RNG stands for “Random Number Generator” or “Random Number Generation” (depending on whether it’s used as a noun or a verb). This refers to the method in which a video game creates “random” elements.
All programs, at their core, are created with ones (1s) and zeroes (0s). Because of this, a computer can’t create anything randomly. Instead, it must use the resources it has to create a random “seed” that goes into a complicated algorithm and creates something that, to a human being, might as well be random. Usually this is a computer’s clock, but it can use anything else that changes frequently.
In the following video, a member of TASBot demonstrated at the 2015 Summer Games Done Quick how to manipulate the RNG of the Japanese version of Mega Man (NES 1987, Akira Kitamura), which was originally called Rockman.
Because people attending Summer Games Done Quick are interested in completing games in as little time as possible, understanding how the game treats random elements is very important. As you can see in the video, Mega Man decides what score to give the player for completing the stage based on which frame the player presses the Start button.
featured image “Random Numbers” by David licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic