Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp"
As we all know, there are many conventions of video games, like Hit Points, extra lives, high scores, money systems, Energy Points, respawning, loot collection, and so on, which are almost universal. Some games, however, try to avoid some of these conventions because they don't fit in with the genre. For example, superheroes don't usually collect loot or use expendable items like healing potions, realistic characters don't function normally up until the brink of death and then suddenly die, resurrection doesn't exist in all settings, and lots of character types wouldn't use money to buy items. But what if the genre of game calls for something like that, or the designers want or need such a mechanic for balance? One way to handle the issue is to keep the errant mechanic, but offer a simple (or not-so-simple) "fluff" explanation. Superheroes might collect "flashbacks" or "trophies" from defeated supervillains that act like standard loot; realistic characters might have "Fatigue" or "Vitality" that represents near-misses or luck; and death can be smoothed over as "unconsciousness," with resurrected characters brought back to their feet by slightly more realistic restoratives. Be careful when employing this trope in your games. Using tasteful quantities of proprietary terminology can give the game a unique flavor that stands out, but overusing it can cause players to have to constantly refer to a guide just to figure out what all of your unique terms mean. This trope has been around since the days of Dungeons and Dragons, usually by game systems switching up their terminology just to be not-Dungeons-and-Dragons. Named after the trope Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp", which is when an in-universe concept has a silly name.
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- Assassin's Creed I has "synchronization" instead of health, as part of the game's framing device — that is, whether your character's situation matches up with what that character did. This also explains why stabbing random innocents or staying outside the game areas' borders to causes you to desynchronize, and why helping random citizens increases your life bar.
- Which implies that Altair has never been hit.
- For the sequel, "Synchronization" works a bit differently. Ezio can desynchronize by (directly) killing civilians frequently enough, dying, staying outside the game areas' boundaries or failing missions, he has a conventional health meter; instead, Synchronization refers to how far along you are towards 100% complete synchronization with Ezio's life.
- Donkey Kong 64 has a pretty weird example: watermelons! Yep, your character's life is represented by a watermelon, adding up to three as you progress through the game. If you get hit, you lose a slice. From the same stable, Banjo-Kazooie uses Honeycombs, and Conker's Bad Fur Day uses Anti-Gravity Chocolate.
- Conker's Bad Fur Day also has dismembered "squirrel's tails" as lives, which hang around at random places on meat hooks. The actual ingame explanation given to you by a grim reaper is that it's "according to the powers that be", and continues implying that he doesn't really know why either.
- Fear Effect had a "fear meter" rather than a life bar. The more afraid the character was (measured by their heartbeat), the closer they were to death. It's an interesting idea, but in practice works pretty much like a life bar, with each hit speeding your heart up until, when it's really pounding, one hit will kill you. The only real difference is that there are no health packs; there are a couple different ways to "calm down," like moving away from enemies and winning fights.
- Classically, the Castlevania games use hearts not as health restoring Power Ups, but as mana points (in that hearts are spent by firing your subweapon). The second game in the series instead uses hearts as currency.
- In Psychonauts, as most of the gameplay takes place in the form of Astrally projecting yourself into the unconscious minds of those around you, mental health is used as HP, "Astral projection layers" are extra lives, and mental aggression is ammunition. Strangely, though, these still work like this in the real world, so you lose "mental health" after being slaughtered by a very real cougar or the damned kamikaze rats.
- As American McGee's Alice takes places inside Alice's mind, it has sanity and will for Health and Mana respectively. Main source of them are the enemies: killing makes her more sane.
- Makes a bit more sense when you realize the enemies are Anthropomorphic Personifications of her mental issues, with symbolic significance ranging from the obvious to the obscure.
- In American McGee's Alice's sequel, Alice: Madness Returns, Alice's health is represented by roses. When wearing the DLC Hattress dress, her hitpoints are turned to the game's "currency", which is Teeth.
- Ōkami and its sequel, Ōkamiden, use Solar Discs for hit points and praise for skill points. There's also ink that works kinda analogous to mana, but as the spells are drawn with a celestial brush, this one is more than window-dressing.
- Max Payne doesn't actually have a health meter, but a "pain bar" which represents how much pain he is currently in. When his pain reaches maximum level, he's dead. Luckily, popping a few painkillers will make him right as rain.
- The video game version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is basically a third-person shooter, with firearms and bullets replaced by wands and spells, except since you still need to cast each spell several times for it to have its effect, you're still basically firing bullets. Also, since about half the spells all serve the same purpose of knocking enemies out, the main difference is in speed of casting and effect area (analogues to fire rate and bullet spread). This even goes so far as to have Confundus zoom in like a sniper rifle (why Harry is so much more accurate with this particular charm is never explained). Potion bottles also act just like grenades.
