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| The Video and Computer Gaming Culture (3 comments )|
by: Kessandra (1008) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 1
Posted 76 months ago ( edited 76 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
The Gaming Culture
Our planet, Earth, is home to many different cultures that are created of the surrounding environment and the events that take place in them. Culture is defined by the behavior and actions of a group of people as small as a family house-hold or as large as an entire nation.
There are many different cultures that are classified by its actions, behavior, religion, superstitions, sayings, metaphors and much more. For example: One culture, lets say that of the United States of America, consists of many smaller cultures. The USA has fifty states. Each state may have its own way of doing things and its own way of saying things. And then there are other cultures within those states such as those in its cities and towns and so on.
What I am going to talk about is the culture of a form of electronic entertainment known as gaming. Gaming consists of playing a computer or a video game. It seems very simple for that to be a culture, but it isn’t.
The computer and video gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar business where a company of the said industry could create several games of a particular genre that appeals to certain people. Other companies may create computer chips, interfaces and other components that may cater to the computer gamer. There are also companies that create consoles for the sole purpose of providing entertainment in the forms of interactivity or a movie.
A Blast from the Past
Let’s look back at the earliest examples of the gaming culture. Video games can be traced as far back as the early 1950s with the creation of “Tennis for Two”. This game was created by William Higinbotham using an oscilloscope. It was used to entertain visitors of the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.
In the 1960s, a very influential game known as “Spacewar!” was created by a group of MIT students using the DEC PDP-1, a very early computer. It pitted two players against each other with a black hole in the center as an obstacle.
But it was in the “Golden Years of Arcade Gaming” in the 1970s and 80s that was the start of mainstream gaming with games such as “Pong” and “Asteroids” by Atari, “Space Invaders” by Taito and later on: Pac-Man.
Arcade game machines were readily found in malls and stores and bars and created a large fad. The games were played with joysticks and large buttons and were activated by inserting a quarter.
Young children and teens sometimes skipped school and played in an arcade all day to try to impress their like-minded friends by achieving a higher score. This is the earliest example of the gaming culture.
But video games have evolved from being amazing programs created by gifted college students to a billion dollar business. Like the culture of the USA, gaming has many sub-cultures. These sub-cultures came about from the many different computers and video game consoles that have been created for gaming and more sub-cultures from particular genres and games.
Online gaming is where a lot of the gaming culture originates from. Online gaming grew from online bulletin board games and MUDs (Multi-user Dungeons/Domains/Dimensions) that allowed other players to play with or against each other.
MUD is a form of role-playing and "hack ‘n’ slash" games that revolve around bulletin boards and chat channels. These games are played using text and many text commands.
MUDs are the predecessors to today’s MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). MUDs were originally created by gifted college student as hobbies and were played in college networks and were usually limited geographically (unlike today’s Internet games that allow you to play with anyone anywhere).As the Internet evolved, spanning the entire world, other forms of Internet gaming came to existence.
Online FPS gaming
FPS stands for “First-person Shooter” and allows you to get up close and personal and shoot your enemies. The earliest example of online FPS gaming is the game “Quake”. Quake was one of the first 3D games that came out and featured online Internet support that lets you play with up to 16 (and later 32) different people in many game modes.
In "Quake", many internal player organizations, or "Clans" spawned. After "Quake", RTS (Real-time Strategy) games, and later on most games featured online Internet competition.
A Clan is a player-organized team for (a) particular game(s) and contains its own culture. Many clans are just a group of friends who get together and play against other clans in competitions or friendly scrimmages whereas there are others that are 1000-man organizations. Clans usually recruit players based on their skill and wait and watch for some of the best players in a particular server and then invite them (if they are not already in a clan) to their clan. Sometimes, clans may hold “try-outs” to test an individual’s skills at the game.
Many clans may be casual and others may be "professional". Casual clans typically just play for fun with each other whereas professional clans compete in online competitions for fame or a reward. These professional clans tend to spend a lot of time devoted to practicing and devising strategies. Clans contribute heavily in online games in promoting the game they play, in devising strategies for it and attracting people to the game.
Most clans have a hierarchical ranking system that may be based on time in the clan, on skills, time playing the game, the amount of kills or in MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game): their level. Some clans may have alliances with other clans and clan rivalries.
Most clans may use “Tags” or the clan name’s abbreviation as a prefix or a suffix to your own unique name. For example: [SoU]Spork or Spork[SoU]
The SoU is the abbreviation of the name of the clan and the brackets are to distinguish the tag from the rest of the name.
Clans use many different instant messengers for communication and more notably VOIP communications or Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP allows you to speak to other people using a microphone over the Internet and is sometimes a mandatory requirement for members of some clans. There are other terms for clan, such as Guilds (mostly seen in MMORPGs), Squads (mostly seen in FPS) and more.
