[Ads-l] spam (gaming)

Clai Rice cxr1086 at LOUISIANA.EDU
Tue Dec 11 19:02:40 UTC 2018

A friend brought to my attention that the verb "spam" is used in a gaming context. He mentioned it because he saw it used in a business (non-gaming) context at work, "from a tech-support Slack channel:

     1. Click "Connect" one time. Do not spam the connect button
     2. Read the status prompt. It'll change accordingly and let you know if you're connected
     3. Click this button to clear your saved credentials. Next time you connect it should ask you to type in your username and password."

This usage already has its own Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_(gaming). Not in OED yet. 

Urban Dictionary, Spam entry 4, def 3 (2003) is
3. In gaming, refers to a player who throws grenades indiscriminately, many at a time. Generally an issue in Team Fortress. Although lately has been expanded to include any overused gun/combo/move/tactic/etc.

So it's an obvious extension from the email "spam." The next step I guess was for the game designers to implement a special move that required the rapid button push: 
     The Super Smash Bros. series, for example, has multiple characters with the ability to enter an infinite move by rapidly tapping the A button. The character will then stand in place and begin a rapid flurry of attacks which only ceases if the player stops pressing the button (Wikipedia).

Reading a variety of gaming sites, I find now the word can refer either to (a) the fast-twitch style button pushing or (b) to the indiscriminate shooting/moves that normally needs the rapid button pushing (but might not):
(a) https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/96796241/
     2 Player Button Spam Battle -- "Instructions--This game requires 2 players on the same computer. One person will be blue, and the other be red. Red will spam the A button, blue will spam L. You can hold, but it will be canceled out if the opponent presses his/her key. I recommend to put points per click to 10-50. It takes a long time lower, and at 0 it takes literally literally forever. Just spam until one person wins." (5 Feb 2016)

(b) https://www.ign.com/boards/threads/what-does-spammer-mean.189487536/
     [in response to a question about the meaning of the word "spam"] Spamming is repeating a move over and over, it was quite the problem online when Tekken 6 was first released as the lag made it difficult to react accordingly and therefore some moves would be broken online.
It's not been that bad since the patch though, this is a prime example of spamming after the patch:
As you can see the Alisa player is mainly just repeating the same move over and over, leaving a very uninteresting match. (Feb 17, 2010) 

Just for fun--an interesting usage from 2010:

      Btw, "spam" and "mash", if you didn't know, means to tap the button quickly.
      Like during a torture attack or climax.

Clai Rice

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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