The Brief: Here's a guide to the unique slang, communities, and memes that stem from video games and gaming culture.


Video games have been around for decades, but the ways that people play games and socialize with other gamers is rapidly changing. The landscape of modern-day video game culture can seem daunting and strange to outsiders, so here’s a run-down of some of the more prevalent and confusing elements of the games themselves, as well as the interactions that take place around them.


Fortnite is an extremely popular video game available to play online for free. It is a battle royale style game meaning that a group of players or teams compete to eliminate each other until there is only one player or team standing – the winner.

  • V-Bucks are Fortnite’s currency which can be bought with real money or earned through a certain amount of gameplay. V-Bucks can then be used to purchase certain features including emotes and skins. Some V-Bucks related scams have popped up in which sites ask for people’s personal information in exchange for “free V-Bucks” that they’ll never receive.

  • Emotes are victory dances in Fortnite and other video games that available for purchase download. Some are taken from popular real-life dance trends. Others originate in video games and then move into the real world, even becoming NFL victory dances.

  • Skins are outfits and armor worn by video game characters. On Fortnite, they can be purchased with V-Bucks and include everything from panda suits to seasonal specials.

Live Streaming

As video games are increasingly played and talked about online, they are about more than just the hottest game. Video game live streaming technology allows thousands of people at once to tune-in to watch their favorite streamers play video games, commentate, or just goof around. Although the concept of watching a video of someone playing video games may seem silly, many people who watch live streams compare it to the experience of playing video games with friends.

  • Twitch is a popular live streaming platform that hosts mainly gaming-related content. Streamers often play video games while talking to the camera. Other streams may consist of someone’s daily activities, comedy sketches, or anything else they may think of. Streamers can interact with their audiences via a public text chat. Viewers have the option to pay to subscribe or donate to their favorite streamers.

  • Ninja is a popular Fortnite player and live streamer. In addition to competing in professional eSports competitions, Ninja makes videos of his gameplay almost every day. In these streams, he plays games with other streamers and discusses topics brought up in the Twitch chat. He also uploads edited videos to YouTube for his millions of subscribers.

Gaming Lingo

Chat functions within video games and on streaming platforms have fostered the development of gaming-specific slang terms and abbreviations.

  • F In The Chat: Typing “f” into a Twitch chat is a way for stream viewers to “pay their respects” to something or someone. The phrase caught on after a feature in a video game asked players to press F on their keyboard to “pay respects” to virtual fallen soldiers.

  • Noob is a gaming and internet term that means inexperienced and/or lame. It originated from the term “newbie.”

  • GG is an abbreviation for “good game.”

  • Pwn (pronounced like Pone or Pown) is a gaming term that means “own” or “defeat.”

  • Tilted means that a player is upset due to a losing streak and/or bad luck within a game.

Popular Gaming Memes

The popularity of video game memes exemplifies how widespread gaming culture is. Gaming memes can become relatable memes even for those who do not play the game they reference.

  • Ugandan Knuckles is a meme that stems from multiple video games: Sonic The Hedgehog and VR Chat, which is a live interactive virtual gaming community.
  • That’s How Mafia Works memes reference the viral ad campaign for the app and game Mafia City. These memes make fun of the absurd Mafia City ads while also applying basic elements of the game to other scenarios for the sake of comedy or to make a point.

Gaming is not only a form of recreation but also a way for people to socialize around a shared interest. Although they can be convoluted with rules, slang, and constantly-changing trends, for many, video games are a valued form of entertainment and online community-building.