How to Speak Gamer Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

How to Speak Gamer

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How to Speak Gamer
2005 | 2012

A multiplayer game is not the same as several people playing Monopoly around a board, but the curious one-step-removed socialising of people playing the same computer game - each at their own computer, using a network or the Internet to connect themselves.

Since the invention of the very first online multiplayer games there has arisen a strange area of human society known as the online-gamers (hereby known as gamers). They are thought to be nocturnal, preferring to stay in their domiciles than to face sunlight and are often stereotyped as being geeks who order pizza at unsocial hours. Many unobservant members of the public would simply believe that gamers have adopted the system a bear uses for energy conservation known as the long hibernation period, followed by brief spells of 'reluctant sociality', but the truth has been revealed...

The gamer spends all his or her waking minutes 'owning n00bs', or being owned by the n00bs1, depending on the skill of said gamer. This ritual requires the gamer to sit in front of a computer or various online console games for hours on end, pausing only briefly to be 'afk'2 for lunch. Gamers can mostly be found stalking the Internet looking for their next game. This has perhaps led to their notoriety as elusive beings.

However, the introduction of console games and online console games has led to there being two types of gamer: the Alpha and the Beta Gamer. The Alpha Gamer has been described above – the stereotypical gamer, whereas the Beta Gamer3 is more like your everyday person - walking to the shops and helping the old lady across the road with her shopping bags. They often revel in social interaction and play these games as a distraction, a hobby, or as a way of spending their spare time.

This Entry will teach you, under the rare circumstances you meet a gamer in real life, or under the common circumstances of meeting one in a server room or 'lobby', to speak the language of the gamer so that you can better understand their quirks and follies.

The Basic Phrases

We'll start with the basic principles and the simplest phrases of the gamer language. Gamer speak can essentially be split into two categories: excessive abbreviation and l33t4 talk. This Entry will focus on the former as another h2g2 Entry amply covers l33t talk. Before we start you will need to know the most important rule...

Know Thy Gamer

Simply put, there are two types of gamer: the l33t gamer, sometimes known as the 1337 gamer, and the common-speech gamer.

When encountering the latter, s/he shall use the content listed in these hallowed pages and will expect you to do the same. This is fine, and you need not have much experience in the gaming world - just print these pages out and stick them by your computer screen to serve as a helpful reference. The former however, will speak l33t talk which is where s/he attempts to substitute every letter of every word with a number or another character that simply looks like the letter. Why not just use the letters? Most people believe that it is to be original and elitist, or maybe it is just to aggravate the average reader.

When approached by a l33t talker attempt to replace all of your letters with their equivalent symbols5. You should get away with faking it without too many mutterings of 'wh47 4 n00b!'6

Most gamers will have a similar mental make-up. The fact that online gaming makes you anonymous coupled with the competitive nature of it causes almost every gamer to possess the psyche of a rabid wolf. Quite often should you make a mistake a gamer will 'flame'7 you until you or the gamer finally leaves. This, sadly, gets worse as a gamer gets better. Another quirk of the gamer mind is that they will instantly try to place the blame for their mistakes on something or somebody - anything other than themselves. There are therefore two basic rules to gamer mentality:

  1. Always act as macho and egotistical as possible, in any situation. Anybody else is a n00b.

  2. If you make a mistake it was a 'glitch'8 in the game and not your skill that was to blame.

Follow both these rules and use the vocabulary listed in the tables below and you should be able to pass yourself off as a gamer.

Basic Conversation

Throughout your time on the Internet, you will undoubtedly be approached by the many alpha-males of gamer society. He most probably speaks a mixture of l33t talk and excessive abbreviation, but seeing as you're a n00b, he will take pity on you and speak excessive abbreviation, after all he was a n00b once too. Below is a table containing words you will need to start a basic conversation with a gamer: note the proper usage and context.

