Personal Gaming Dictionary

by Eric R. Krystof

Last Updated on September 11, 2022.

As a primarily ‘lone gamer’ for most of my days, and especially pre-internet, I’ve run across more gaming terms in the past few years that I just never ran across due to my isolationist ways. As I learn a new term or need to explain one, I’ll add it here for edutainment.


cheesing – Cheesing describes a situation in which a player uses powerful strategies that are far too easy to use and almost impossible for your opponent—be they living or AI—to beat. These strategies often involve little or no skill, and they can be pretty irritating when you encounter them.

Video-game slang for beating tasks or enemies through tactics that while not exactly cheating, are certainly not following Queensbury rules. When you cheese a game, you’re exploiting systemic quirks or apparent design oversights to gain maximum advantage for minimum skill or effort.


i-frames – Invulnerability/Invincibility Frames – refers to frames where characters or enemies cannot receive certain damage, either by temporarily disabling their hitbox, or by being granted temporary full invulnerability.

I-Frames allow players to become invincible for a small moment when certain actions are performed, like rolling.

Timing is key when using these small windows to your advantage, especially if you are playing a game that involves many attacks, like a Souls game or Devil May Cry.

These invincibility frames only last for a minuscule amount of time, generally around half a second, and happen at the start of a specific action. When timed properly, a player can successfully avoid damage or an entire attack, even if they were technically hit by the enemy.

Invincibility frames have commonly existed in almost every game that FromSoftware has released, including Elden Ring. Taking advantage of these tiny moments of forgiveness is a great way to survive even the most difficult combat scenarios.


hardlock –  A hardlock is a bit more serious than a softlock. This occurs when a game becomes stuck and completely unresponsive because of a glitch. A hardlock can be so bad that it basically makes it impossible to keep playing a game entirely.

Funny enough, that issue could be considered a softlock or a hardlock, depending on your situation. If you saved before that point, you could quickly go back to a previous point. But if you have autosave turned on and the game saved when you’re stuck, you’re pretty much hardlocked.


savescum – To reload the last saved game whenever the player character dies or an unfavorable outcome has been encountered

softlock – A situation where a game remains apparently playable, but further progress or action, especially those that would undo said state are impossible, typically due to a design flaw or glitch.

A Softlock is a situation in video games where the player gets stuck in a place inside a game. This means that the player can’t keep moving forward or going back, and is unable to do anything about it. However, at its core, the game is still playable.

You become softlocked when you can’t return to a previous safe state in the game and can’t make progress either. It usually happens because of a glitch inside a game or because of the old reliable bad game design.

The most common way to escape a softlock is to restart the game from the beginning.

Examples of a softlock may include but are not limited to: death on spawn, spawning inside a wall, a game autosaving right the instant before you die, etc.

startscum – To start and quit the game repeatedly in order to obtain a favourable starting situation (this being generated at random for each game).


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