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Taunt Button

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"You, medic! Quit trying to keep me alive, and give me a high-five!"

"I openly mock your ill-conceived attempts to emerge as the victor of this contest."

This is a Video Game trope where the game provides a button or command that serves no tangible gameplay function, but is included for atmosphere or effect. This can be particularly noticeable on game platforms with a limited number of available buttons.

The earliest and most common form of this trope is the ability to make the player's character perform a taunting gesture (hence the title), this context occurring earliest in 2D arcade fighters and their ports. (In some cases the taunting action is allowed to inflict Scratch Damage if it connects with another player, but the effect is so trivial that it may be ignored, save for the occasional Cherry Tapping.)

In some games, mostly action games, this can raise the Awesomeness Meter, or make enemies more aggressive. Making enemies more aggressive actually has a gameplay purpose, as it tends to open them up for a Counter-Attack or make them more predictable.

Not to be confused with the Context-Sensitive Button (which may perform a cosmetic gesture if there is no context for it to perform a useful action in), or the Idle Animation (which is performed in response to a lack of input from the player).

Compare and contrast Emoticons and the Emote Command, which are used for in-game social interaction instead of a gameplay function. Most examples are subtropes of Emote Animation, save for those which activate dialogue. Also compare Holler Button, which is intended for communicating with NPC allies.

See also Unsportsmanlike Gloating, for taunting the opponent after a win. For taunt mechanics that have an actual gameplay effect, see Practical Taunt.