Gamer TermDefinitionUsage Notes
l33tElite, skilled at the game.It is best not to use this term about anybody until it is proven that the subject is better than anyone else on said game.
1337A variation of 'l33t'.See above.
J00You.
A l33t term which is often used by all gamers.
Remember to use the character zero and not normal 'O's.
AIArtificial Intelligence.
Characters that play like a human character would.
Does not literally mean Artificial Intelligence, as characters will not learn from gamers or past experiences.
BugAn error in the game code that causes it to act unexpectedly.Gamers will often associate their failure with a bug.
CHEATER!A term of endearment, showing the subject possesses the elite skills and has owned the n00b who called the subject this. On most servers calling someone a cheater is a laughable offence.
Cover meProtect the player by killing enemies that go for said player. Can also mean provide covering fire.Normally used in games involving death when an objective needs to be secured.
FlakDebris, usually that which follows from an explosion.Normally used in games involving death when an object explodes.
Flame Incessantly insulting another gamer after they've made a mistake. This often ruins the gaming experience for everybody else.It is best not to flame somebody when you're still a n00b because other gamers will have a lot more practise at it than you.
Flash BangA military term for the grenade that will emit bright light and loud noise to blind and deafen enemies.Not normally used in games where grenades do not feature.
GlitchA bug that does not appear often or is hard to recreate.Same as 'Bug'.
LobbyThis is an area where gamers can hang out, like a chat room, though usually in the vicinity of some hyperlinks that will load up a multiplayer game.Standard usage.
n00bNewbie.
Anybody apart from the speaker.
In stricter clans of gamers the term n00b refers to someone with less skill than the speaker. Not to be used unless there is significant proof that the subject is worse than the speaker.
NadeGrenade.Not normally found in games where grenades do not feature.
NPCNon-player character. A character controlled by the computer using AI.NPCs are sometimes called 'bots'.
npNo problem.It is best to say this after a team-mate has apologised. Failure to do this will earn repeated messages of soz or srry.
PatchA free addition to the game that fixes problems or implements new features.Standard usage.
Provide covering fireProtect the player by taking pot shots at areas where enemies may be concealed. The enemy will not be able to take aim at the protected player due to the heavy fire s/he is coming under.Normally used in games involving shooting.
SlugA large, non-self-propelled projectile.Be careful of context because the term may also be used to describe a slug-like creature.
SpamRepeatedly messaging the same messages.Spamming is frowned upon by most lobbies and game servers.
sry/srry/sozAn abbreviation of the word 'sorry'.This is often used after a gamer has made a mistake which has cost the team something valuable. An alternative that more elite gamers use is to blame somebody else.
ServerA specific game place. A server is a computer that your computer will link to in order to play the game.Standard usage.
tehThe.
This is a misspelling that has become part of gamer language. It is not used frequently.
Most people don't care about the usage of 'teh'. However, a gamer will instantly be labelled a n00b if they try to correct another gamer's spelling.
Under (heavy) fire/attackBeing shot at or attacked by one or more adversaries.Normally used in games involving shooting.

With this list basic conversation can be made with a gamer. It is worthwhile to note that the conversation uses all of the rules of English bar spelling and the more tedious rules of grammar. Therefore gamers can use plain English most of the time, substituting the odd word for one in this table.

Intermediate gamer conversation

This section details the words that will be used in intermediate gamer speech. Most outsiders may now be able to pass themselves off as a native gamer, but native may turn to n00b if they say something like 'What does that mean?' - even saying it in l33t won't help them. If you wish to be truly l33t at speaking gamer, it is recommended you read the advanced section, which covers the '0rs' rule.

