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The curious tendency of video game players to do completely unnecessary actions over and over and over again--regardless of their actual effect on gameplay.

In Platformers, some people will jump and Double Jump even when they're not crossing platforms--they simply bound across the landscape. In an Action Adventure game, they might turn an Unnecessary Combat Roll into an Unnecessary Anything Roll, somersaulting everywhere they go. A First-Person Shooter player with unlimited ammo might just unload rounds into the environment. An RPG player waiting for an Overly-Long Fighting Animation to finish might mash their buttons in time with the music.

Reason? There generally is none. Gameplay advantage? Minimal. It's mostly just gamers pressing buttons to, well, press buttons--and maybe break up the monotony of long stretches of gameplay where there's not much else to do, like traveling over the Hub Level before getting the Warp Whistle, or to fill the time in RPG battles without Action Commands. Depending on your theological color, they may even be attempts to appease the mighty and fickle Random Number God, especially when attempting a Tool Assisted Speedrun.

Common tics include:

  • Jumping (and double-jumping) incessantly while traveling.
    • That goes double if jumping at the end of the level or when the screen freezes. (e.g. Flip Screen Scrolling)
  • Doing much the same as the above, only executing any sort of attack with forward momentum (such as a roll or spin).
  • If there's a delay between pushing a button and it making something happen (such as with an elevator), repeatedly pressing the button while waiting.
  • While waiting, attacking randomly.
  • Tapping buttons in the rhythm of the music.
  • Destroying everything destroyable onscreen even when there's no need to.
  • Adjusting the camera when there's no need to. If it will let you.
  • Finishing off Big Damn Enemies with hilariously weak attacks... or doing just the opposite, even if they only have a sliver of health left.
  • Singing loudly the victory fanfare when it's played after a successful battle or a level.
  • Tilting the controller while turning in a racing game.
  • Making sure the character faces the "right" way while on a moving platform or otherwise standing still.

If these tics become widespread enough in a fanbase, they may even inspire an Urban Legend of Zelda about their effectiveness. See also Video Game Cruelty Potential, Video Game Caring Potential, Die, Chair, Die!, and Kleptomaniac Hero for especially common forms of this.


This list catalogues only some of the more well-known tics.

