Tag Archives: gaming

Gamer Folk Speech

Context:

My informant, AW, is my 15-year-old brother. He is heavily involved in multiple online gaming communities that exist on Discord and other social platforms and revolve around multiplayer online games such as Valorant and Overwatch. This piece was collected during an informal interview at home when I asked him to share something unique to the gaming community. I refer to myself at SW in the text.

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Main Text:

AW: “Whenever someone is doing really or someone just made a crazy play or an insane play or something like that, um, people would say like you’re popping off or you’re cracked or… um I mean this ones fairly normal but you’re insane or something like that. And people have taken that super far… instead of saying you’re insane people will literally say like ‘you’re absolutely bonkers. You’re mentally unstable.’ Meaning that you did something insane and stuff like that. So yea there’s a lot of terminology like that, that every gamer will understand.”

SW: “Where do you learn it?”

AW: “Um… literally just from talking to people a lot of social cues, a lot of – how I guess you would learn language. It’s just… you don’t ever ask you just kinda know eventually.”

SW: “Why is it important?”

AW: “Cuz every gamer knows it and every gamer says it. It’s… a lot more acceptable to say ‘you’re insane’ or ‘you’re cracked’ than it is to say ‘wow that was a really good play, good rally. That was… that was a good effort. You, you played that very smart.’ Like no one ever says that you say ‘dude you’re insane you’re cracked.’ Or, or you simply just say ‘sheeeeesh.’”

SW: “Which means what?”

AW: “It can mean a lot of things. But in the gaming culture specifically, it’s just a surprised reaction or a… an admiration of something. Like if someone just did something insane you’d go ‘sheeeeeeesh bro.’ Or like… or if someone does something like, super sus, if you know what that means, that’s another word that – yea if someone does that you’d just go ‘sheeeeeesh bro. Sheeeesh.’ It really can be used for anything, it has so many meanings it’s just like, an exclamation. 

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Analysis:

One of my favorite parts of the internet is how quickly folk speech spreads and how some sayings are universal while others only exist within a very specific group. I think the main purpose is to distinguish members of the group from outsiders. As AW mentioned, these phrases are picked up naturally as you spend more time in the community, so it becomes a way to tell how long someone has been in the community. In the gaming community, it’s probably especially important to form a group identity since most people have ever met each other face to face. Gaming folk speech seems to be largely focused on making things more hyperbolic, which might reflect the group culture of being more energetic and dramatic in both your manner of speech and your actions. This probably happens because you can’t rely on body language in these conversations, so you must come up with standardized ways to verbally express emotions of excitement or congratulations that might otherwise be expressed simply through a cheer or a high five.

Resident Evil and the Umbrella Corporation – A Covid Conspiracy Theory

Context:

My informant, AW, is my 15-year-old brother. He is heavily involved in multiple online gaming communities that exist on Discord and other social platforms. This piece was collected during an informal interview at home when I asked him to share something unique to the gaming community. He has heard about this conspiracy theory from many friends and in various internet forums. I refer to myself as SW in the text.

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Main Text:

AW: “There is a huge conspiracy theory going around about corona, and, relating to game called Resident Evil. And um, in that game it is basically a post – well not post but the apocalypse just happened, and um, you’re trying to stay alive and find whatever vaccine you can find, try to get out of that city or something but the entire city has turned to zombies, basically. And you and maybe one other person are still alive. But um, anyway the logo for the Chinese government is like a, or whatever Chinese… the logo for the Chinese… I don’t remember what it is exactly but it’s a… something that had to do with China and covid, and the logo for that uh, lab or brand or whatever it is, is like an umbrella. And it’s blue and white striped in the middle. The logo inside the game for the Umbrella Corporation which is the people who manufactured the vaccine, is that exact same logo just red and white. And people were saying that like… the Chinese whatever it was is the Umbrella Corporation and manufactured the vaccine and they’re gonna turn a bunch of people into zombies and stuff. And there was also, there was another thing that proved that theory, or conspiracy theory, that I don’t remember… But… I think it was like the logo and… I can’t remember but something else related it back to that same company. But that, a lot of people had fun conspirarizing – conspiring. 

SW: Did people actually believe it? Or was it like a…

AW: “Oh there was definitely people who actually believe it. But it was mainly, it mainly just started out as a joke and a ‘hey this is a funny coincidence!’ and then there’s the people who take it a step too far like ‘oh my gosh I actually believe this.’ So that was fun.”

SW: “Where did it start? Did it start like, within the games or did it start on discord or reddit or where did it come from?

AW: “I think it originated off of reddit.”

SW: “Most conspiracy theories come from reddit.”

AW: “Yeah. It was probably off the ResE reddit – Resident Evil reddit. But it… it spread everywhere. Like if you knew what Resident Evil was you know about that.”

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Analysis:

The covid-19 pandemic started millions of conspiracy theories that spread like wildfire online. I think this is because many people are looking for any source to blame for the pandemic, and would much rather unite against a known common enemy than try to fight an invisible virus. As AW mentioned, this particular theory mostly started as a joke based on a coincidence, but as it spread further it began to become an actual belief. This shows how exposure and stories from friends make you more likely to believe something, even if you normally wouldn’t. It’s interesting that it spread to basically everyone who knew about the game, showing how compelling folklore becomes part of the formal culture it is attached to or based on.