Gamer TermDefinitionUsage Notes
2Two, to, or too.Gamers do not care about having separate words for two/to/too and so the meaning depends upon the context.
AlphaThe first stage of a game's life where it solely contains the basic functions. This stage is used to make sure the functions match the design specification of the game.Standard usage.
BetaThe second stage of a game's life where it is nearly a finished product. This stage is used to make sure the game has the minimum number of bugs and glitches before it goes gold.Standard usage.
Beat-em-upGames in which fighting (usually without weaponry) is the focus of the game.Standard usage.
Camper A gamer that stays in the same place and waits for a player to come along before attacking them.This is found only in games involving fighting. Some servers frown upon camping.
CTFCapture the Flag. A game that requires a flag to be captured from the opposing team's base and brought back to your own flag.Some CTF games require the flag to be held for as long as possible, this is more commonly known as 'Rabbit'.
DeathmatchA game that requires the player to kill as many of his or her opponents as possible without being killed themselves.Only found in games involving death.
emThem.Can be used to describe any plural noun.
EXPExperience Points. This is an attribute that shows how much experience you have earned in battle. This system is key to most RPGs.Standard usage.
ExploitA bug found in the game that can be utilised by players to ensure victory.Often the word is used in the same vein as 'CHEATER!' and therefore is often ignored or laughed at. However, if you can prove there is an exploit in the game (perhaps by using it yourself) then you can often earn respect by never using them. Those who ritually use exploits are often flamed.
fragged Same as '0wned'. Same as '0wned'. This term originated from the game Quake.
FPSFirst Person Shooter. A game in which you will use a gun for the majority of the time and will share the perspective of the gun's holder.
Frames per Second. The rate at which the screen shows the next rendered image of the game.
Be careful of the context of the word. FPS can mean a rate or a category of game.
gimmeGive me.A term used when requesting something.
gjGood job.This is used as an encouragement to the gamer's own team/players.
Going GoldSending the game data off to be replicated/hosted for official download.Only done when the game developers believe the game is finally finished.
HP Health Points. This applies to the amount of damage you can take before your character dies.Most often found in RPGs. Not to be confused with the sauce.
LMAOLaugh my a** off.To be used in situations of hilarity.
LMFAOLaugh my f***ing a** off.See above. To be used in more extreme situations.
Mana/MannaThe power a player has to cast magical spells. Sometimes known as 'Magic Points'.Only to be used in games involving magic.
MMORPG Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. A game that has many, many players all playing an RPG against each other.Standard usage.
MP Magic Points.Only to be used in games involving magic.
NerfedTo complain about a bug/exploit found in the game which can seriously ruin the game play experience of others. Standard usage.
ntNice try.Best used as a taunt to the opposing players/teams when they fail.
OMGOh my deity-of-choice.Only to be said after seeing something hilariously stupid or impossible.
OMFGOh my f***ing deity-of-choice.Used as above, but in more extreme cases.
0wnedTo be killed in battle.Used only in games which involve death.
0wnageSee 'rox'.See 'rox'.
PK Player Killing. Refers to a game server that allows this as opposed to just NPC killing.Standard usage.
PolishingAdding the final touches to a game before it is released.Standard usage.
PwnageSee 'rox'.See 'rox'.
rgrRoger: a long-winded term for saying 'Yes'.Normally used in Army games.
Round-based gamesIn round-based games when you die you have to wait for everybody to die (or the round to end some other way) before you can continue playing.This genre of gaming normally only occurs in games involving death.
roxRocks; is cool, is great/fantastic.To be used when expressing a positive opinion.
RPGRole-Playing Game. The type of games in which you will be immersed into the character of another person, usually in a fantasy setting.
Rocket-Propelled Grenade. A large grenade that is shot from a shoulder-held cannon-like structure.
Be careful of the context of this word. When used as a category it most likely means a Role-Playing Game, but a rocket-propelled grenade will only be found in war games.
RTS Real-Time Strategy. A game that allows the gamer control of vast amounts of people, often armies in order to achieve victory.Standard usage.
Shoot-em-upThis may refer to either an FPS or TPS. (Refer to respective entries for more information.)Standard usage.
Spawning/RespawningThe instance of entering the game and beginning play.
Respawning refers to coming back alive to continue playing.
Respawning only occurs in non round-based games.
Spawn-camperThis is the name for a gamer that stays in the same place and waits for a player to spawn before attacking them while they are helpless.Spawn camping is frowned upon by most servers. This is only done in non round-based games.
TPSThird Person Shooter. A game in which you will use a gun for the majority of the time and will hold a perspective away from the player you control. This perspective is usually somewhat behind the player.Standard usage.

