A lot of people are going to be receiving PS3's, Xbox Slims, and computers for Christmas. If you use these systems to game over the internet (and we highly recommend you do), you are going to have to pick a tag or handle. It will replace your real name, be completely unique, and become your new internet identity. Here is a list of basic Do's and Don't's for those new to the online universe.
The first trick to picking a really good name is knowing what you are comfortable with. This is how people will address you whenever they see you online, so its best to go by something that isn't going to get annoying. There are a lot people I have met on XBL that I talk to on the phone or hang out with in real life. Many of them call me by my tag even in person. So think to yourself "Am I cool with someone introducing me to a friend as ?"
Be yourself. The nerd blood runs deep in public gaming. People might not understand that "Hackers" reference in the real world, but give a nod to Crash Override and you will earn some respect. Pick your favorite band, movie, food, anything and give a gentle nod. The masses will respond favorably.
Remember that you can use spaces and capitalization. You don't have to just type and cram your words together if you don't want to. Throw a space or some capital letters in there to break it up. This is especially helpful if you have a name consisting of more than one word.
Here is a rule that a lot of guys follow, if she has to tell you she is attractive, then she usually isn't. Don't cram your sexuality down everyone's throat. We get it. You are a female gamer. And I'm sorry to break it to you, but its not that big of a deal. Almost 40% of gamers are female. You may pick certain words because you think its sexy or cute, but using words like "hot", "sexy", "princess", or "baby" make you look super desperate for attention.
This is a version of the girls' rule. If you have to tell people that you are a Lady Killer, than you probably aren't one at all. Stay away from names that tell people you are the alpha male. Keep in mind that there is always someone out there better at games than you are. And with such an assertive name, you are certainly going to made fun of every single time you aren't in first place.
Avoid cliches. Some trends die hard and once you have picked the latest greatest , remember that changing your handle is going to make you lose some of your identity and could even cost you money. Some overused words to avoid: Panda, Penguin, Ninja, Pirate, Assassin, Master, Deadly, Doom, Real, Doll, Guy, etc. Tags with these words are found in almost every room. It doesn't make anyone less of a competitor, but you will definitely fall into the crowd. And it shows your lack or creativity. Also, stay away from posting your nationality. No one cares. I promise.
Don't try so hard to be funny. Dick and fart jokes are great, but being addressed as MrBrownPants is going to get old quick. You can compensate by picking a funny movie character that you like or a funny quote. But just throwing the word "toilet" in there is hella lame.
Clan tags are a special thing all on their own. If the you are joining does not require you to change your tag, then I highly recommend that you don't. Many of these online gaming groups come and go. They all think they are going to become some MLG powerhouse, but really, they dissolve inside the first year. And if this happens, you are going to be stuck with the name. Keep the name changes for clans that are reputable for having been around for a long time.
Lastly, don't put X's and O's around your name. Its something that is frequently done by younger players. Leave the decorations out and choose a name that can stand alone. Its common to use 1's and 3's to replace letters, but over doing this can make your name really hard to read. Keep it simple. If you have to change that many letters to numbers, then someone else probably has that exact name and you should pick something else.