  • Play any RPG that is either turn-based or ATB. You'll inevitably fight a group of enemies that are so weak your first command will result in their destruction. You will issue that command. As it executes, you will not be able to refuse giving your other party members commands as their turn arrives. The fact that your enemies will not survive long enough for those commands to be carried out is irrelevant. You will do it.
  • Many players in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West press the distract button simply because it's funny to see Monkey shout "HEY!" at the top of his lungs (and occasionally right in Trip's face or at a wall) for absolutely no reason.
    • It's also fairly common to just constantly mash the jump button when climbing and both attack buttons when in battle. It certainly does get the job done.
  • Jumping while going through boss doors or any other screen transitions in Mega Man games.
    • Similarly, if the tunnel to the boss room contains icy floor, building up speed by walking forward, then turning around and moonwalking through the boss doors.
    • The Flash-based Mega Man-inspired Platform Hell game Jinsei Owata no Daibouken actually takes advantage of this tic by placing Spikes of Doom on the upper half of the door's other side, killing you instantly if you jump through rather of walking.
    • Dashing through the doors in the X series is common. Clinging to a wall so that your character would enter a door backwards is also something some people liked to do. Sliding through the doors is something people like to do in the classic series as well. It's impossible to jump or dash through the doors in the Zero and ZX series, though; In those games, your character does their walking animation regardless of what they were doing as they go through a door.
  • Shooting a few bullets from a gun in first-person shooters so you could pick up ammo clip which would otherwise be left behind.
  • Jumping after defeating a koopaling in Super Mario Bros 3 so you could catch the wand mid-air.
    • Also, triple-jumping or backflipping into a star in the 3D Mario platformers.
    • The original Super Mario Bros has the beanstalk dance, by moving around on the top of a beanstalk.
  • Jumping after defeating a boss in most Castlevania games so you could catch the soul crystal. Some players also try freeze framing into a certain frame of the attack animation.
    • Encouraged in Harmony of Dissonance, where you are given rankings, and Bloodlines, where you're awarded bonus points for doing it.
    • Bonus awesomeness in Rondo of Blood if you backflip into the crystal.
  • Moving around the camera all the time in Runescape
  • Shooting a door repeatedly Metroid Prime games even though you only need one shot to load the next room.
  • Destroying every pot/sign you encounter in Zelda games, even when it's not needed. Also, obsessive rolling, but that's a (possibly misguided) attempt to reach your destination faster.
    • Zigzagging in the top-down Zelda games.
    • In Link to the Past, try and see how many people are constantly dashing with the Pegasus Boots, whether or not it's a good idea. See obsessive rolling above.
    • Humming along with the "item got" theme tune is pretty popular. Nintendo even added a character in Twilight Princess that did this.
    • In the side-scrolling parts of Zelda II, jumping wherever you go. If you jump again at the instant you land, you only lose a little momentum or none at all, even if you're not touching the d-pad. Stabbing down may get added to the mix once it's unlocked.
  • Holding various combinations of buttons after throwing a Pokeball. Everyone seems to have a variant on the ritual. Pressing buttons has no effect on the the Random Number Generator, contrary to the many myths. Similarly, ever since the "Running Shoes" functionality was added in Generation 3, the B button is always held down, even in buildings (where the Running Shoes don't work) and on the Bicycle. This still went on in Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver, even though the games gave you a button to tap to keep the Running Shoes activated permanently.
  • Splitting up your Locorocos in Loco Roco all the time, just to hear them all singing along to the music like a children's choir.
  • Players who keep switching between weapons in Counter-Strike, for no reason at all.
    • Well, it does make nice, almost soothing sounds...
    • Happens in all games where you can switch weapons, probably. Or at least in Team Fortress 2, where it's quite common to see people switching rapidly between weapons as they head for the fight. Becomes even more fun if you're a Degreaser Pyro, which increases weapon switch speed. *flipflipflip*
  • A common tic for players of first person shooters in general is to constantly reload the guns when having no need. Usually rather soothing and works double with Noisy Guns.
    • This can become problematic when a player starts reloading in the middle of a firefight without even taking cover despite having a half-full clip...I totally don't do this by the way
    • If there's a chain gun in the game that takes a second or two to gain spinning momentum before spraying bullets, expect the player to rhythmically tap the fire button to keep the barrel spinning at all times even when not firing. When the ammo runs out, the player will keep the button pressed to hear the spinning mechanism going a few more seconds, then die out on its own.
  • Switching back and forth between the knife as the Spy in Team Fortress 2 while making one's way across the battlements. There's something weirdly relaxing about watching that blade flick back and forth.
  • Blowing on cartridges from the NES, SNES, GBA, etc. At some point you might also blow on USB devices.
  • Naked cartwheels in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty. Why? Oh, no reason.
  • Taking the moment after you've defeated the enemy in a round of Tekken to do something cool.
  • In Wii Sports, there are a couple of times (like after winning/losing a tennis match) that your Mii is just standing there, either moping or arms raised, when you can make them swing the racquet spasmodically to no effect. It's hard to resist, since the alternative is just standing there.
    • Doubly so in Wii Sports Resort. Especially with the Swordplay event where the position of your sword maps directly to that of the Remote.
