and props to further the set environment. More experienced players will likely be better outfitted for LARPing events having collected gear over a longer period of time. New players can purchase supplies at various stores and online sites. LARP organizations such as Alliance have forums to guide new players. Preparation: character creation, backstory, props, costuming, etc. assist players with fuller immersion into the event.

References can be similar to tabletop role-playing questions, general gameplay, character class and race choices. Parents may need to assist with forum surfing, costuming. As with sports or a new instrument, invest minimally at first to ensure your player’s interest warrants a larger financial investment.

A PC attacking an NPC

What does LARP mean?

LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role Play. LARP is an immersive story experience where participants physically act out their character’s actions. Staff create a different world for players to plunge into with costuming, props, and scenography into an amazing experience. Most children have played make believe. We have all seen towel capes, construction paper crowns, and broom stick swords. LARP is the next evolution of that, which is why children easily lean towards LARP.

LARP Basics

There are several genres of LARP, with 2 basic types. The first: Adventure, Demonstrative, or Boffer LARPs feature mock combat with foam weapons. These LARPs encourage the players to work as a group towards a common goal. Serving the greater good, protecting a community, exploring the unknown, finding a lost item or person, and so on. Another term for this group is combat LARP, and they have genre-specific weapons. The second: Interactive, Literature, Parlor, Salon, or Theater LARP features heavy role-play with emotional interaction more character-driven, often with no specific goal or task. Groups without combat are non-combat LARPs. Their conflicts resolve with cards, dice, or chance games (ie rock paper scissors).

Similar to most modern video games and tabletop role-playing, LARP is Player vs Environment (PVE) or Player vs Player (PVP). PVE the group is united as a whole against something threatening the land, the town, and so forth. Players can face monsters, puzzles, traps, and so forth. PVP plays the players against each other. Narrative or personal motivations can drive this game’s focus and player interaction. (We define PvE and PvP in the greater gaming context here.)

How to find a LARP?

Now is the time to find a new LARP group. Many groups were constrained by the pandemic and are restarting and rebuilding. There are several online resources, use your favorite search engine and search for LARP or LARP in your area. If you already know what genre you’re interested in, add that to your search as well, i.e. pirates, medieval, futuristic, and so on. Some specific sites include LARPfinder, meetup (for larger cities), reddit (r/LARP), Facebook, and many others.

Local gaming and tabletop stores often have LARP advertising and may have LARPers on staff. There are some summer camps with LARP themes and events as well. Conventions can also be a good resource for single-event LARPs, some may run over the course of the convention. You can typically reach out to the organizers and ask. There are LARPs across the globe with a wide variety of genres and sizes. You will find one that fits if you look for it!

Examples of different LARPs. 

LARP genres can vary as widely as any interest base. These genres can include: aliens, cyberpunk, futuristic, fantasy, historical, horror, pirates, murder mysteries, superheroes, and whatever else imagination can create. Genre types will dictate costuming, weapons, character interactions, and window dressing for the environment. The setting will determine how your player reacts to what is around them. A pirate or cowboy won’t be as surprised by a train as an elf from a medieval setting might be.

Some LARP games and genres are geared towards adults only, most vampire LARP is adult only. Most LARPs have their age requirements posted on their homepages to make child-friendly LARP easier to find. (AllianceLARP New Hampshire, for example, allows players starting at 14 with a guardian.)

What are Boffer weapons?

Bow, Swords, Staff

Boffer weapons are traditionally part of American LARP.  Boffer weapons are 3 layers: a rigid base, foam middle, and duct tape or nylon cover. The materials vary. Foamsmith (boffer weapon makers) skill sophistication can vary from pool noodles with handles to sleek light weapons resembling their real-world counterparts. Boffer weapons are built for safety and ease of play by a wider range of players. They are typically checked for safety before every event. Boffer weapons are easy to use by the average player. However, they are not always painless, especially in the heat of battle with adrenaline. It is not uncommon to get a bruise or two from combat regardless.

European LARPers tend to use latex rubber weapons which are heavier, and more realistic in appearance, but require more physicality to wield. In some cases more extreme LARPers use real weapons, this is rare and more likely in historical reenactments than play.

