An internet sub-language used to either disguise what is being said, so that those who don't know it can't understand (especially authority), or as internet/gaming shorthand.
Commonly humourous and antagonistic
e.g. d00d i p(-)|_|9|<1|\|6 pwn
A basic shorthand form has now infected mobile phone texting and wannabe teenage speak, but that is weak and annoying - typified by people who can't actually spell rather than a clever disguise.
Written well it is as attractive and versatile as any language, and can be written in different ways.
Naturally, people who don't 'get' computers or gaming do what they always do to things they don't understand - they attempt to ridicule (handlover? Shanjay, WTF?), serving only to make themselves look all the more ignorant...
example of flexibility
M=|\/| or \/ or /\/\ and others.
Highly engrossing online RPG games, where those sucked in spend their entire lives and earnings on levelling up their characters, and purchasing gear... great fun, but sad to the extreme in the same way.
Much like 'reality TV'. Try reality instead for a change.
Would personally add Championship Manager and other football (soccer) management games into the category...
they spell doom to any worthwhile relationships. If you can heed all warnings and don't get sucked in!
- what did you do this weekend.
- well, i managed to qualify for European competition / levelled my dark elf up 3 levels, and found an ultimate deathbringer flamberge with godly speed.