- In the Devil May Cry series the games equivalent of money and experience points (it's used to upgrade equipment, buy new items, and learn new techniques) is called red orbs, which are supposed to be crystalized demon blood. They can be earned both by killing monsters and by just finding them lying around, which is how money is often obtained, but you get more orbs for defeating enemies with more combo points, which makes them sound a bit more like experience points. You can also get red orbs from health pickups if you have max health.
- I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream has the Psychic Barometer, which measures how much pressure your mind is suffering. Doing immoral or emotionally stressful things causes it to drop, while righteous behavior and fixing/coming to terms with the mistakes of your past causes it to rise. While this has little impact on the characters' initial scenarios, it will translate into conventional health in the endgame, allowing the characters to take more pain and injury before dying.
- The Superman Returns video game, while a dud otherwise, at least had a novel idea for not removing Superman's invulnerability, while still making him have to take care - it is Metropolis itself that is his "health meter", and if too much damage is caused to his surroundings during a fight, he loses.
- Final Fantasy:
- Starting with Final Fantasy IV, characters no longer "die" when they run out of HP, but "swoon" or are "KOed." This was probably because this is where real plot lines became a staple with characters dying. This should remove the question of "Why don't they just use a Phoenix Down?" but many people don't notice the distinction. The fact that the spell to restore KOed characters is still called "Life" probably contributes to this.
- Final Fantasy in general is very inconsistent with how downed characters are referred as. While Final Fantasy IV had "Swoon", Final Fantasy VI made a bit more sense by referring to characters with 0 HP as "Wounded". Final Fantasy VII literally referred to downed characters as "Dead", which also brought up debate over why Aeris can't be brought back with a Phoenix Down. By Final Fantasy VIII and later, "KO" is always used to described a downed character rather than being outright dead.
- Valkyrie Profile calls its hitpoints DME, or Divine Materialize Energy, representing Lenneth's ability to temporarily grant the dead souls accompanying her physical form. Later games in the series have living party members, and so revert to normal HP.
- This is common in the German adaptions of RPGs since different groups translate the English term "Hit Points" differently. Strangely, the English words "Ability" and "Item" are still used.
- Which is similar to Spanish translations of video games, which when referring to health usually use either "Puntos de Salud" (Health Points) or "Puntos de Vida" (Life Points), while Final Fantasy translations pretty consistently use the simple term "Vitalidad" (Vitality).
- Destiny of an Emperor for the NES revolves around you recruiting famous generals from the Three Kingdoms' Period to fight for you. Instead of hit points, your generals (and enemy generals) have "soldiers" that represent the number of, you guessed it, soldiers who follow and fight for the them. Instead of magic spells, there are tactics, which consume "tactical points."
- Anachronox has "NRG" instead of MP. Notably, though, it doesn't make up its own currency: it uses the Canadian Loonie as its inter-planetary currency.
- Instead of Save Points, it has "Timeminders", strange aliens that can perceive their entire timeline simultaneously. By touching one, you make it take an interest in you, so it can go back to the point in time when it met you. Also, their tears can reverse a person's individual timeline (so if they have died, you can rewind their time to a point where they haven't), thus serving as a variant resurrection device.
- Super Mario RPG and the Paper Mario series has "heart points" for hit points, "flower points" for magic points, and "star power" for Limit Break points.
- The first two games in the Paper Mario series has "star points" for experience, whereas experience points in Super Paper Mario look like old-fashioned arcade-style point bonuses.
- Mario & Luigi games have called Mana different names: Superstar Saga and Dream Team used Bros Points (BP), Partners in Time didn't use mana, and Bowser's Inside Story used SP for Special Points.
- Mario and Luigi also gives the brothers 'Stache Points, which serve as a combination of Skill/Luck (raising chances of Critical Hits) and Charisma (lowering store prices, presumably by impressing the shopkeeper with the moustaches in question). When Bowser's playable in Bowser's Inside Story, he has equivalent Horn Points.
- The obscure NES RPG Legend of the Ghost Lion uses "Hope" to represent the main heroine's Character Level, "courage" for her hit points, and "dreams" in place of magic points (which are primarily used for Summon Magic).
- The Mother//Earthbound series has PP rather than MP, since the characters are using psychic powers rather than magic spells.
- The Golden Sun series uses Psynergy in the place of Magic and thus replaces Mana Points (MP) with Psynergy Points (PP).
- Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey uses macca as its in-game currency, much like in the other games. However, its implication is nothing short of genius. Macca is a form of energy used by demons which is compatible with the batteries on the Mobile Base. Because the protagonists are on a sensitive mission deep in another world, the player is charged macca to make up the difference in using the ship's energy to treat injuries or synthesize new equipment (aka: buy items). They can also use forma harvested from demons to synthesize new equipment and break down old items into energy to gain more macca (aka: sell items). In short—it's a complete and immersive justification for an RPG economy and a total aversion of Adam Smith Hates Your Guts.
- The health stations on the world map don't get an explicit reason why they need macca to run, but a bit of thought points out that they aren't hooked up to anything, so you'd have to charge them yourself - and since you already know that macca can run your ship's batteries...
- Beyond the Beyond has a system of "Vitality Points" AND "Life Points" to replace the traditional HP system.
- In Lunar: Dragon Song, experience points are called "Althena's Conduct."
- In OFF, skill/mana points are called "Competence Points" (with skills being called "Competences"), and basic items have odd names as well (basic health-potion items are "Luck Tickets", for example).
- In The Logomancer, the premise is that battles are rhetorical debates rather than life-or-death conflicts, so this applies to everything by necessity. Defense is "confidence", Hit Points are "willpower", special attack is "elocution", and so on. This extends to skills and other gameplay elements as well, which are all named based on rhetorical techniques and terminology.
- In the beginning of Undertale, you're told that you gather EXP by killing things to gain LV, which sounds ordinary enough, but instead of LV standing for Level, it stands for... LOVE. It's later revealed that EXP in fact stands for Execution Points, which are to keep track of how many beings you've killed, and LOVE stands for Level of Violence, which goes up as you rack up EXP. If you've leveled up quite a bit, prepare to be punished.
First Person Shooter
- Cryostasis describes the health meter as internal body temperature. You warm yourself up by being near sources of heat, and it dissipates (slowly) by being in cold areas. You also lose health when attacked by an axe-wielding enemy, but recover from said injuries by going back to a heat source.
- Trespasser has no explicit hitpoints. Instead your character has a heart-shaped tattoo on her breast, which you can see by looking down. The heart's condition reflects your remaining Smeerps.
- The Golgo 13 light-gun arcade games reward/punish for accuracy instead of whether you (playing as Golgo) get hit. You start the game with 100% "reliability". Do well on a typical mission and you will gain 30% reliability, up to the 100% maximum but no further. Miss the mark and your reliability goes down 80%. When your reliability goes down to 0%, you can't get a job because you're, well, not reliable, and you'll have to continue or accept a game over. All in all, it's a reasonably clever take on Calling A Hit Point A Smeerp while avoiding the Hostage Spirit Link problem: you won't take damage for hitting the wrong people, but nobody will trust you enough to hire you as a hitman.
- Dungeons of Daggorath measures player health with a beating heart at the top center of the command/status area. When enemies hit you, your heartbeat gets faster. One of the game's few healing flasks slows your heartbeat. A poison flask speeds your heartbeat, sometimes fatally. Physical exertion, including swinging weapons and moving, especially moving with lots of backpack items, also speeds your heartbeat. Your heartbeat slows with time and rest. Let your heartbeat increase too much and you will "faint" — your screen fades to black, and monsters (if any) might get enough time for a free attack (or two) before you recover. Let your heartbeat increase further and your game ends.
- Duke Nukem Forever doesn't have a health bar. Instead, Duke's well-being is represented by his massive EGO: getting hit reduces it, doing something awesome (like killing things) restores it, and doing something really awesome (like bench-pressing 600 lb or admiring yourself in the mirror) boosts his ego permanently. Should the ego fall down to zero, Duke dies, unable to cope with himself anymore.
- Which leads to Fridge Logic because Ego, not unlike health in various modern shooters, is also replenished by going out of the harm's way. In other words, Duke regains his Ego also by behaving cowardly. Escapist Magazine called him on that. That executing wounded enemies rather than running to hide recovers his health faster helps, but not much.
- Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway has luck instead of health. If Baker, the protagonist, stands in the open while being shot at, his luck will go down, as represented by a red tint at the edges of the screen, as the bullets strike closer and closer to him. It can be can be replenished by taking cover behind obstacles, or avoiding gunfire in general. If he continues to take fire, his luck runs out, and he dies as one of the bullets hits home.