Is Cosplay the same thing as LARP?

No. Cosplay and LARP are not the same things. They are similar. Cosplay is when you dress up as a character from a movie, TV show,  book, videogame, or your own creation. Most Cosplay is found at conventions or special events connected to the character. Stormtroopers, Wookies, and Jedi often appear when a new Star Wars movie comes out, that is Cosplay. Cosplay is more for appearances and getting into a character as an expression of enjoying a fandom. LARP costuming needs to be functional as well as genre appropriate to play a game.

Is LARP Similar to DnD?

Absolutely. LARP and Dungeons and Dragons have very similar origins and base rules. Noncombat LARP uses dice or card systems similar to D&D for combat resolution.

Both games require a bit of imagination to help build the setting and role-playing. Most LARPers play D&D or other similar role-playing games in the off-season, or started there and branched off into LARPing. If your child is nervous about LARP, tabletop role-playing games are a good place to learn which genres they’re interested in and a chance to practice their role-playing skills.

What does a new player need to know?

Learn the basics before you go. Most LARP groups have websites with the rules, they may have a rulebook, requirements, and so on. You should have read through those things at least once before you go to an event. Game restrictions and waivers should be known ahead of time not when you’re with your kiddo in full costume at the event. If you or your child need special accommodations, reach out to the game runners ahead of time (they typically have at least an email on their websites) or other players may be able to help or point you in the right direction. Review costume guidelines and requirements. Part of immersing yourself into a LARP world is the proper costuming.

What to Bring

If the venue is outside, bring sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Dress appropriately for the weather, extreme weather conditions can lead to certain costuming holds. It’s easy to add layers to a cloak and remove them on cold days. Ask ahead of time about food and drinks. Some offerings either in or out of game may be provided or you may have to pack lunch. Try to play along and bring in genre meals, a Lunchable can be repacked in reusable wax cloth instead of a plastic container. If the event is a one-off versus a multi-day event you may need to arrange sleeping accommodations as well. This may be camping or a local hotel.

Acclimating to Events

NPCs

Remember it’s natural to be quieter when you’re new. Many LARPers have been playing for years and are very welcoming. Give it a few events before deciding it’s not for you. However, group dynamics aren’t always a fit, you can explore other games and other groups. LARP is an international game, there are places for everyone.

Most games start with a welcome speech or intro, this is your time for new players to ask their questions. Logistics or the pre-start time where your costuming and weapons are being checked for safety is also a time for questions.  Most games have moderators or experienced players or staff on hand to answer questions as you go, identify them early, and ask. It doesn’t hurt to play into your character either and ask in game.

Places to buy LARP costuming and supplies

Finding the right costuming for your character can go a long way into finding role-playing and helping a new player step out of the real world and into the LARP world. LARPing can be an expensive hobby. There can be ways around that, especially for new players trying out LARP before committing. Look to your new LARP group for guidance: new player forums, game organizers, and veteran players can all help you with rules, requirements, and where they got their gear. New players might be able to borrow some pieces to help with the cost while they’re deciding if this is for them.

Depending on your LARP genre, there are several easily accessible websites to help build your character. First look at your LARP group website & forums, there will be suggestions related to the rules and needs specific to your game. Next a quick search for LARP costume, LARP gear, LARP armor, LARP weapons, etc will find you several sites. Costume stores/sites, Walmart, amazon, and other bigger markets. can get you something serviceable in a quick time. Once you’ve decided on LARP as your hobby and you’re looking to move from testing to definitely playing: Etsy, Epic Armory, B3, Holy Clothing, burgschneider.us and MANY others will have genre-specific weapons, armor, props and so on.

Don’t forget about crafting. If you or a friend can break out a sewing machine this can save you quite a bit. Also, thrifting has been a time-honored way to build up your costuming. Pinterest is full of LARP DIY to help with various levels of your skill and direction needed.

Where can I find LARP in the media?

