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What's In a Username? the Power of Gamer Tags 99

An anonymous reader writes "Are pro gamers good because they're good, or just because their usernames make you think they are? New scientific research suggests it may actually be a little bit of both. What's most interesting about this isn't what it says about current players, but how up and coming gamers will choose their own handles in future, both to intimidate opponents — and pull in the audiences that help subsidize their budding careers."
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What's In a Username? the Power of Gamer Tags

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  • and get beat. choose wisely, Grasshopper.
    • Sometimes I go by the handle "a vehicle". Then when I kill someone, their screen says "you were killed by a vehicle". OMG how funny is that???!?!!!???!!! Sometimes even after the 100th time, I'm still falling off my chair, it's friggin' hilarious. I'm like the funniest dude in Halo with my supreme original sharp humor! OMG how 1337 am I?!?!!!!!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My friend and I used to go on Christian Halo servers (no swearing allowed, but ultraviolence A-OK!) as "Jesus" and "Judas". He would then TK me for the obviously ban-inducing "Jesus betrayed Judas".

        For lulz we would occasionally turn the tables and claim we were spreading the Gospel.

    • Well judging by my Slash Dot handle I'm punching above my weight :)
  • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @09:33PM (#46656921) Homepage Journal
    UltraLaser... DoctorDoom...
    • Alright. How about the Master of Disaster, huh?

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      I'll be known as ...

      ... Cowboy Neal!

    • Whenever I see a name like DarkFyre, SoulRe4ver, or some other ridiculously angsty and pretentious name, you can bet it's a 12-15 yr old boy who thinks that name he came up with is the coolest thing ever. Bonus points if he's created a logo with black, red, and flames of any sort. I have fun imagining how embarrassed he'll be of that handle a few years from now.

      I mean, admit it. When you were 13 you thought "DarkFyre" was a pretty awesome name too, right?

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @09:39PM (#46656977)
    Back when I was first to 1500 wins in Warcraft3 and #1 in 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 99% win rate in 3v3, I would have people be awed at me when they come into the game. They would just be happy to play against a big name in the game and express it like a kid who meets his favorite sports player or a famous person. They'd say things like,"Man, you're going to win, but its nice to even get a chance to play you." So my name had intimidation factor to it, but I earned that intimidation factor by first being actually good and having a great record. If you play Starcraft2 and you spend more than a few seconds making your screen name, you're doing it wrong :P

    That said, I like this screen name more than my ol' gamer tag. If people go visit my website, they can be well on their way to eternal life, and my Bro Jesus will have cool things to say to me when we finally meet.
    • by Giant Electronic Bra ( 1229876 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @10:00PM (#46657155)

      I had the most fun with StarCraft back when it FIRST came online. I crafted a small map with an island in the center and a ring of land around it, and one bridge onto the island. One guy started at the outside, opposite from the bridge, and the other started on the island. The funny thing was you could equally well win with any race from either starting position, but you had to know EXACTLY what to do right off, even the most minuscule deviation from the optimum (and not 100% obvious) build pattern would spell certain doom. It was incredibly fun to pick off the really highly rated players. 95% of them would figure it out after the first inevitable loss, but of course I would always blithely agree to reverse positions and beat them again with the equally tricky strategy for the other starting position. It took a LOT of tweaking to get that map perfect, but I think I must have been around 90:1 win:loss ratio on it. Not that this means I was really THAT good, not at all, lol. I bet that map is still floating around somewhere.

      • by Hobadee ( 787558 )

        I created a UMS version of Blood Bath, where if player 1 (me) would move a worker to the far corner, it would start spawning 3/3 carriers with 8 intercepters in it. It was hilarious to see peoples reactions when a zerg player had 20 carriers a minute into the game.

    • by bitt3n ( 941736 )

      my Bro Jesus will have cool things to say to me when we finally meet.

      "press alt-QQ for eternal life"

      • Gag no...

        It's up up, down down, left right, left right, b, a, start
        [angels sing and a shaft of blue light appears around me]


        Oh wait... or was it just plugh?

    • That said, I like this screen name more than my ol' gamer tag. If people go visit my website, they can be well on their way to eternal life, and my Bro Jesus will have cool things to say to me when we finally meet.

      Is that website legit or some kind of piss take? I can't quite be sure :/

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      That said, I like this screen name more than my ol' gamer tag. If people go visit my website, they can be well on their way to eternal life, and my Bro Jesus will have cool things to say to me when we finally meet.

