Time limit (video games)

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A time limit is a phrase in video game terminology that is used to make gameplay faster on the threat of losing a life.[1] A typical time limit can range from a single second to multiple minutes.[2]


All of the video games in the Super Mario Bros. series with the exception of Super Mario Bros. 2 have some sort of time limit.[1] These limits usually start large and are used to keep players moving instead of waiting for enemies to fall down pits.[1] Faster music appears when the time limit is about to be breached.[1] Any amount of time left over is multiplied by a certain amount and added into the overall score.[1] Time limits also appear in video games like Bébé's Kids[3] and Timecop, both for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Other games that have time limits for various systems include: Mario Party (to determine when a minigame ends), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (to show how much time remains in a match), and Mario Kart Wii (to show how much time is left until a race or battle starts).[2] A rare example of a time limit system that counts forwards instead of backwards is in Bio Senshi Dan: Increaser to no Tatakai. The more time players take to solve the level, the more powerful the end-level boss becomes.[4]

Many video games use a time limit feature, with console systems ranging from the Intellivision to the PlayStation 4.[2] A time limit can have several aliases associated with it: countdown timer (used mostly for continues), race timer (appearing in various racing games to show how much time the player has raced around the track), minigame timer (appearing in various minigames), round timer (appearing in fighting games), mission timer (used in action games where players have to escape from a fatal situation), sports timer (appears in sports games like basketball and American football), and pre-race countdown timer (appears in most racing games to signal the start of the race).[2]

Many recent multiplayer video games (such as Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3) involve some form of a time limit on its online servers. Usually, each game is given a ten- to twenty-minute time limit. For many games, a certain score by one team will end the game, but otherwise, whichever team holds the lead at the expiration of the time limit is declared the winner.

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