There are a wide variety of LARP examples in movies and TV shows. Not all of these examples are family-friendly, often LARP is confused for tabletop role-playing by those who haven’t read this article yet. Often the examples produced depict LARPers as unsympathetic nerds with poor social skills. LARPing attracts all sorts of people, most of whom are welcoming and enjoy sharing their beloved hobby with others.

Examples

  • Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe
  • Monster Camp
  • Hawkeye
  • Supernatural: LARP and the Real Girl
  • Role Models *not kid appropriate

Conclusion

In conclusion, LARP, or Live Action Role-Playing, is a form of immersive story experience where participants physically act out their character’s actions. It incorporates physical action, improv, cosplay, and roleplay into a single event and can be based in a wide variety of genres. There are two basic types of LARP, Adventure or Boffer LARPs which feature mock combat with foam weapons, and Interactive or Theater LARPs which feature heavy role-play with emotional interaction. LARP can be found through online resources, local gaming and tabletop stores, summer camps, and conventions. With a wide variety of genres and sizes, there is a LARP for everyone to enjoy.


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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Action Games

Space Invaders

Action games are a super-genre of games that focus on mechanics, physical challenges, and reaction times. This genre overlaps with several other genres such as RPG, sports, and adventure games, but an action game relies primarily on overcoming challenges and with quick response times and hand-eye coordination often coupled with an intense time element favoring speed over complexity.

Shooter games were one of the first action games on the market, one of the more famous being Space Invaders. A single defender needs to shoot oncoming aliens without damaging their own defenses (although doing just that was a common strategy).

Action games are so common that they have become a hybrid of almost every other type of video game. There are Action Adventure games, Action RPGs, and more.


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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Platformer or Platform game

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

In this genre players jump or climb between different platforms. Graphics are typically 2-D in a third-person perspective side-view. Although newer games are using 3-D in first person perspective.

Early platform games used ladders and climbing but later games generally focus more on jumping.  Platform types can include standard, jump through, slippery/high resistance, sticky, conveyor belt, and many more.

Donkey Kong, one of the first video games with a storyline; is one of the first examples of a platform game. Mario jumps over barrels and climbs ladders to save Paulina as she cries “HELP!”

Super Mario Bros is also one of the most famous examples of a platformer game. Several sequels of Super Mario Bros has taken Mario and Luigi through various platform types and increasingly difficult jumping challenges over the years. The vintage Mario platform is also included in Super Mario Odyssey, where you need to navigate through 2D sections to reach the next needed location.

Examples of Platform Games Include:

Little Big Planet

Guacamelee 2

Crash Bandicoot


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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Fighting Games

Fighting games are a type of action game where two or more characters fight each other. Players can fight a combination of other players or the computer. Fighting typically includes hand-to-hand or melee weapons.

Fighting games typically have a player and enemy health bar on the screen. Combat is divided into rounds. Rounds, typically 3, end when one player’s health is reduced to zero, or whoever has the least health with time runs out. In-game characters have different moves and attacks based on simple to complex button combinations. Most traditional fighter games are viewed from the side in 2-D and 3-D. Fights take place on a set area similar to a stage where players have limited movement capabilities. Animations in fighting games tend to feature exaggerated movements and reactions. Subsets of fighting games include sports-based, beat ‘em ups, brawlers, and other combat styles.

Street Fighter is the classic game most associated with this genre. Street Fighter has many series titles over the course of the years.

Fighting Game Examples Include:

  • Super Smash Bros
  • Street Fighter
  • BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games:  Adventure Game

In this genre the player is the protagonist of an interactive story driven by exploration, narrative, puzzle solving, or a combination of the three. These games are story based and can vary widely by content. Play is single-player. The majority of adventure games do not have action elements.

The adventure game has evolved from text-based command and prompt games into full graphic immersive stories and exploration. One of the first text-based adventure games was Zork I. The game describes player locations and actions, while the player types responses to these text prompts creating interactive fiction. You can find the Zork Anthology on Steam here.

Text-only prompts have evolved into graphic explorations such as Myst and Monkey Island where puzzles were entwined in the experience. As players move through the game, they are trying to solve a big problem or series of problems. To reach this goal, you need to complete many subtasks, in a chain of activities to work closer and closer to your goal. For example, you need a key to open a door, but to get the key you need to go solve a farmer’s problem (and in order to solve his problem you need to find some other object.)

