Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

7 July, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: A new word
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 2:06 AM

Over at Brenda Brathwaite’s insightful blog, she talks about how she dislikes the term “gamer” on a very personal level.

So, this week, weigh in on your thoughts and propose new terms!

One issue brought up in the comments that I side with is that the media has put a lot of negative connotations with the word. You think of the pasty nerd gaming from mom’s basement, unable to grow out of his Peter Pan obsession with kid’s things.

Unfortunately, though, the term fits with other terms in English, so it’s hard to think of a new term that fits. The proposed “player” also has negative connotations based on popular culture, usually dealing with loose sexual morals; well, maybe that is an upgrade to mom’s basement.

Anyway, what do you think? Can you propose a new term?


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7 Comments »

  1. Ludist.

    Comment by Evil Dan — 7 July, 2008 @ 7:33 AM

  2. I do not intend to come up with a new term. The entire idea of changing the name is rubbish. It makes the same false assumption as the usual political correctness does: Let’s substitute a term with (real or imagined) bad meaning with another – fresh – term and the problem will vanish. That is wishful thinking. That is a not-solution. That is putting style over substance. That won’t work.
    Of course it’s the preferred “solution”, because it’s much easier as trying to change the public’s perception of something.

    But that’s how politics is (not) working all the time: do something that takes few effort but looks as if it would solve a (real or imagined) problem.

    In the above mentioned case with the term “gamer”, I’m inclined to just say “live with it or stop gaming. Don’t care what other people think”.

    Comment by DeltaTango — 7 July, 2008 @ 8:19 AM

  3. Gamers is gamers. We are who we are. I’ve never called myself a gamer either, and yes, it is because I don’t want to give people those negative ideas. In my case they’re inaccurate. I tend to call myself a ‘game enthusiast’, or a ‘hobbyist designer’. I think, for economic and demographic purposes, I’m best described as a ‘casual gamer’. With the micro and macro semantics covered, I don’t see a need for a new word either.

    Comment by Bret — 7 July, 2008 @ 3:32 PM

  4. I’m with DeltaTango concerning words when the goal is to manipulate mass behavior by replacing with a new word an existing word for some thing or concept perceived to have undesirable connotations. I absolutely despise that kind of weaseling.

    taxes -> “contributions”
    illegal alien -> “undocumented immigrant”

    Bleccch. No, thank you.

    However, I don’t think that’s what Brenda’s after. I take her at her word; the word “gamer” just bugs her.

    So in the spirit of play (wink), I thought I’d try to come up with some alternatives.

    “Ludens” was also the first direction I went, but that’s actually not proper Latin. If I remember my Latin correctly, the right way to modify the root “ludo-” to mean a person would be “lusor.”

    I’m going to guess that we don’t want to call ourselves “lusors.”

    The other word commonly associated with “ludens” is “paideia.” Although paideia is given a technical definition of “unstructured play” (where ludens is treated more like the hardcore rules-based play found in most computer games), it’s not so far off that it wouldn’t fit.

    Unfortunately, “paideian” (or paidian) doesn’t sound enough like any existing English word to really grab people. It probably wouldn’t catch on.

    On balance, then, I’m good with “gamer.” If there are negative connotations, it’s up to gamers to behave in ways that erase the connotations.

    I’ll just hold my breath for that one….

    Comment by Bart 'Flatfingers' Stewart — 7 July, 2008 @ 4:18 PM

  5. Funners.

    Comment by Sock Puppet — 7 July, 2008 @ 7:32 PM

  6. I’m a lusor! I love it.

    Comment by Evil Dan — 8 July, 2008 @ 9:31 AM

  7. With all due respect to Brenda, I think trying to come up with a new term is a hopeless cause.

    Funny story: when I was working at Communities.com, they wanted to stop using the term “avatar”. They thought the word was too intimidating for new users, so they wanted to replace it with a new term. They also wanted to move away from The Palace software, so they didn’t want to use the term “palace”, either. Referring to the “avatar palace” was fun for some people after the company implemented a “lose a quarter if you say the bad word” system.

    The irony of it all? Chip Morningstar worked there, the person who is usually credited with coining the term “avatar”. (See: http://www.moyak.com/researcher/resume/papers/avatars.html) Communities.com just ended up a victim of the dot-com crash, despite their attempts to re-define the words they felt were impeding their success.

    An interesting bit of trivia for those of you who read comments after they’re no longer fresh. :)

    Comment by Psychochild — 14 July, 2008 @ 2:03 AM

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