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“Overkill” is a slang term that describes using more than what is needed to complete a task at hand. In online multiplayer games, an overkill can be attained by killing an enemy player or unit with an unnecessary level of firepower, whereas a rush attack is achieved by literally outnumbering the enemy.
According to Dictonary.com, the term “overkill” was coined in 1946 to describe the combined power of the United States and the U.S.S.R.’s nuclear arsenal. Though primarily used in a military context during the Cold War period, the word gradually came into generic use in 1965 as a more general description of excessive physical force.
In Video Games
The earliest known use of the term “overkill” in the context of a video game was in the first-person shooter Doomreleased on December 10th, 1993. In the game, if an enemy or player is killed with enough force their body would explode into “gibs,” a slang term for fragments of flesh that are displayed upon completing an overkill.
On July 19th, 2001, the role-playing game Final Fantasy X was released, in which a player achieves an “overkill” by hitting an enemy with more damage than their remaining health (shown below).
On September 5th, 2003, the first Urban Dictionary entry for “overkill” was submitted by user Madd Jester, who defined it as the practice of repeating the same joke too often. In the next 10 years, there have been over 15 additional submissions for the term. On September 25th, 2007, the game Halo 3 was released for the Xbox 360 console, which rewards players with an “Overkill” medal if four enemies are killed in a short period of time (shown below, left). On November 5th, the first-person shooter Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was released, which features a perk that allows a player to wield two primary weapons at once (shown below, right).
On August 23rd, 2010, the term “overkill” was added to the Team Liquid Starcraft Wiki, defining it as the act of hitting an enemy target that is already dead. On January 26th, 2012, Redditor jaggazz submitted a post titled “Overkill” to the /r/pics subreddit, featuring photos of a revolver that fires 3 rounds at once (shown below). Prior to being archived, the post gained more than 4,800 up votes and 330 comments.
“Gib” (shorthand for Giblets) is a term used to describe the body parts that explode after a player has been killed with excessive force in a first-person shooter video game. On February 1st, 2010, Urban Dictionary user MarvinDBox, defined the term as a video game overkill resulting in an explosion of body parts.