- Unlike the previous game, Killing Floor 2 replaced British Pounds with "dosh". Partly because it doesn't take place in Britain anymore (not that converting between Euros and Pounds is an issue for grey-market gun dealers, but whatever), and partly because that's all the players called in in the first place.
Massively Multiplayer Online RPG
- World of Warcraft introduced Holy Power for the Paladin class in 4.0/ Cataclysm. It works similarly to a Rogue's Combo Points, with a few major exceptions: it's generated and spent by relatively few abilities, it accrues on the Paladin instead of his target (which allows the points to be generated by attacking one enemy and then spent on another,) and the points cap out at three instead of five. For whatever reason, this angered a small section of the playerbase who thought the two were too similar. Presumably any resource generated by any action, spent with any other action and stored up to a small cap would generate similar complaints from players.
- It should be noted as well that this was part of a broader effort to give every class a more interesting secondary mechanical effect to add complexity and decision points to game play. Before Holy Power was added, a Paladin's healing game consisted of pressing one button over and over. After Holy Power, Paladin healers had a rich toolbox of moves that interacted with the new resource mechanic in interesting ways. Of course, any drastic change in a long-running game is bound to upset some people, especially those who think purely from a player's perspective and not a game designer's perspective, no matter how well-implemented the change.
- Cataclysm also brought a "new" resource mechanic to hunters: Focus. This is the same resource used by a Hunter's pets. It works roughly the same way as the Rogue's Energy, the main differences being that it's a bit slower to regenerate, it only regenerates while standing still, while Rogues' Energy can regenerate while moving, and certain attacks restore it instead of depleting it. The colors of the resource bars are even pretty similar.
- The monk class, introduced in Mists of Pandaria, uses two resources: Energy and Chi. The former works the same way as for rogues, and the latter is basically the monk equivalent of rogue Combo Points. Now that Combo Points are no longer tracked per-enemy, there is little functional difference between them and a monk's Chi.
- City of Heroes has this in spades. Money is referred to as "Influence," but it works exactly like money mechanically, to the point of being able to walk into stores and purchase items using influence, and to sell items for Influence. There are also "Enhancements," which are implied to be non-tangible items like training or genetic mutations that improve your powers, but they can still be looted, traded, sold, and transferred just like physical items. Even Inspirations, single-use "boosts" that are implied to represent internal resolve, can be purchased and sold. This is a particularly notable example because early developer interviews stated that they wanted to avoid the "loot collection" mechanic because it did not fit with the superhero theme. In later issues, on the other hand, even more "item-like" elements were added, such as "crafting" new Enhancements, places where Enhancements could be "stored" and then "picked up" by other guild members, and even auction houses.
- Ironically, Hit Points still have their normal name.
- Rather than influence, villainous characters will trade in infamy, and inhabitants of the morally-gray utopia dimension Praetoria traffic in information. That all three begin with the letters "inf" is entirely intentional.
- The Lord of the Rings Online calls hit points "morale" and has songs, etc. that can restore "morale". Again, morale works just like hit points, with armor mitigating damage to "morale" and weapons hurting it. Rather than dying, characters are stated to be "retreating", but this again works just like death in most MMOs - you have to "retreat" all the way back to a respawn point, and you stay in the same position (in case someone wants to heal you) until you respawn.
- This has the rather amusing side effect that minstrels are the game's healers. Instead of physically curing your wounds, though, a minstrel heals you by singing a really really inspiring melody.
- Which makes sense, given the "morale" conceit. As does the Captain's words of courage and rallying cries. As does the Runekeeper's pet rocks... wait, what?
- "HP = Morale" also makes sense given that the grimmer areas of Middle Earth (covered in unholy altars, Black Speech carvings, and gruesome sacrifices) reduce your HP - i.e., demoralize your character. The above-mentioned Runekeeper's rock is covered in shiny elf-runes, and the sight of them (presumably) restores your character's faith in Good.
- In addition, parties are known as "fellowships", as per Tolkien tradition. The guild version of this is the "kinship".
- Toontown Online has a similar approach to hit points. Rather justified—making a cartoon character depressed would certainly take them out of the action.
- This has the rather amusing side effect that minstrels are the game's healers. Instead of physically curing your wounds, though, a minstrel heals you by singing a really really inspiring melody.
- The Matrix Online uses "information" for currency.
- Kingdom of Loathing uses "meat" for currency, because the creator didn't have a picture of gold, whereas he did have a picture of a steak. And because of the oft-parodied thing about giant monsters randomly having currency...
- Mana Points are called different things for different classes: Mysticality uses Mana Points, but Muscle classes use Muscularity Points (for special damaging techniques) and Moxie classes use Mojo Points (for songs and dance moves).
