Scumming (sometimes known as level scumming) is a technique wherein players repeatedly restart the game until the randomly generated conditions work in their favor.
It's a common tactic in roguelikes that procedurally generate levels; in games where the difficulty is influenced by chance, restarting the game after an unlucky start can lead to better odds of success. The player can simply regenerate the world an unlimited number of times until they like what they see.
Examples of scumming in Spelunky include:
- Shop scumming: The player restarts the game until a good shop is nearby, for example a shop selling a jetpack on level 2, allowing the player to start out with a collection of useful equipment (or at least a shotgun from robbing the shopkeeper).
- Darkness scumming: The player restarts the game if the 'Darkness' level feeling occurs on the first level out of a shortcut. This is one of the least desirable level feelings to get, as the reduced visibility makes it very easy to take damage from hidden enemies, traps, and falls.
- Shotgun scumming: The player restarts the Jungle until the Restless Dead level feeling occurs, then tries to plunder an "Ash" tombstone in hopes of receiving a shotgun.
Note that in Spelunky Classic, "Ash" tombstones are generated infrequently enough (and can be difficult to find) to render this technique very time consuming.
- Jetpack scumming: The player restarts the Ice Caves until the UFO Crash Site level feeling occurs, then kills the Alien Lord to take the jetpack.
- Altar scumming: The player restarts the game until an altar appears. This is especially useful in the Ice Caves, as Yeti are plentiful, and the Temple, with its many sacrificable enemies, allowing for rapid accumulation of favor.