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ClassicRadar: What does your gamertag say about you?

This month marks the five-year anniversary of GamesRadar. To celebrate, we’re digging up our oldest, favorite-est features – most of which posted before the website even had comments – and giving them a second chance to shine. Enjoy this priceless piece of gamz jarnlism history, and expect a “new” classic every few days through March.


Few acts in life seem less significant than selecting an Xbox Live Gamertag or PlayStation ID. After all, it's just a meaningless string of letters and numbers that happen to look good together or happen to be available at the time. Right?

Then again, your name is your identity. It is a symbol of who you are, a representation of both how you perceive yourself and how you'd like to be perceived by others. The fact that it's being used solely for videogames does nothing to lessen its importance - or its impact - when you consider that escapist entertainment is where we play out the roles we wish we could embody in real life. No blaming your parents, either, as this is a name and an identity that you choose.

So is there secret significance hidden within your online handle? We decided to find out.

First, we scoured the leaderboards looking for trends. Before long, we had identified six popular and surprisingly encompassing categories - seriously, you'd be amazed at how many tags fit under one of these headings. In fact, all of the examples used in this feature are REAL. They have not been changed by a single character.

Next, we handed our results over to a professional - in this case, Lee Frederiksen, Ph.D. Dr. Frederiksen is a former professor at Virginia Tech University and has specialized in applied psychology for over 30 years, during which he has written dozens of research papers and books. He graciously agreed to provide his expert opinion on the following pages as a balance to our more, er, amateur judgments.

Before we proceed, however, a word of caution from Dr. Frederiksen:

"Professional psychologists don’t rely on a single observation such as a Gamertag to form an opinion of a person. And, of course, sometimes the tag really has very little extra meaning. As Sigmund Freud was quoted as remarking... 'Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.'"


Category: VIOLENCE

Examples: Ikilya, Blood 4 Blood, Nightprowler888, Sniper5982, Psychopathic, DeathxDealer13, Knives2, Reaperman, KiLLeR918, Hitman4Hire 88

Violence is the most prevalent theme found in console tags. Seems like practically everyone online is thirsty for blood, murder or revenge. If you cross their path, prepare to quake in fear at their terrible wrath.

Behind the menacing personas, however, are these players really all that thuggishly aggressive? We suspect it's mostly a front. A true badass wouldn't need to announce himself through some silly nickname; he'd let his badassery speak for itself. And if any actual killers use Xbox Live or PSN, they probably lurk beneath more innocent monikers... involving clowns. No, we predict that these seemingly violent gamers are, in reality, as meek and weak as a Doritos-munching kitten.

Dr. Frederiksen: "Saturated with aggression and deviance, this category is often the most troubling to outside observers. While they can be the choice of some truly troubled people, in most cases it is likely to be a relatively harmless way to fit in with the game culture that puts a premium on bravado. In reality... probably more conformity than meets the eye."

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84 comments

  • adrenaguy - March 7, 2011 6:59 p.m.

    adrenaguy. I like Adrenaline, and I'm a guy. It really is about as simple as it gets :L recaptcha, I know you're doing your best, but you cn't just stick in the greek letter for "nano" whenever you feel like it. recaptcha used: dopih medicine
  • awinnerisjew - March 7, 2011 4:52 a.m.

    Changing my PSN to " MURDER1NGST4LL10NC0CKYEEAAHHBABY".
  • poopaloop1 - March 6, 2011 11:04 p.m.

    A lot of the names in the animals category look a lot like they came from the automatic name generator on Xbox Live
  • 04whim - March 6, 2011 9:01 p.m.

    bobdangles... where do i come into this? D:
  • trojan12 - March 6, 2011 7:39 p.m.

    Most (not all) who fall under "Leetspeak" can also be categorized under "Douchebag", seeing as how they are usually all n00bs... Also, I'm not too sure where trojan12kelley falls under these guidelines.
  • TheLastRGP - March 6, 2011 5:35 a.m.

    My GT is Stakes Are High (360) and RunNYC (PSN). So I guess I'm in the Pop Culture category. Cool Article.
  • Y2Ken - March 4, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    Mine is Y2Ken (or KenY2Ken where the former is taken). Because my name is Ken, and I merged that with Y2K, which was partly as I started using it around the year 2000, and partly from Chris "Y2J" Jericho as I was a big wrestling fan at the time.
  • CH3BURASHKA - March 4, 2011 5:35 a.m.

    I too remember this article. I also remember how shitty it made me feel. When I created it, I tried writing it with an 'e' but some asshat had already taken it. So I went with a 3 and capitalized all the letters so that the name looked uniform, 'cause that's what I like (I 'justify' all my writings, for example). Then this Charlie fellow comes around with some behavioural psychologist and tells me that, no, that wasn't an aesthetic choice, that was an unconscious choice representing me desperate need for attention. And I'm all like, "Oh gawd, what if he's right?!" Then I crawled into bed, put the covers over my head, and fell into a coma.
  • Yarok - March 4, 2011 2:58 a.m.

    Y4r0k, simply because Yarok was taken by some idle guy. Sometimes a cigar just happens to be a cigar (though this cigar still pWn5 d3m n3w85)
  • Ausoi - March 4, 2011 2:40 a.m.

    Owned. I'm not in there with Ausoi, and you will never guess the meaning.
  • bugcatcherjason - March 4, 2011 2:28 a.m.

    I do get messages like, "UR A POKEFAG POKEMONS FOR FAGS," though <333
  • bugcatcherjason - March 4, 2011 2:24 a.m.

    ^ I honestly think I have the best PSN ID. EVER. I also wonder how the people that use all caps in their names think of this article. You know, since it's kind of naive to the point of cute. That's what I got from that section.
  • j5k44t6 - March 4, 2011 2:22 a.m.

    actually i guess i fit into the pop culture category because my tag is a mix of my initials and the song "5446 was my number" by toots and the maytals (and later sublime). in the song he says right now somebody else has that number. i guess he was right.
  • y2kpikachu12 - March 4, 2011 2:08 a.m.

    Hahaha good stuff, happy birthday GR! Mine doesn't really fit with any except animal but it's for a sports team.
  • j5k44t6 - March 4, 2011 2:02 a.m.

    i use j5k44t6 on ps3, 360 and just about everywhere else because it was what i named my save file on star wars battlefront 1 and 2. i guess it just stuck.
  • NullG7 - March 4, 2011 1:47 a.m.

    Dont fall into any categories myself.
  • mysterioso2006 - March 4, 2011 1:15 a.m.

    Mysterioso2006 Yeah, not one of those categories fit mine....
  • waffman11 - March 4, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    Combination of waffles and a guy who loves them. Basically, the best part of the internet that your parents let you see.
  • paganpoet - March 4, 2011 12:23 a.m.

    Mine is RidiPagliaccio I guess the closest it comes to one of these categories is pop culture...although we're talking about a line from a famous aria from a 120 year old Italian opera. I don't think that quite qualifies as pop culture, no matter how famous it is...
  • lovinmyps3 - March 3, 2011 11:34 p.m.

    My gamertag doesn't fit into any of these categories. MarvelousOnePak. What does mine say about me? Probably not much since I accidentally chose it when LIVE was showing me suggestions.

Showing 1-20 of 84 comments

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