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\/\/3 $7||_|_ 9()7 9@/\/\3

Explosions were ringing throughout the area as Device Error slipped through a hole in the fence, tagged behind three soldiers who were sneaking along a building and started slitting throats with his Kabar knife.

It's from Pac Man, in case you didn't know.

Thankfully, Device Error wasn’t ducking bullets in the middle of an Afghanistan war zone, but rather in the virtual world of Bad Company 2 on his PC gaming rig. Device Error’s screen–about 50 inches of LCD power with 1080p technology–is sitting about two feet from him. The gun in his player’s hands has about a 1:1 aspect ratio to the real world.

“Not too bad,” says Device Error as the map concludes with his team losing despite overwhelming the enemy on nearly every front (well, except the front that counts, I guess). On the stats screen, Device Error has a pretty impressive number of kills, including six in a row and four of them from knifing.

Device Error, like me, isn’t some young pup. He’s not popping zits in the mirror and playing his video games in his parent’s basement. Device Error, like me, is self employed, successful and doesn’t mind letting people know he’s a gamer.

Those explosions I mentioned on the 50-inch screen? Those are in his office at the company he owns. He employs half a dozen people. Customers walk past his office watching in wonder (and jealousy) at the action taking place on that screen at times.

I’ve never known Device Error to go by any other gamer tag. I asked him about it two days ago.

“I’ve been Device Error since Zero Cool and Crash Override where around,” he said. “I just had to have a cool name like them.”

In case you’re young, or you’re just unfamiliar, Zero Cool and Crash Override were the tags used by a character in the movie Hackers. To age Device Error and myself, that movie came out in 1995. Device Error, about that time, was already hosting what has come to be known as LAN parties. I’m not even kidding.

GameStop recently noted, as you can see here in this CNN article, that they expect the gaming industry is only going to continue to grow. That’s an impressive calculation, considering their sales increased to more than $9 billion in 2009. But stores like GameStop and companies like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, NaughtyDog, Rockstar and oh-so-many more should take a moment and thank guys like Device Error.

He’s in his 30s. He’s successful. He can afford high-end rigs and the pricey games. And he’s a father. His son, }{@\/|3|2, is already a HALO fanatic. He’s looking forward to HALO: Reach as much as any gamer I know. As he grows up, this little gamer will buy the new platforms, the new games and be the next generation. The doesn’t mean Device Error won’t be right there with him, but the gaming will continue for another generation and, likely, beyond.

Who knew when we were playing Dig Dug, Asteroid, Pole Position, Tecmo Bowl, Dragon Warrior, Contra and Castle Wolfenstein that we would grow up to be role models to someone? My dad would limit my gaming time. Little did he know I’d go on to win tournaments and give him a new television for all that training I did.

While Device Error and I may not go around using 1337 speak all day, there’s no doubt in my mind that we still challenge and, at times, rule in the gaming world. Despite being family men, business owners and–dare I say–members of an actual offline community, we’re still gamers. Device Error has a 360 at home and at work, as well as custom PC gaming rigs at both. I own a 360, PS3, Wii, DSi and can pop on the PC and Apple platforms. We don’t skimp on the stuff we like.

We may not stay up until 5 a.m. and get up for work/school two hours later bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but we still know where we stand. And, for you n00bs, we stand behind you with our virtual knives at your throat–pwn3d!

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  1. Kim
    March 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

    You make me feel so old with that headline. I haven’t seen 1337 used that much in a freakin decade…

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