Do games servers have a place in the Workplace?

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Playing games at work… It doesnt sound right somehow, as if its an affront to all that is businesslike. But why is it?
I’ve worked in places where we’ve had (By request I setup) a games server running. In one place it was on an old PC, in another it ran on our voicemail server, both times it was awesome! By that I mean it created something for people to get together about and enjoy, mutually, and without prejudice. It transcended rank and title and showed some unlikely champions and some other unlikely obsessives.

But one thing it always did do was bring people together.

The game in question was the original Unreal Tournament in one place, UT2004 in another, and it was simple enough for me to setup (I’m a System Admin after all!).
We would agree on an end-of-friday jaunt every week, last thing around 5:30 before people headed out.

It also highlighted an interesting thing in my mind; handles, nicknames, tags or whatever you want to call it. Its basically just what people chose to call themselves ‘in-game’. This is, of course, nothing out of the norm these days. People have Gamertags and in-game handles for a million different games, sometimes each different, sometimes consistent across games.
What I found interesting is how they often related so personally to each person, and how the vast majority of the time, they were thought up by others rather than the person actually using the name.

For the sake of those that I’ve worked with, I wont list out the hilarious names in public as I would have to explain each persons actual name, which would not be very appropriate.
I will refer to my own though in the hope that someone might read this and comment about their own in-game-name origins…

So I usually go by the name of KptnKMan. Its a little hard for some people to say and I’ve laughed at a few on Xbox Live who have spluttered out convoluted attempts at pronouncing it, but its quite simple really; Captain K-Man. 🙂

The origins of the name came from a few years ago when I worked at Electronic Arts. We used to game in the office openly, because we could, and because it was our jobs… more or less. I was named ‘Captain Caveman’ by one of my colleagues, which became ‘Captain K-Man’ later, then I shortened it to ‘CptnKMan’ and eventually modified it to KptnKMan. These days I still use that name in games and often are called KMan by my friends. So it just stuck, but the evolution and personal attachment that a fictional name produces is interesting.

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