Does your child play a lot of videgames and you just can’t seem to connect to them? Are you attempting to understand games more so you can relate? Is your intention to understand the “videogame culture”? Well, you’ve come to the right place. My intention for this entry is to help parents, and others, how to understand the niche world of videogames. You’ll learn how to understand the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the different terminology used in reference to different things having to do with videogames.
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
We’ll start off with one of the most confusing, complicated, and worthless of information: the ESRB.
The ESRB is a board of random people who volunteer, much like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Developers submit their game to the board and, based off a list of items, decide what the game will be rated at. While there is no law mandating a game be submitted to be ESRB, just like no law requires an MPAA rating for a movie, most “brick-and-mortar” retailers will not carry videogames without one.
On the back of every game is the ESRB rating.
Unlike the MPAA, the ESRB is a confusing system. See, while the MPAA is very obvious with ratings such as G, PG, PG-13, NC-17 (same as an R rating…so….), R, and X/XX/XX with no additional information as to why these are rated the way they are, the ESRB not only puts the rating on the box such as E (everyone), E10+, T (teen), M (mature), and AO (Adult Only), they also put all the reasons why a game is rated the way it is.
So much information is always confusing. I mean, how can you understand a game rating when it says E10+ and lists comedic violence, animated blood, and crude humor as well? Shouldn’t it just be like the MPAA where a rating is given with no explanation? After all, an R rating is an R rating with no difference between movies. The 40 Year Old Virgin is the same R rating as The Expendables, so they are obviously rated R for the same reasons.
Actually…just ignore the rating system all together. It’s worthless. Buy any game you want and never ask questions.
Gamers use a lot of slang in reference to many things in the culture. While some slang is similar to words used by the vast majority of others, the meanings are not the same. It is important to remember that. Also, this is not an all inclusive list. What I have here are the most important ones.
The term “gamer” is hotly debated amongst the gaming community. Some people argue the fact someone plays any videogame makes them a gamer, that is not the accepted definition. The general consensus on the term “gamer” is the following:
Any person who’s main hobby is playing a wide variety of videogame genres in lieu of other activities
So, if your child only plays Skylanders, they aren’t a gamer, they are just playing a game. If your child is only playing Call of Duty: Ghosts, not only do they have poor choices in games, they are not a gamer, they just play a game.
Said as the individual letters, this one is another confusing term. If the game in question has to do with shooting brown people until they stop moving, then it means “First Person Shooter”. If FPS is in reference to how well the game is running, it means “Frames Per Second”.
Not to be confused with the Klan (KKK), a clan is a group of players who play together either for fun or competition against other clans. This is a micro-community within the minor-community (game specific). If your child has a small series of letters, between three and four, before their gaming name, chances are they are part of a clan.
This is all healthy and expected among many players in certain types of games. FPS, for example, have a heavy reliance on clans. So do massive multiplayer online (detailed further down) games. Don’t worry, there have only been sixteen recorded instances of mass suicides in regards to gaming clans.
It’s not a sound a cow makes! Just like FPS, this is said as the individual letters and means “massive multiplayer online”. Generally these games are role-playing games set in a fantasy or science fiction universe.
Most of the appeal of an MMO comes from pretending you’re a strong/important person if you’re worthless, pretending you’re a female when you’re a male, and pretending you’re an underage girl if you’re the FBI. For some people, the allure of interaction with others without any of the actual interaction is a draw. As for the games…they consist of running from town to a far off area, collecting something, bringing it back, and doing so for the next 300 hours all for a $15 a month price tag just to play.
Lag is a massive delay in what is happening in the game to what you are seeing. It’s also known as “God damn fucking bullshit / Fuck this shit / What the fuck / Fucking lag / I’ll fucking kill these fucking fuckholes”.
Lag is to gaming what Colorado drivers are to the road: Ruins the experience of being there.
Gamer Specific Slang
Now on to more specific gamer slang. Just like before, this is not an all inclusive list, and is just a list to help you on your way.