    • Boxing in the original game was prone to this; you could raise your hands or even give a taunting shrug before and after the match.
  • Left 4 Dead -- holding down CTRL as a Hunter after you've pounced, even if it's unnecessary, just to be sure you stay there.
    • Also attacking your teammates as the infected during the time in between when you can control yourself and when the loading begins when a round ends.
  • Hitting the enemy after they've been knocked out in Soul Calibur. (SC 3 at least plays the knockout scream with an echo effect when you do that)
  • Tackling your opponent after they've scored a touchdown in Tecmo Super Bowl.
    • Sometimes this actually causes them to fumble the ball, but it still doesn't matter, as the play is over.
  • In some (if not all) NHL games, there is no penalty for hitting your opponents after the whistle has blown to stop play.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 players are known for hoarding equipment from all over the map into one sector, using teams of mules and/or the helicopter to speed the process up. This might actually be useful with ammo, explosives and attachments, but players tend to hoard EVERYTHING, including useless items and obsolete guns and ammo. After clearing the majority of the map, a hoard sector can easily contain thousands of items. The amount of effort required to properly hoard everything on the map is considerable, and could take several days if done all at once.
  • Star Control melee combat ends with a zoom-in on the victorious ship, and its race victory music playing. Players have the habit of having their ship do a "victory dance" by spinning the ship around itself. Experienced players tend to avoid doing this, knowing that it causes disorientation once the next battle starts.
  • Tomb Raider
    • In Tomb Raider: Legend players can make Lara perform continuous acrobatics by pressing OOXXOOXXOOXX... on the Play Station 2 version. (From tombraiderforums.com.)
      • One commenter said , "I finished Peru by doing this to no end (except for when it wasn't possible :-)"
  • Jumping instead of walking in Iji will actually slow you down: Iji is immobile during one frame.
    • Not just jumping, but jumping into the ceiling lights, causing them to shatter. Do it enough, and the game comments on it.
  • Saying "SEEGAA" out loudly when SEGA's logo shows up.
    • On a related note, whispering "Bayonetta" softly when the game loads up.
  • Mimicking the old Game Boy startup ding. Buh-DING!
  • Pressing up on the D-pad rapidly in the 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog games after defeating Dr. Robotnik to give the sprite the appearance that it's laughing (this works best with Sonic 3 and Knuckles, as either Sonic or Knuckles).
    • Pressing the spin dash motion multiple times. (You are fully charged after six presses, but it's fun to hear the revving noise...)
    • Exclusive to Sonic 3 and S3&K, doing Sonic's insta-shield every time you jump.
  • Jumping frantically while running across the near-endless landscape in the 3D Elder Scrolls games Morrowind and Oblivion. Eventually will level the player's Acrobatics skill, but it takes so long by this method that it is much more of a tic than a real practice (serious powerlevelers jump off high things to level this skill instead).
    • Though with the use of a certain exploit to level your Acrobatics over 100, jumping everywhere can become a great deal faster than running. The same exploit can jack up your Speed stat, but that can easily make your character uncontrollable.
  • Shooting the dog in Duck Hunt. And with very good reason.
  • Shooting at each other after successfully completing the stage in Battle City and Tank Force during multiplayer or shooting at the wall when playing alone.
  • Firing several shots at one target in older light gun games, particularly if the player is used to more modern games which avert the Instant Death Bullet.
  • Pushing down the Wiimote on Mario Kart Wii when the race starts.
  • Constantly using glide in Spyro the Dragon instead of walking.
    • Or constantly jumping and holding the square button.
    • For that matter continuing to play the skateboard minigame in Year Of The Dragon after you have gotten everything in the level.
  • Grinding everywhere in Tony Hawks Pro Skater even when you hardly get any score for it.
    • Continuing your combos way past the timer hitting 0:00 due to the game's loophole, even if you don't need the points.
      • In THUG onwards, getting off your board without landing a combo and waiting for the time to run out so you don't risk bailing it, meaning that you keep your (potentially huge) score.
  • Running in WWF/WWE Smackdown games, either to avoid the enemy's attacks or to use a running attack on them, which 9/10 gives you the advantage against them. Whipping your opponent into the stairs and putting them through the announce tables in Smackdown 2 (as it doesn't result in a disqualification, no matter whether it's a hardcore match or not).
  • In 4X games like Civilization, giving the AI insultingly high or low deals, such as demanding a tribute of 1 gold to keep the peace, or offering peace in exchange for all their stuff (especially as a counter-offer when the AI demands all of yours).
  • League of Legends players tend to click excessively while moving, especially when it doesn't affect their character's pathing. Lampshaded by Mordekaiser's quote "You only need to click once, fool!"
  • Sprinting everywhere where you go in multiplayer shooter games even when you are just wandering aimlessly and therefore have no real need to move quickly (unless you are moving from cover to cover)
  • In Team Fortress 2, some game modes (payload maps, 2 control points) have preparation time. The RED defending team uses it to get into position, set up sentries and lay sticky traps. For the BLU attacking team, there isn't a lot to do besides The Medic building uber. Thus most players will be found running around aimlessly, firing off weapons, jumping randomly and letting off taunts.
  • Video Game/Marathon, the precursor to the Video Game/Halo series, was full of these. The most famous examples would be punching switches to activate them (instead of just tapping TAB) just because one could, and mercilessly slaughtering each and every BOB (unarmed friendlies) in a level, just for cruelty's sake.
  • Jumping in World of Warcraft: Doesn't help that the elven races and the worgen have a 50/50 chance of doing a midair flip/spin.

