I’m an old school gamer. I started on Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog. I graduated from console gaming to PC gaming when I went to college and I began with first person shooters like Half-Life and, of course, the infamous Quake. Quake was the game everyone played at LAN parties, no matter what the latest gaming fad was at the time. It was a staple.
As is common in every gaming community, Quake players developed various colloquial expressions. The most common word among the nomenclature was “frag”. There were t-shirts, bumper stickers, and various other paraphernalia that donned various phrases using the word. If you are not familiar with the word “frag” it meant that when you killed someone, or you were killed, you weren’t just mortally wounded; usually fragged meant your death was a grisly explosion or dismemberment that left parts of you scattered about. The MMO genre doesn’t have such graphic fatalities so, I think, “frag” loosely evolved into the word “pwn”.
Personally I like frag better and I wish there was a way to bring it back. The fact is MMO gamers have already established their own set of colloquial expressions so introducing a new term would be very difficult. Also, the games themselves would need to properly reflect what it meant to frag, or be fragged, when a player dies. Somehow I can see such macabre graphics being met with much opposition once the ESRB became involved. If the ESRB rating is too mature it could adversely impact the sales of the game.
Personally I think introducing these kinds of deaths to an MMO would be pretty cool. Sometimes such visual indications of victory can make you feel extremely triumphant. Maybe one day an MMO will come along that has this feature, and maybe one already exists that I just haven’t played yet. Either way, it was a fun trip down memory lane and reminiscing about Quake has made me want to go dig up my old install disks.
(P.S. The image I used for this post is the iconic image used by Penguin Computing who are known for delivering high-performance computing solutions.)