16th Jul2018

The Name Game

by James Smith


The world of gaming is a vast one, and for the various communities around the globe, eager new members are looking to join the ranks of the top winners. Gaming, and in particular, online gaming even has a language of its own, which might seem completely alien to older generations.

Before players were getting ‘pwned!’ playing Call of Duty online or “wasted” in Grand Theft Auto, more popular analog varieties of games held sway, and in-house consoles to card tournaments or your local bar’s trivia machine might have featured terms or been coined using words unfamiliar to modern players. Have you ever noticed that depending on what part of the world you are in, the words associated with certain gaming machines vary in the English language; for instance, for poker and slots games.

The word slots, which is used commonly among Americans for those ever-popular, clinking coin machines would baffle an Aussie or Kiwi. They’d much rather use the term pokies to them. This might sound a little strange to an American, but pokies are some of the most favored games “down under”.

The ‘Strayans’ themselves aren’t 100% sure where the word comes from, but a best guess reveals that it was first used to depict poker machines, which eventually developed into a blanket term for all gambling machines. A little History 101 for you. Then again, the Aussies like to abbreviate a lot of words or phrases, just take g’day! or mozzies (short for mosquitos) as an example, poh-ker mah-chines just sounds too long in comparison. Pokies even refers to online slot machines and Australian casino software developer Aristocrat slot games, offers some of the best ones around.

What’s in a name?

Terms are abundant in today’s world of gaming, as is its trivia. Did you know that the world’s leading board game Monopoly, and its icon, Mr. Monopoly, had his name changed from Rich Uncle Pennybags, simply because people couldn’t remember his name? Role-playing games are perhaps the most popular of games played throughout the world, but they don’t just come in digital form, because Live Action Role Playing or the term LARPing his become the newest trend. Players dress up to form teams and play against one another in costume.

The linguistic fun doesn’t stop there, slots enthusiasts know that the term fruities or fruit machines unsurprisingly refers to slot machines due to the fact that their earliest versions featured varying fruit symbols within the reels. However, what is less well-known to Americans is the term cardies – popular in the U.K. for video poker machines or puggys for the same in Scotland. Albeit the former word makes sense, because it refers to the style of game machines found in pubs before the modern style video devices took over, but where the latter comes from is anyone’s guess. Perhaps a pint or two was involved.

Industry and Insider Lingo

If you’re an industry insider with a knack gaming lingo, you are probably familiar with EGMs and TITO-machines. These are terms predominantly used in the U.S. particularly in Las Vegas, in reference to their gaming machines.

In short, EGM simply stands for Electronic Gaming Machine, where as TITOs, which, in addition to being a popular brand of vodka from Texas, stands for “Ticket In – Ticket Out”. It refers to the type of video machines, mostly found on casino floors, where the method of adding or removing funds is done by using printed tickets. Due to the millions of dollars lost by companies each year to theft and fraud, many of the world’s top casinos have developed this system as a countermeasure. Head to your local brick-and-mortar for details.

Lastly, when it comes to gaming terms, a personal favorite is the one-armed bandit. Seasoned gaming veterans and slots nuts alike know all too well that the older style slots machines not only utilize a single lever to spin the reels, but also are ‘pirate enough’ to take a sucker’s money. Are you brave enough to play?

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