Acronyms Belong on the Keyboard
Acronyms are great. They save precious seconds of typing. In the time it would take to write out “Team Fortress Two” instead of “TF2” you might be able to read the first few words of a news article. And you do make the phrase stand out by putting it in all caps instead of capitalizing it like the proper noun it is.
I suppose if you write TF2 fifty times on a particular forum, you might rack up a whole minute, and you might put that to good use. The internet is a place for acronyms to run free, so long as you’re using acronyms in their natural habitat.
So, abbreviate games as much as possible on GameFaq’s but don’t go to the Hulu comment section and starts typing about COD4. Stick with whole words and common internet abbreviations like “lol” and “btw.”
Any specialized forum—not just game forums—has its own set of abbreviations. This gives message boards a personality beyond their suggested topic. Forums are the appropriate place for acronyms where it may be much more socially acceptable to use acronyms than to use whole words.
But acronyms IRL? That just doesn’t work. Listen, if it’s just you and your best friend you can say GH2, GTA3, or MGS4 to your heart’s content. No one will hear you, judge you, or stare at you like a deer in the headlights blinking in fear of the strange words you have created—some kind of code to signal your instincts to either kill or mate, they wonder.
If you’re talking to other people who aren’t necessarily “hardcore gamers” then lay off the acronyms. Or if you’re talking to hardcore gamers within a group of video game virgins. Though it may be fun to confuse people—especially parents—it’s also rude. It’s very elitist to use a special code around people who aren’t in on the secret. It doesn’t matter if that secret code is web speak or the weird language your younger sisters made up when you were 10.
We should say words when we talk. Acronyms really cease to save time when speaking, because most words in game titles are only one or two syllables. Besides, you give the game an extra second of free advertising when you actually say the whole name instead of a few letters.
Clarity is the basis of effective communication. Of course, if you want to say “Live Action Role Play” then you just need to say “LARP.” Because “larp” is a funny word. And funny words are as important as effective communication. Sometimes.