One of the first things you have to do when signing up for a new online gaming community is selecting a handle. This is the screen name or nickname that you will be recognized by on the site. Other gamers will see this name when they play with you or against you in the games. You will be addressed by this name in chat rooms that may be offered on some gaming sites as well. Consider this handle a representation of your online personality and choose it with care.
The most difficult part may be finding a handle that is not already in use by another player. On popular game sites, there are hundreds if not thousands of registered users. Each of those users has selected a handle, and many have selected multiple handles to play under at different times. This means that names you come up with may already be taken and you will have to come up with another handle.
If you really want a specific handle and it is already taken, you can vary it a little to make it acceptable as a new name. Some gaming sites allow characters such as an asterisk or number symbol, but many will only allow numbers and letters. If symbols are not acceptable, you can add numbers into the handle so it is accepted as a new handle. Some gaming sites will automatically suggest alternative names that are very close to what you originally tried to register.
Now, how do you determine your handle? It may be tempting to just go with a nickname that you are called in real life, but think about what impression that name will make on others you meet online. Remember, these are random people from around the world who happen to share your interest in online gaming. They do not know you personally and will not understand if your handle has a deeper meaning to your life. They only see what is on the screen and they will form opinions about you based on this limited information.
Here are some tips that may help you come to a suitable handle for your online gaming personality:
1. Think about elements of your personality that pertain to the type of online games you are playing. For example, if you live in Ohio and love kittens, you might choose “OhioKitten” as a handle for a game related to animals.
2. Consider the personality you would like to create for your online character. This is especially true for role playing games where you take on a complete online identity in a virtual world. Your name can reflect your character, rather than your real world self. For instance, if you want to present yourself as an honest player you may select the name “HonestAbe.”
3. If you will be playing a game that is known for mixing players from around the world, consider a handle related to your location. This will help other players see right off where you are from so they can easily strike up conversations with you during play (if chatting is allowed).
4. You might want to recycle a nickname or handle used for other online accounts. If you have non-gaming sites where you have established a reputation online, you may continue that reputation into the gaming community.