  • Tournament fighting games with taunt buttons are so common that it's almost a tauntology and not worth listing every example of.
    • The first taunt button ever was in Art of Fighting, although it performed an in-game function by decreasing your opponent's spirit gauge.
    • The Super Smash Bros. games have a dedicated taunt button; in fact they have three dedicated taunt buttons beginning in Brawl.
      • Of interest is one of Luigi's taunts, more of a quirk, a bashful scuffing of the ground but it can actually do some damage - 1%. In Melee, if you managed to KO someone with a taunt, you got a trophy, but if Luigi did it to someone hanging onto a ledge, they would burst into flames and be sent hurtling downwards. Ultimate has an achievement tied to damaging opponents with Luigi's taunt as well. One of Snake's taunts can hurt people too, but it's not as effective as Luigi's.
      • Kirby also has a functional taunt, in that taunting lets him drop an ability he's copied from another fighter.
      • Fox, Falco, Snake, and Pit can also access Easter Eggs on their home stages through taunting (Corneria/Lylat Cruise, Shadow Moses Island, and Palutena's Temple respectively); these are known as Smash Taunts at the official Smash Bros. DOJO!!
      • Dedede's crouching animation where he casually lies on his side is also unofficially considered a fourth taunt for him. Fans joke that it's a "Draw me like one of your French girls" pose.
    • Taokaka's taunt in BlazBlue does damage. Really weak damage, but it still causes hitstun, and therefore, extends Combos. The only reason it can be considered a taunt at all is because every other character in the game has a meaningless taunt for that button.
      • Spiritual predecessor Guilty Gear had Taunts on one button... and if pressed with the Forward button, they became Respects, where the character would actually compliment their opponent. These were, of course, indistinguishable to non-Japanese speakers.
      • Xrd finally gave Taunts an actual effect; Taunting the opponent gives them slightly more energy (Tension) for their Super Meter, and if performed after defeating said opponent, will give them 50% Tension in the next round. Taunts are advised for (over)confident players only. This had a very small effect on the metagame, as while Taunts cannot be canceled out of, Respects can, allowing you to feint.
    • Dan Hibiki of Street Fighter often has multiple taunts. He even has a super that is basically an extended, glorified taunt that does nothing other than raising his and his opponent's super gauges. In V he has a special taunt that's activated by teabagging.
      • Taunting in Third Strike powers you up or provides some other form of status buff, such as invisibility. Tourney players like using these for combo opportunities.
      • Dudley and Sean's taunts can deal damage, and Q's can triple his already astronomical defence.
      • Every character in the cast has their own taunt available with some games providing multiple options, for some such as Ibuki the same general pose has been their taunt since IV.
    • Taunting in Art of Fighting (which may have invented it) is actually a vital part of gameplay - it lowers your opponent's ki meter, which is needed to perform special moves (even if it's the CPU).
    • And then there's Joe Higashi's infamous taunt animation - in which he moons his rivals.
    • In X-Men: Children of the Atom, Psylocke has a move where she creates multiple copies of herself. If she taunts, she switches positions with a copy, making her taunt useful. (Other character taunts are just for coolness factor.)
    • Taunting in Capcom vs. SNK 2 actually builds YOUR OPPONENT'S super meter. While this might seem like it discourages taunting (and, by and large, it does unless you're feeling charitable), this can be helpful against opponents using S or K Groove, as maxing out their super meter before the round ends means they can't carry their meter to the next round (S and K meters begin ticking down when full and if they're in the process of draining, the round ending means that they start the next round without any meter).
    • Parodied in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 by first by Spider-Man and making him the resident taunter of the Marvel side before regular Fourth Wall Breaker, Deadpool. His taunts consist of him merely yelling out, "Taunt button!" and "This is my taunt! (Heh! Get it?)"note  Hitting the opponent with the speech bubble also does a sliver of damage. Amusingly, it comboes into his "Shootin' Time" super.
    Thor: Heed my words, Evildoers! If thou dost wish to challenge the Odin's son, thou will face the divine power of mighty Mjolnir! Never shall the God of Thunder relent!
    • In Skull Girls, every character's taunt has a practical effect, most of which power up one of their moves.
  • First Person Shooters as well, to the point at which games like Unreal Tournament had auto-taunting after kills, and that includes the AI taunting you as well.
  • Bayonetta. Oh, so many. The most common is Bayonetta striking a pose and cooing, "Do you want to touch me?" Others include spreading her legs while taunting. Yes, it's that kind of game.
    • It's also a mild game play mechanic as taunting enemies enrages them and combos against enraged enemies grant a small halo bonus. Also holding down the taunt button will make Bayonetta start a long-winded taunt a la Thor, which also fills a bit of her magic meter.
  • Rise of the Triad provided "remote ridicules" in its multiplayer matches, which sent a voice taunt effect to the player's opponents.
