Sunday, February 3, 2008

Why "Clark Gable" ?

Well, I finally sat down and played Undertow this weekend--that game Microsoft decided to give out for free because of their lousy XBLive service over the holidays. It's a good game in the same way that a Mitsubishi Mirage is a good car. If you didn't have a car, and were given one of those, you'd probably drive it and be accepting, but if you already had something else, you'd probably ignore the gesture. I can see why Microsoft picked Undertow, seems to say "I'm sorry, I guess, so, here, I found this, take it." Gee thanks, Microsoft, how...thoughtful.

Anyway, moving on to something completely different. I don't know if anyone noticed, but my nickname for posting here is "Clark Gable," and I thought to myself after the first post, "Hm, that might confuse some people." I mean, it isn't really reflective of the blog as a whole, doesn't have to do with video games, etc. Well, this past summer I watched Gone With the Wind (all four hours--yes, four hours) of it and after questioning why I had just subjected myself to that, realized that all the parts of the movie that were actually good had Clark Gable on screen (Rhett Butler for you uncultured losers... the guy that says, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."). Considering I had never seen anyone named as such online (though I'm sure someone, somewhere is) I decided to adopt it for myself.

So that's my excuse. I saw something I thought was original, and pushed it upon my video-gaming self. We all tend to do this. Names are very important to our gaming selves. Just ask any WoW player. Even I can admit guilt to taking over half an hour just trying to come up with the "perfect" name for some character.

Game character names are an identifier. They are the easiest, quickest way that the other people you're playing with can get to know you. Think about it...if you're playing a game online, say, a team-based game, and there are two people on your team, one named "Pvt. Parts" and the other named "NickyQ714", who are you going to want to play with again (assuming they have equal skill)? Names tell people something small and infinitely important about yourself. If you name yourself something clever or obscure, then you probably revel in the fact that some person will notice, point out your name's reference, and praise you for it. It makes you feel good.

Most people have no idea who Clark Gable is/was, though. Once, in a session of Call of Duty 4, someone in the server told me, "Clark Gable was a terrible actor." To which I promptly replied, "Well, I'll try to make him a better sniper." The other guy simply said, "Fair enough," and I went on to go 21-5 (hell yeah). Those small interactions are sometimes the only interactions people have in games. I can't tell you how many times while playing Counterstrike someone with a weird name would join the server and a conversation would erupt because of that (hell, I would change my name to "Jeffery the Efeminine Penguin" sometimes).

So the next time you're stuck thinking about naming yourself/character, let me offer some tips:

-Please avoid numbers are the end of your name. Unless you're coming up with your next AIM screen name, it just looks stupid. For example, Clark_Gable344. Gross.
-Stay away from well known stuff. This isn't because it looks like a bad name, but because chances are a lot of people will have something similar, and then you'll get lost in mediocrity. Though most games today don't allow duplicate names, which leads to the number thing. If that's the case, be more creative.
-Don't be afraid of inside jokes. Just because no one else will know what your name means doesn't mean you can't name yourself that. It'll make a nice conversation piece, anyway.
-Chicks need to accept that they are chicks. I don't know if this is as annoying as the number thing, but for some reason most of the girls (not all) I see out there announce their gender within their names. I always see "RockerGrl223" or "CutieSlayer" or, I don't know... "Ig0tT1ts". We get it, you're a girl that plays games. Amazing.
-The letter "X" does not mean you're hardcore. xXxMETALGUNN3RxXx. ..No.

I'm sure there's a bunch more I could come up with, but then I'd start getting really picky (and starting to rant, and I hate rants), and that isn't my goal here. In fact, I wasn't even planning to make that list until just now. Hm. Anyway, the next time you're playing CoD4 and Clark Gable headshots you, you know who did it. And my gamertag for XBLive is Petey Greene. Who? This guy.

Now, I told myself I would finally finish Assassin's Creed this weekend, but I don't think that's going to happen. Stupid Superbowl. Oh well, go Patriots? I guess?

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