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18 February 2011

GameSpeak: Changing Communication Online

by PMS PinkSheep”

Remember the days in school when we used the "F" language? The special way of talking (nothing offensive if you know how it works) that allowed us to speak to each other without whispering or passing notes, right in the face of other unsuspecting and uncool schoolmates who stared at us goggle-eyed as we chirped our deepest and darkest secrets in broad daylight?

Then there was netspeak. Which emerged as the digital age caught on, with acronyms like “LOL” or “IMHO” catching the imagination of communities as the world went on a frenzied scuffle to show everyone else that they’ve been there, done that.

(And then now every other bloody thing is shortened to an acronym and people don’t even remember the original anymore, but anyway…)

Lets turn the clock back ten years, to a scene where me, my brother and a friend K were sitting around at some 4.30am at the Al-Ameen coffeeshop opposite Beauty World, chewing on our pratas and theory-debating the most effective % of magic find in Diablo 2. Dean tells a joke, and K breaks out laughing and half-bending over his seat in amusement.

But suddenly K is all-serious. He says, “In future, people would no longer laugh out loud even if they’re physically with their friends. Everyone would go “LMAO LMAO LMAO LMAO” (note: pronounced “la-mao” x4) when they find something funny.”

I mused then as I muse now. Has his ‘prophecy’ not come true? Do we not go “LOL” instead of laughing or “WTF” when we meet with an incredulous situation? Like how I now go “star-whines” (for *whines) when I am exasperated. Social media, in all its infancy, will transmute communication even further. But that’s a topic for another time.

Enter gaming. A phenomenon that is heading in a clear and profitable future with the iPhone entering everyone’s pockets and Facebook taking over the majority of “set this to my home page” in the world. Social games giant Zynga rakes in US$600M per year in revenue. Top competitive gamers like SlayerS earn an excess of US$300K annually.

Gaming is fast-becoming – if not already is – a culture anyone connected to the digital and electronic space is part of. Even if you don’t identify yourself as a Gamer, you would most likely have tried Angry Birds, Café World or Snake. And would have been exposed to the circle of people who partake in these games and the culture and GameSpeak that surrounds them.

For DotA-ers, we commonly refer to big and unsightly spectacles as “Pudges”. A “Lina” is a hot and busty babe, and getting ‘sent back to fountain’ is a metaphor that means being ‘eliminated to starting point’. Such as: the interviewer sent me back to the fountain. (Makes the clueless person wonder what sort of job you were applying for.)

These references have become second nature to us, and will eventually enter mainstream-speak if enough people start playing DotA, which has rich and unifying metaphors and phrases.

The question is then, which game will it be?

Being no expert in gaming, I have no satisfying answer. But armed with general sense and sensibility, I would postulate that the person, group or organisation who is able to unify all gamers across the globe like the Emperor Chin will be the one who will bring about real change in the way we communicate online.

And we as gamers, would become pioneers of the next communication revolution.

6 comments:

  1. Such is the modern era of the Internet. Things tends to influence everything around it. We copy fashion trends set by name brands, celebrities, and friends. Bacteria gain diversity through copying the genes of other bacteria around it. Even in gaming, players often copy, learn, and practice various strategies in Starcraft II, and theorycraft and perfect heroes and line-ups in DotA, based on performances and replays by professional-level players.

    You're right. In fact, as gamers, we have already influenced the world in multiple ways, and the communication factor is just merely another kill to extend our Dominating Streak.

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  2. i always hear people saying FRO and bm in dota. what does it mean?

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  3. Knightsynergy: yes but I believe that gaming will be one of those with a more pervasive and permanent influence.

    Anon: play the game and find out.

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  4. I'm a rogue knight. ye!
    rofl.

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  5. i can imagine furyfish turn off her volume to avoid getting scold at during scrims..

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