Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Jargon of Video Games

No word is safe from flagrant misuse and corruption at the hands of gamers. Creative adaptation of words, phrases and acronyms is a staple of gaming culture. Often this shorthand is borne of convenience – after all, in the fast-paced video game world, every nanosecond counts and no one wants to be furiously typing “well that was certainly a bit of a surprise” when there might be a much more succinct alternative.

As the lexicon of commonly-used abbreviations grows, the uninitiated might find themselves convinced the chatroom or gaming lobby they just joined is populated entirely by the feeble-minded and the foreign. Here's a few definitions to help that one guy who has been in solitary since 1986.

“Pwned/pwning/pwnage” – A statement of victory employing the typically US misuse of the verb to “own” in a phrase suggesting that the victor has figuratively taken possession of his opponent in an emphatic victory. In order to further underline the totality of the victory, the initial letter “o” is advanced one letter along the alphabet. Presumably this is a scalable concept with the most complete and total vanquishment of an enemy being “zwning”. Conversely “awning” must be synonymous with defeat, but is quite useful at barbeques.

“Roflstomp” – A descriptive term related to the act of “pwnage”. Building on the shorthand for 'Rolls On the Floor Laughing', use of this word implies that someone has received such a crushing defeat that their opponents were likely cackling with glee as they did it. Example usage: “Man, they were roflstomped. It was awesome, they'll be crying for weeks.”

Terms such as these are proof that, if language were a musical instrument, then gamers are thrash metal musicians who aren't happy until they've repeatedly smashed their guitar against every solid object within reach.

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