Other subgenres of adventure games can include choosing your own adventure games and visual novel games. Many visual novels are intended for older teens or adults.

Examples of This Genre Include:

  • Dreamfall
  • Portal
  • Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove
  • The Last Express
  • Monkey Island series
  • Telltale games

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Respawn, Spawn Rate and Spawn Timer

Pokémon Center

Respawn refers to the act of reviving or returning to the area or field of play in a video game as a player, or the return of a threat or resource. The word Respawn was originally coined for multiplayer experiences, but now has generalized to all of gaming. (verb)

  • If all your Pokémon get knocked out, you respawn at a Pokémon Center.
  • In Legend of Zelda, if you leave a dungeon and reenter the monsters will Respawn.

Spawn Rate is the time it takes for a threat or resource to renew or return to the field of play. It may have a percentage /rate at which an object drops. Distribution of what might “spawn” treasure/creatures

  • The odds at which a Pokemon will “spawn” while you are in the grass.
Pokémon Spawn in the Grass

Spawn Timer counts drown is the time for the player to return to play.

  • How long you need to spend in the grass for a Pokémon to “spawn”

Example of Games:

  • Overwatch
  • World of Warcraft
  • Pokemon
  • Legend of Zelda

Respawn Elements in Game

  • Mineral Nodes (It is a point within the game for gathering resources that can be found within many games, such as WOW, Skyrim, Stardew Valley)
  • Monsters

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many video games, as well as Movies, TV shows, Plays, and Musicals: The Fourth Wall

The fourth wall is the barrier between the audience and the character (or actor). It is also the perspective from which we (as the audience) view the experience.

Storytelling in games has been getting more and more advanced as the games industry matures. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of the games I’ve been playing have been breaking the “fourth wall.” The important thing about the fourth wall is that the audience (and the narrator, or even classically the chorus) are meant to be outside the story informing the audience. In “serious drama.” they are invisible. 

“Breaking the fourth wall” traditionally has been considered an act of comedy, though in more contemporary settings it can be more serious. This is where the characters in the story address the audience directly; often ignoring the story that is happening on stage. This type of storytelling device is often shorthand for making a reference or showing the internal thoughts of a character without having to involve the story that is going on. 

Examples in TV and Stage

Remember all of those times in Saved by the Bell where Zack would call a time-out and talk to the camera? He was breaking the fourth wall.

A more recent example is the Musical Hamilton. At the end of the show, Eliza Hamilton is telling the end of her story and gasps after the song ends. The gasp is considered her breaking the 4th wall.

Video Game Examples:

  • Guacamelee
  • The Secret of Monkey Island
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

Additional Resources

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you
find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to board games:

Legacy Games

Legacy games are board games played over multiple sessions, typically with the same group of players. Each play of the game can create permanent changes to the game affecting future plays. These changes occur in a variety of ways, such as opening envelopes to reveal stickers to add to the board, additional cards, and/or additional rules/powers.

Legacy games often include a story told over the course of the sessions. Most Legacy games can only be played through one time. Some games give players the opportunity to buy a refill pack to make the game replayable a second time.

There are also some games that once you finish the campaign, the game is playable using the rules the Legacy portion finished on for future regular games. One example of this is Machi Koro Legacy. It has ten different games over the course of the campaign with the eleventh and subsequent games repeatable as a “regular” game. However, most games are not playable again once the last session is complete.

History

Game designer Rob Daviau is credited with creating the Legacy Style game. The first game published with this mechanic was Risk Legacy in 2011. He also designed Machi Koro Legacy, and codesigned the Pandemic Legacy series with Matt Leacock.

Examples

  • Pandemic Legacy (Seasons 1,2, 0)
  • Zombie Kidz
  • Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

So, what do you think? Do you like the idea of a game that can only be played through once, or would you rather have the option to replay it multiple times? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll keep this discussion going.

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Fighting games and the Fighting game community use very specialized language when talking about games. This language is so specialized that talking with an experienced player or watching a broadcast can be like hearing a different language.