    • Ditto for at least a few other games with 3D Realms/Apogee involvement, such as Duke Nukem 3D and Terminal Velocity.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • You can even earn achievements for giving your opponent a freezecam shot of yourself taunting.
    • It's actually possible to One-Hit Kill someone with a few chosen taunts, which also earns you an achievement the first time you do it. However, taunts are slow to execute and must be well-aimed. Taunts depend on your active weapon aswell, and many classes can't perform a lethal Taunt at all unless they use a specific weapon.
    • Taunt kills work after the end of the round even if you are on the losing team, which can be amusing if a victorious player isn't paying attention.
      • Unfortunately the Scorch Shot taunt kill does not work at the end of the round if you are on the losing team, as it consumes ammo when this taunt is executed.
    • Next, there are some taunts with non-lethal effects. The Medic can heal himself slightly with one, and slowly heal nearby allies with another one. The Heavy and Scout have lunchbox items where taunting is how you eat them to activate the effect.
    • Then there's the Soldier's Equalizer and Escape Plan taunt which consists of him blowing himself up with a grenade.
      • Players who pre-ordered Worms: Reloaded get an exclusive soldier hat (Lumbricus Lids) with holy hand grenades attached. Executing the taunt with it equipped plays a short clip from Hallelujah before blowing up, just like in Worms.
    • There's a good chance a few taunts are intractable. The two-player interactive taunt will allow players to do a certain action while the group taunt will allow players to join in the fun. The conga taunt is one of the special cases, since you are able to earn the achievement when there's 10 players doing this taunt.
      • If you take a look, the Rock–Paper–Scissors taunt allows players to play against each other. If the player wins the game against another player on the opposite team, the losing player will be instantly killed! It's best to keep that in mind.
  • Trials of Mana—in both the original SNES game and the Updated Re-release, Vuscav the turtle has a horn that can be honked while riding him, but it otherwise does nothing except make an amusing sound.
  • The B button in Duck Game is the game's dedicated "quack" button.
  • Age of Mythology included prerecorded audio taunts that could be accessed by typing a number into the chat bar, which had a few lines from the campaign characters. The best are undoubtedly Gargarensis' "Turn back now, mortal!" and Ajax's "You may feel less like fighting after I pull off your head!"
    • The infamous "999" taunt is "THIS IS RTS 3" sung repeatedly in a very-high-pitched voice. Players LOVE spamming this taunt. Also, "wololo!"
    • Age of Empires II also has audio taunts, including "I'll beat you back to Age of Empires!" and "All hail! King of the Losers!" And "Wololo!"note 
  • In Jedi Knight II, Kyle had an Idle Animation whereby he would twirl his lightsaber with the Force in his hand while waiting around. This could be activated with the "Taunt" command which could be set to a particular key if you wanted. When activated yourself you could do it with the lightsaber still on so you'd twirl it and the blade would harmlessly pass through your body.
  • In Saints Row 2 there is a taunt button, but taunting after killing someone earns extra points, so it does have a purpose.
  • The Devil May Cry series of games have a Taunt button that, when used within a certain distance from enemies, raises your Style rating and refills a bit of your Devil Trigger gauge. The taunt animations themselves change based on what your current rank is and/or how long you hold down the button.
  • Myth and Oni have a unique taunt for each unit which can be activated manually, and is also used as a victory cheer at the end of each level in Myth.
  • Racing Games may allocate one button for sounding the vehicle's horn. While this is to be expected from any vehicular Simulation Game, it occasionally turns up in other vehicular subgenres.
    Bugs Bunny: "Eehhh... What's up, Doc?"
    Daffy Duck: "WOO HOO, HOO HOO!!!"
    Lola Bunny: "Girl power!"
    Marvin the Martian: "Silly Earthlings!"
    Wile E. Coyote: (holds up either a map or a set of blueprints)
    Tasmanian Devil: (spins around and does his Hulk Speak)
  • Taunting in God Hand enrages enemies, causing them to more damage to you for a brief period, but it also raises your Tension Meter so you can bust out your God Hand more often and is handy for drawing in enemies one by one so you don't have to fight several at once.
  • In Ballz, taunting will increase the damage of your next attack, as long as you're not hit first. Multiple taunts stack, and this is actually the key to defeating one of the bosses- an ostrich who sticks his head in the ground to heal when you're far enough away.
  • Monday Night Combat technically requires you to press two buttons at once to taunt (the console version, anyway), but it does so nonetheless. Taunting actually plays into the gameplay quite a bit, with the setting being a Blood Sport. When you taunt, you show off to impress the audience, which awards some extra cash. Taunting after a kill gives you more money than the kill itself. Taunting while Juiced also pays nicely. Finally, if you take damage while taunting, your juice increases. Of course, all these benefits are counterbalanced by the fact that you are wide open to enemy attacks.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed II gives Ezio the opportunity to insult his enemies (and their mothers) during battle (the cruder taunts are in untranslated Italian, but the spirit of what Ezio's saying comes across pretty well). The point is to enrage them into attacking directly, making them vulnerable to Ezio's devastating counter-attacks.