Press F

Background: My informant is a friend of mine of Chinese heritage. He is active in the gaming and computer science communities, and is very knowledgeable about memes and internet culture.  The purpose of the call was specifically so that I could gather folklore from my informant, and they were aware about that as well. 

Context: This conversation was recorded on a zoom meeting that we had on a Wednesday afternoon. My informant is a friend of mine, and the conversation occurred in both of our rooms. The purpose of the call was specifically so that I could gather folklore from my informant, and they were aware about that as well. During the call and in between our discussions of different folklore items, we talked socially about how his finals were going. Thus, this conversation relatively casual. The main piece is made up of a transcription of our call.

Main Piece: All right. Like, have you ever heard of people say like f in the chat or like Press F to pay respects.

Me: Oh yeah, that’s like pay respect right

Yeah, press have to pay respect, like that’s like from call of duty. But now, people just use it as a generic way to, like, say like oh I’m sad for you, like, That’s unlucky, whatever.

You do, you know, like how it started in Call of Duty, like how did that happen?

Someone posted like a picture and I don’t know, it was like a meme. So it started as like a picture someone posts that unlike other subreddit, or like some kind of forum. And people just kind of spread the image everywhere. It was like a while ago, but like, kind of like subtle asian traits (a popular Facebook group) y’know. 

Yeah, anyway, so, it was for Call fo Duty Advanced Warfare in that game. There was like a scene when you’re…when you’re playing on PC. Like you’re…you’re at a funeral, and you have to pay respects, so you press the F button that’s just what you do. 

And so like a youtuber actually he uploaded it. Like a video of the sequence about when you touch the like the casket to pay respects and then after that, like when the thing got posted. Conan O’Brien actually…He reviewed the game and criticize the gameplay especially like the Press F to pay respects part because it was like…O, it’s just such a stupid like a meaningless kind of action and then from then on, there were like videos like… so there were like videos called like intense respect playing.

And now…a lot of people just refer to, like, sad events or like if like you’re trying to empathize with someone. They just say F, like in the chat as much as specifically for like Twitch chat, I guess, but like a mutation on the meme.

Thoughts: I was at once really impressed and somewhat surprised about my informant’s knowledge of the meme and/or saying of Press F. My informant is generally the type of individual to be knowledgeable about these things, and the origin of this gaming folklore is relatively recent, so I cannot say I am totally surprised by his knowledge. Nevertheless, I think it’s fascinating how he plays the role of a folklorist as he analyzes and details how the saying and meme has evolved over time.

Wombo Combo

Context:
Playing Super Smash Bros with some friends at my house and one of my friends, S, keeps shouting “Wombo combo” while beating us all. S is a 20-year-old male from California who plays Super Smash Bros a lot.

Piece:
S: *hits me and another person in the game rapidly* “WOMBO COMBO BABY”
Me: “Did you come up with that or did you hear that somewhere?”
S: “Aw nah man, LumpyCPU said it in an old YouTube video but it’s hilarious.”

Discussion:
The video is only 49 seconds and it is clear why S appreciated its value; it’s hilarious. It sounds like two young men getting over excited about their victory in an older version of the game and screaming at the top of their lungs “WOMBO COMBO”. It is clear in the video that other people appreciated the new slang and it created a sense of unity amongst players of this game. It also is a good way to get people around you to laugh by screaming a nonsense phrase that clearly demonstrates excitement.

Reference:
The original video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD_imYhNoQ4

The Floss (Viral Dance)

How to Floss

Context:
Sitting with my grandma, younger sister, mom, and uncle. My sister, M, is 16. We started discussing Fortnite dances and how popular they have become, particularly the Floss dance.

Piece:
Me: “You can’t go anywhere without seeing a kid doing the floss dance.”
M: “Yeah, we were just at the Phillies game with dad and almost every kid on the screen started doing the Floss”
Grandma: “Flossing their teeth on the screen”
Me: “No hahaha, it’s a dance. It was online first, some kid was doing it at a Katy Perry concert on stage and then it blew up. Now it’s in that game Fortnite.”
M: *Starts doing the floss*
Me: “Yeah… I can’t even do it…”

Discussion:
I’m sure that thousands of people have had this same conversation because of how popular the dance craze is amongst the youth and their parents always having to ask them what they heck they are doing. The origin of this dance started with “the backpack kid” on SNL performing with Katy Perry in May of 2017. The internet quickly captured the moment and immortalized it in a meme and spread it like wildfire. By September 2017 the “Floss Dance” had earned its name and made its way into the game of Fortnite, an international sensation video game. At this point, everyone under the age of 15 was practicing the floss dance at their home, trying to perfect the arm movements. Every parent around the world was confused as to why their child was flailing their arms in such a way, until they did some research and learned the terminology. Now, “The Floss” is a common household reference and more people know of it than don’t.