We’re not psychopaths: speaking gamer lingo in public

I am 100% guilty of this and that’s probably half the reason I find it hilarious.  You know when you’re out in public and you start talking with your gamer friends about schooling some noobs or when you have questions about how you beat that one ‘impossible’ boss?  You just start getting so passionate and involved in your stories that you completely forget that fact that you’re in line for fast food or sitting at your favorite local restaurant.  These scenarios lead to those awkward moments when the waitress approaches your table and you just mentioned how you were teabagging corpses or having trouble deciding which window you wanted to break to kill the head of the church.  Yea… we’ve all been there.

Despite this being embarrassing most of the time, there is a certain beauty in the mixed reactions that come out of outsider entering the conversation.  Sure you’ll get the occasional gamer that will laugh and then proceed to tell you how to beat Ornstein and Smough solo, but most the time people will have NO idea what you’re talking about.  Some people will awkwardly chuckle, some will stand wide eyed and timid, some will look horrified, and some will try to completely ignore the fact they heard anything (try hards).

Ornstein and Smough

Often it is as if we’re in our own little worlds and then again often we are.  Some of the stuff we say is downright ridiculous but we’re just not thinking of just how absurd it really is out of context.  Just imagine, you live in a parallel universe where you don’t know anything about video games and overheard some strangers saying this sort of thing on a bus:

  • “Do unconscious people who fall in water die?”
  • “How do I prevent rats from eating a corpse that I left unattended? Also, is this a bad thing?”
  • “Did you just grab the charm or did you kill everyone in the room?  I’m talking about the prostitutes as well.”    

Yea, they sound like psychopaths.  There are so many questions about murder, moral decisions, and theft.  In context, this conversation about Bethesda’s Dishonored sounds perfectly normal.  Out of context, those two people having this conversation should be arrested.  If you hear people talking about killing goblins or being saved by fairies, it a bit clearer that they are talking about something that isn’t real.  A fantasy term like a ‘goblin’ clearly states to the mind that whatever the conversation is about has nothing to do with reality.  What about when it isn’t so clear though? 


Hell, I understand sports but I’m not as fanatical as many people I know.  I can name the positions of defensive players on a football team, but I’ll be damned if I can tell the difference between ‘I Formation’ and  ‘Dime Formation.’  That’s just as different a language as if I asked my friend if they use offensive or utility masteries on Lux.  It really comes down to how you prioritize your free time, what you find enjoyable, and how main stream what you're talking about is.  I would much rather play League of Legends for three hours than watch football for three hours – fact.

The moral of this story is that people talking about gaming in public really aren’t as bat s#$% crazy as you originally thought – they don't need mental help.  We've all got our vices and things we’re passionate about.  There is nothing strange about wanting to be the best video game assassin or wanting to reach the highest ELO in the world.  I’d even go as far as to argue that gaming is becoming more main stream than ever; video games even seem to be winning the battle over whether or not they' can be considered art.  It’s just a subculture people; we’re not psychopaths. 

Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