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Is That So?

Here's where I, Penelopae, blog about all things gaming. From text-based MUDs to the latest graphic adventures, I'm open to playing all games equally and without bias. Why don't you join me?

Author: penelopae

Suggested Gaming-Related Additions to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

Posted by penelopae Thursday August 16 2012 at 8:56AM
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Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is one of my favorites. It provided me with invaluable help not only in getting through high school and college, but also every day that I work as a freelance writer – which is just about every single day. I still have my battered, dog-eared copy from high school with original notes in the margins, some of them useful, some of them witty, and some of them just plain illegible. But where I used my dictionary the most was when gaming. You see, early versions of CMUD didn’t have automatic spellcheck and I was not going to ruin my nerd-girl image with something as common and foul as a spelling mistake.

But as much as I love my dictionary, it’s sorely outdated. Every year new words are added that have significant evidence of usage. And who provides that evidence? That would be written sources, from the pages of books to labels on our favorite alcoholic beverages. It can’t be a single instance though. The term has to be used with regularity over a long period of time. It even includes abbreviations to an extent. For instance, their website defines OMG as “oh my God” but doesn’t have an entry for WTF, which could mean a few different things. In the popular text MUD I play, it stands for “What the foozle?” with foozle being a type of scavenger hunt game.

Here are a few gaming terms that aren’t yet in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary that would enhance the resource guide with their presence. After all, they’re found in the Urban Dictionary and we all know its level of reliability.

  • pwn (verb) – Born when a WarCraft map designer misspelled “own”, the term pwn means to dominate. Any time you use owned as a synonym for dominate, you can replace it with pwn instead. An example is, “Last weekend while playing Call of Duty World at War, I found that map packs helped me to pwn the zombies.” Merriam-Webster suggests porn, prawn, prong, born, and pram as spelling suggestions on this one.
  • f2p (adjective) – This term means “free-to-play” and usually refers to games that also have a paid version or a pay-for-perks option. Here’s an example, “Iron Realms produces text-based games that are f2p while offering pay-for-perks to help players achieve top rankings faster than through in-game methods alone.” Merriam-Webster not only lacks the term, but they also tried to refer me to VP, FPO, fib, fob, and flap as options. Whatever.
  • arpee – (noun and a verb, depending on its usage) – Arpee is the phonetic spelling of RP, or RolePlay. I’m not talking about “teacher I’ve been naughty and need a spanking” roleplay, but the other kind where you roll stats for the persona of a neutral-good knight who battles chaotic-evil dragons and then spend your weekend typing furiously at your keyboard while trying to get to level 23. When I searched Merriam-Webster for the term, they suggested rupee, harpy, and aerobe instead. I don’t eve know what an aerobe is, but I’m guessing it has nothing to do with World of Warcraft.
  • skillset – (noun) This means a collection or group of skills and abilities. An example would be, “I was going to change from druid to magi but the skillset was all jacked up and I would have lost all my SPs.” However, if you look for it in the Merriam-Webster dictionary prepared to be directed to terms such as stylistic, thickset, and sightless instead.

Now, surprisingly they did have a few terms that are related to gaming even if their definitions were a little skewed. Bot was described as the larva of a botfly, especially ones that infest horses. As a verb they define keel as being cool, and suggest that it’s more or less a noun that means a flat-bottomed, coal-carrying barge. And of course, their only description for the abbreviation ATM refers to the machine that spits out cash. But, not all hope is lost. They did add f-bomb, sexting, and man cave along with this year’s entries.

What gaming-related words would you like to see added to the dictionary besides the ones above? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

Why I Won’t Do Windows (8)

Posted by penelopae Tuesday August 14 2012 at 1:04PM
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I hate change. There, I said it! I didn’t like when Windows went from XP to Vista and wasn’t that impressed when Vista transitioned over to Windows 7. And I’m not happy that the next time I get a new laptop, that it will most likely have Windows 8 or higher. It would be different if the changes made it better but they’re not really better…they’re just, different. Here are some of the more specific reasons why I’m not looking forward to Windows 8, et al.

The Windows Store – I have Steam and Google Play, and that’s enough. I’m tired of sharing my credit card information with different companies. I don’t care if it’s the Tiffany’s of gaming stores, I’m going to stick with buying from the places where I’m comfortable buying, and that’s it. Fortunately most of the gaming I do is through a text MUD and it requires no download at all.

The Metro Interface – Convenient shortcuts cleverly disguised as colorful tiles looks fun on the surface, but deep down, it’s just annoying and glitchy. Don’t believe me? Try using it with a touch screen. It disappears like the statue of liberty under the command of David Copperfield. (So I’m told, unless you’re using a Samsung tablet which seems to sync nicely.) Or try using it to make changes to your PC. Figuring out how is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

The Misleading Clicks – You know how on a flash interface you move your pointer into the little popup box and click? Yeah, you don’t do that with Windows 8. I understand Microsoft wanting to be new and different, but why did they have to try being different in a way that challenges everything I’ve ever known about using a computer or surfing the web? Did I mention I dislike change?

