The 100 lamest game-industry clichés

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

52. Hopefully that'll be fixed before the game ships - It won't be, and whatever it is you're complaining about will be the crux of the game's critical and commercial failure.

53. World War II - Arguably the single most significant event in modern history, fought on several fronts and packed with millions of stories to tell. In the context of games, however, it means Americans shooting at Nazis in Western Europe, and we all claim to be sick to death of it just before we gush about and/or spend money on the latest Brothers in Arms or Call of Duty (CoD4 excepted).


Above: World War II in its entirety

54. Genre-bender - We secretly believe that this widespread phrase exists only because the person who coined it thinks "genre" is pronounced "jenner" instead of "john-ruh." And also they like the phrase "gender-bender." And also they needed something quick and lazy to describe a game that goes outside the proscribed limits of its genre, i.e. a shooter in which you level up your character like in an RPG. Variations include "genre-blender," "genre-buster" and "game that is like other kinds of games."

55. Worth a look - One of the weaker phrases used for recommending a game, frequently carted out when "check it out," "buy it now" and "deserves a place in your collection" have all been exhausted by previous reviews.

56. In summation - See All in all

57. Terrible food analogies - Does it "make for a great appetizer, but not quite a main course?" Is a gameplay feature "the icing ona verymoist and tasty cake?" Then quit writing reviews right before lunch, you hacks!


Above: You can't have any until you finish your work, you fat bastard

58. Guns blazing - While vivid, this phrase really only serves two purposes: to add a visceral (there's that word again) sense of urgency to descriptions of in-game firefights, or to talk up a stealth game. (i.e. "You can't just go in guns blazing.") As such, it's been used thousands of times by hundreds of journalists and publicists, and really needs to rest for a little while.

59. Remains to be seen - Either the writer isn't comfortable about saying an unfinished game he or she has played for 15 minutes is going to be good, or there's some glaring flaw in that unfinished game that could bring the whole experience crashing down.

60. Wacky - The use of this word should be taken as a sure sign that whoever's written it has a terrible sense of humor, one that probably starts with Anne Geddes and ends with Ziggy. Take note of the author's name and tread carefully, for they can no longer be trusted in matters of comedy or "funny" mascot games. Variations include "zany," "kooky" and "humorous" - and that last one, now that we think about it, is used almost exclusively by people who don't even understand what humor is.


Above: SO "HUMOROUS"

61. Special moves - Catch-all phrase that covers anything besides punches, kicks or gunshots. Does the character throw fireballs? Then that's a "special move." Does she summon a giant dragon to fight for her? Special move. Can reviewers think up a more descriptive term than "special moves?" Nah.

62. To be fair… - "The game sucks, but here's a redeeming quality that I found that I nonetheless have to qualify with 'to be fair' in order to not sound like a dipshit."

63. "Integrity" - In the context of gaming publications,a term used to insinuate that every press outlet except the one you're reading is fat and complacent after years of taking monstrous bribes from publishers.

64. Under a rock - Where you must live if you have better things to do than follow the game industry all the damn time.

65. Console bias - An accusation immediately lobbed by people on the internet when they disagree with a review, fueled by the assumption that professional game journalists - who can usually afford to own nearly every game machine on the market - secretly harbor the same brand loyalties as teenagers whose parents will only buy them one console. Roughly equivalent to yelling "Sellouts!" at a punk rock show.

66. Revolutionary gameplay - Publisher-speak for "gameplay."

67. Get behind the wheel - Industry-speak for "pick up the controller and pretend you're sitting behind the steering wheel of an imaginary car."

68. At the end of the day - See All in All

69. Step into the shoes of... - Indicates that you will actually become the character, when in fact you'll be nudging his unresponsive space marine ass around with the thumbstick. Variations include "Strap on the boots of," "Slip on the sandals of" and "Piss in the pants of."


Above: Mmmh, yeahhhh, that's some good shoe

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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