What's in a Tag?

Few acts in life seem less significant than selecting an Xbox Live Gamertag. 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.'"


  • Sizzler - October 16, 2008 10:32 p.m.

    Pope, yours is from the Pope's hat? I don't know. Lynx, yours is the Pop Culture refrence, because you used CKY, or the band "Camp Kill Yourself" (Better known as CKY) And, WH47 D0 Y0U M34N 13375P34K!? Also, mine is GOING to be Sizzler. And I don't see the refrence there. It stemmed from "SIZZLERSPERSONALPIKACHU" which I put for my Nsider username because I was going to Sizzlers that day, and I had to do something Nintendo related. I was also craving a personal pizza. I'm actually disgusted with what the name actually MEANS though, because, who would do such a cruel thing to suck a cute little electricity mouse? So would it be Pop Culture? But the name is just Sizzler. That could also fit under Sexual. Or, if you were thinking of melted flesh resulting from a flamethrower, that could fit into the Violence one. My first name is the CAPS category. So which one? I need help.
  • PopeRocket - September 27, 2008 6:10 a.m.

    ^I agree. A lot of people use 'leetspeak' to get names that are not available when spelled correctly. Now.. I will give 1 Internets to whoever can figure out where my tag comes from.
  • lynx987 - September 3, 2008 12:51 a.m.

    mines cky18200..........what does that mean
  • KatyaSchlacter - December 4, 2008 7:14 a.m.

    Mine is HouseMDfan, pretty simple really.
  • MyGameName - October 9, 2008 1:57 a.m.

    although it's not a LIVE gamertag but a PSN tag, what does mine fall into?
  • abovedefault - September 14, 2008 6:36 a.m.

    good article. Not completely right on the leetspeak one though. Ever heard of fatal1ty?
  • Cernunnos - April 3, 2009 10:50 a.m.

    i usually reference stuff i like. for instance a song, or a book. in the past ive been using Abysmal Corpse, and am currently using Phantasmagorial. both are hinting towards songs i like. my PSN is Eye-Licker, which yet again is a song from one of my fave bands. i do this mainly to maybe get a reaction from someone who recognizes it, just to see. no one has yet. XD lol Cernunnos is an ancient french god of hunting, a man with horns. it basically just means "the horned god." though i took it from a character in my favourite series of books. :)
  • Karnageous - March 27, 2009 12:03 a.m.

    I'm just gonna go out on a limb and say mine is in the violence category.
  • Mystery514 - March 18, 2009 2:07 a.m.

    Cool Article...but what would Mystery514 lie under?
  • willyfoureyes - March 10, 2009 10:38 p.m.

  • MightyCamaro75 - March 4, 2009 9:18 a.m.

    I love how they conveniently left out the Number One tagline all the kids use these days, "420", you know so kids will be able to tell how cool the other kids are by the fact that they smoke weed, or that they think they smoke weed. Seriously, you're gonna do one of these and leave that out, apparently no one at GamesRadar has actually played a multiplayer game on xbox live, if so you'd notice about 200 b0ngRiPP3rz420 a night(or whatever other retarded variation they come up with. Nice work, wimps.
  • Shadowrunner74 - February 21, 2009 10:16 p.m.

    Mine is based of my favorite RPG pen and paper game Shadowrun xbox gamertag= Shadowrunner74
  • - February 21, 2009 9:56 p.m.

    Mine is going to be AlphaKenny1,and I'll tell people to say it out loud.
  • Da-Ku - February 17, 2009 9:25 p.m.

    Kishou Tenpi - Decipher that Or if you wanna use my clan tag too Da-ku Kishou Tenpi
  • Roic13 - February 13, 2009 3:14 a.m.

    GUNMETALAK, if it wasn't all caps it would be Violence
  • IamZman - February 4, 2009 10:23 p.m.

    Donkey punch is sexually. Google it
  • VampRN - January 23, 2009 1:16 a.m.

    Vamp RN...I am a night shift (vampire) nurse (RN). Maybe under pop culture?
  • nyef - January 16, 2009 12:41 a.m.

    mines AKidOnHisCoUcH... i dont think i have a category, i was just on a couch at the time.. and...well, im a kid
  • Maxstats69 - January 14, 2009 6:53 p.m.

    Mine is Maxstats69 because I like to max out my stats and I like to 69 . . . .
  • YeAh_DuDe_I_RoCk - January 13, 2009 10 p.m.

    i know how you feel, i had to use stupid capital none capital

Showing 1-20 of 79 comments

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