Wherefore Art Thou Buttons – Because the new interface doesn’t show any kind of address bar or tabs, how the heck was I supposed to find what I had opened as far as browsers and programs? I did find the answer when surfing the web on my Kindle Fire instead (Right-click an empty area on the webpage and abracadabra, there are the controls!) but really, how annoying.

Give Me All My Music Apps or Give Me Silence – Sure, the apps look pretty appearing as neat boxes that either have the traditional Windows music note icon or a copy of the album cover. However, if you have a big collection of music you can forget conveniently seeing it all at one time. When I’m playing my favorite games, which are some of the best F2P MMORPGs, I need certain soundtracks for things like hunting textual zombies and vampires. Only being able to see a limited portion of my music at a time makes it time consuming to find just the right track.

If I were using a Samsung tablet exclusively, I’m sure I’d love Windows 8 despite my resistance to change. But while working on my laptop computer I’m not such a fan at all. I hear even Executive VP of Game Design for Blizzard, Rob Pardo tweeted his dislike for the platform saying it “was not awesome for Blizzard.” And Valve’s Gabe Newell calls it “a catstrophe for everyone in the PC space.” Ouch! Reasons for this are why more and more computer gaming users are turning to Mac or Linux.

If you’d like to weigh in on the topic, I’d love to hear from you. Windows? Linux? Mac? Something else? Just leave a message in the comments section. I’d love to read it!

Happy gaming,
Penelopae

What is Your Gamer Sign? – Part 2

Posted by penelopae Monday August 6 2012 at 3:47PM
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Welcome back! Last week I posted Part 1 of this article, which bases what profession your character should take up on your astrological sign. Now let’s entertain what professions people born in the other half of the year might pick based on the month and day of their real-life birth.

The Occultist (September 23 – October 22)

You are a true diplomat, which makes you the perfect candidate to work the dark magics of the occult into places where they’d least expect it. Your peaceful nature makes it easy for others to trust you, and your romantic charm makes you a surefire hit with members of the opposite sex. While flirting, make sure you aren’t influenced to work for the other side, as flattery often tempts your self-indulgent side. Your inability to make a decision is your Achilles’ heel, so while it’s tempting to change your mind, sometimes you’ll have to just make a decision and stick with it, even in RPGs and text MUDs.

The Serpent (October 23 – November 21)

My, my, aren’t you a determined one, serpent of the astrological charts? The passionate, broad range of emotion that runs high within your core being is only tempered by your lust for power. As a serpent, your natural sense of jealousy is why you covet what others have, so why shouldn’t you steal it for yourself? Or better yet, steal it and sell it at a profit? Your ability to keep secrets and natural intuition will help you succeed in your new, shady career as one of Achaea’s more devious classes, as long as you are careful that your obsessive, obstinate traits don’t blow your cover.

The Master of Blades (November 22 – December 21)

Your eternal optimism draws others to you, and it’s the same with the class of the Blademaster. Your intellectual and philosophical sides are as sharp as the unique blade you will possess with Kavaya’s aide and Murad’s skill at the forge. Whether you fight for the side of good, the side of evil, or follow your heart and just fight for freedom in general, your honesty and jovial personality make you the perfect people-person to help recruit others to join in the battle. However, at times your optimistic can be as blind as love between a siren and a satyr, and your decisions might appear tactless and superficial to those who don’t know you well.

The Dark Knight (December 22 – January 19)

You are the Batman of Achaea, except you can’t always be depended on to fight for the side of what is true and right. You are practical and disciplined, which might make you a good candidate as an Infernal Knight who fights for Mhaldor, the City of Evil. However, your natural sense of humor and careful ambitious side mean you’ll get along well in any city. Because you can be a bit pessimistic, if not fatalistic, you’re a good person to lead the army in battle because, let’s face it, you’re probably all going to die anyway. If fighting for evil isn’t for you, there’s always the Runewarden class, which is popular in every other city but especially Cyrene, where it originated.

The Defender of Nature (January 20 – February 18)

Like all good tree huggers, Sentinels are generally happy, friendly humanitarians who can be depended on for their honesty and loyalty. You’re very smart, always coming up with original, inventive ways to protect the forests and take out its foes. Your lack of emotion towards others comes in handy when fighting off enemy forces, but certainly won’t earn you any favors with the opposite sex. And when you do get the chance to interact, your almost perverse way of joking is a bit of a turnoff to most others. Be careful; your unpredictable behavior makes you seem detached and tends to drive people away as well.

The Performer (February 19 – March 20)

Everyone knows that people born in this time are naturally creative, which is why it’s dedicated to the Bards and Jesters of Achaea. (But mostly it’s dedicated to bards who study performance art, while jesters are just semi-funny in their attempts to entertain the masses.) Your imagination knows no bounds, and your sensitive nature shines through your art, whether you’re being sensitive towards the subject matter or are reacting to the fact that someone hurt your poor, little feelings. Your downfall is that you tend to use your art as a means of escape and it leaves you a little out of touch with reality, a fact that allows you to be easily led by anyone with a stronger nature.

So, dear readers, do any of those sound like you? Personally, I am a Pisces and do happen to play a bard who gets lost in art. Imagine that! I hope you enjoyed the article, and would love to read your comments. Thanks for stopping by!

Textually yours,

Penelopae