Those who know those tics:

  • Creators of Super Mario Bros. series know the jumping tic well. That's why we have those flagpoles in first Super Mario Bros game and New Super Mario Bros series, item squares in Super Mario Bros 3 and finally, up and down moving bars in Super Mario World.
  • In Pac-Land, you can get extra bonus points when jumping at right times when completing the level.
  • In Super Smash Bros you get extra points for taunting in 1-Player mode after you beat your opponent. This has been removed, along with the rest of the bonus points, as of Brawl.
    • It also had bonus points for finishing levels at certain times too. So complete a side-scrolling stage at 0:56 and you'll get nothing, 0:59 however...
    • Although with Brawl, taunting after another player suffers a self destruct can award you the KO.
  • The Marvel vs. Capcom series allows you to beat up your opponent for a few seconds after the match is over, and some of its games give you bonus points if your character is in a particularly amusing frame when it stops.
    • Blaz Blue Calamity Trigger allows this as well, and even awards an achievement for completing a 20-hit combo after the end of a battle. This was eliminated in Continuum Shift because Bang players would waste their opponents' time by going into Fu-rin-ka-zan after the end of a match.
    • Same with the Soul Calibur series. Though if the winner was determined by ring out, expect that player to join the loser. Even better, some players will come up with elaborate post-win "dances" or memorize ways to inflict harm on their character.
  • The makers of Tony Hawks Pro Skater never fixed the aforementioned ability to continue comboing after the timer runs out, due to fans doing this so much.
    • It's possible the potentially infinite circuits such as the Rio De Janeiro level in Tony Hawks 3, and the moon mode in Tony Hawks' 2 took fans obsessions with endless combos to their extreme.
  • Penny Arcade Adventures gives extra points for overkills.
  • Mario Kart Wii and 7 include gyro controls, which involve turning your controller to steer the car.
    • Some players dismiss this, but turn their controller using the non-gyro controls anyway.
  • Infinity Blade gives you bonus experience for attacking your opponent more after they run out of health.



Non-gaming Examples:

  • Football players setting up for a free-kick tend to pick up the ball, roll it slightly, and put it right back down before kicking. If a few players switch places at the ball before this happens, sometimes each one will do the same exact thing.
  • Some Aussie Rules Football players suffer a similar tic where before taking a kick at goal, they they carefully pluck and throw a few strands of grass. The usefulness of this for gauging wind could be argued, but when doing it in a fully-enclosed stadium with no environmental factors, it becomes this trope.
  • Free throw rituals in basketball: players tend to fiddle around with the ball or perform some other particular action before taking their shot in order to relax and/or build a sense of rhythm/consistency in this dead ball situation.
  • Pressing the button at a pedestrian crossing. You only need to do it once, but most people do it multiple times for no particular reason.
    • On a similar note, elevators. Few can resist the urge to press the up/down button (as appropriate), even when they can see it's already lit up.
  • Computer users often develop a habit of moving the mouse in tight circles or figure eights when waiting for the computer to do something, though it's also a simple way to make sure that the computer hasn't frozen.
    • Also popular: double-clicking on text segments to highlight/deselect them despite no plans to copy/paste.
    • Throw in dragging to make selection boxes on the desktop while waiting for something to load. Extra points if you use them to frame some part of your desktop background.
  • If you've ever used a payphone, you pressed the coin return and checked for change before inserting a quarter of your own. It never worked, but you tried anyway. Admit it.
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