Living the college life has meant one major thing: playing a lot of video games. This college generation has lived through the dominant video game years. As video games become more and more popular, they also become more competitive.
With this increased competition people have found ways to degrade their opponents, including the easiest form, name-calling. This sparked the popular phrase “newbie,” and all abbreviations associated with it. According to Urbandictionary.com, a site that defines slang words, “a newbie is a person new to a game, concept, or forum. Not to be confused with the word ‘noob,’ a stupid person. Newbies are just new.”
The word “noob” started off as just a fun way to demean a person’s playing ability. The problem began when hardcore gamers started calling other hardcore gamers “noob.” With the creation of online multiplayer games such as the computer game Starcraft (1998) and the Xbox game Halo (2001), players were finally able to compete against other human players, without even knowing them. Frustrations could finally be taken out on a real person instead of a machine that couldn’t be intimidated. This interaction is what gave rise to the word “noob” as a way to humiliate one’s opponents.
Elliot Fischer, self-proclaimed expert gamer, demonstrated several ways in which to use the word “noob.”
“When I am playing C.O.D. [Call of Duty] for the PS3 I call a lot of players ‘noobs.’ It is a way to get under their skin. If I kill someone a lot I will call them a ‘f****** noob’ just to make them mad,” Fischer said. “I also use it when people don’t know how to play the game.”
The problem doesn’t just end with gamers calling other gamer “noob.” With technology consistently advancing, the word has expanded to include people who don’t understand a certain technology. Now, the word is becoming a derogatory remark against groups of people that can’t necessarily control what knowledge they have or what access they have to electronic items.
“I have actually noticed myself and others calling people ‘noobs’ outside of the gaming world. It just seems to be one of those words that are catching on, but I don’t think any harm will come of it,” Fischer said.
According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, “to swear is to use profane or obscene language.” To some, the word “noob” can feel profane or obscene because it truly does hurt their feelings or make them angry. As time goes on, humans will depend even more on computers, and with this, the term “noob” might evolve even more. Right now, people are “noobs” because they are trying to catch up to modern technology.
In the future, however, this could possibly target groups who do not have enough money to buy the most advanced technologies. Instead of being a relatively harmless word belonging to teenagers and college gamers, the word could label the poorer, disadvantaged members of society who do not have the means to be technologically adept.
Once a word starts to degrade a group of people, it becomes a swear word. With “noob” being consistently paired with other derogatory terms, it seems that it is headed down the path to becoming a full-blown swear word.