- Perfect World calls the RMT currency Zen before it's transferred to a server, rewards Spirit instead of Training Points or Tech Points for beating monsters, and has Chi instead of a Rage/Adrenaline meter. Yes, it's a game where you beat the snot out of bad guys and pay money to become more spiritually aware.
- In Anarchy Online, nanotechnology is functionally equivalent to sword-and-sorcery style magic. Mana becomes nano points, mages become nanotechnicians, and so on. Handwaved that the local Phlebotinum is just that special.
- Champions Online uses 'Resources' as currency, with Local, National, and Global Resources for different denominations. Mana is 'Endurance'.
- Justified as resources can be used to REFER to "money", and since most superheroes aren't magically powered, Mana would not be an appropriate term. Endurance is also the term used by the parent, Tabletop game Champions.
- In EverQuest, that stuff you use to cast spells is called Mana. In EverQuest II, the stuff has been renamed Power. Justified, in that in EQ2 all abilities beyond basic attacks, not just magic spells, have a power cost, but still confusing for players of one game trying the other. Also, in story, magic became very difficult or outright impossible because the gods were the source of much of the world's magic. Only until a faction of Monks discovered a method of using inner power to fuel their abilities did some magic start to return to the world.
- Battlestar Galactica Online has Hull Points for HP (look ma, same short form!), power for mana and different types of currency. Tylium is used for basic purchases and doubles as fuel for Nitro Boost or FTL jumps, Titanium for repairs, Cubits for high-end purchases (which you can also convert real-world cash into) and Merits are used for the highest-end purchases like nukes.
- Guild Wars 2 calls dead players "defeated", since the world no longer has access to resurrection magic and thus players are never really dead, but rather suffer a Non-Lethal K.O..
- Kid Icarus uses hearts as currency, and strangely enough has a credit card as well.
- Ape Escape has, of all things to measure your health, cookies!
- While it uses a conventional points system, Robot Unicorn Attack uses "wishes" in place of "lives". You get three "wishes" per game, apart from in challenge mode, where it bizarrely switches back to "lives".
- The Darker and Edgier Heavy Metal edition uses "nightmares".
- The Ratchet & Clank series uses "Nanotech" to represent HP. In theory, this means that the characters have nanomites inside their body that will instantly repair any damage taken - until the supply runs out and the character succumbs to their injuries. In practice, this functions identically to a standard health bar.
- Putty labels Putty's Life Meter "pliability."
- The Star Trek: Starfleet Command series uses "Prestige" as its currency. Wanna upgrade your ship? Congratulations, you've just gone from being the most famous captain of a scout ship to being just an unknown Constitution-class officer.
- Similarly, the later games in the Silent Hunter Series use renown to pay for upgrades, new submarines and rebasing.
- Star Control uses "crew" in place of hit points. Every time the ship is struck, you lose some crew. Ships with larger crew complements therefore have more "health". Rather than currency, "Resource Units" are used to purchase (build) new ships or get more crew, and trading with other races is done on a barter system rather than with money (although the Melnorme do use a system of "Credits" when trading, nobody else uses these Credits).
- Landing series:
- In Midnight Landing, each stage is referred to as "Flight n", where n is the current stage number.
- In Landing High Japan, the loading screen for the takeoff stage shows "Now Boarding". For the landing stages, the loading screen reads "Now On Final Approach". The idea is that during the time it takes for each stage to load, the displayed action is what's going on in-universe, as it's a passenger jet simulation game.
Stealth Based Game
- The Art of Theft: Although Trilby gets money from his various heists, he never actually does anything with it. Instead, in-game skill upgrades are purchased with "Reputation Points," which he earns for particularly impressive exploits.
Turn Based Strategy
- Yggdra Union has Morale instead of HP, yet one enemy has an ability referred to as "HP Control System".
- In the Star Control series, your spaceships have "Crew" instead of HP. This is actually used meaningfully in certain cases. The Syreen have the ability to pull crew into space and pick them up (if they're not picked up after a time, they die). The Ur-Quan Dreadnaught launches fighters at their enemies, but these fighters have to be crewed, so they each reduce the crew of the ship by 1. The Druuge have slow energy regeneration, but can transform crew into fuel. In story, this is called "feeding the furnace". And so on.
- In Sengoku Rance of the Rance series, the number of soldiers under an officer is used as their health, attack power, and defense power.
