ClassicRadar: What does your gamertag say about you?

Virtual-life diagnoses from a real-life PhD

Category: ALL CAPS

Examples: SUPREMEPLAYER, DA CHOZEN ONE, JOHNJINJONNY, CHOPKING, OMFGBUTTCHEEKS, BOTTERLIVE, MR CON MAN, SATANIC METAL, MEL AND ADDS, DESERT FOX 666, CARPE DIEM 99, NEWCITYBOYZ

We found this group the easiest to diagnose. The incessant use of capitalization for EVERY SINGLE LETTER isn't so much a CRY for attention as it is a DEMAND. Believe us, if these tags' owners could forcibly pull your eyeballs in their direction, they would.

You have no choice but to notice their presence... every time they sign on, every time they sign off and especially every time they bag a kill. The large uniform text is like a virtual spotlight. What these folks might not realize is that their questionable aesthetic choice is so off-putting to the rest of us that it masks any other message or joke they were attempting to get across with their nickname. Too bad, because we're sure that whatever it was, it was totally NOT obnoxious.

Dr. Frederiksen: "Assuming the cap lock on your keyboard isn't broken and you know how to use it, these tags can signal a need to draw attention to yourself. HEY, LOOK AT ME! Sometimes hiding an underlying insecurity or need for attention and recognition is common in tags from other categories as well."


Category: LEETSPEAK (13375P34K)

Examples: l31ade, b0ngzi11a, D34dly N1nj4, H34DRU5H, XxSWEETN3SSxX, KLZ g3rMzZ, Wh1TeSn4Ke, R1Pt3h5Y5T3m, xREL3NTL3SSx

"Leet" or "leetspeak" is a coded writing system that originated with computer hackers in the 1980s and has since been adopted as a popular form of communication among online gamers. It includes, but is not limited to, the substitution of numeric digits or special characters for alphabetic letters.

... And just by giving you that definition, we're out of the club. See, the last thing a leetspeaker wants is for the layperson - aka the n00b, aka their Dad - to understand what the hell they're talking about. They've elected themselves into elite, exclusive and altogether imaginary society where only the truly hardcore can mingle.

Ironically, all it usually takes to decipher this secret language is a slight squint of the eyes and a vague tilt of the head. Even more ironically, the gamers who use leetspeak are often the youngest and, therefore, the least experienced.

Dr. Frederiksen: "Exclusion is the foundation of this category. We know something you don't. By setting yourself apart as a member of an exclusive group that has specialized knowledge you can feel different and special. It is sort of the gamer's equivalent of the 'secret handshake.'"

Originally posted: Mar 1, 2007


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