Definition of a Scrub (old to some, new to many)

Taken from the article at this website: Scrub - Television Tropes & Idioms

This article is pretty old, but seeing as new players are constantly joining the community, it serves as a wake-up call for those who have never understood what they themselves may be doing. For ease, I copied it here for you.


The videogame is what it is. It defines what you can do and what you can’t do. In competitive games, the rules exist as written into the game world. Sometimes, this leads to an over-powered character. Sometimes, it leads to a Game Breaker.

Some competitive videogame players accept that some characters/races/etc are more powerful than others. When they’re being competitive, they play one of the characters/races that are on the top tier and ignore the rest.

Some people do not hold to this. They develop house rules designed to bring what he/she feels is a game imbalance back into balance, so that there is more variety (after all, if a game has 20 characters, but you would clearly lose using 18 of them, then there are only 2 characters actually worth playing). Essentially, a self-made game patch. This is all well and good.

However, it can go too far. When it does, you have the Scrub.

A Scrub is a player of a competitive videogame who adamantly believes that his or her “house rules” should apply to everyone to promote his or her view of “fair play”. If a scrub sees a move or strategy he doesn’t like (or can’t beat), he bans it (if only in his own mind), and complains that anyone who uses it is cheap.

Yep, that’s right, he’s the exact opposite of the Stop Having Fun Guy…

…but just as annoying.

The mistake the Scrub often makes is making up rules too soon. The Metagame can often turn an apparent imbalance on its head. A lower tier character can become a higher tier one, or vice versa. Or something that seemed initially very unbalanced can be countered with time and effort at learning the tactic. The Scrub circumvents this by simply banning the practice without making a good faith effort in actually getting around it with the in-game rules.

The Scrub will often consider the tactics that he bans “Game Breakers”. However, what constitutes a Game Breaker varies from person to person. Within a particular skill level, a game can be broken in that a simple repetitive tactic can lead to success. A more skilled player could stop it, but if it requires a great deal more skill to stop the tactic than to perform it, then it can easily appear to be a Game Breaker.

What ultimately makes the Scrub undesirable isn’t the rulesetting; it is the attitude. What distinguishes the Scrub from someone who is simply trying to make their game fun without having to invest hugely into skill progression is that the Scrub believes that his way is the only proper way to play the game.

Scrubs may also put down others who use certain characters/teams/etc. for simply using them like everyone else is using in order to win. In other words, they **don’t like it when people use something that everyone else is since it’s not “original” and will even go as far as accusing these people at sucking at the game for not using anyone or anything besides the top tiers. **

Believe it or not, the Wii has also caused a stir between scrubs and Stop Having Fun Guys. Games that allow different controllers to be used, like in Mario Kart Wii or Super Smash Bros Brawl, have caused people to argue over what control scheme is the better way to play. For example, some scrubs will try to put down players for not using the Wii Wheel in Mario Kart Wii simply because the non wheelers are using “easier” controls and that the game was meant to be played with the wheel. In other words, they feel that you have to use the motion controls like the Wii was advertised for in order to be a good player. (On a note for Brawl, best not get a Scrub started on the morality of using items. The ensuing argument will be exhausting.)

Combined with the Noob, a scrub can quickly turn into a God Modder.

The Scrub is the antithesis of the Stop Having Fun Guy, although one could argue that the two are very similar ? Stop Having Fun Guys demand that everyone use the most efficient and powerful choices (with failure to do so considered proof of inferiority), while Scrubs insist that everyone follow their personal house rules (with failure to do so considered cheating). Both make the mistake of taking things very seriously, both are more than willing to start a Flame War rather than let the other exist in peace, and both are eager to assign anyone to the side of their enemies who doesn’t agree with their style of play (if you’re not a Scrub, you must be a Stop Having Fun Guy, and vice versa). Fan Dumb at its finest!

This article and this and this contain some of the most thorough investigations of the “scrub” phenomenon you can find anywhere.

No examples, please. This article just defines a fan-speak term.

No flames please. Just a friendly reminder and heads-up. I know its old to some, but its may be new to others. :razzy:

This is a good article… But can we all agree that picking Oddjob in Goldeneye 64 was lame? :stuck_out_tongue:

lmao, the really short dude you had to have insane reaction to target because he was so small?

Yeah he was pretty retarded.


A scrub is someone who:

  1. Doesn’t practice competitive play.
  2. Doesn’t win.
  3. Complains about not winning, despite his lack of experience and effort.
  4. Says that something else is to blame for his loss, i.e. the stick/controller, lag, unbalanced characters, cheating, etc.

What you’re describing in your post is not a scrub, it is in fact merely a typical Smash player.

Actually, the latter two you just mentioned was a very similar viewpoint as that in the article. Note: I didn’t write this article, but the general idea of what a scrub is (or how they react and think, things they don’t do) are mentioned in that article.

What I don’t understand is the first 2 points you mentioned.

How is a person who doesn’t win instantly become a scrub? If I just started playing a game and Im trying to learn to get better, I’m a scrub because I can’t win at first, before I have even learned the basics?