- Soul Nomad & the World Eaters doesn't rely on conventional money, because all your abilities are handled by Gig, and he doesn't want that crap. Instead you're on the Gig Point standard, essentially an absurdly complicated favors exchange that just kinda looks like a monetary system.
- The XCOM from XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a military organization tasked with defending the Earth from aliens. As such, levels are called ranks, and are named Rookie, Squaddie, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, and Colonel. Leveling up is called earning a promotion.
- Many of the core mechanics of Civilization: Beyond Earth are renamed versions of familiar mechanics from Civilization that function basically the same. Energy is gold in all but name (it is accumulated from trade routes, can be spent on purchasing units and buildings, etc.), health is happiness from Civ5, virtues are social policies under a new name, etc.
- In Undertale, amassing EXP increases your LV. Sounds like normal video game terminology, except that LV is short for LOVE. Later in the game, it's revealed that LOVE stands for "Level Of ViolencE" and that EXP are "EXecution Points".
- The Elder Scrolls series has long used "magicka" as Mana and, in the 3rd and fourth game, "fatigue" as stamina.
- In Mass Effect 2 and 3, guns use 'thermal clips', which are ejectable heat sinks used to absorb the waste heat of the internal mass accelerator and keep the gun functioning, and behave like ammunition in any other shooter. This is part of a complicated in-universe Hand Wave (verging on Voodoo Shark) to explain why guns suddenly need ammunition, when in the first game they had Bottomless Magazines and were limited by heat rather than ammo.
- In Alpha Protocol the Shield part of Regenerating Shield, Static Health is called "Endurance".
- In the Roguelike Dungeonsof Dredmor all the stats have been renamed to more humorous things like Burliness, Sagacity, Nimbleness, Caddishness, Savvy, and Stubborness, they work identical to stats from other RPGs.
- [PROTOTYPE]'s experience points are called Evolution Points, or EP, because Alex is ostensibly adapting his body to counter threats more efficiently after every fight. His health bar also technically represents how much biomass he currently has at his disposal - he loses mass when he's injured and gains it by absorbing other living things.
- The hp/biomass thing is even reflected in the damage of enemy weapons; bullets and small blades, no matter where they hit or how deadly they'd be to a normal person, hardly remove any mass from the target and thus are almost useless against Alex. Meanwhile a punch from a Hunter or an explosive attack would scoop away a lot of mass, and reflect this in their damage.
- Saints Row has Respect, gained for completing missions/activities and buying all sorts of things, complete with added bonuses for things like buying and wearing clothes in your gang's color. Depending on the game, Respect works as either a secondary currency that determines if you can undertake a mission (first two), or as the game's equivalent to an experience bar that allows you access to more and better upgrades for your character as you level up (last two). For what little sense either interpretation makes, the latter is a better fit because it doesn't lead to you somehow losing respect for agreeing to help out your gang and then gaining only a fraction of that lost respect back for actually doing it.
- The Professor Layton games don't have hit points, but your score is measured in a unit called "picarats." The number of picarats a puzzle can earn you is based on its difficulty (the more picarats it's worth, the tougher it's going to be). The more times you try a puzzle and get it wrong, the fewer picarats you can earn by getting it right, although after the second incorrect answer it stops lowering the score. They don't affect the outcome of the game as far as winning or losing, but you must earn certain numbers of picarats to unlock bonus material like character profiles.
- Cirno, the main character of Touhou 12.8: Great Fairy Wars, is a fairy who always revives after dying. As such, it makes little sense for her to have a limited number of lives, so instead they're called "motivation" and expressed as a percentage (so she'd have 300% motivation instead of three lives, and drop down to 200% if she takes a hit). When you run out of motivation, Cirno wanders off to do something else.
- In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy instead of calling perfectly hit note "Perfect" or "Excellent", they are called Critical Hits. This is because a large amount of the songs are played in a mock turned based battle setting.
- Hellsinker seems to be allergic to standard video game terminology. Just to name a few examples: "Discharge" means "bomb", "segment" means "stage", "away" means "exit game", "bootleg ghost" means "autobomb", "Stella" means Dynamic Difficulty, "Sol" is your Smart Bomb stock, "Luna" is your shot power, and so on. Even the options men—sorry, Tuning Dipswitches◊ are a chore to decipher* .
- Reflec Beat, as part of its emphasis on player-versus-player gameplay, refers to each stage as a "Round" instead. This is despite the fact that you won't necessarily be playing against the same player for every stage of your credit.
- FTL: Faster Than Light uses "scrap" as its currency. However, the scrap you pick up can also be used within your own ship to make upgrades, rather than just purchasing goods.