Below is a list of commonly used fighting game terms. Understanding these terms will help things make sense when you hear people using them.

Inputs

The instructions that are sent from the controller to the console or PC and are interpreted into in-game actions and animations. These instructions can vary from game to game but are mostly separated into three groups: Attacks, which are instructions that translate to the basic combat interactions within that fighting game. Directional, which are instructions that translate to the basic movement with that fighting game, and when paired with attacks can create instructions that result in special attacks and super moves. And Auxiliary, instructions that control the basic game and console functions outside of the game itself (pause, share, etc)

Directional Notation: Movement directions vary from game to game and from console controller to an arcade stick. A common notation is to use the ASCII number pad on a keyboard to represent the 8 directional movements of an arcade stick, plus one for neutral/no movement. This is represented in the image below.

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Directional Inputs

Block: Holding back 4, while being attacked by an opponent will cause the character to defend. This input is only effective against high attacks. Holding back 1 while being attacked by an opponent will also cause the character to defend, and is effective against low and high attacks, but not any basic attack or special move with the overhead property. Blocking does not stop any basic throw or command grab special moves.

Dash/Run: An input of 6,6 or 4,4 that causes a character to move very quickly across the screen. This input often has to start up and recovery animation and makes the character vulnerable to attack if performed at the wrong time. Depending on the game this movement either happens for a short distance, or for as long as you hold the button down after the second input.

Input (Buffering): Originally a bug in the original Street Fighter 2, this common feature of fighting games is where directional and button inputs are stored and processed even while action and animation is being executed. For example, Zangief’s Spinning Piledriver has an input of 6,3,2,1,4,7,8,9 (or one full revolution of a control stick) + Punch, which if performed incorrectly will cause Zangief to jump instead of performing the move. Historically, players discovered that they could perform a crouching light kick, and perform the full circular motion of the Spinning Piledriver while the animation for the kick was being performed. The input for the punch would be timed just as the animation for the kick would end. The console/arcade/pc would read all of the stored inputs as one complete and successful motion for a Spinning Piledriver.

Short Hop: An input of 7 or 9. In certain fighting games, this input will cause the character to perform a very short and shallow jump to close the distance or create space with the opponent.

Super jump: An input of 2, (7/8/9) causes the character to jump high into the air.

Walk: An input of 6 or 4 that causes the character to slowly move forward or back, creating or closing space with the opponent.

Basic Attack Inputs


Special Attacks/Super Moves (Inputs): A combination of directional and basic attack instructions that results in a powerful attack against your opponent. Super Moves are a special attack that is exceptionally powerful but also consumes additional resources. Together with basic attacks, special attacks and super moves often define how a character plays and cements them into a certain archetype.

Types of special moves, advanced basic attacks, and attack properties

Command Normal: A special attack that is the combination single directional input followed by a basic attack button. This attack has different properties than the same basic attack performed in neutral and is often not as flashy as a listed special attack.

Overhead: A command normal or special attack that will ignore an opponent’s defense if they are blocking in a crouched position, but can be blocked normally from a standing position. Attacks like this are the exception to the normal rules of blocking and are a tool to punish overly defensive players.

4 Button vs 6 Button Layout: Two of the most common configurations of basic attack inputs in fighting games. 6 buttons are often used to express three strengths of punch and kick while 4 buttons either express two strengths of punch and kick or a punch, kick, light, and heavy attack (the latter case is usually used for fighting games that involve weapons) 


Install Super: A Super Move that significantly alters the properties of a character’s basic and special attacks. This move lasts a set amount of time until ending. (X Factor, Genajin, Dragon Install)

Types of Directional Inputs:

Block: Holding back 4, while being attacked by an opponent will cause the character to defend. This input is only effective against high attacks. Holding back 1 while being attacked by an opponent will also cause the character to defend, and is effective against low and high attacks, but not any basic attack or special move with the overhead property. Blocking does not stop any basic throw or command grab special moves.