Online Gaming Competitions
In many popular online games, there are competitions. Some of these competitions may be just for fun whilst others may be official company sponsored events that may attract media attentions. Many notable gaming competitions are the Cyberathlete Championships, TWL or Team Warfare League (centered mostly on clan competition) and the Electronic Sports competitions.
Many of these official "professional" competitions have lead to some very popular online gaming celebrities such as “Fatal1ty”.
Johnathan Wendel, or Fatal1ty (Fatality), was born in Independence, Missouri, and has gained his fame by his large winning streak in many popular online gaming competitions.
Fatal1ty has won five world-championship titles and most of his success has been in online "Deathmatch" FPS games such as the "Quake" series, "Unreal Tournament" and "Painkiller".
Fatal1ty has received numerous product endorsements and has been featured in many mainstream newsprint publications and on 60 Minutes (CBS interview show).
Fatal1ty has reportedly won over $500,000 in cash and prizes from many professional competitions. He claims to practice 1-6 hours a day in FPS gaming and has become a popular online celebrity.
Fatal1ty is an example of a “Professional Gamer” who plays games for money and as a profession.
LAN Parties (Local Area Network) are events in which people bring their own computers and connect them to a LAN network primarily to play multiplayer games. LAN Parties may be as small as two people or as large as 6,500 people.
LAN Parties usually take place in residences or general meeting areas and require you to bring your own computer. LAN Parties are temporary and are usually played by more experienced gamers. Gamers who prefer LAN gaming than Internet gaming commonly take on the term “LANer”.
LAN Parties tend to have their own culture as many attendees like to show off their computers with flashy aftermarket lighting, plasma screens, enhanced speakers, and many other types of computer accessories (otherwise known as Case modding).
Highly caffeinated drinks are featured in LAN parties as sleep is nearly nonexistent. LAN Parties usually start from the early morning hours to late at night and into the next day. One such popular drink is called “Bawls”.
Bawls Guarana is a soft drink containing a relatively large amount of caffeine (approximately 80 mg per 12 oz and 67 mg per 10 oz bottle). It contains caffeine and natural guarana flavor among other ingredients. It is popular at LAN parties, technical support offices, and among paintballers.
Check out Zoemorn’s blog on this.
Slang and Terminology
There are many different words, abbreviations and ways of saying things that are created of many different games and gaming communities. Most of these are in common with internet slang.
Leetspeak (or Leet/1337)
“Leetspeak” is a form of writing that is very popular in many online games, particularly FPSes like "Counter-Strike", "Team Fortress", "Half-Life 2 Deathmatch" and more. Leet is another way of writing “Elite” as in "being better than the rest", mostly referring to game skills or hacking skills.
Leetspeak (other variations: 13375p34k, 1337, l33t and more) is the perturbation or modification of written text. It is mostly used in English but also common in Russian, Chinese, Greek and others.
Leetspeak typically replaces letters with numbers but may also use special characters found in other languages or punctuation:
O = 0, I or L = 1, Z = 2, G = 6, T = 7, S = 5, A = 4, B = 9, E = 3,
J, Q and Y are usually not replaced by anything else. A ck will usually be turned into an x; such as haxor or haxxor and suxor as opposed to hacker and sucker.
There is also suffixes such as -zor, -xor, -age, -ness, -ed and even -& (and). Sometimes -& is replaced with 7 (because by pushing shift and 7 you get &).
Misspelling and loose grammar are also usually deliberate and common in Leetspeak. Words can be replaced by numbers or symbols that sound like the words like b& (or band/banned) or h8 (hate). Typical Internet abbreviations such as rofl or lol are used and usually coupled with mistakes (accidental or on purpose):
The ‘ones’ are common mistakes when typing in a hurry. By typing many exclamation marks, you may accidentally hit the one key before your shift key. Many users of Leetspeak tend to add in a one or eleven (as a word). The z in front of OMG (oh my God) is common mistake when trying to push the shift key and accidentally hitting the z key.
Many of these mistakes are now deliberate in Leetspeak. Other common mistakes may be teh or t3h for the, eva, evah or evar for ever, j00 for you, and much more.
Words from other languages have become prevalent in Leetspeak: words such as “Uber” from the German language, meaning “over or above”, usually means superiority.
Leetspeak has been frowned upon by many communities as a ‘retarded’ way of saying things.
Newbie (or n00b, newb, n3wb…)
Newb or more commonly, noob, is commonly considered an insult but is also used to describe people new to something or ignorant of something.
Newbies to a game, online forum or a group are usually frowned upon and rejected, usually because the ones that rejected the newbie may not have the patience to deal with them or think the newbie may be harmful in some way. Or their questions can be easily answered through self-help.
The term "noob" is also used in retaliation to being defeated. Typically in FPS games, one may call someone a ‘noob’ because of a choice of weapons or strategies.
