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Une brève histoire de pseudos

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In a video game, a nickname is like a second name. You have to choose it carefully, even more if you’re a professional player, and you know that nickname will be shouted by the casters, sang by the fans and printed on jerseys. Behind every single nickname there is a story, a personal anecdote, from the usual “I don’t have any imagination so I just used my name”, to some obscure references to a TV show that everyone has forgotten. Here is a little overview of the many nicknames used on Counter-Strike.

The classics

kennyS was inspired by HenryG

We will quickly mention the most basic ones: Dennis "dennis" Edman, Tarik "tarik" Celik ; those who chose their family name like Adam "friberg" friberg and Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjaerbye ; those who mixed both like Kenny "kennyS" Schrub and Chris "chrisJ" de Jong ; and those who simply put their initials, like Jesper "JW" Wecksell or Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen (his second name is Sommer).

Some also simply shortened, changed or played with the sound of their first and last names: Fernando "fer" Alvarenga removed some letters,  Ethan "nathE" Arnold inverted them and Martin "STYKO" Styk added one. Epitácio "TACO" de Melo used the way his grandmother called him, as Taco is the diminutive form of his real name. Some went further, like Timothy "autimatic" Ta, who mixed the world “automatic” with his real-life nickname “Tim”.

It’s actually pretty easy to guess where these kinds of nicknames came from. For others, their origins are already well-known: Richard "shox" Papillon chose his as a tribute to Nike’s shoe model he was wearing at that time, while Cédric "RpK" Guipouy called himself after the RPK kalashnikov, and chose the upper/lower case using another player’s nickname as a reference, Alexandre "RpC" Bombar, a former CS:S player that he admired. For Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert, we all know that people on servers often said he was able to kill his enemies through walls and smokes, as if there was “nothing”.

Inspiration is everywhere…

But for most cases, it is hard to guess how the nickname was created without hearing the player’s explanation. Some confessed they pinched or took inspiration from their older brothers’ or friends’ nicknames:  Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen took “depree” from his brother and added an H to differentiate both of them. Same for Richard "Xizt" Landström, who saw one of his brother’s friends play under the name “xiZ”, to which he added a T. For Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund, his nickname was chosen by his older brother: when Christopher asked him for a nickname, he looked at his screen and saw the word “Getright”, which is the name of a download manager software. Finally, Jacob "FugLy" Medina borrowed his father’s nickname from another game.

draken/Draco, some kind of similarities?

Many find inspiration in movies or TV shows. Jake "Stewie2k" Yip used to play with a group of friends and each of them had to take the name of a character from the animated series “Family Guy”.  Jake chose “Stewie”, and later added “2k” to differentiate himself from another player. Meanwhile, William "draken" Sundin wanted to annoy his opponents by taking the identity of a hated character: he chose Draco Malefoy from the Harry Potter saga. Later, Draco became “draken”, which also means “dragon” in Swedish, by the way.

Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev is a direct reference to Tim Burton’s movie "Edward Scissorhands”, while Spencer "Hiko" Martin chose his nickname from a character of the Japanese anime Rurouni Kenshin. Sam "DaZeD" Marine is a tribute to one of his favorite movies, Dazed and Confused. Almost the same for Tomas "oskar" Stastny, as “oskar” is the name of his favorite character from a Czech children show called Flying Cestmír. Finally, Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk took inspiration from the most famous secret agent in the world, James Bond.

Counter-Strike isn’t always the only game played by these guys, and some may have used their past interests as a reference. Patrick "f0rest" Lindberg got his name from the numerous forests scattered in Warcraft 3, a game he spent many hours playing. Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham used to play Battlefield Vietnam and chose his nickname on that game (he however never explained in details, admitting that his nickname actually had a racist connotation). Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo used a reference from the card game Magic, which he used to play with his brother, and chose his name from a specific card called “Fallen Angel”.

Sometimes, even the playing conditions and environment can have an influence: Sébastien "krL" Pérez started playing on Spanish servers, and took on the name of DonCarlos, which then became Carlos and finally krL. According to him, the later looked more “leet”.  Meanwhile, Édouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux chose Smith randomly, and added Zz one day after playing a game half-asleep. Since then, the Zz never disappeared. For Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans, the charm of the Spanish female players from team x6tence got him to choose this nickname.

Sometimes, it is just a matter of admiration towards sportsmen: Joao "felps" Vasconcellos is for example a huge fan of the American olympic medalist Michael Phelps, and that’s where he got his nickname from. As surprising as it may be, Mikail "Maikelele" Bill is a reference to the former football player Claude Makelele, who at the time used to play for Chelsea, the Swede’s favourite team. He mixed his name with the name of the French defensive midfielder. The legend Emil "HeatoN" Christensen got his idea from the brand of his hockey gear, a sport he was very fond of when he was young.

One nickname for Source, another for CS:GO

If inspiration doesn’t come to you, why not leave it to randomness? This is what Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth and Vincent "EMSTQD" Cervoni (who later became Happy, word he chose because he liked it) did. They typed random letters on their keyboard before deciding to keep the result, although EMSTQD knew he wanted a Q in his nickname. Daniel "roca" Gustaferri was given the name “acorn” by a random generator, which he later switched and then removed the N.

There are also tributes. Keith "NAF-FLY" Markovic was originally named NAF, and regularly played with a friend of his, BRUNDLE-FLY. Unfortunately, his friend passed away and since this day, NAF added the suffix FLY in his nickname. Ronnie "ryx" Bylicki admired mousesports’ German player Antonio "cyx" Daniloski, who died in a car accident a few days before a tournament. He simply replaced the C in “cyx” by an R, first letter of his first name, and has kept this nickname since then.

...even when it’s unlikely

And there are all the other unclassifiable stories. Jonathan "Devilwalk" Lundberg took the exact opposite of Swedish politician Gudrun Schyman’s name, whose English translation is “Godrun Skyman”, and the perfect opposite of Devilwalk Groundwoman. He later only kept the first part.

Joakim "disco doplan" Gidetun was a great fan of the Dolan meme, which he rearranged a bit to his liking when he chose a nickname. Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski was in Spanish class when he got the idea to find a nickname. He thought of the StarCraft II player “SeleCT” that he really liked, and translated the verb “select” in Spanish, which gave “EliGE”. In the same way, Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi chose his when he heard of the Pythagorean theorem during math class.

Ricardo "fox" Pacheco regularly rode a motorbike with his father, with a helmet from the gear brand Fox. And for the now retired Michael "shroud" Grzesiek, his previous nickname was Eclipse, and when he decided to change, he looked for synonyms of that word. He made a list and asked several friends to choose one. And eventually "Shroud" won the poll.

If you know of any other similar stories, do not hesitate to leave a comment below!

Thanks to Miles and SPK for the translation, Elnum for the banner and shiG for his good memory!

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