      See, to me it just tells me that you are not that smart and I should treat you as such. Probably not your intention, but that's what it comes over as. Apart from suffering repeated mental... "events", let's call them, you are gullible enough to believe some guy making vague prophecies that were only written down long after they were kinda fulfilled. Apparently the power of your experiences didn't inspire you to learn anything about web design either.

      I wonder what the reaction in-game would have been if you

  • by user32.ExitWindowsEx ( 250475 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @09:40PM (#46656985)

    If you want your gamer tag to have real power, choose this guy did. []

    It may not be good power but it has power.

  • Seems everytime I see a name like xXFooXx and somesuch, that person is cheating. Dunno why they like the xX*Xx paradigm, but for the PS3 Call of Duty games it seems to hold true in my unscientific survey. I know they're cheating when they use names like 001l0l1O1l, they don't want to be reported.
  • It's all in the name.

    Significantly yours,


    aka Killer, Marspoet, et al.

  • Ian Banks (Score:5, Funny)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @10:05PM (#46657191) Homepage

    Whenever I see one of those overblown handles that seem designed to intimidate and impress people, my first thought is that the player isn't good enough to do it on his own merits. I prefer names along the lines of how Ian Banks' Culture ships named themselves. To borrow a comment. "Let's see you explain to your admiralty that your fleet was wiped out by the Bureaucracy and the Red Tape, and when you tried to disengage you found yourself trapped by the Complete Lack of Morale and the High Command's Total Incompetency.".

    • Not a fan (well, I didn't like Consider Phlebas much) but it's Iain Banks. Stuff like this bothers me as much as people writing Tolkein.
      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Not a fan (well, I didn't like Consider Phlebas much) but it's Iain Banks. Stuff like this bothers me as much as people writing Tolkein.

        To be fair, Consider Phlebas isn't the best book in the series. Player of Games was much better, Excession (spelling) was excellent.

        But he's not for everyone. I guess having a British sense of humour helps when reading British/Scottish authors (a lot like watching Red Dwarf). I'd be surprised if you didn't have the same issue with Hamilton (Peter F).

        But I see the GP's point, a culture-esque name like "So Much for Teamwork", "I Liked 1942 Better" or "Angry, Short Sighted and Armed" would be a lot more

        • OK, I'll give Player of Games a try, thanks!

          And surprise! I do like Hamilton, although his books are a bit hit or miss IMO. And I don't see anything that makes them similar in any way.

          • Player of Games is absolutely gripping. I think I read through it in like two days. Consider Phlebas took me well over a month off and on's just such a downer really. Also in the absolutely gripping and coincidentally total Gen X/Y geekgasm fantasy literature is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I finished it in maybe a day and a half and could not put it down in any free moment that I had. And then I re-read it two weeks later and it had the same level of awesomeness. Really looking forw
        • Rasd-Codurersa Diziet Embless Sma da' Marenhide

      • by Warma ( 1220342 )

        I am a fan, but not all the way through. I find the earlier books much better, as both Surface Detail and Hydrogen Sonata delve deep into Mary Sue territory (with both the human and AI leads). Especially the minds are absolutely omnipotent against anyone else in the universe and the sense of conflict and uncertainty the books actually attempt to build fails to become relevant. While both of the novels have their moments, I feel that they are no longer entertaining.

        Also, what pisses me off is that at some po

      • I was just triaging some old books and that went on the donate pile on the grounds that I probably won't read it again.

        Still, Clear Air Turbulence is a good name for a ship. I wonder if it's named after the Gillan album, the flying annoyance or something else that I totally failed to grok.

    • You named your ship what?
      "She's one of ours, sir!"
      You're flying around on the SS She's one of ours, sir!...
      "Yeah, we figure it'll give us a couple rounds of confusion on their bridge."

      Players. Never underestimate the amount of sheer crazy brilliance that players will occasionally pull off.

  • First 10 years or so of online gaming was on a PC, then I switched to PS3. On PS3 it's (relatively) difficult to change your name. On the PC it was trivial.
    I used to play a lot of Day of Defeat, and my name usually mocked another player who sounded pretentious. There was a guy named Army Of Darkness, which I made Army of Dorkness. About that time I found a server I liked (coorsbuds), and started playing a lot there. Long story short, I had several names, all starting with Army of. My final name was
  • If a game has a function for it, I hit 'random' until something that seems suitable pops up.

