I am currently developing an Android game that will have two mods: Timed and Endless.

In Timed mode you have 1 minute to complete as much items as you can. In Endless mode, you have 5 seconds to complete an item, but as long as you can keep up the game never ends.

Is the word Endless correct to describe this method? What would be a better one?

EDIT: I'd like to thank you all for your answers and opinions; as some of you have noted there is no one correct answer, but a choice of mine. I'm walking away with a lot of good options on my hand thanks to you.

  • Welcome to English Language & Usage! Is there any particular reason you're not sure of Endless? Does it sound odd or off to you for any reason? Feb 25, 2016 at 10:42
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    Thank you for the warm welcome! It sounds kind of odd to me, it feels like it does not explain the gameplay of the mode. English is not my native language, so I just figured I should ask the experts :) Feb 25, 2016 at 11:04
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    @ErkanHaspulat I've seen Endless used in games, but more commonly Survival Mode. If you use the latter then your users are most likely to immediately understand what the mode will be about.
    – JBentley
    Feb 25, 2016 at 13:21
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    I've seen use of 'Marathon' mode on a few games for an Endless variant, however it does give me a sense of a distant target, rather than continual play.
    – SeanR
    Feb 25, 2016 at 13:34
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    Could you call the mode infinity? I don't play video games, well I stopped playing after the release of Nintendo's Majora's mask a long time ago... eek!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 25, 2016 at 15:52

10 Answers 10


Endless mode is commonly used in video games, and so is survival mode, which sounds a bit more exciting – how long can you last? Infinite is also sometimes used.

Of course, you can call it what you like. There's no single correct answer. You could even make up a new name like panic mode if it fit the atmosphere of your game. A more restrained suggestion like untimed might work best if it's a relaxed game with no pressure – play as long as you like, it's untimed!

So really, it's up to you as a game designer to pick the term that fits your game best. That said, my personal favorites are survival and endless. I usually end up using one of those two terms when I'm talking to my friends, no matter what the author of the game chose to call it.

  • Nice answer I think.
    – user140086
    Feb 25, 2016 at 12:21
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    Not worth an answer of its own, but I've heard this called endurance, too. "panic" would suggest that time constraints are getting tighter, whilst "endurance" would suggest that the challenges are getting tougher.
    – ymbirtt
    Feb 25, 2016 at 14:04
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    Considering the description the OP gives of the game, Survival seems the most applicable.
    – Cronax
    Feb 25, 2016 at 15:37
  • Not sure what the game is, but I think panic mode would be cool new mode. starts out at 5 seconds, then 4.9 then 4.8.... How low can you go? And for how long. Maybe if they fail they gain a 10th of losing. Gets them an average of how good they are... Feb 25, 2016 at 19:37
  • @DanShaffer, it's a bit off-topic, but if you drop by a fixed amount each time you set a finite maximum to how long they can go. If you instead have the "time to live" drop by a fixed ratio each time, say multiply it by 0.98 after each item, that might work better.
    – Wildcard
    Feb 26, 2016 at 3:18

Coming from a game lexicon point of view, there's a common term that is applied to games like this - "Endurance Mode".

Games in Endurance Mode are testing just that - your Endurance. Typically you're given the ability to build your 'character' or 'building' or whatever you happen to be using in the game up to its peak performance, and are then given an endless stream of challenges, to see how long you can last in that mode.

Some games that use this terminology are Dominion Tower and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

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    "Marathon Mode" is also another term, as marathons require high endurance.
    – ndenarodev
    Feb 25, 2016 at 14:30
  • @ndenarodev I'd call that a good, but separate, answer. One that you should definitely post. ;)
    – Zibbobz
    Feb 25, 2016 at 16:22

A perpetual mode, perhaps!

