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Especially while talking about FPS, the term "gib" is quite common. While I get it's related to a sudden and gruesome death, I'd like to know its actual meaning and where it comes from.

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I'm going to follow this up with a how do you pronounce "gib" question. –  Doozer Blake May 7 '12 at 23:45
    
In my mind it's always pronounced "jeeb" even if I know it's wrong... –  Kappei May 8 '12 at 12:51
    
I think it'll end up being like the pronunciation of GIF, with people on all sides. –  Doozer Blake May 8 '12 at 15:22
    
@DoozerBlake well for GIF at least we have the Word of God for the pronunciation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_Interchange_Format#Pronunciation –  Kappei May 9 '12 at 9:59

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up vote 37 down vote accepted

Gib is short for "giblets" - which are chunks of meat, or more specifically:

the edible offal of a fowl, typically including the heart, gizzard, liver, and other visceral organs.

This term was quite popular among the early id Software games, Doom and Quake in particular, where a particularly damaging blow to an enemy or another player usually yielded a rain of unspecified meaty hunks, rather than an "intact" monster or player corpse.

Wikipedia has a longer definition along with a list of notable gaming gib implementations:

The use of "gib" is reserved for instances when a game character has been killed with such force that their body is reduced to a slurry of flesh and blood.

This article also credits Adrian Carmack, one of the founders of id Software, with coining this term, although this statement is unsourced.

As gibs are an integral part of the shooter experience, there are nearly as many examples and implementations as there are shooter games themselves. A few notable examples besides "classic" Doom and Quake gibs are things like:

  • In Fallout 3, particularly explosive VATS kills can yield some gruesome gibs
  • In Left4Dead, zombies frequently explode or fall apart when shot. Boomers even tend to gib themselves!
  • Unreal Tournament popularized "InstaGib" where any shot, regardless of power, will kill and gib an enemy player.
  • TF2 has a "birthday party" mode where everyone explodes into presents, party hats, streamers, etc instead of chunks of meat. Outside this mode, it's common to see a chunk of your former body pointed out in the killcam with an arrow and a message (ie, "Your spleen!") pointing to it.
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Sanctum even has an option to 'disable gibs', which means it no longer shows the 'chunks' of enemies killed by explosions. –  GnomeSlice May 7 '12 at 18:43
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Can't forget the Unreal Tournament's "InstaGib" with low gravity settings. –  hydroparadise May 7 '12 at 20:13
    
TF2 also now has Pyrovision, where Gibs are replaced with rainbows and sparkles. Yes I am serious. –  Zibbobz 18 hours ago

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