A Gaming Glossary: M

Marathon-safe“Safe” to execute in a speedrunning marathon setting (e.g., GDQ, ESA, RTA in Japan) where a time estimate has been set in advance. An individual strat, a route, or an entire run may be judged in terms of its marathon safety. Safe strats have good backups or incur minimal time loss if failed.

Runners often increase their route’s marathon safety by, e.g., getting extra heart containers (in a Zelda game), visiting extra save points (in an RPG), or otherwise limiting the risks that they would take in a world record attempt. In contrast, a risky trick that costs a lot of time if failed and has no good backup would not be considered marathon-safe.
MenuingNavigating in-game menus such as inventory, equipment, or combat commands. Fast and accurate menuing is an important part of speedrunning in many games, especially RPGs.
Meta(originally short for metagame) A hierarchy of choices made about a game that influence success within a game. Character or class choice, gear, and skill/stat build are usually considered part of a game’s meta; simply playing the game skillfully is not. The term meta usually indicates some agreement about which choices are most viable, but the meta can shift as new tactics are discovered, abilities are buffed/nerfed, and rules change.

Some examples:
> In Overwatch, the meta comes down to hero choice. Including Pharah and Mercy on a team (“Pharmercy”), for instance, has been considered part of the Overwatch meta at various times.
> In Diablo II (and Diablo II Resurrected), the meta involves classes as well as stat/equipment/skill builds. Since D2 is primarily a PvE game, different meta builds have been proposed for different goals (farming loot, speedrunning, etc.).

※Usage notes:
1) Meta can refer to both the hierarchy itself and the choices at the top of the hierarchy (the “best” characters, weapons, etc.). Meta can also be used as an adjective in the latter sense, e.g., “Hammerdin is the meta Paladin build.”
2) Gaming-adjacent practices like streaming are sometimes said to have a meta, in the sense that certain types of content are likely to “win” views. For instance, the practice of hosting TV watch parties on Twitch has become known as the TV meta.
MonGeneric name for a collectible creature as seen in Pokémon, Digimon, Dragon Warrior Monsters, etc.
Just about any max-level mon can beat that opponent.

※Usage notes:
1) Though derived from the word monster, mon is not broadly used for monsters outside of this specific genre of game. For instance, a Thwomp in Super Mario Bros. 3 is not a mon, nor is a Tonberry in Final Fantasy VI.
2) Although Pokémon and Digimon are usually treated as zero plurals (“one Pokémon, two Pokémon”), mon is often (not always) pluralized as mons.