Noobs have usually been considered obtrusive and major annoyances. A noob doesn’t necessarily mean someone who is new but someone who may be or act like an idiot.
There are also variations of “Leetspeak” known as “Noob Talk” or nub-talk. Usually it is the usage of Leetspeak but with harsh misspellings and poor grammar usage such as:
_0x n00bx0rh4x g0t5 g1b |\/|3 9r3 m0n3y5 i d14d pl0xh4x0r n00b p00nj00w1l|)y!
Translation: Oh my God the fear please noob hacker needs to give me the money; I died please hacker noob easily defeat you wilderness!
Or more commonly and simply:
OMG LOLOLOLO U SUK!!!!!!!11
Translation: Oh my God (laughing out loud) you suck!
These are just examples. The above is an extreme form whereas the latter example is a more common use of noobtalk.
A headshot is a term used in FPS games to signify that someone has been shot in the head. Being shot in the head usually is an instant kill and considered a form of FPS prowess.
The term “BOOM! HEADSHOT!” was made popular by a famous online celebrity (a professional gamer) known as FPS_Doug in the online series: "Pure Pwnage."
The term “Headshot” was also made popular by the game "Unreal Tournament" when the game would announce “Headshot” when a player shot another one in the head.
There are also many other terms, many of which originate from FPS games like “Frag” that means kill and “Gibs” or short for “Giblets” which are internal organs that are sprayed across the game when a character not only died but exploded.
Fanboyism refers to a person that is a devote fan to a particular brand. This is usually seen with video game consoles and its three major brands: Sony’s Playstation, Nintendo’s mix of different consoles and Microsoft’s Xbox.
A Fanboy (or a Fangirl) usually hold’s their favorite brand above all else, usually slandering the opposing brand and holding theirs with obsession.
Fanboys don’t have to be all about consoles. Other popular Fanboy brand obsessions may be a web browser, like Mozilla’s Firefox, or the Apple franchise, or the two most popular mainstream processor manufacturing companies: Intel and AMD.
Farming is a general term in MMORPGs that signifies the act of acquiring many in-game items like currency, weapons, armor or more and then selling it for real money in popular auctions such as eBay.
Farming is illegal in most games but is a popular business in countries such as China. One game, Second Life, revolves around paying real money for everything in the game and many companies or individuals have made money from it.
Similar businesses are “power-leveling” that revolves around paying someone real money to level your character in an MMORPG, getting money and other virtual goods but in many cases has resulted in scams.
Computer and Video Game Controversy
Video Game controversy is a popular issue around the world and a popular subject portrayed by the media.
It mostly started with games such as Doom (by Id Software, 1993, FPS) and Mortal Kombat series (first game around the early 1990s, action). Such games contained a lot of graphic violence, blood and gore that concerned many parents and groups, especially with the possibility of minors playing such games.
Later on, the ESA or Entertainment Software Association, created the ESRB or the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which rates most commercially released software and gives it a rating based on its content. There is also the PEGI system in Europe, which is similar to the ESRB.
But that didn’t stop arguments over video game violence with games such as “Grand Theft Auto” by Rockstar Games being released. The Grand Theft Auto (or GTA) series allows you to participate in many crimes and gangs and consists of killing innocent people, carjacking and the ability to have sex with prostitutes, although this doesn’t contain any actual sexual acts.
One incident that sparked a lot of controversy was the Columbine High School shootings that resulted in the death of many students and one teacher. The criminals were said to be fans of many FPS games and resulted in heavy criticisms and media scrutiny of the video game industry.
Many lawyers and politicians such as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jack Thompson have vied for laws to control video game violence. They have become infamous in the gaming community because of it. They have also gained much attention from video game journalism websites and magazines.
And thus concludes my brief article on the computer and video gaming culture. There is so much left unsaid and that I can continue on for ever with the complexity and content of the video gaming culture. I have put forth a lot of time into research and authenticity of this article.
|4 User Comment(s) • 3 root comment(s)|
| Kessandra (1008) Feb 10, 2007 - 04:40 am|
|There is so much on the culture of video gaming that I can make an entire encyclopedia-sized book on it, so I only put in a few terms and things. Like the introduction states, the gaming culture, like other vast cultures, contains many sub-cultures that came from individual games, genres, clans, communities, etc.|
To let you know, for the "Slang and Terminology" section, it is devoted to slang derived from gaming and is not to be confused with Internet slang, which consists of all the abbreviations like lol and rofl and more.
Also please be aware that any terms related to computers or actual video game consoles have been left out because this is about gaming.
This blog entry is also more an informative article than the portraying of one's emotions or thoughts.
I put forth a lot of time and effort on this and I hope you enjoyed and I'd appreciate any and all criticism and comments.
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