And a scrub isn’t somebody who doesn’t practice competitive play. Maybe he’s a beginner, or a guy who just plays for fun, but really not a scrub.

What you’re doing is lumping every single person who isn’t a dedicated winner and player into one category, and thats not accurate. Scrub is more of a negative term of the mentality of a player and NOT necessarily the experience of one, so calling a beginner a scrub really is innacurate. Maybe calling them a rookie or newbie is more accurate (Newbie Saikyo Dojo hello!), but if a person chooses not to be competetive, that doesn’t mean they are scrubby.

Also: This sounds like a troll, so if it is, shame on me :confused:

Good article.

Alway been a fan of the classic definition

I did a SF remix back in like '01 wish i knew what happened to it…
what were we talking about again? :confused:

i wrote a big post but the common theme that kept coming up is the following:

a scrub will blame anything in the world for a loss, except themself

when you dont acknowledge that you need to improve, or you practice arbitrary things that you believe are more skillful rather than things that will help you actually win, that is a scrub

all other definitions come with this mentality that YOU were not beaten, it was stupid tactics that are impossible to overcome(because they are “scrubby”)

basically, if you aren’t winning, and blame anyone or anything except for yourself for losing - and dont make the effort to improve - you are a scrub

when you lose you should be either a) pissed off and figure out why you lost and never let it happen again or b) learn from your mistakes and grow as a player

You could only possibly be talking about brawl, which is not smash.

scrubs always hate throws.

if you complain about throws, you are a scrub, period. no exceptions

I would like to point out that people can be very quick to label others as scrubs when they say they simply don’t enjoy fighting certain tactics. It really tends to devolve any meaningful discussion to help suggest what could make future fighting games more interesting.

There isn’t a point to this post, huh?

That article was a nice read.

Old and new is correct…

This was a very interesting read… I was also under the impression that the “scrub” everyone is refering to was the TLC song version. Which is basically a person relying on something to get to his goals (freeloader), instead of really earning it. My translating that into video game mechanics would be, a player that relies on particular moves in hopes of winning. The key word is “hopes”, because player isnt trying every possible tactic to win.

Never new there was an actual video game term of scrub, lol.

I’ve experienced both examples of scrubs and to me, it is starting to blur into one.:sweat:

haha I guess that gief I encountered was really the scrub. I was in his endless lobby for about 12 fights. I won 2 times. Once with Ken, and once with Adon. I shit you not, all he really did was air-headbutt to roundhouse sweep to piledriver, wakeup green thumb, and lariat. He had a decent footsie game, making me think on how to get in. But when I did get in, did damage, or punish him, all he would say is “OMG! RANDOM KEN! OH GOD, SO FAKE!”, especially if I zone at hk range (ken’s hk has great range). He even went on to say that ex jaguar tooth into U2 was random, and that I was a scrub. I didn’t complain at all, and I tried hard figuring out how to best him, but he inevitably kicked me for being a ‘scrub’.

Oh yeah, and I guess my dad is a scrub. When he watches me play, or watches matches with me, he always says “That guy is so cheap. All he does is so-and-so repeatedly,” or “runs away all the time (usually regarding effective zoning with chun or blanka)”. Whenever he says ignorant stuff like this, I just want to throw him out a window.


Really dude, writing this thing seems like a big waste of time. I mean ur videogame to experiencing life ratio seems to be off a little bit here.

You could have just said, “Scrubs are the people who don’t play to win, but at the same time bitch about losing/make excuses for losing.”

That’s all that needs to be said.

Although I kind’ve agree that this topic isn’t that necessary, you do realize that you’re blasting him for having no life on a video game forum, with an account that you have on said forum? You’re not exactly the height of cool yourself there.

Not to mention, if you read the first few lines, you’ll see that he didn’t write it, so you actually put about as much effort into writing your rebuttal as he did making the topic.

Pretty much.

Also, you might not notice it, but I do. Every time I open up to read a new article I hear people tossing around the word “scrub” with every playstyle, and whats funny is, most of the time, the real scrub is the person calling the names first O_o.
It’s pretty obvious people don’t know what the fuck the difference is; most just think if you shoryuken alot you’re a scrub (flowchart would be a better word, but I digress), or if you lose alot you’re a scrub. Neither is totally accurate, and its getting annoying that people feel the need to toss that insult around when it makes them look equally as bad.

But what’s even more interesting is this statement right here: “Really dude, writing this thing seems like a big waste of time. I mean ur videogame to experiencing life ratio seems to be off a little bit here.”

Ok so let me get this straight: I haven’t experienced life because I took the time to write this entire discussion (which I merely copied and pasted >_>), so that somehow insists that I’m a video game nerd? Get a clue bro, its 2010. Nobody uses the insult “get a life and stop living in a video game” anymore, at least not in the Fighting Game Forums. You might want to take that argument over to the Final Fantasy boards. If I had anything to say at all, I’d say you’re in the same boat as me, seeing as how you took the time out of your oh so busy life to rant about why you didn’t like this article.

Also, wtfIfell for trollshit

yeah losing alot doesn’t make you a scrub, everyone loses alot when they first start out. it’s your attitude about it that makes you a scrub

^^^^^ Totally agree.