Dash/Run: An input of 6,6 or 4,4 that causes a character to move very quickly across the screen. This input often has to start up and recovery animation and makes the character vulnerable to attack if performed at the wrong time. Depending on the game this movement either happens for a short distance, or for as long as you hold the button down after the second input.

Input (Buffering): Originally a bug in the original Street Fighter 2, this common feature of fighting games is where directional and button inputs are stored and processed even while action and animation is being executed. For example, Zangief’s Spinning Piledriver has an input of 6,3,2,1,4,7,8,9 (or one full revolution of a control stick) + Punch, which if performed incorrectly will cause Zangief to jump instead of performing the move. Historically, players discovered that they could perform a crouching light kick, and perform the full circular motion of the Spinning Piledriver while the animation for the kick was being performed. The input for the punch would be timed just as the animation for the kick would end. The console/arcade/pc would read all of the stored inputs as one complete and successful motion for a Spinning Piledriver.

Short Hop: An input of 7 or 9. In certain fighting games, this input will cause the character to perform a very short and shallow jump to close the distance or create space with the opponent.

Super jump: An input of 2, (7/8/9) causes the character to jump high into the air.

Walk: An input of 6 or 4 that causes the character to slowly move forward or back, creating or closing space with the opponent.


Characters

A video game avatar that interpolates the inputs of the player into various basic attacks, movements, special, and super moves. Fighting game characters often have a distinct visual style. Not only to make them distinct from one another but to make them easier to visualize their movement and actions on the screen. Fighting game characters are often given a distinct visual style as a way to communicate their archetype when compared to other characters. Ryu, Mario, and Spongebob are fighting game characters.

Character Archetype


A collection of characters that share a common set of basic and special moves, and often with an amount of life and [stun], are often described in shorthand as an archetype. These character archetypes are well-established tropes in the fighting game community and have their origins in older fighting games that were hosted in both home consoles as well as arcades and game cabinets in the US and Japan. Zoners, Rushdown, and Grapplers are fighting game archetypes. Characters are often defined not only by what they look like, but by what they do.

Examples of Fighting game character archetypes:


Big Box Characters

Big Box Character: A character archetype that takes up an above-average space on the screen and has a corresponding increased size to their hitbox. This increased size often makes blocking and avoiding attacks difficult. As attacks that are normally high are considered low for this character. Entire combos from other characters in the roster are available that only work on this specific character due to their exceptional size. In exchange, these characters often deal high damage and have higher than normal durability.

Charge Character

A playstyle in gaming consists of aggressive actions meant to limit both the space and time an opponent can use to play. This playstyle often sacrifices personal durability for overall strength.

Example: Cammy from Street Fighter

Example (Alt): Demon Hunter, Zerg, The Color Red from Magic the Gathering

Composite Characters

A character archetype that features properties, basic attacks, and special moves from multiple archetypes. This diversity is often at the expense of overall power or durability. For example, a Charge/Grappler would feature moves requiring holding the patient attacks of a charge character and the close-range grab-based attacks of a Grappler.

Grappling Character

A fighting game archetype that features movement, basic and special attacks design to close the distance with their opponent to deliver powerful throws and command grabs. This archetype often has basic and special attacks with armor and projectile invincibility to get the upper hand on zoner and shoto characters. Grapplers tend to have high life, stun, and power in exchange for a slower base speed.

Mimic Character

A character archetype who has either a special move or a super move that copies the opposing character’s attributes, basic attacks, and special moves. This copying can last for one specific attack or a set amount of time.

A fighting game character archetype that features special moves that require the player to press and hold, then release, certain directions or buttons as part of their execution. These moves limit the character’s movement and actions in exchange for higher damage or better frame data. Advanced techniques for Charge Characters often involve buffering the hold and release of buttons and directions while performing other basic attacks.

Mix Up Characters

A character archetype whose basic attacks and special moves are equally capable of attacking either high or low or attacking from either the front or back when in the air. These characters are notoriously difficult to defend against. They require understanding and anticipating the intentions of your opponent as much as knowledge of the character.

