The 100 lamest game-industry clichés

Learn the lexicon of laziness that makes all game reviews sound the same

17. Cinematic - Shorthand for saying that a game has the pacing, visual direction or production values of a movie. Unless it's a noun, of course, in which case it's a fancy word for "cutscene."

18. Through the roof - If you see this, it means that the gameplay, production values or whatever impressed the reviewer so much that they had no choice but to trot out a tired old figure of speech. Unless, of course, it's preceded by "I got so mad I threw my controller…," in which case it just means the reviewer isn't any good at games or hyperbole.

19. Zelda-killer, Halo-killer, [insert game name]-killer: While it's supposed to mean the opposite, its use has historically been a clear sign that the game in question is vastly inferior to Zelda, Halo or whatever other game it's supposed to "kill."


Above: It didn't work! Quick, send another game to kill the Zelda!

20. In the end - See All in all

21. But does it live up to the hype? - Usually followed by "Yes, now please allow me to spend the next thousand words fellating this game until my nostrils flood."

22. Try before you buy - The game sucks shit through a giant straw, but the reviewer is too "nice" to say so. He or she would prefer that you waste the time necessary to find out on your own, thereby sparing him or her the burden of helping you make an informed decision.

23. Triple-A - Publisher-speak for "So help me God, if this game doesn't get at least a nine out of 10, I will get you fired so fast it'll spark a scandal that will taint your entire parasitic profession."

24. Eye candy - Pretty pictures that, while perhaps not actually delicious when crammed into your eyeballs, will be fun to look at until you start focusing on the gameplay and ignoring them. Alternately, boobs.

25. [X] blows [Y] out of the water - So wait, does that mean the normal thing is for X to blow Y IN the water? We're confused.

26. Check it out if you're a fan of [movie/cartoon/comic book] - "I hate it, but maybe you'll like it, you bottom-feeding plebe."

27. Take the action online - Use that high-speed internet connection to stop playing through a story with goals and objectives, and start playing with a bunch of 12-year-olds who think screaming the N-word over and over again is the ultimate form of communication.

28. Wii puns - Is Nintendo's console "Wiik?" Does the company want you to "get hands-on with your Wii?" Are people who buy Chicken Shoot "Wii-tarded?" These were old and unfunnywithin hours of the April 2006 announcement that the Nintendo Revolution was undergoing a name change, and they're not any fresher now.


Above: GET IT!?!?!?

29. Replay value - Industry shorthand for "reasons to not return this game for store credit the instant you finish the story mode."

30. Deserves a place in your collection - Instead of playing this game, you should carefully unwrap it and place it on a shelf next to other games for the same console. Now, stand back and admire how all the logos on the box spines line up perfectly. Congratulate yourself for a job well done, and return to your real hobbies of organizing iron filings and never, ever leaving the house.

31. Visceral action - When reviewers say this, it means that you'll experience the sort of gut-clenching thrills that come with introducing your enemy's jaw to a curb while simultaneously sawing his arms off with a chainsaw bayonet. It's also likely to mean you'll see intestines flying everywhere, which would be the literal meaning of the phrase.


Above: Visceral, in both senses of the word

32. Rough around the edges - Ridiculously unfinished.

33. Level of polish - A way of quantifying exactly how unfinished a game looks.

34. For fans of the genre - If you like puzzle games, then you'll probably like this puzzle game that you just now chose to read about. If you like FPSes, you'll probably like this FPS. If you like… you know what? You've probably got the idea.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.

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