    • The multiplayer in Assassin's Creed: Revelations has taunts you can perform after killing an enemy.
  • The Taunt power in City of Heroes allows the player to force enemies to target them, pulling their attention away from other players (and NPCs) who may not be able to take as much punishment.
  • Champions Online has a basic taunt on all melee Energy Builder skills. This animates as your character pointing his/her finger at the enemy, and makes any enemy mobs attack you for several seconds, regardless of other aggro.
  • Heroes of Newerth has a dedicated Taunt command which has to be purchased first to be usable. If you kill the hero you Taunt, you earn a Smackdown on your stats and play a humiliating animation over the dead hero if you also have one purchased. However, Taunt also causes you to give away your position while you're taunting someone and getting killed by the guy you taunted earns you an equally humilating Humiliation. Both of these are permanently recorded to your stats, and matchmaking even encourages taunting my giving you bonuses for every couple of Smackdowns you pull off.
  • Mortal Kombat games allow some characters to taunt as function for one button. This serves a purpose - it recovers a little health.
  • Xbox Blood Sport game Deathrow has a taunt button, used for drawing aggro from CPU-controlled opponents.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii: If a character loses all of his lives in multiplayer, he's out of the game until the level's over. Until then, he's free to press a button to honk a horn or send applause at everyone else.
    • Mario Party 2: Every Mario Party game since this one includes taunts. However, starting with Mario Party 6, you have to actually buy them first.
    • Mario Party Superstars: During the boards, players can post stickers they have collected to display various reactions that can be seen by the other players. Additional stickers can be bought in Toad's shop, though some will only be available after the player reaches a certain Mario Party level. The stickers don't provide any other advantages.
    • Mario Golf and Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour let you either praise or taunt the player taking their turn while you wait for yours. Naturally, how the taunting goes depends on the character (for example, Wario and Waluigi seem to be purely made for taunting). Mario Golf: Advance Tour lets you write your own cheers and taunts, which can be transferred to Toadstool Tour for every character to say.
    • Mario Power Tennis lets you taunt by pressing the A button if the ball is not being sent to you. Doing a taunt would lower the opponent's power meter, making them wait longer to get a power shot. Hilarity rages on if you managed to smack someone in the face with the ball as they taunt you.
  • The first Oddworld game allows Abe to fart on command. This serves absolutely no purpose in-game.
  • Typing "/rude" in World of Warcraft will cause your character to make a funny or insulting gesture at their target. For instance, blood elves make silly faces and female trolls mime 'kiss my ass.' There's also /spit, /golfclap (Sarcastic clapping) /slap.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours has a taunt button. Used in battle after wounding or killing an enemy, it gains the player bonuses. Used with no one around, Tony sometimes becomes introspective.
  • Comix Zone lets you assign a key to a "macho yell", which doesn't seem to have any purpose.
  • 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand has a button relegated just to swearing and trash talking. You get bonus money for taunting people you've killed, moreso if you buy upgraded ones.
  • Portal 2 calls them Gestures, since there aren't that many reasons to taunt your friend. One of them has the bot you control perform an acrobatic feat and fire their portal gun, actually placing a portal in the process.
    • The taunts do have one effect though: They annoy GLaDOS when used in front of a camera, causing her to berate you for wasting time.
    • Some gestures can be used to help along the puzzle solving process. The rock-paper-scissors one can help you and your partner decide who has to do the dangerous parts, or you can use the "bully" gesture if they're wasting time or not noticing something important.
  • Star Wars Episode I: Racer had a useless taunt function that had to be assigned to a button, whether you employed it or not. Unfortunately, since only one playable character (Anakin) was human, every single other racer taunted in an alien language, and half the time Anakin himself yelled his taunts in Huttese (and the other half contained such gems as "Eat fumes, wormo!"), which basically turned it into a Pardon My Klingon Button.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, Jack's Taunt (where he cracks his weapon like a whip and yells "Come on!") actually does something useful: it upgrades enemies so that they become stronger and drop better items/exp. It's actually required to reach many of the level goals.
  • In Gears of War, you often must execute enemies who are down to their last health. There are quick and dirty ones for times when enemies are near, or longer and more elaborate kills when you really want to rub it in.