  • Speaking about the attraction of simple names, Alter told Red Bull âoeIâ(TM)d imagine that simpler names are more memorable, more recognisable, and easier to repeat mentally when people are thinking of the other players who occupy the same gamescape. Itâ(TM)s hard to think of a time when a simpler name would hurt a gamer or a team, but easy to imagine that gamers with very complex gamertags might get lost in the mass of names.â

    In-game and in real life, anyone with a *long name can easily find it shortened by the people around them.
    It's not so easy for me to imagine that "very complex gamertags might get lost in the mass of names."

    Even someone as not-complex as "Nightmare" would easily get shortened to "Night" or even "N" during team activities.

    *more than a syllable

    • by AnttiV ( 1805624 )

      And it will. Trust me on this :)

      A *long* time ago (BBS-time, before the 'net), I went by the name 'Nightwing' (and I still like that song) that came from an old D&D (pen & paper) monster's translation. As soon as "online" became more common and I frequented things like IRC, that very, VERY shortly became "night" on "nw". Therefore I shortened it to "Nite", which seemed to go ok and was very rarely shortened to anything. Once or twice with "N". I use that occasionally even today, but mostly after som

  • ... handles of League of Legends players in the LCS (highest-profile US and Europe tournaments):

    (Spaces added to evade filter)

    Imaqtpie (best name ever)
    Cruzer the bruzer
    Wild Turtle
    Nien tonsoh



    They don't seem too overbearing to me...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The are all memorable though, "shit, it's [NAME], we are all gonna die" works just as well with qtpie as it does with dexter. In a well balanced game that extra half second can give you an edge and ofc picking it in the first place means they are smart enough to pick a name that will give them an edge.
  • So gamers will be popular either because they are known to be good or simply because they choose the right name and get publicity...

    So this is like the difference between Morgan Freeman and Kim Kardashian.

  • up and coming gamers will choose their own handles in future, both to intimidate opponents

    Most newbies won't have the experience to choose a good name - hell: most parents don't even have that skill. They will also bring all their own fears, preconceptions and biases to the naming party, too. So most of them will choose names that give the impression of a callow youth trying to grossly overcompensate for their (obvious) inadequacies.

    Not only are these individuals easy to spot, their choices are more likely to make them targets for scorn and derision rather than convey the impression they are be

    • True.

      I think there's definitely something about gamertags that impacts the way people respond to you. I remember when playing Gears or War or Halo there seemed to be an unspoken policy of avoiding being on the team of someone with an all-lowercase name, because it at least seemed to often be the case that such a person was a young kid or a newer player. Of course, looks are deceptive. There are many good players who use all-lowercase gamertags. But even if we cognitively know that our assumptions are fault
      • better to imitate very closely gamertags of players who *are* intimidating

        essentially mimicking nature, where lots of animals, bugs and plants take on the form of nasty, poisonous entities in the hope that looking like a badass will stop them getting eaten.

        Gaming imitating life! Nice.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Or bad...

    But someones username is an easy way to weed out the morons you will want to avoid. Or target.

    xxNAMExx or numbers in place of letters. These people are morons. and the more x's or #'s. the greater the moron.

    any combination of pwn or own or elite. Or some vauge sexual pun of any sort. these people are children. or have the mentality of a 12 year old.

    any obvious 'black' name. little white kid with more money than sense. these make excellent targets to scam. very easy to influence.

    for wome

    • by alexo ( 9335 )

      any combination of pwn or own

      So what about "Gordon Brown" then?
      Oh, wait, Never mind...

  • . . . because an adult woman was playing an on-line game several hours a day.
    . . . because it invoked a sense of light-heartedness when playing.
    . . . because young family members always said I was real silly.

    It was a clean screen name, it's what I've used for forever.

  • The best of the best were the best and the names were nothing. Wargod (Wargoat), xxAngelxx, Sith Bandon (Sithz), Propolis, Painball, Selene, Shin Ra. The names were random at best, but when you fought with or against the best of the best, the skill far exceeded the name.The highlight of my years was beating Painball and two of his mates solo as a completely green pilot too stupid honestly to realise I was taking on the best and then some. Later I flew with him, and he was 10x the pilot I ever was. Good time

  • Never judge a book by its cover.

  • When I rolled my priest in WoW I spent 2 minutes thinking about what the worst name for a priest could be, so I name him "Leakage". Can't say I spent a lot of time on it and just created it to amuse myself. Of course that is PC gaming, I don't do console gaming so the idea of locking myself down to a single user name ... I guess I'd put more thought in to it.
  • I wish Slashdot had a "change username" feature...

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.