- Ace Attorney has several names for the Life Meter throughout the series:
- In the original Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (and Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney), they're referred to as how many penalties you have left before your client receives a guilty verdict.
- From Justice for All onwards, it's referred to as "Judge's Patience", but only in the courtroom. During Psyche-Lock sequences, it's referred to as Phoenix's remaining spirit, which depletes when Phoenix makes an incorrect choice; if the meter hits 0%, Phoenix is warned that his spirit will break if he persists, and told to take a break and try again later. Fridge Logic kicks in when you consider that the lifebar carries over between case phases: Screwing up a Psyche Lock section to the point of being reduced to the bare minimum of spirit left makes the Judge extremely impatient the next day. Though the other way around can be explained as Phoenix becoming discouraged and emotionally hurt whenever he hurts his case.
- In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, it's referred to the "Truth Meter"—messing up Rebuttal/Cross-Examination sequences as well as making mistakes in Logic mode deducts from the meter, and when the meter hits 0%, Edgeworth decides that the truth "has been lost for eternity" and gives up.
- Vangers: One for the Road is a good example of what happens if you heavily overuse this trope in addition to letting the story be written by someone who may or may not be a lifelong LSD abuser. You drive mechos (heavily armored and armed offroad vehicles) and run tabutasks (mission contracts) in order to get beebs (money). But not before you undergo ruBeecation (a sort of punitive initiation) and do the Eleerection (a race) in a raffa (a tiny mechos). Confused yet? No? Oh, don't worry, the entire game is like this, all the time, for everything.
- Magic: The Gathering
- The original collectible card game simply has life, but your starting life total in a battle in Shandalar is determined by how many "mana links" you have.
- It also uses the term "tapping" to refer to turning a card sideways to indicate it's been used for that turn. Many other card games, as well as board games that include some cards, have cards that can be used once per turn, which is almost always indicated by turning them sideways (or sometimes, upside-down). Pretty much all those games have their individual terms for this action ("activating", "exhausting", etc), and yet pretty much all the players use the word "tapping" anyway.
Wizards of the Coast has trademarked the word "Tap" when it refers to turning a card sideways to signify that a once-per-turn effect has been used. Other Wizards games can use the word, but not those from other companies. Legend of the Five Rings, meanwhile, though a Wizards game, has been using "bow/straighten" to mean "tap/untap" since before this was the case, and since it fits thematically, it hasn't changed. This has had the humorous effect of making a T-shirt sold by Penny Arcade, stating "I'd (World of Warcraft TCG symbol for "exhausting" a card) that," make no sense at face value, since the terminology is so embedded in the TCG community that no-one involved in the shirt's design ever even bothered to remember it's not called tapping in the WoW game.
- The Adventure Time card game, Card Wars, has a system similar to tapping cards, referred to as "flooping." You floop a card to use its effect, and activate it (basically turn it the other way) if it's used for combat. It should be noted that the episode this card game comes from had it as more or less a parody of card games like Magic.
- Netrunner plays this trope hard. Some of it is inevitable due to the asymmetric nature of the game, but it's also applied to the parts that aren't; draw, discard, and hand have six names between them.
- In With Strings Attached, experience points are called Stress Experience, or S Ex. This leads to a lot of goofy language, of which the gamers are fully aware.
- Legends of the Hidden Temple used "Pendants", which could be used to fend off Temple Guards in the final round.
- The licensed pinball game Doctor Who labels each ball as "Part 1/2/3", a reference to the serials of its parent franchise.
- In addition to your score, Johnny Mnemonic lets players accumulate "gigabytes", which are used to increase the end-of-ball bonus value and try to become The Cyberpunk.
- Gottlieb's James Bond 007 was a timer-based pinball game that allowed players to keep playing as long as they had some "Time Units" — seconds — left on the clock.
- In Data East Pinball's The Who's Tommy, the game modes are called "Union Jacks".
- Centaur refers to pinballs as "Power Orbs".
- The game modes in Guns N' Roses are called "Guitar Modes".
- Tales from the Crypt's modes are "Creature Features".
- Indianapolis 500 calls its modes "Speedways".
- In Hyperball, the player must defend his position from attacking lightning bolts; each strike causes him to lose one of his "Energy Centers".
- Capcom's unreleased Kingpin eschews the term "extra ball." Instead, the player has a "Charmed Life."
