The wifi network I’m currently attached to is called Local System. Before my belligerent little MacBook connected, it was exclusively the primary network of two devices. There’s a frighteningly complicated desktop setup called Homeworld and a tiny, travel-friendly laptop called Luna here too.
Yes, us nerds have a sense of humor, but I can’t take credit for this naming genius. My laptop has the intensive misfortune of being officially named Kathleen Kirk’s MacBook Pro. This is a weird, clunky designation that makes me sound very much like I’m mildy crazy and speaking about myself in third person, so I try to avoid it whenever possible. I rarely reference the device informally, but if I do something’s generally wrong with it and I am reduced to scolding it as if it were a naughty pet, but more vehemently. In these moments, I call it Mac. Real creative, right?
I did better when it came to my gaming handle. A gaming handle is one of those things that some people can take to the extreme. Some nerds use one handle exclusively and develop a whole persona around it. Others have evolving handles spanning their gaming career. Still more have a whole bunch in continuous circulation. With my single, recurring handle, I fall into the first category, although I haven’t been gaming long enough to know if I will eventually evolve into the other types of handle-naming.
If you ever find yourself encountering a gamer named Railakas, it’s probably me.
It’s the only handle I use. When I first started playing DotA with So Purely French Antoine, I needed a gamer ID to make an account with Battle.net so I could connect to the online server, as DotA is an online game. I started with an old standby, kathleensk, that I use as a login for various situations.
This was, apparently, a very bad idea, as Antoine pointed out: “No! You can never let them know you’re a girl!”
To say there isn’t prejudice associated with being a girl gamer is a complete lie, but it’s nowhere as bad as the stereotype and should only be a deterrent to only the most sensitive of potential gamers. And if you really are that sensitive, you probably have a hard time functioning in modern-day society. But that’s a long story for a different day.
Anyway, right then and there I created a new gaming handle. I was reborn Railakas.
I speak Finnish with a fluctuating degree of proficiency. It’s quite possibly my favorite language, of the dozen or so I’ve had exposure to, and by pure accident I have adopted the entire country of Finland, all the Finnish people, and the Finnish language. It’s quite a lot to look after, but I try. So it seemed only fitting to me that I use something Finnish in my gaming handle.
“Railakas” is a Finnish word that means “riotous” or “rambunctious.” One of my core character traits is, in my opinion, my rambunctiousness. So it just fit perfectly. I must say, with every fiber of my being, I absolutely love being Railakas. I use it in every game I play.
In addition to Dota, there’s a profile on my Militantly Nerdy Boyfriend Alex’s Xbox 360 called Railakas and a Tier IV-V player in World of Tanks called Railakas. In fact, my gamer handle has become so intrinsic that Alex refers to my rambunctious behavior as “railakasing.”
Alex, a veteran gamer with roughly seventeen years’ experience, has a slightly more varied history. He falls into the second category of gamer, those with one main handle, but other, evolving alternate handles. His main handle has always been Chairman Kam. “Kam” refers the first part of his last name and “Chairman” references a communist governmental title.
Alex himself is not communist. He’s staunchly republican. In fact, the “militantly” in his title references the fact he’s a second lieutenant in the Army. But Alex was born in Soviet Russia, so he can actually call himself this, with all its connotations, and get away with it.
He’s had a few other gaming handles over the years, including Captain Needa and Lt. Bertram, from Star Wars and his published novel, respectively, but mainly he’s Chairman Kam. And, as a nerd couple, we’re always Chairman Kam and Railakas whenever we game together.
Then there’s Antoine. Antoine falls into the third category. He has a whole bunch of gaming handles always in rotation and it never really matters which he picks. His first handle was “dwhunter,” based off Dynasty Warriors, a video game, and Hunter x Hunter, a manga. After he expanded, he found himself searching for variations of “Neo” from the Matrix.
I have only known him in a gaming environment as Naoris because I’ve only ever played DotA with him, but he says it’s his current default. Knowing Antoine, however, that shouldn’t last long. He also games as “nirtek” and “mirtirius.”
This brings up an almost overlooked point. Gaming handles don’t necessarily need proper capitalization and punctuation. Alex’s gaming handle is frequently sandwiched into a single word because many servers don’t allow for spaces. Many gamer handles have weird underscores, number sequences, or strange symbols. This is personal preference.
Alex and I capitalize ours because they are additionally personas. I also capitalize mine because I am pilkunnussija. In English, we call this a Grammar Nazi. In Finnish, it literally means “comma fucker.” So because Railakas is technically a name, it must be capitalized. On my official profiles, it’s always capitalized, even though in Finnish it’s technically an adjective. So, in English it’s kind of like saying, “I am Rambunctious!”
But we won’t go there.
Captainess Kirk a column on Kate-book.com that runs every other Thursday at 10:30 am. It is written by the fascinating Kathleen Kirk. For more of her adventures, follow her on Twitter here and check in for future columns.