  1. Occurring repeatedly; so frequent as to seem endless and uninterrupted


  • Thank you for the answer, I'll choose between perpetual or endless. Feb 25, 2016 at 11:10
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    IMO, endless might come off as never-ending. On the other hand, perpetual is only seemingly endless, with chances of the game coming to a closure if users fail to meet the game rules. Whatever works for you....
    – BiscuitBoy
    Feb 25, 2016 at 11:19

Depending on the kind of game, it could be called Arcade-Mode.

Especially what you are describing actually IS an arcade mode.

An arcade game is known for its increasing difficulty, while you just have short time to get the next checkpoint giving you some additional time.

But they are never "endless"1, even more they are pretty shortlived. So the terms are not synonym, although in theory the arcademode could be played endless.

1endless-mode would let me first think of something like simcity in a mode without any dangers

  • +1 This is what I had in mind, but failed to word it.
    – NVZ
    Feb 25, 2016 at 13:35
  • There's other connotations to Arcade Mode that don't quite fit into this description - some Fighting Games, for example, would be considered in 'arcade mode' if they simply cut out all the story cutscenes and play through each fight, but still end after the same number of fights.
    – Zibbobz
    Feb 25, 2016 at 14:08
  • @Zibbobz: thats why I said they are not synonym but anyway his game doesn't appear to be a fight game and so it is still to be considered an arcade mode.
    – Zaibis
    Feb 25, 2016 at 14:10
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    @Zaibis Right, it has to be contextually appropriate for the type of game - it's entirely dependent on that context. So while for the original asker it would work, in a more general sense, it would not.
    – Zibbobz
    Feb 25, 2016 at 14:14

You could use the adjective Continuous, meaning it's ongoing:

uninterrupted in time; without cessation



You could consider using "non-timed" which is the exact opposite of "timed". It is broadly used term as shown in the linked question on Chess Stack Exchange.

Is a timed game less strategic than a non-timed game?.

Another usage example:

Timed questions, where the length of time can be adjusted to the player's preference. A fun alternative to timed flash cards. A non-timed game option is also available.


  • As an engineer I like this because it is technically correct :) but since this is a game, choosing between "Timed" vs. "Non-Timed" on screen makes me feel a little... cold. Feb 25, 2016 at 11:01
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    @ErkanHaspulat The word endless has a connotation that implies the game never ends. It is the best adjective that you can use to mean what you want to mean IMHO.
    – user140086
    Feb 25, 2016 at 11:03

Nonstop (or nonstop action) — M-W

done or made without stopping; not stopping
"nonstop negotiations in an eleventh-hour attempt to avert a strike"

Limitless, unlimited, infinite etc. sound cool too. You could come up with new words. You are the game designer, after all.

  • In some games, you can stop (pause) when playing either a timed game or non-timed game.
    – user140086
    Feb 25, 2016 at 12:12
  • @Rathony Touché. But I have played some non-stop games with pause allowed in the past - names I can't remember.
    – NVZ
    Feb 25, 2016 at 12:17
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    I read "non-stop" as implying that there's constant action while playing, but it does eventually stop. E.g. A non-stop action thriller movie is rarely more than 2 hours. Or if you take a non-stop flight from New York to L.A., it doesn't mean you'll be expected to leave the plane via parachute... Feb 25, 2016 at 17:20

A lot of answers here suggest various synonyms of Endless, which make sense from an English Language point of view, but not too much from a video gaming point of view.

Endless would work fine to name the mode you described, as there is essentially no end to it.

Free Play might work, but the still timed nature of the mode might mean that doesn't fit as well.


Although there is no pre-defined limit to your Endless game, if the player is human there is presumably a physical limit that will end the game.

In this respect it reminds me of the beep test, which similarly only ends when you don't complete a single run in time. This might not be very useful unless your game has some sort of running theme, but calling it Paced mode might work.


you could almost describe it as 'CHAIN' mode - it's a chain of actions, each with a 5-second window for completion, and each time you complete one you move on, linking the actions together in a chain, like a combo in a fighting game.

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