- Many Follow the Leader tabletop role-playing games have made use of this trope. The most common and understandable term is calling a Dungeon Master a "Game Master," "Arbiter," "Referee," etc., done since Dungeon Master is trademarked. On the other end, you have extremely out-of-the-way terminology like "forging hecka" for "casting spells," or referring to the Game Master as the "Game Overlord Deity," "Adeile," or "Hollyhock God."
- The Order of the Stick adventure game measures health in "wounds". When your character runs out of wounds, he/she must retreat. Taking damage causes you to lose a wound, and Durkon's curing spells heal them — thereby restoring a wound to make your character healthier. Extra irony points for being based on a comic that uses the term "HP".
- The main miniature games from WizKids use the "clicky" base concept, where a character's stats are represented by a dial on the character's base. As the character takes damage (or is healed), the player turns the dial to reveal a different set of stats. Each turn makes an audible "click" — thus Hit Points in these games are generally called 'clicks'; i.e. "my Superman hits your General Zod for 5 clicks".
- Champions has Stun Pips and Body Pips instead of hit points, but they really do work differently. While running out of Body kills you, running out of Stun merely knocks you unconscious. Additionally, Body isn't "abstracted hit points" like it is in D&D — it really represents the ability to withstand physical injury. A very experienced character is not expected to have more Body than a novice character, unless his super-powers call for him to be (say) 50 feet tall and made out of stone. Champions Online, on the other hand...
- This trope was used for entirely different reasons in the old "'80s Roles Aids and Judges" Guild products for D&D, as "hit points" was then a fiercely-guarded trademark of TSR. This forced writers from other game companies to use terms like "HTK (Hits to Kill)" as a transparent stand-in for hit points.
- The various Palladium RPGs use Hit Points, but also Structural Damage Capacity, or S.D.C., which is both the hit points of inanimate objects and the superficial bruise and scratch damage a character can take before the damage rolls over into hit points. And just to make things more complicated, the sci-fi settings of Robotech and Rifts add Mega-Damage Capacity, or M.D.C., which is Hit Points at two levels of magnitude higher, to be applied to mecha, armored vehicles, some Power Armor, and spaceships.
There's also P.P.E, Palladium's name for Magic Points. P.P.E. stands for Potential Psychic Energy, and is said to be an energy that exists throughout the universe and resides in all living things. In the case of humans, most of a person's P.P.E. is channeled into skills and talents he develops throughout his life, which is essentially their Handwave for why it's called that, and not Magic Points.
- Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 use "Wounds" for hit points. Most basic units have only one. As of 6th edition vehicles in WH40K have two to four "Hull Points" that function the same way.
- Dangerous Journeys is one of the most egregious offenders. After leaving TSR, Gary Gygax wrote a new RPG, and in an attempt to avoid lawsuits he changed around pretty much every game term there was ("K/S Area" instead of "Skill", "Dweomercrĉfter" instead of "Wizard", "Physical Muscular Power" instead of "Strength"). It didn't help, as Gygax and GDW were still sued by TSR, with the list of things considered infringements including things like "the concept of adjusting stats based on age" and "rolling dice to see if you succeed".
- Star Wars d20 has Vitality instead of regular hit points, as well as Wounds. If someone shoots at you, you could've been hit, but you expended some of that Vitality to avoid it just in time. (Thus explaining why Stormtroopers keep missing in the movies — the heroes just have a lot of Vitality.) If you suffer real damage, though (usually from a critical hit), you take Wounds — and you have far less of those (equal to your constitution score) before you die.
- The hard-to-find first-edition Immortal: Invisible War changed everything. Even basic terms like 'point' got the treatment (in this case, they used 'mote'). Granted, they used terms that fit the descriptions for how things worked in the setting, so it all made sense once you wrapped your brain around the new terms. It even had to include a glossary in the quick-start booklet.
- In Anathema, players' health is measured in "anathema", rather than health or hit points.
- This happens a lot in Problem Sleuth. For example, the durability of armor is represented by the "Treacle Aegis", a candy cane which becomes shorter as the armor takes damage (To be fair, the armor WAS made of candy, but it still counts), the amount of time during which a character can stay in their super-powered candy monster form is represented by the freshness of a pumpkin, and the Limit Break meter is a bird which gets more agitated as a character's Gender Bending alter-ego takes damage.
- Used in Homestuck as well, with the game mechanics of the in-universe video game SBURB. For example, the seldom-appearing Health Vials at full health appear as a bar in a background bar of gel of a color appropriate to the character, and the bar empties and leaves the gel as players get hit. The system for leveling up, referred to as climbing one's echeladder, increases the "gel viscosity", making it harder to knock the vial out of the gel. Warning: examples used include heavy spoilers.