New Computer Games

Computer games and video games have spawned another language – one which is littered with either words that have meaning only within the game itself, or have a specific meaning to the game that would be difficult to understand outside of the game, or a mass of acronyms and abbreviations that make an average conversation between two gamers look as though somebody took away all almost the vowels, shook the letters up together in a big box, ditched about half of them, and then took two or three out randomly at a time to construct a sentence.

The test of a true gamer would be to understand a sentence which might run along the lines of ‘lol, pwned – is drop bop? Do CoT later? Brb’ – what looks like garbled rubbish. Translated into proper English the sentence might read – ‘That was funny – that character just got heavily defeated. Can you sell the item it dropped, or will it be limited to whoever picks it up? Shall we do the part of the game called ‘Caverns of Time’ later? Hang on a minute, I just have to go – I’ll be back in a minute.’

The reason that gamers use abbreviated words in this way is partly because it saves time when you type the same few words a great deal of the time, and also, it means that you can talk or communicate more quickly. This allows gamers to discuss tactics whilst very busily involved in a complex battle.

Many gamers are now starting to use advances in internet technology to use voice communications instead, which can improve game play when working as part of a team. Each player has a microphone and either headphones or speakers, and can then talk to the other players, wherever on the planet they may be. The problem with this, of course, is that in a very busy battle there can be a great many people in a group – sometimes as many as fifty, and voice communications becomes impossible. A few text commands using key words is still a preferred method in these situations.

To provide a few explanations of a of the most common video game abbreviations, the word ‘lol’ is an acronym for ‘laugh out loud’ and is used to express humour, mostly in response to something funny that someone has said or done. Extensions to this are ‘rofl’ which means ‘rolling on the floor laughing’ which denotes great humour, and there are other, less repeatable alternatives beyond this.

The word ‘pwned’ has a strange heritage, and comes from a misspelling on an old, but very popular computer game. The word was supposed to be ‘owned’ and denoted the fact that one team or the other had conquered territory and now occupied, or owned, the opponent’s base. This has remained a popular word to use, and now refers to a situation where a player, monster or group has been conquered or defeated, at which point they are said to have been ‘pwned’. ‘I pwned you’ would mean ‘I have defeated you’, and is mostly said within the context of either humour or derision.