With Bailes about to join the ranks of our Halo 2 platoon I thought I would offer him some advice on the most difficult decision he’ll ever have to make in life: Selecting a Gamertag. This is not something to gloss over. The Gamertag is your unique identifier to other players, and it cannot be changed or altered once it is submitted. That’s right, you get one chance at this… so don’t blow it.
Of course, it is common knowledge that my Gamertag is “McSex.” Aside from the occasional illiterates that call me “Emcee Sex,” this moniker has been well received in the Xbox Live cyberspace.
So how did I come up with “McSex?” To tell the story properly, we must go back a few years… As an awkward pre-teen, struggling to feel like a man, I tried to identify the main shortcoming preventing me from assuming alpha-male status amongst my peers. Conveniently, I settled on the least obvious one: my name. Surely, I thought, if I had a more masculine name, it would mask the girlish physique, acne and falsetto voice.
Turning on the TV, I saw a constant barrage of studly men with names like “Thomas Magnum” and “Indiana Jones.” At the time, the only difference I saw between a lady’s man private investigator and myself was the blandness of my name. It suddenly dawned on me; none of my GI Joe’s or Transformers had pedestrian names either. Why couldn’t I have been named “Stormshadow” or “Snake Eyes” or “Optimus Prime?” The name “Matt Ring” just lacked certain panache. In naming me, clearly my parents weren’t the least bit concerned with wanting their son to sound like a badass.
So, I began brainstorming names I would one day assume in the event I grew up to be a secret agent, assassin or plays-by-his-own-rules police detective. Naturally, I needed a name so over-the-top that it would leave no doubt as to whom was running the show. Thomas Manchild came to mind. Jack Stallion had a nice ring to it. Ultimately, I settled on Jack McSex.
I’ve always liked the first name “Jack.” It is a classic, simple, masculine name with a hint of rugged toughness. The name “Jack” represented a can-do attitude… the kind of guy that would climb a beanstalk or go up a hill with Jill to fetch a pail of water. The McSex part came later. I wanted a last name that completely lacked subtlety and somewhat spoofed the action-hero genre. Ultimately, I think I crafted a name that commands both respect and a chuckle. To this day, I can’t help but smile with pride when I say the name, Jack McSex.
Of course, it became more than just a name… Jack McSex is my charming and daring alter ego. And naturally, Jack McSex even talks differently than Matt Ring…
When answering the phone:
Matt Ring: “Hello?”
Jack McSex: “McSex here.”
When introducing himself:
Matt Ring: “Hi, I’m Matt Ring.”
Jack McSex: “The name’s Jack McSex, and the pleasure is all mine.”
And so forth. In short, Jack McSex makes James Bond look like Screech Powers. And when it came time to choose a worthy Gamertag for my Xbox Live persona, there was no hesitation on my part.
Now that I’ve revealed the origin of my Gamertag, here are some simple pointers in selecting yours:
1. Avoid a name that rhymes with anything derogatory or sexual in nature. For obvious reasons. Believe me, your opponents will seize upon this instantly. The only time this naming convention works is when you select a name like “Mulva” or “Bovary” as it has a humorous double entendre to it…
2. Avoid this formula: Stringing together a sexual innuendo and the number “420” to form a Gamertag. This does not make you a badass. Sadly, there are at least ten million dudes on Xbox Live that think they are being cool by combining their fantasies of kinky sex and habitual pot smoking into a name like “Filthy Sanchez 420.” Also, unfailingly, each of these dudes is 14 years old.
3. Avoid a name that reads like a vanity license plate. This is my pet peeve. I hate having to solve a magic-eye puzzle in order to alert “GR8est 1Der of N8ure” to cover me during the middle of a firefight. Yeah, this guy is a sweet teammate. Of course, after my inevitable death I’ll have the requisite time to translate and appreciate the cleverness “Greatest Wonder of Nature” used in selecting his Gamertag. Standard.
On a side note, can you imagine being friends with this person, and having him call you to key in his Gamertag into your friends list? “Alright dude, it’s capital ‘G-R,’ then the number 8, then lowercase ‘e-s-t’…” I would seriously hang-up on him halfway through this conversation.
4. Give yourself an esoteric name from an 80’s franchise that only the coolest people on earth would understand the reference to. For instance, I thought about using the name “Kreese,” (after the evil sensei of the Cobra Kai dojo from the Karate Kid movies.) After every kill I could taunt my opponents with a line like “Fear does not exist in this dojo.” Along those same lines, I always thought “Lord Helmet” (Spaceballs) would be a fantastic name. You could use quotes like “Evil will always triumph because good is dumb” or, “I see your Schwartz is as big as mine” during any confrontation. If these examples don’t appeal to you, try “Niedick” (Saved by the Bell) or “Cooter P. Davenport” (Dukes of Hazzard) or “H.M. Murdock” (The A-Team.)
5. Integrating hip-hop lingo into your name will not change the fact you are a suburban white kid. Don’t bother putting extraneous z’s and x’s into the spelling of ordinary words… that won’t help either.
6. Names that have real-life tie-ins with death are popular. For instance, I toyed with being The Coroner for a while. You get the idea, after each kill I could declare the cause of death to be my battle rifle or my superior skills. Along those same lines, you could be The Embalmer, The Mortician, The Chalk Outline Guy, The Pallbearer, or The Guy that Pokes the Dead Body with a Stick… lots of possibilities here.
7. Whatever you do, don’t use your actual name. Seriously, don’t do it. This isn’t an email account. You will actually be ridiculed more by your fellow teammates than your opponents if you can’t concoct a clever name.
So there it is. And fellow Zillionaires, please share the origin of your Gamertags and/or potential names for future members of our platoon.