The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

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Bullshit Boss

A boss in a video game that appears to be a normal encounter, but doesn’t operate according to the normal rules, and usually in a non-obvious way (e.g., the boss appears to be a normal man, but you can’t kill him just by shooting him — you need to find the one special method that works). q.v. Uncharted.


March 10th, 2008 Posted by | Video Game Glossary | no comments

The law of flashing sprites

If any object in a video game (other than the player) begins to flash, it is going to explode. The more rapid the flashes, the sooner it will blow up. If the player begins to flash, in contrast, this means he’s invincible.

This is not to be confused with the similar phenomenon of "sparkling," which denotes that a pickup is especially desirable or a mob is especially rare.


March 8th, 2008 Posted by | Video Game Glossary | one comment

Inevitable Ice

In any platformer, no matter the setting, the designers will find a way to introduce an ice level. It doesn’t matter if the game is about men made entirely of fire who live on the surface of a star and shoot lava at each other — somehow, somewhere, there will be ice they need to run and jump on. And this ice will not act like ice in the real world; there will be no chance of slipping and falling unless the characters move slowly. Instead, the ice will just cause the characters to gain tremendous amounts of inertia, such that any change in velocity will take a long time to accomplish.

It is also a rare occurrance that the ice will have any effect on the mobs at all; they will probably be able to move normally on it.


March 6th, 2008 Posted by | Video Game Glossary | one comment

Kidnapping the Princess

Kidnapping the Princess (or equivalent; the President’s daughter works fine in a modern setting) is one of the real objectives of nearly any video game villain. It is important to note that the kidnapping itself is the objective – the kidnappers almost never have any idea what they’ll do with the Princess once she’s kidnapped. q.v. Bowser.


November 24th, 2007 Posted by | Video Game Glossary | no comments

Selective Resurrection

Almost all RPGs contain a spell or set of spells for bringing dead characters back to life. Almost all said RPGs also contain at least one story scene where a character is killed, because the hacks who write video game scripts just can’t get enough pathos. It is never possible to bring a character who dies in a story scene back to life using the resurrection spells; sometimes games will try to explain this phenomenon (usually with stupid results), but usually it’s just taken for granted that somebody who dies in a cutscene is dead forever.


November 24th, 2007 Posted by | Video Game Glossary | no comments

Video Game Glossary: Principle of Arsenal Equality

Inspired by Roger Ebert’s Movie Glossary, I’m going to start writing a Video Game Glossary. That’s what this category is for. Hence why it’s called that.

For the first installment, I’ll talk about the Principle of Arsenal Equality, which is the rule that states that, in a video game, all levels of weaponry are equivalent. A character armed with a sword, or a knife, or even with bare hands, is at no disadvantage against an opponent with a gun, a tank, a missile launcher, or any combination of the above. Examples: Metal Gear Solid, Baten Kaitos, any Final Fantasy game, Strider, Rush’n Attack


November 8th, 2007 Posted by | Video Game Glossary | no comments