2.18.2007

What's in a Name?

Not too long ago, I was faced with a debacle that most gamers face at some point - picking an in-game handle. A handle, or "gamer tag", is the name that will represent you in your online gaming for the rest of your career with that game/console. This is a huge endeavor.Imagine renaming yourself. First of all, chances are you like your name, or at least whatever nickname you go by in your daily life. You're used to it, and you feel that it naturally represents who you are. If someone asked you to rename yourself, you'd be in for weeks of heavy brainstorming and arbitrary name-analysis: "Does Jake represent me? I like the "Juh" and "Kuh" sounds...those are tough!" But oh no, it's not that easy, my friend!

This is a video game, and you can call yourself whatever you want. In the real world going by something like "Kickass_rockstar" would just weird people out: "Mr. Jenkins? Good evening, it's such a pleasure to meet you. You have a wonderful family. Oh, I'm sorry. My name is NoobKilla." Here though, anything flies, which makes your task that much harder. What word or combination of words will represent your in-game personality? Are you merciless (Destroyer_of_Worlds, Face_Buster)? Sly (Cant_Find_Me, Ghost)? Tactical (Sun Tsu, Mastermind)? These are all things you have to consider in choosing your name, but hold on! The challenge isn't over yet. Not by far.

So you pick your handle "WarLord Monkey", and proceed to submit it to the network. Then you get the message every gamer dreads: "This name is already taken." What? Who in God's name could have come up with the same brilliant name as you? Now you're faced with the next challenge - you're already attached to the name, but you need to change it. What follows this sad, sad situation is the endless tweaking of the name with your birthday numbers and number-replacement until your beautiful name ends up as "W4rL0rdM0nckii722". Tragic. Scientists are working on a solution for this condition, but in the meantime, just do your best, and I'll be pulling for you.

One last request: if you're a complete jackass, please don't extend that to your name. If I'm playing online with you and you're shouting racial slurs like they were your own personal theme song, I can mute you. Unfortunately, though, if you're name is CockRockerMan69, I have to see it floating over your head every time I come across you. Please, for all of us, try a little harder not to be such a moron with your name choice.

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