Someone who is new and is terrible at the game. Noobs can make a team lose by the simple act of being present on the team. There are even times when people have tens of hours into a game and they are still noobs.
Ignore anyone calling someone a noob because they are using a certain strategy which is working against them. They’re idiots.
A young child who’s voice sounds like a dog’s squeaking toy every time they open their mouths, making people’s ears figuratively, and sometimes actually, bleed. No one likes a squeaker. If your child hasn’t gone through puberty yet, take the microphone away from them. Chances are, they’re just calling people niggers anyway.
Bears are people who like to focus on MMO’s. Regardless of what character type and gender a person is playing, if they play MMO’s as their main form of videogame entertainment, they are a bear.
There are different kinds of bears, too:
- Brown Bear
-Someone who enjoys playing as an animal tamer
- Black Bear
-Someone who enjoys playing as a girl when they’re a boy
- Sticky Bear
-Someone who enjoys playing as a boy when they’re a girl
- Honey Bear
-Someone who enjoys playing as a thief
- Golden Bear
-FBI pretending to be an underage girl
Should your child like to dress up as a bear, they aren’t a “bear” in the gamer sense…they’re a “fur fag”, which is totally different.
Remember when I said some words are similar, but have different meanings? This is one of them! The word faggot refers to anyone who is cheating in the game. Usually when asked, “What is wrong?” after hearing someone screaming about “This fucking faggot!!!”, they will say, “Someone’s hacking!” Hacking and cheating are pretty much the same thing, and faggot means someone doing either of them.
When used in the gaming culture, faggot does not have anything to do with homosexuality. Gamers don’t care if another gamer is gay, only if they are black. This is why the word nigger means exactly the same thing, but faggot does not. FOR SOME REASON, GAMERS HATE BLACK PEOPLE.
Players in an FPS can be extremely aggressive. While not abnormal, the most aggressive and in charge players are known as “power tops”.
Power tops generally want to always be number one in the game, be the reason their team was rallied to victory, and lead the squad or team. A power top will be the one most likely pointing out the faggots, yelling at the noobs, and calling out people for simply sucking badly. If your child exhibits these behaviors, chances are they are a power top and will appreciate being called one.
What You Can do to Get in With Your Kid
Kids crave attention, and if they aren’t getting it from you, they’re going to get it from the guy the FBI is trying to catch.
At the very least you should watch them from a distance at first. As you learn more about their gaming habits, you can start to encroach a little more each time. Eventually you’ll want to be sitting down with them and either just watch them or play.
As you slowly make your way into their world, make references to how they are a power top, or a bear, or how the faggots are ruining the game for them. It goes a long way to a gamer when a parent shows understanding and interest in their hobbies. They don’t expect you to join them, they just want your acceptance.
If you do decide to join them, however, you’re in for a treat! The easiest way to do so in get on a gaming console and become their friend under a gaming alias. Gaming as a family provides hours of entertainment and valuable family time. If you do go the alias route, only reveal yourself when you feel they’re ready.
If You Decide You Like Gaming
Gaming is as addictive as highly refined cocaine, some psychologists want you believe, so caution must be taken. There are many tales of people losing their minds and lives mid game for reasons science is still researching.
One case in point is of the woman to the right. Her name is Alexandra Tobias and she is serving six life sentences for the mutilation of her three year old daughter. Alexandra was so lost in the fantasy of playing Dig Dug, she lost all hold of reality. Taking a rubber hose, she put it into her daughter’s mouth and blew her up like a balloon. The scene was so devastating and grotesque, several first responders committed suicide just days after witnessing it.
Another case is James Rolf. What happened? Well, James Rolf was so obsessed with beating the game Dr. Jykell and Mr. Hyde he wouldn’t eat, sleep or bathe. Finally, after a two week marathon of gaming, he dropped dead from exhaustion, only two screens from his goal.
Watch yourself and start getting some time with your child. If you can manage the addictive nature of the gaming, you’re in for a long life of happiness!