Codex Gamicus

In computer games, gibs, short for giblets, are the little bits of internal organs, flesh, and bone, generally smaller than entire limbs but bigger than golf balls, left when a person or creature is obliterated. id Software's Adrian Carmack is credited with coining the term.

Introduction[ | ]

Gibs feature prominently in some first-person shooter (FPS) computer games that generally focus on killing large numbers of enemies that try to kill the player's character. One of the first games they appeared in was Doom, and have been a mainstay of the industry ever since. They also appear in several of the Mortal Kombat games, and the arcade shooter Area 51. The use of this word is reserved for when an enemy has been killed with such force that they have separated into multiple body parts. To kill someone in this manner is to "gib" them. Gibbing an enemy is considered a greater achievement than merely fragging them, though most games count them as equivalent in terms of points earned. The terms "frag" and "gib" are most often used in multiplayer deathmatch.

A telefrag is the term for what happens when one character is teleported to the exact location of another. Since two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, the teleporting character teleports to the position of the other character who dies a very messy death regardless of health and armour levels. This feat requires great skill, but is remarkable in that it does not require ammunition (the Unreal Tournament teleporter gun known as the 'translocator' does not require ammo), and always kills instantly. Telefragging is often depicted as a gibbing, though it is still called a telefrag.

On some games, gibs disappear (often while the player isn't looking), to save on processing time, as a level full of monsters can quickly fill up with gibs.

Some games may feature an Instagib mod or mutator. If this mode is selected, all hits to an opponent result in instantaneous "gibbing".

Notable gibs[ | ]

  • Doom (1993) was one of the first games to use gibs, along with the sequel, Doom II. Doom's enemies were sprite animations. When a monster or player character died, still-contiguous body parts would crumple or fall to the ground. A second animation would be shown when a rifle grunt zombie, a shotgun sergeant, a fireball-throwing imp, or a Space Marine player character was killed by, among other things, radius damage from the explosion of a rocket blast or from a container of combustible toxic waste. Both of these objects deal an incredible amount of damage, to the point where the character does not die, but breaks apart into bloody chunks, with a few identifiable parts such as a Space Marine helmet. A slushing sound effect accompanied the spectacle.
  • Heretic (1994), which used a modified Doom engine, and HeXen (1995), which used a heavily modified Doom engine, featured multiple gib objects, which fell and slid apart as the enemy exploded. A frozen enemy, when shattered, broke apart into many shards.
  • Rise of the Triad (1994) expanded on the concept, by making the gibs fly in every direction according to the laws of physics and splatter on the ground. These gibs included chunks of charred flesh and eyeballs. If a certain cheat code was used, there would be far more gibs than usual. This was known as Ludicrous Gibs mode, after a message that occasionally popped up in the middle of particularly bloody battles that said, "Ludicrous Gibs!" The entire area would be splattered by gibs, which rained down from the sky.
  • Duke Nukem 3D (1996) utilized some source code that was interpreted, not compiled, and thus could be edited by the user with a text editor. It was a simple matter to add as many gibs as the user wanted to the death sequence of any character. These also flew in all directions. It is interesting to note that in the aforementioned user-editable code, gibs are actually referred to as "jibs".
  • Quake (1996) continued the innovative use of gibs. Any character was gibbed if an attack or other damage reduced their health to below −40 (with the exception of the bosses Chthon and Shub-Niggurath.) Without the Quad Damage, only the double-barreled Super Shotgun, the Grenade Launcher, and the Rocket Launcher could do that much damage in a single shot. With the Quad Damage, any weapon except for the Nailgun could gib. The gibs dripped blood while flying in all directions, and bounced several times before coming to a stop. Of these gibs a severed head would be most noticeable and upon close inspection of the larger gibs, the appearance of a spinal cord. In multiplayer deathmatch, the severed head was the viewpoint of a player whose character had died; it was not unknown for the gibbing player to stand over his opponent's head and gloat. Gibbing is necessary in one case: the Zombies would only outright die if killed through gibbing through explosives or, with Quad Damage, other weapons; as the undead, they would simply regenerate if damaged any other way.
  • The Lithtech engine, first seen in the game Shogo: Mobile Armor Division (1998), was the first game engine in which gibs were dismembered portions of the character's actual polygon model, rather than unique objects created by the game to replace the destroyed character model.
  • Half-Life (1998) had gibs notable for being easily-identifiable body parts. Gibbing a human NPC would allow the player to find parts such as a fleshy skull, heart, intestine and a femur with meat still on it. Likewise, gibbing aliens resulted in strange-looking appendages and intestines being spilled.
  • Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (1990's) When a player character or party member kills an enemy with a critical hit there is a chance the enemy will explode into chunks if gore is turned on. Additionally, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and it's sequel feature enemies who, upon being killed, spontaneously lose chunks of flesh that look like livers, as well as being entirely shattered if frozen first. However, these gibs will "melt" into the floor before long.
  • Aliens versus Predator 2 (2001) When playing as the Alien, the player may attack dead enemy bodies to 'consume' them, thus regenerating their own health. After a while, the bodies will break into gibs which cannot be 'consumed' further. The Predator's speargun weapon can also notably detach parts of enemies' bodies and pin them to nearby walls.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day (2001) If any character receives a fatal headshot with a weapon more powerful than a knife, their head either splits in half (revealing a semi-detailed brain) or explodes entirely (with its innards flying in all directions). Other deaths, caused by falling, exploding or being on the receiving end of a chainsaw, also resulted characters disintegrating into gibs. The camera would then zoom in on a still-beating, bloody heart.
  • Alien Shooter (2002), an isometric extreme shooting game lets the player fight considerable amounts of alien monsters that leave gibs when dying most of the time. As a result, entire areas of the game can be covered in blood and guts to the point where the floor can't be seen anymore.
  • Crimsonland (2003), a top down survival shooter, lets the player fight dozens of enemies in almost every level. Every time an enemy is killed, a large pool of blood is left on the ground. As a result, most of the screen is red from blood at the end of every level.
  • Warsow (2005, ongoing development) is a free fast paced first person shooting game. Being that it's based on the Quake 2 engine, it also uses "gibs".
  • True Crime: New York City has notable gibs as well. More powerful weapons like the Desert Eagle, Minigun, and Katana can completely blow limbs off, including the skull which can be completely severed or just cut in half. The body parts can be picked up and used as melee weapons, still dripping blood.
  • Gears of War (2006) When a character is chainsawed, their body is cut diagonally in half. When an enemy (online or single player) receives a shotgun blast from close range, they may explode into meaty chunks. Also shooting someone with the Boomshot, Torque Bow or sticking them with a Grenade will cause them to explode, leaving gibs everywhere.
  • Grand Theft Auto III includes a cheat code, when activated, that if a character is shot in the head, the body will have a spurting head wound before collapsing into a bloody corpse.

Criticism[ | ]

Gibbing in computer and video games, mostly in first person shooters, has caused high age ratings and legal issues for child protection.

There have also been cases in which gibs have been used in ways that may be considered in bad taste. For example, in both Blood and Fable, players could comically kick gibbed heads around like footballs, while in Rune, the player can even pick up gibbed heads and limbs and use them as weapons. In TimeSplitters Future Perfect, Cortez can use his uplink gravity device on his wrist to pick up and throw severed zombie heads before they disintegrate.

See also[ | ]