Hello, my names Simon and I’m a Geek…
No, I don’t mean like “OMG I JUST WATCHED BIGBANG THEORY, I’M SUCH A GEEK LOLZ”..
Or “Yeah man I’ve got the new iSheep, I’m a total geek”..
It seems nowadays, certain levels of geekiness are accepted, can even be cool(who’da thunk it?).. Playing computer games, once derided, is now one of the biggest media industries, writing computer games? You’re a rock ninja! The new superhero films? Awesome! having the latest phone/tablet/mp3 player? You rock..
But where is the line drawn between worship and derision?
I’m into electronics (solder fume inhalation, not iStuff), most people don’t understand the idea, its still shaky ground(unless they need something repairing….)
Graphic Novels? Still dubious (You’re a grown man? Reading comics?)
Programming? Mixed response, Games? Hell Yeah.. Websites? Awesome! Embedded system to generate Test Patterns? Urrr…..
But the thing I’m really into, have been for years, is tabletop wargaming…….
Now this is not something I’d admit in polite company, the few non-geeks I’ve told looked at me like I’d asked for the best recipe for a beagle puppy…
So what is it I hear you ask? Well the biggest player(pun intended) is Games Workshop. I’m sure you’ve seen the shops in the high street, and seen some strange folks lurking in the corners talking about Armour Saves and Weapon Skills. Basically each game is set in either a Fantasy or Science Fiction universe, and as the name suggests is played on a table top and is a wargame. You collect, assemble and paint models (think Airfix but more awesome) to form an army, and using these, kick your friends armies in the teeth using cunning tactics, dodgy dice rolls and distracting pies..
Heres a nice pic to demonstrate:
Now games like this are seen as being on the unacceptable side of geekdom, most people can’t understand why you’d play, isn’t it for kids? Well yes and no, I started when I was a wee ‘un, at the tender age of 11, 20 years ago.(Blimey..) I have to say, its been nothing but good for me, it teaches everything from social skills (how to abuse your opponent) and maths (whats the probability of this dude destroying a tank with his teeth?) to patience and fine motor skills. Painting the eyes on a chap 28mm high is great training for soldering 0402 resistors I can tell you. Playing the game itself is a lesson in memory(rules), tactics, forward planning and surviving under pressure(argh my last tanks exploded).. Plus having the game hang on the last dice roll is fantastic (is it a six? No? Gahhhhhhhhhh…)
I’d say for anyone with kids who are interested in wargaming, encourage them, they’ll turn out better than you’d expect….
For the past few years, Games Workshop have licensed their IP to companies to develop video games, for instance Space Marine on the PS3 and Xbox 360. So I guess this now becomes cool, just dont mention the origins of it at all… I suppose it would be the same with the ace new Batman film vs Batman comics. Theres an interesting point at which something totally uncool becomes blisteringly cold by changing the media its presented in.
Sadly over here in the UK, you only seem to be a normal chap if you like football (soccer to any Yanks out there). I’ve always detested this sport, and ironically due to my job have probably attended more live matches than most fans (especially Man U fans…..) it seems to be nothing more than gang warfare and an excuse to get hammered and shout abuse at people. Last week at a certain Man City/Man U match, I was watching the crowd(from a remote truck I hasten to add) as a ten year old boy was copying grown men in shouting and gesticulating at the opposing fans. I suppose when the majority of folks like one thing, it becomes the accepted version of normality.
I’d take skillful intelligent gaming over drunken shouting at 11 men any day…
As I’m getting older (Old? I’m a sprightly 31..) I’m starting to give less of a stuff what people think about me and am totally embracing my inner Geek.
So what geekiness are you into if any? (If not, why the hell not?) Is it on the cool side of the fence and do you tell people?
Apologies if you sweaty-handedly followed the title expecting a post involving goats, vasaline, a sink plunger and a bucket of custard…..