The 100 lamest game-industry clichés

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

35. Immersive - So fascinating and realistic, it almost makes you forget that you're actually sitting on a couch, twitching your thumbs arhythmically in order to make shapes move around on a screen. Almost.

36. In spades - This phrase, which means "in abundance," likely has its roots in the game of bridge, in which spades rank higher than any other suit. Bridge is, incidentally, the stuffiest card game ever invented, and it's played almost exclusively by doddering old corpses and Omar Sharif. Ha! Not such a cool turn of a phrase now, is it?

37. Like [X] on [drug] - "HA HA! It's like Pong on acid! No, no, that's not right - it's like GTA on Quaaludes! No, that's not it, either. I've got it! It's like a squirrel on cocaine. Crack? Dammit, what do I have to say to convince you that my sense of humor isedgy and cool?"


38. Deep/lots of depth - Industry shorthand for "lots of things to do, and/or lots of different ways to do them. But it's mostly acceptable until someone sharts out…

39. So much depth, you'll drown! - You want to know how this happens? We'll tell you how it happens. A long, long time ago, some aspiring young writer forgot how to write things that were useful and informative, and instead started relying on marketing hyperbole to get points across to readers, because that's what appealed to their bored, suicidally depressed teachers. This happened somewhere around the first grade, and the gold stars and compliments like "Clever!" scrawled in red ink were so emotionally fulfilling that the tiny writer gave up on using actual information ever again. Fast-forward 20 years, and that little writer has grown up with the nerve to publish shit like this. That is, just before he or she is plucked out of his or her cubicle by the cruel hand of fate and "drowned" in an open sewer. THE END.

40. Shallow - The opposite of deep, obviously. You'll only see this in reviews of games that are simple, uncomplicated and crappy. If the games were simple but fun, the reviewers wouldprobably have said that instead of "shallow."

41. Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes - Shut up. Just shut the hell up, damn you. Your taste in popular culture is absurdly dated, your breath stinks and nobody, not even your mother, would care if you died tomorrow.

Above: You are not this man, and it is not the same when you say it

42. Hit detection - When you stab a dude in the eye, does it hurt him or just pass through harmlessly? If it's the latter, then the hit detection might be "off."

43. High production values - A quick way to avoid repeating "this game has good graphics and sound DERRRRRRRP" for like the 1,392nd time.

44. Flaws aside - "Remember all that really awful stuff I just spent the last two pages talking about? Yeah, forget I said any of that. None of it will actually affect your enjoyment of the game, and I was just deliberately wasting your time."

45. Family friendly - Will be enjoyed by three-year-olds of all ages.

46. Not without flaws - This is really one of the most redundant phrases in game criticism, because no game is really "without flaws."

47. When all is said and done - See All in all

48. Fun factor - If you actually use these two words together unironically, you either A) stopped reading other people's game reviews sometime during the '80s, or B) actually live in the '80s and send your reviews into the future using a time machine that only works on documents. Either way, you really should be aware that things have changed since GamePro's heyday. Not much, but they have.

49. Pants-shitting terror - Has anyone between the ages of nine and ninety ever actually shat their pants while playing a Silent Hill or Resident Evil game? No? Then why do we keep trotting out this well-worn expression?

(Answer: Because it is awesome.)

50. Awesome - the single most overused word in the collective vocabulary of American games journalists. Except for maybe "gameplay."

51. Host of flaws - The game has a ton of problems, but these will be brushed aside if the game's "fun factor" can outshine them. Frequently prefaced with "In spite of its."


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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