While it might not have been as popular as some years back, more and more people are realizing the many benefits of playing video games regularly. Gaming is always a chance to relieve stress, improve cognitive function, and boost your social skills as you interact with other players using gaming-specific lingo. The right games can even help improve creativity and create learning inspiration.
And with tech advancements alongside other factors, the gaming industry seems to have developed its unique kind of slang over time. From acronyms to the use of memes and pop culture references, the dictionary is expanding– perhaps enough to create a whole new language or dictionary someday (if the latter is not already present). But how did popular gaming terminologies come to be?
Starting with a brief overview of their origins, here’s a look at how gaming terminology has evolved, including the rising use of memes and pop culture references.
1. An Overview of Popular Gaming Terminologies and Acronyms
As an online gamer, you’re no stranger to the special and often mysterious terminologies used when playing. From ‘AFK’, to ‘GGWP’, to other acronyms such as ‘LOL’, player conversations involve a whole dictionary of words and phrases they use within the game’s environment. There are interesting stories behind how popular gaming terminologies originated.
For example, take the acronym “AFK” (away from the keyboard). This term is thought to have come into existence on MUDs– multi-user dungeons games. According to Quillbot’s article on “what does AFK mean in text,” the acronym was first used in the late 1980s to let the person on the other side of the screen know you’ll be away for a while.
Meanwhile, some believe ‘GGWP’, short for “Good Game Well Played,” traces back even further just like many acronyms we still use today online.
Some of these that can be traced back to the nineties include:
- LOL – Laughing Out loud
- BRB – Be Right Back
- GG –Good Game
- TY – Thank You
- G2G – Got To go
2. The Origins of Commonly Used Gaming Slangs
Common gaming slangs are phrases and expressions which adhere to the online environment’s norms and customized rules synonymous with a particular game or genre to communicate information, tell stories, and share tactics.
For example, “carrying” is a commonly used slang that refers to one player taking on the brunt of responsibility by leading their team out of difficult situations through skillful plays or simply having incredible accuracy with a weapon.
Meanwhile, ‘griefing’ emerged during MMO gameplay as gamers sought ways to disrupt the intentional activities of other players that caused frustration, annoyance, or distress to them. Other terms like “smurf” in gaming (definition here) stem from early shooter titles where one would create multiple accounts – each at different levels so they could play with friends no matter what level their own account was at- creating levels distinctly known as “smurf” accounts.
Thus, while different games are the generators of certain terms, many words and phrases become universally used across titles once popularized online in forums, or even through more recent sources like Twitch streams.
3. How Video Games Have Influenced the Usage of Memes & Pop Culture References in Gaming Language
Video games have long been a platform for players to express themselves and even form fully-functional communities with unique lingo, spawning entire subcultures of Gamers. More recently, popular memes circulating around social media have become a major source of influence on gaming jargon such as ‘salty’, frequently referring to somebody being “upset”.
‘Git Gud’ is another example—popularized by an internet meme playing off actor Kevin Spacey’s character in House Of Cards—which has become a part of gamer vocabulary when someone makes multiple attempts at achieving the same goal or performing similar tasks.
Pop culture references like the Simpsons’ “D’oh” or Star Wars’ well-known phrase “May the force be with you” have also found their way into the gaming space. As new technologies emerge, so will potential comedic one-liners from TV shows and movies find their way into the gaming vernacular! And for what it’s worth, they help make digital conversations consistently vibrant and enjoyable.
4. Examining the Evolution & Recent Development of Terms Through Social Media Platforms
Over the years, the internet has also had a part to play in the evolution and spread of gaming terminology as new terms are created, modified, and adapted to conversations on platforms like Twitch and alternatives like YouTube Gaming. Meme cultures from western websites have seen incredible popularity in recent years, with countless catchphrases used by gamers to express themselves or add complexity to conversations.
Oftentimes, these memes can represent identity politics–such as when people playing Apex Legends would quote iFruit adverts or use the ‘Apple Cider Moment meme’ when referring to feeling giddy after winning their first match. This is not to mention the emojis and emoticons popular in games like First Touch’s Dream League Soccer, most of which are similar to those on everyday social platforms like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, Insta, and the like!
To conclude, some of today’s gaming terminologies can date back decades ago, including expressions we use in regular social interactions like LOL. For the gaming enthusiast, you can’t help but notice that some of today’s expressions and lingo are borrowed from modern-day space.
All this goes to show how popular culture references allow us to discuss gaming worlds on another level. It effectively shows that the many modern-day slang terms we take for granted do in fact stem from older practices such as what MUD players started doing decades ago!
Last Updated: March 27, 2023