Words like pwn and w00t are so obviously hacking related that its hard to understand why gamers would rationalize that they have something to do with quake. However, it is really interesting that these words have been appropriated by that scene and become extremely mainstream. When I saw Cartman say pwn on national television a few months ago I almost jumped out of my seat. I don't really know who invented the term, but that person is likely only one degree of separation from the folks who hang out at summercon.
I love that South Park episode. Best one ever.
What does pwn anyway? I've never understood that one. I had to have someone explain FTW recently. It still didn't make any sense to me.
Disclaimer: I have been "on-line" since 1983, so go easy on me hahaha... I just really don't get a lot of the lingo sometimes.
It doesn't really make any sense out of context. Ultimately, the practical purpose of leet speak is to create inflections in text, so that deadpan writing in an channel takes on a tone of voice, and becomes more expressive.
Lets start with own. When you get root on a system you "own" it, as in take ownership of it. Someone might say "Dude, I owned you!" when they hacked into your machine, which is slightly more emotionally expressive than "I broke into your computer system."
As people spent more and more time on IRC and became more and more bored, leet speak, as it were, became more and more sarcastic, strange, and riddled with inside jokes layered upon each other. "Dude, I owned you" became "D00d3, EyE 0wn3d J00!" The more fucked up it was, the more funny it was in the eyes of 18 year old kids stoned out of their mind sitting in a chat room.
The J00, for example, is as in Jew, thus turning the statement into a double entendre where in addition to it's regular meaning its also a mildly racist joke, which is it self a reference to a whole series of such jokes that were delivered on #hack one night.
At some point owned became pwned. It might have started as a typo, because "p" is close to "o" and "0," but it was funny, mostly because it was fucked up, but still pronounceable. You would use it to accentuate owned. "EyE Pwn3d J00!" was slightly more emphatic than "EyE Own3d J00!"