Puppet Character

A character archetype whose basic attacks and special moves can control a second semi-independent sub-character that is an ally/extension of the first. This independent character often has either a limited duration or durability that leaves the primary character vulnerable while it is sent away. Puppet characters are an archetype that encourages long to midrange play to keep the opponent away. As the character’s damage and durability are often split between themselves and the sub-character.

Rush Down Character

A fighting game character archetype that features moves designed to close the distance between the player and opponents and to limit an opponent’s options through a barrage of fast basic or special attacks. Rush Down characters often feature dashing or jumping attacks that are immune to projectile attacks. They have faster-than-normal attacks to capitalize on whiff punish. These characters often lack durability and often have low [health or stun]. Rush Down characters suit players who enjoy fast play with high [execution] to end rounds and games as quickly as possible.

Stance Character:

A character archetype that uses a special move to switch between two or more separate sets of basic attacks, special moves and super moves. These separate sets are often referred to as “stances” and give the character a diverse set of moves at the cost of vulnerability during transitions from one stance to another.

Shoto Character

A fighting game archetype for 2D games that features a mix of projectile attacks, dragon punch and hurricane kick special attacks, and well-rounded basic attacks. Shotos are so well known in fighting game tropes and design, that they are even featured as guest characters in fighting games that do not feature projectiles. Shotos, when placed in a roster of other fighting game archetypes, are meant to serve as the balance point for comparison.

Zoning Character

A fighting game character archetype that features moves designed to push opponents away and prevent opponents from approaching safely. Zoners often feature projectile attacks and/or basic attacks with a long reach. Zoners often lack fast basic or special attacks and have difficulties on wake up. Zoning characters suit players who enjoy slow methodical play from a position of safety.


Special Attacks

Dragon Punch (Shoryuken)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI6qfA-BrBE

A special attack from Street Fighter character Ryu that has become shorthand for the attack itself, the directional input needed to perform it, and similar moves used by other characters and games. This special attack is a powerful attack that rises into the air capable of countering an opponent’s aerial attack. The directional input of Dragon Punch ([3,5,4 or Forward, Down, Down Forward]) is among one of the most common inputs for special moves, and has become slang terminology in the fighting game community.


Fireball/Projectile

A well-known special attack that creates a separate, moving object across the screen. This could be a blast of energy, a ball of flame, or a streak of lightning. Projectiles have an active hitbox as they travel across the screen and will harm the opponent as soon as they touch it. Direction, speed, and power vary from character to character.

Hurricane Kick (Tatsu/Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pAfYtqT50A

A special attack from Street Fighter character Ryu that has become shorthand for the attack itself, the directional input needed to perform it, and similar moves used by other characters and games. This special attack is a large sweeping horizontal attack that closes the distance to an opponent. The directional input of a Tatsu ([5,6,7 or Down, Down-Back, Back]) is among one of the most common inputs for special moves and has become slang terminology in the fighting game community.


Mix Up/Cross Up

A combination of normal or special attacks that are difficult to block because they can strike a player or opponent from either high or low (or front and back in the case of Cross Up). Mix-Ups force an opponent to guess if the attack will go high or low and block appropriately, with an incorrect guess resulting in a hit.

Command Grab

A special attack that executes a throw through the use of directional inputs and button presses. Unlike a standard throw, which often requires a simple button input, this throw cannot be interrupted by a simultaneous and matching button input by the opponent (referred to as “Teching”)


Teching (Throw)

In a fighting game, the act of canceling a throw command with a simultaneous input from the other player. This move leads to more advanced play, as players who anticipate a throw from their opponent might preemptively input a throw command. Then only to find their opponent doing something else with the intent to punish the move.

Punish (Punishing, Whiff Punish)

In a fighting game, the act of reacting and countering your opponent’s moves, specifically a move that leaves the character vulnerable while/during it is being executed.


General Terms

Active Frames

The total animation time of a basic or special attack where the move’s [hitbox] is present on the screen.

Arcade Stick/ Fight Stick

Arcade Stick/Fight Stick: A console or PC input device that is built to replicate the custom controls of a fighting game’s arcade cabinet. These devices often feature mechanical buttons and an 8-direction lever (or stick) for directional controls. These devices are created by third parties and are highly customizable and potentially highly sought after.