This is all an outsider will need to know to sound fluent in gamer speak. It is worthwhile to note that as before, conversation uses all of the rules of English bar spelling and the more tedious rules of grammar.

Advanced Gamer

The '0rs' Rule

The '0rs' rule is quite a simple one and has very few exceptions.

  • The '0rs' rule is used as a noun or an adverb, eg 'I am teh l33t haxx0r'.
  • However, it is only used for nouns or adjectives that have their roots in verbs.
  • Only those verbs that end in 'ck' or 'k', such as hack or suck.

To correctly use this '0rs' rule the 'ck' or 'k' must first be removed and replaced with 'xx', then simply suffix with the characters '0r' or when used as a verb with '0rs'.

Care must be taken however, because the sentence structure may also require some changing. Instead of 'I am a haxx0r' the gamer must write 'I am the haxx0r' leaving the ideal that there can only be one as good as said gamer. If using the rule as a verb the sentence must be written as is normally composed in the English language, 'I suxx0rs'.

The Phoneticism Rule

This is an important rule when speaking gamer and becomes more so as the gamer professes in the language and the game. Whenever typing a message a true gamer must type phonetically, unless typing with correct spelling will shorten the words. While doing this a gamer will often attempt to shorten the words as much as possible. This can usually be achieved by cutting out most of the vowels from the sentences, very much like 'text talk' or 'txt tlk'. The most crucial are included in the table below.

Gamer TermDefinitionUsage Notes
??What?This is used to indicate confusion. More ?s may be used as the severity of the situation increases.
****Various profanities.Often accusing nouns and adjectives will appear as ****. This is because many lobbies and servers have a filter enabled that changes any profanity into these pleasant asterisks. Some will instead change them into meaningless characters, such as $%^%$£@!.9
AFKAway from keyboard.Used to indicate that the gamer will be gone from the gaming terminal.
ASLAge Sex LocationA condensed question asking the age, gender and location of the subject. It is advised not to answer these questions because paedophiles may be on the other end.
BRBBe Right BackUsed to indicate that the gamer will return shortly.
duma**idiotTo be used when expressing the opinion that the subject's intelligence is questionable.
[email protected]HatA piece of headgear, not to be confused with h8.
h8HateThe number 8 is often used instead of the letters 'ate' thus saving valuable typing time.
LOLLaughs out loud. This is only to be used if others are using it, or the user has found something unbelievably funny. Nobody has to actually laugh out loud.
OTTOver the top. Something has exceeded the limit of sanity or protocol.Used when something goes over the top.
rareThe main phoneticism for the word 'are'.
ROFLRolls on the floor laughing.This is very much like LOL. Nobody needs to roll on the floor.
RTFMRead the f***ing manual.The common reply from l33t gamers when someone asks how to do something.
uYouThe main phoneticism for the word 'you'.
WTFWhat the f***?An exclamation after seeing something impossible.

The 1337 Table

Finally, the 1337 table. This table contains a lookup for the average l33t characters.

1337 CharacterDefinition
1L or I
3E
4A or FOR
5S
7T
8ATE
0O
@AT

As before, all of the rules of English bar spelling and the more tedious rules of grammar apply. A better understanding of definition and context of the gamer's language, especially for game-specific language will, of course, be gained from first hand experience so join the lobbies yourself to find out more.

Related Links

1Newbies.2Away from keyboard.3Often - but not always - worse at gaming than the alphas due to less free time to spend on gaming.4Pronounced 'leet'.5Examples of these have been shown in the 1337 table below. More complicated words have been included in the reference tables.6This means 'What a newbie', referring to your lack of understanding.7Constantly insult you with no valid grounds.8An error in how the game usually works that will not occur very often.9 We use the BLEEP! smiley on h2g2.

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