A tactic—often an exploit—in a video game with Scoring Points that provides you with a very rapid or near-infinite stream of points. Some instances of Score Milking are the result of Good Bad Bugs, other times it's just Gameplay Derailment.
Some find it a neat and advanced way to improve one's scores, others (especially in the case of milking bosses) find it repetitive and tedious.
See Infinite 1-Ups for the Video-Game Lives equivalent, and Level Grinding, for the RPG equivalent. Contrasts with Anti-Grinding, in which a game discourages—and may even penalize—taking excessive advantage of these opportunities.
- In Asteroids, you can destroy all but one asteroid, then camp in the center of the screen and snipe infinitely-respawning aliens. One of the earliest examples.
- Battle Garegga has two such scoring mines:
- Stage 2: There's a castle that, when hit with a Smart Bomb, releases a flock of flamingoes. Shooting them with your main weapon will yield some points, but shooting them with another Smart Bomb will result in even more points. Whereas most players have about 600,000-1,000,000 points by the time they get to the stage 2 boss, it's possible to have 3 million points before you even get halfway through the stage if you have the right ship and enough bombs.
- Stage 7: The midboss Black Heart mkII, in several of its attack patterns, spits out a continous stream of grenades. At times, it will suddenly fire a dense cloud of grenades. Hitting them with your bomb, combined with drawing out this battle, is a great way to get millions of points on this boss alone.
- In BIT.TRIP VOID, the two highest modes give points just for being there. All the level bosses require something to be collected to end them, with no time limit. Do the math. However in more recent versions, the developers caught on and disabled automatic points on Boss stages.
- The first two Gauntlet provide another early example. Since most enemies in these games spawn from generators (shaped like huts and bone piles), highly experienced players can simply clear a screen of foes, leave their generators intact, pick off smaller groups of enemies, and gradually increase their scores until their his point totals slowly dwindle down to zero.
- In Giga Wing, you collect medals to raise your multiplier. Small flying enemies drop medals that are worth n+5 (n being the current value of a medal) medals, and hitting enemies with reflected bullets will yield a medal worth n+1 medals per hit. But in Stage 4, hitting a particular group of targets in the right order can yield giant medals that add n+100 to your medal count. There's also a couple medal fountains here.
- The fourth stage of Gradius V is a Womb Level with regenerating walls. At one point, there is a long, screen-high regenrating wall; continously pounding at it can earn you several hundred thousand points.
- Time Crisis 3 has the giant plane in Stage 1 Area 3. Shooting the cockpit of it doesn't raise your combo, however, it does contribute to your no-miss streak, so continously hitting it allows you to get plenty of no-miss bonuses.
- Any song in the DJMAX series from DJMAX Portable 2 onward with hold notes. A hold note, instead of being counted as one or two notes in those games, will raise the combo at a rate of one per sixteenth note, so to hit a hold note is, from a scoring point of view, like hitting many notes. Thus, if you like seeing huge scores, it's in your interest to pick songs that have a lot of hold notes.
- DJMAX Technika continues the trend with hold notes and drag nodes; the best scoring sets are those with very long hold notes. However, in Technika 2, this sort of milking is Nerfed in two ways: You no longer generate points while you hold or drag a note, and all songs have a maximum score of 300,000.
- Battle Bakraid has a multiplier system for destroying large enemies. You can exploit it on the Stage 1 boss to have as many as 11 million points by the end of it.
- In Nintendo World Championships, scoring multiple Tetrises in the Tetris section is encouraged, due to the x25 multiplier, to achieve the highest overall score.
- All Knuckles or Rouge stages in Sonic Adventure 2 can allow the player to reach the cap of 999 rings. All one has to do is randomly dig into the ground.
- Sonic & Knuckles has end-of-level goalposts in the first act of each zone that you can bounce endlessly to score points.
- Launch Base Zone in Sonic 3 has the alarm. As long as you touch it, it will summon Flybot767 mooks that dive bomb you endlessly. If these touch you when you're readying a spin dash, they die, and since Kill Streaks exist, you'll start getting more points per kill. Eventually it will get to a point where every five birds give you an extra life!
- Although Sonic Colors derives most of your score from ring count and Wisp use rather than time, you still should not spend too much time trying to farm points, because if you take too long, a red "TIME'S UP" message appears under your score and you'll forfeit any and all points from that point onwards, including the important end-of-stage bonuses.
- Glider 4.0 let you shoot down the respawning balloons/copters/darts for points. There were no points for shooting enemies in Glider PRO.
- StarFox 64 has a couple of stages where you can shoot things for extra points, making it much easier to get a medal on the stage.
- Solar is theoretically one of the least enemy-rich stages in the game (100 hits required for the medal, tied with Sector Z for second-lowest). However, one of the boss's attacks can be neutralized with a well-placed charge shot, and since this is also an "enemy" that appears in the level proper, doing so grants you a point. By intentionally dragging out the boss fight long enough, you can cap out the score.
- The Nintendo 64 version has a bug where you shoot the ground with a charged shot to score multiple hits.
- DeathSmiles averts boss milking by simply freezing your score during boss battles.
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 has a contiguous power line around the skate park in Rio. It's trivial to keep grinding the same wire while doing flips, because the balance meter resets after each flip.
- In Super Mario World, an exploit exists that can net the player the maximum number of points (9,999,990) in a very short time. By using a Caped Mario in Forest of Illusion 1 and floating back and forth among a trio of Wigglers, the player can keep netting 1-ups and 3-ups. The uninterrupted bonus chain becomes so high that the game resorts to using illegible programming language to show what's happening on-screen, and the score will jump by tens of thousands of points each time. It's easily possible to max out both your score and number of lives in less than three minutes.
- A few Super Mario Flash users have made levels whose only purpose is to maximize the player's score, usually by filling the level with enemies and giving Mario an Invincibility Powerup.
- In SSX, several courses allow this via the use of half-pipes, which in Showtime events can be abused by staying in them just long enough to then blast through the rest of the course to finish the level. For SSX3, these can be combined with Monster Tricks, specific tricks that always give out a high number of points, as well as Style Bonuses. If you memorize three specific Monster Tricks and keep rotating through them, you can cheat the "repeated trick" penalty and spam your way to Platinum medals.
- In Splatoon, points are accumulated by inking turf in your color; while the points themselves don't count towards victory, they do fill up your Special Weapon gauge. One particular Shifty Station stage in Splatoon 2, Fancy Spew, featured two Spreaders, one in each team's color, that would continuously ink a large circular area in the center of the stage. By inking the area behind the other team's Spreader, you could rack up points very quickly and rapidly charge up your Special Weapon.