A new identity

TL;DR version: I changed my identity to Nimgimli on a bunch of services so if we’re friends and you see that pop-up, it’s just me. Now here’s the LOOONG version:

Finding a ‘handle’ to use online can be tough. You wouldn’t think I’d be struggling with this given I’ve been online for something like 40 years at this point, but here I am.

Way way back on GEnie and Compuserve I had 2 handles: CaptCook and JadedGamer. The first was because at the time I was a cook and I admired the historical figure Capt. James Cook. The second was because I fancied myself a game critic and thought it made me sound edgy and authentic (hey, I was young).

Of the two, JadedGamer stuck. When the Internet started taking off as a mainstream thing I had a site called The Jaded Gamers Pub which I ran for years under the name Jaded and for a long while that was how I was known. When Xbox Live came online 16 or 17 years ago I grabbed that gamertag for continuity.

By the time the Playstation Network came online, this blog existed. I tried to get Jaded as my PSN name but it was taken, so I used Dragonchasers instead. The Dragonchasers name is intended to reflect both the literal in terms of the kinds of games I most played (fantasy RPGs where often a dragon was an ultimate baddie) and an homage to one of my favorite movies, Knightriders

Knightriders was about a group of people trying to re-live/re-invent Camelot in modern times. They were a traveling band that put on a jousting show, only instead of horses they rode motorcycles. It starred a young Ed Harris as Billy, their would-be Arthur and the person who most believed in the dream. In the movie at one point an exasperated Billy describes his quest as “chasing the dragon” which I adopted as an expression that meant searching for a nearly insurmountable challenge or dream and trying to attain it. [Of course these days Chasing the Dragon is a heroin term.]

Years went by and my “Jaded” tag on Xbox Live started to chafe. The gaming community changed and EVERYONE was jaded/cynical and I stopped seeing being jaded as a positive thing. At the same time I was constantly being hassled by people who wanted to buy the gamertag from me. One day I got a very polite request from someone and decided “Ah screw it, I’ll just give it up.” I switched it to “Traellan” which is the name of a character I had in Dark Age Of Camelot.

There’s no special meaning behind Traellan other than I liked the sound of it and it is easy to shorten to “Trae.” I got it wherever I could and tried to homogenize around it, with mixed results. Yesterday Sony finally started letting us change our PSN names so I charged off to get “Traellan” there too, but it was taken. Damn it!

So in a fit of pique I decided to change everything again. Now I’ve gone with Nimgimli which is, in my mind, based on a goblin character from an old fighting game. I had to turn to my old pal Irata to remember the name of it. The game was called Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft and the character I remember as Nimgimli was actually “Nym Pymplee the mad goblin” which is a less appealing name. But if you watch this clip, to me it still sounds like Nimgimli:

The good news was “Nimgimli” was available pretty much everywhere. I now have it on Steam, Xbox Live, Playstation Network, Twitter, Twitch, and Origin. So far. I like it because it’s a little silly, easy to shorten to Nim, and isn’t loaded with any kind of meaning. It’s just a name. So if you see a mad goblin show up in your game or timeline, it’s probably me.

So all this talking about me has me curious about you. Where’d your handle come from? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

A whole new (digital) me!

I’ve been online for a LONG time. My first experiences were with Compuserve and GENie in the 1980s. On GENie I had 2 accounts and one of them was “JadedGamer.” I was pretty active in GENie’s gaming section and was an (unpaid) part of the staff of the video games roundtable.

At some point I went to work for a computer gaming magazine and this was when the Internet was just starting to become widely available to the public. The magazine I worked for (Strategy Plus) set up a forum and I was volunteered to help moderate it. I stuck with my JadedGamer moniker.

When that shut down, I started my own forum called The Jaded Gamer’s Pub, or Jaded’s Pub for short. I shortened my own handle to Jaded. By that time it was just a name…I wasn’t really feeling all that jaded any more.

When Xbox Live became a thing, I had to pick a gamertag so Jaded was the obvious choice. I’ve had it since basically Day 1 of public access to Xbox Live.

Lately though, I’ve had people contacting my bugging me to sell them my gamertag. I’ve also had (though this was some years back) creepy emails written to me because one of the female pro gaming teams had a member using the handle “Jaded” and creepy xbox live users thought my account was hers. For the most part I’ve just blocked anyone who asked me to sell my gamertag just because I didn’t want to be bothered.

Even more recently though, I’ve started to feel a little embarrassed about sharing my gamertag. My days of thinking it was cool to be jaded and cynical are far, FAR behind me.

For a while I made a half-hearted attempt to change my persona to PapaSnark, but that gamertag wasn’t available. Last night I was once again playing around with the ‘change your gamertag’ feature and realized PappaSnark WAS available.

But then I hesitated. I thought “PappaSnark” was kind of catchy, but it was another gamertag that colored a stranger’s perception of me. “Jaded” implies that I’m jaded, and PappaSnark implies that I’m snarky. While I definitely am both those things from time to time, I don’t want to be defined as either of them.

So in a kind-of snap judgement, I changed my gamertag to Traellan. That’s a tag that has no real meaning; it’s a random name I made up for a character way back in Dark Age of Camelot and it’s the name I generally give my characters in single-player games (when they let you create your own character). So to me (and a few close friends) it has some history at least, but to most people it’s devoid of meaning.

It’s also relatively short…one of the reasons I kept Jaded as long as I did was that it was only 5 characters. Adding 3 didn’t seem too bad. On PSN my “Dragonchasers” tag takes up half the screen when it is floating over my head in a game and I hate it.

So the weirdest part of this story is how happy I am now that I changed my gamertag. It’s like I am free from this baggage I’ve been carrying around. I can just be me and love the games I love and not have strangers referring to me as jaded whenever they address me by gamertag.

Now I need Sony to finally let us change our gamertags over there and maybe I can get the same name on both services.

Switching to Windows 8? Read this before you fire up any game apps!

So I took the plunge and installed Windows 8 on my laptop today. Windows 8 allows you to log into your device using a Microsoft Account (formerly called a Windows Live Account). I had one I created back when outlook.com opened up, so I logged in. Everything was going great.

Then I downloaded a free game app, Jetpack Joyride. As soon as I started it up, Windows 8 announced that it had generated a temporary gamertag for my Microsoft Account.

Ha, I hadn’t even been thinking about Xbox Live. I do have an Xbox Live account of course, but it’s associated with a different Windows Live Account.

I did some research and I can “migrate” my gamertag from one email address to another, so I decided to migrate my ‘real’ Xbox Live Gamer Tag to the Microsoft Account I’m using on Windows 8. But I can’t, because now there’s already a gamertag associated with that account. So first I have to migrate the gamertag that Windows auto-generated for me off to another Microsoft account. This is an account I’m creating just for this purpose. Dumb right?

But wait! It gets worse. Since my temporary gamertag was just created today, I can’t migrate it for 30 days. You can only move these things once every 30 days.

So basically I have to wait 30 days before I’m willing to buy any gaming apps from the Windows 8 store, because if I do so before then they’ll be associated with this gamertag I’m trying my best to throw away.

I’m generally happy with Windows 8 so far, but MS really blew it with this one detail. I can’t believe they don’t prompt the user before generating a gamertag….

If you only have one Microsoft account this won’t impact you, but I’m sure I’m not the only one that had an old cruddy hotmail account for my Xbox Live account and would rather use a swanky new outlook.com account for my new system.