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How I got my nickname

February 20, 2009 | Misc

Just to get me going in blogging and expanding my portfolio, I’ll share with you the history of the nickname Patt3rson. People ask me all the time where it comes from, because it’s not your average alias. And as a Dutch guy, it’s not likely it came from my last name.

It all began way before you would ever even need a nickname. MSN wasn’t widely used, consoles weren’t even able to go online yet and there was no reason you would use another name than your own, because people hadn’t discovered yet that they could be total assholes online while using a pseudonym. At that time, I made the first step towards my game related career by founding a simple and small website with previews and reviews, some special articles and the first walkthroughs I ever wrote. I brought some friends on board, who where just as experienced in writing as I was at that time, and our love for playing games got us going.

The group of young gamers, mostly guys, became larger. Not as big, organized and influential as a lot of the acclaimed gaming websites of today, but enough to crunch out a decent review every now and then. We even got to the point where publishers would send us games to review, which was easier back then than it is now. We also started to attend gaming conventions as a group, like GameXpo and Level Up. The name of our website was PlayStation Clan, a name at that time that was not to be associated with teams of people playing games online competitively. To let everybody at these events know who we were, which was a way of advertising towards visitors and publishers somehow, I once came up with the idea to get some shirts with the site’s URL on it. But those shirts kind of looked bland, not very interesting. They needed a little extra, not just the logo of the website.

There were multiple reasons why we decided to give ourselves cool sounding names. First of all, it would be something mysterious. Who is the real person behind this article? Of course, at that time we didn’t came to think of it that an alias might not be the best idea if you want to make a name for yourself in the professional gaming press, what I fortunately was able to do later on. But for us it was a way to clearly create an image for every one of us. Second, we were called PlayStation Clan and a clan member usually has some aggressive or impressive name that sets him aside from the rest. Third, the rule was to choose a character or other entity from your favorite game as your nickname. By doing that, the nickname would also say something about your taste in games and your area of expertise.

Among the first staff we had a Jehuty (Peter Leep, chosen from Zone of the Enders), Bahamut (Thomas Berndsen, chosen from Final Fantasy VII), Tonberry (Daan Timmermans, chosen from Final Fantasy X) and Kairi (Tanja Krone, chosen from Kingdom Hearts) for our only female editorial member. Later, names like Hammond (The Getaway) and Logan (Syphon Filter) joined the group. My very favorite game when having to choose a nickname was the original Medal of Honor on the first PlayStation. The main character of this game was James Steven Patterson, also known as Jimmy. I thought using that name would set my pseudonym apart from all the fanboyish nicknames that would arise from all the blockbuster games. If the moment of picking our nicknames would have been just a little later, I would have ended up with Solid Snake.

So Patterson it was. We used pictures of the characters we chose as icons on the website, showing who wrote what. And those icons would have looked great on the shirts I mentioned earlier, but back then it was pretty expensive to get colored prints on shirts, especially if you only wanted one individual shirt. We ended up just getting the nicknames stitched onto it. Even after our PlayStation Clan fell apart and I continued my writing career at the Dutch Official PlayStation Magazine, the former members kept using their nickname in upcoming web phenomenons like MSN and message boards. While I was doing that, I realized two things. First, Patterson sounded a bit too much like a last name. Second, it was becoming cool to write the letters of your name with other characters. So at first I used to write all of the letters with combinations of @, + and 3, but I got too many complaints on MSN that it looked annoying and people didn’t know who I was anymore.

A good reason to change it to something simpeler, but the name itself stuck. Probably only with me and I couldn’t come up with something better. Patt3rson, spelled precisely like that, was finally made official with the purchase of my Xbox 360. The required creation of a Gamertag, which is basically just a nickname with additional information, settled it. Unfortunately Patt3rson was already taken as a PS3 online handle, which was pretty weird because I got a PS3 on day one and Xbox LIVE was even around for the original Xbox. Anyway, I still use Patt3rson today everywhere I register online, for Xbox LIVE, my portfolio domain name and now even my blog.

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