  • Blood 2: The Chosen had a button relegated to making the player character quip something at nearby enemies/corpses. All four had their own predilections, such as Caleb occasionally singing old showtunes, or Gabriella cracking "yo mama" jokes. Otherwise, the button served absolutely no purpose other than letting the player hear the character talk about death and destruction more than they would just from normally wreaking it in gameplay.
  • Some games in the Tales Series have a taunt that characters can perform, usually to fill one Awesomeness Meter or another. For instance, in Tales of Symphonia, it fills the Unison Attack gauge, which when activated pauses the enemy in its tracks to allow each character in the party an uninterrupted special attack move; in Tales of the Abyss, which has no Unison Attack, it instead brings the taunting character closer to Over Limit.
  • Reverend Ray from Call of Juarez has a Bible in his equipment slots; he can choose to open it and read holy verses of judgement with one hand while gunning down men with the other.
  • The characters in Killing Floor can openly mock either enemy specimens or allies alike in three short keystrokes. Made even funnier with their ridiculously hammy British Accents.
  • Some of the gestures in Runescape are blowing the raspberry or patting your bottom towards people or monsters.
  • Dark Souls has Gestures, which cannot be cancelled and are, overall, pretty useless in gameplay terms. They're meant to provide some nonverbal communication during multiplayer (as Dark Souls does not have built-in voice chat). Several of the gestures are used by players as taunts during PvP, such as the "Point Down" gesture or the memetically popular "Well? What is it!?" gesture (arms spread wide in a "Come at me!" pose). Later games added gestures like "This is me!" (pointing both thumbs toward oneself in a bragging manner) and "Applause", which the players sometimes use for Sarcastic Clapping.
  • In the Game Mods Brutal Doom and Project Brutality, there's a button to laugh at the demons as well as a button to flip them off and shout something vaguely incoherent and obscene at them. Neither has much of a practical purpose, since all it does is just alert them that you're there—you might as well fire a gun at one of them if you really need to do that. What it does do, however, is let you flip off all the various huge, powerful bosses in the series just because you can. Do it to the Cyberdemon and enjoy the much more... rewarding fight.
  • Barney's Hide and Seek includes a button that makes Barney blow a kiss. This does nothing to help in the aforementioned seeking, & even if you do it near another character, there's no reaction whatsoever.
  • Dota 2 has purchasable taunts for certain heroes. The earliest ones could only be used while standing still (but could be interrupted by giving any command), but the later ones are usable even while walking and teleporting. These later ones also have a chance to trigger automatically under certain conditions, such as if your team scores a Total Party Kill, if you dive a tower to kill an enemy and get away with it, or if your hero is teleporting away at low health.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, clicking your character's head mid-duel will bring up a list of quotes to taunt your opponent with.
    Joey: You're like the 21st duelist to make me break a sweat.
  • In the X-Universe games, you can taunt pilots and demand that they surrender. It affects absolutely nothing, and even if you're in a 4 kilometer long battleship and they're in an unarmed scout ship, they'll tell you to buzz off.
  • It can be done in Pókemon by using attacks like Splash or Hold Hands, repeteadly using boosting moves after maxing out the stat bonuses as well as healing moves when you don't need them, or moves the opponent won't be affected by to due to failing to work (Fake Out on second turn onwards after switching in) being immune or being on a semi-invulnerable state, or being already statused.
  • In Evander Holyfield's Real Deal Boxing for the Sega Genesis, pressing A, B and C simultaneously will make your boxer shout "Come on and fight, you wimp!" or shortened version of the phrase.
  • Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu features one. Using it too often may backfire spectacularly...
  • Rumble Roses lets every rose have access to 4 taunts. Each varies in length with and increases the killer move bar of the rose who taunted and finished the taunt proportional to the length of the taunt. Special mention goes to Lady X Substance of the Playstation 2 game who's taunt makes her invincible, sends a rose flying and deals major damage if they get close, and Lady X still gains the same Killer Move meter as a regular rose would.
  • In Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night when playing as Zangetsu, you can perform the same taunt he used while fighting Miriam by holding up.
  • The 2009 Wii version of A Boy and His Blob gives us a dedicated hug button. D'aww.
  • Star Fox: Assault: Pressing the Z Button (normally used to enter / exit vehicles) will cause the player to taunt, with each character having a unique line. Doing so after dealing a damaging or fatal hit causes the character to deliver a different taunt instead.
    Slippy: Bombs away! / *slapping his ass* Hey! Over here~
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge: Each character has a unique taunt which also awards an immediate stock of super gauge when it completes. However, enemies can and will hit you out of it if given the chance, which is also how a trophy / achievement is earned.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park: When playing as the Raptor, one of the buttons will cause it to caw. When playing as the Rex, that same button will cause it to roar.