Armor (Super/Hyper Armor)

The property of an attack or special move that allows the character to take the damage, but ignore the [hit stun], of one or multiple attacks. This property often occurs during the move itself, but can also happen before the move starts or after the move ends. Armor is usually given to either the first hit received, or all hits received until the property or special move ends (In which case it is referred to as Super or Hyper Armor)

EVO

Shorthand for the Evolution Fighting Game Tournament that has been hosted in both Japan and Las Vegas, and is one of the most popular, continuously running, brand/company independent fighting game tournaments.



EVO Moment #37

A highlight from the early history of the Evolution Fighting Game torment that has encapsulated the community and hype of the fighting game community. The scene depicts two professional players of the popular game Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. It ends with a display of technique that is nearly unthinkable without dedication and training. This scene has been recreated in both the tournament scene and as an optional challenge in an anniversary rerelease of Street Fighter 3: Third Strike.

FGC

FGC is short for Fighting Game Community.

Frame Data

The breakdown of a fighting game’s basic or special attack over its entire animation. Animation is analyzed frame by frame and written down in physical or online guides. Some fighting games publish their frame data, Nintendo’s Smash Bros series is a notable exception and does not publish current or changed information about basic and special attacks.

“Happy Birthday”

Fighting game shorthand for an attack in a multiplayer or multicharacter fighting game that hits multiple opposing players or characters at once. (This was originally coined by the FGC commentator IFCYipes)

Hitbox

An Arcade Stick where the 8-direction mechanical lever is replaced with four mechanical buttons similar to the command buttons. They are considered exceptional for their ability to execute commands exceptionally fast. Specifically by performing directional inputs where opposing directions are pressed simultaneously but are processed by the device and sent to the console/pc as a single input.

Hit Stun

The property of a basic or special attack where an opponent’s character cannot respond to player input for a short period of time. Hit stun will decay over time as more and more successive attacks lead to less and less hit stun, forcing players to use a safer series of fewer attacks or a series of attacks that results in a knockdown or pushback.

Input lag (Button Press/Screen)

The total amount of delay (measured in frames of animation) from button press to the beginning of the animation on the screen. The delay from the game machine to the tv or computer display has recently been mitigated with modern high-definition television and monitor. Online multiplayer play is mitigated by the fighting game’s online communication protocol, referred to as [Netcode].

Knockdown (hard/soft)

A fighting game special attack for an attack that brings an opponent to the ground. In some fighting games, recovering from a grounded state can either take a short or relatively longer time. Short or instant recovery from being grounded is often called a soft knockdown. A paused, delayed recovery from a knockdown is often called a hard knockdown

Shorthand for Fighting Game Community, the local, regional, and worldwide organizations that support, host, and broadcast fighting games on various streaming and video platforms.

K.O.

Shorthand for Knock Out. The game state where a player’s life is reduced to zero, ending the round. K.O.s tend to have spectacular visual and audio flair. 


Meaty

Fighting game shorthand for a basic or special attack that can only be blocked if you are recovering from a knockdown.


Netcode (Frame Delay and Rollback)

A term that is used to define the collection of computer programs and tools used for online multiplayer interaction in a fighting game.

Neutral

Fighting game shorthand for two or more players being equal distance apart from each other and occupying similar space in the game screen. Also refers to a character who is not performing any actions or basic attacks.

O.T.G. (Off the Ground)

Fighting game shorthand for an attack that will hit an opponent that is currently in a grounded state and brings them into a neutral or airborne position, often with the potential for follow-up attacks.

Recovery Frames

The total animation time of a basic or special attack from after the move’s [hitbox] disappears to when the character returns to neutral

Start up frames

The total animation time a basic or special attack has from the final button input to when the move’s hitbox appears.

Wake up

In fighting games, the time during which a player is recovering from a knockdown to a state neutral. A character who is recovering is vulnerable to a variety of follow-up attacks.

Wall Splat

Fighting game shorthand for an attack that pushes the opponent back, which if the opponent collides with the edge of the screen, results in additional damage and a hard knockdown.


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