Friday, October 29, 2010

Acronyms and MMOs

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, we had games like World of Warcraft: multiplayer, Dungeons and Dragons-based, online worlds. Except they were text. They were called MUDs or MOOs, MUD for Multi-User Dungeon and MOO for MUD Object Oriented (a comment about the programming behind it).

We also had Dungeons and Dragons and a whole slew of other role-playing games, called RPGs.

Notice these all adhere to the three-letter acronym standard, which also has a three-letter acronym, TLA.

Eventually graphics and bandwidth improved, and we had graphics-based versions of MUDs. People started calling the MMORPGs, which was just stupid. No one called them MUDRPGs or MOORPGs. MMO would have not only fit the TLA standard, it would have thematically matched MUD and MOO, besides being visually similar to MOO (MMO, MOO, although they are "m-m-o" and "moo" like a cow, respectively, and MUD is "mud" like dirt).

Currently there are some people who use MMO, thankfully, yet there are, rather oddly, others who refer to MMOs as MMOGs. This is strange for three reasons:
  1. It does not conform to the previous acronym method for these objects (MUD, MOO).
  2. It does not conform to the TLA standard.
  3. There is no other "MMO" so it's not as if MMOG is a clarification, the G is extraneous.
You could argue that MMOs are indeed Massively Multiplayer Online Games, and so you have to have the G, but given that an acronym drops so many letters already, why not one more? We already lost the Role Playing part. MMO is still just as clear, and as an acronym is 25% shorter than MMOG. (Overall, MMOG drops 27 letters, and MMO drops 28, which is not a significant difference in the loss of original information.)