The Geek Critique: Brave New World   Leave a comment

Just before Christmas break, there were massive television screens set up in the Cave. People crowded around them, and the games they were playing were extremely varied.

From “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” to “Modern Warfare 3” to even “Just Dance,” seeing all these people playing games for a public audience made me reflect on something: to be a geek is “cooler” than it’s ever, ever been.

When I was in high school (2002-06), I spent half of my time feeling like a social butterfly who fit in with everyone, and the other half feeling like an absolute outcast who didn’t fit in with anyone. I was a complete non-box. I was a geek, but an extrovert. I marched to my own drum, but I loved people.

And I ran a video game club. (Well, I called it a “software entertainment media” club to slip it by administrative.) Our first day was wonderful. Nearly 50 students showed up. Then they found out we wouldn’t be able to play M-rated games, and I found out that most high school students were way too into “Halo 2.”

Still, we forged ahead with around 15 boys and one awesome girl.

I distinctly remember being affronted for carting around my Game Boy Advance, although I’m sure the fact that it was pink didn’t help my standing. (It was the only one they had left! I’m hardcore! Shut up!)

It’s a brave new world.

I don’t mean to say that all this has happened in the past five years alone. The genesis of it all was probably the anime boom in the late 1990s.

We started seeing big-budget action movies about comic book superheroes. Then, with the release of 2002’s “Spider-Man,” we saw them become raucously successful. Big-name companies started debuting movie trailers and video game demos at fan conventions.

The age of the average video gamer is now 38 years old.

What we do is not child’s play anymore. It isn’t awkward. It isn’t niche. And there are more of us than there has ever been.

A big reason for it is this: you remember that one awesome girl we had in our gaming club? There are a whole lot more of you female geeks out there, now.

One of my best friends is five years younger than me, meaning he just got to ETSU. And through high school, he had many, many more female friends than I ever did.

While I could figure that this was because I was much more of a weird, loud loser in high school than he was, I’ll choose to believe that at least part of that is because being a geek is becoming much more common than it once was.

All the way up the public school system, I was picked on, galvanized, bamboozled and bullied.

And it was a good thing. It only inspired me to march to my own drum that much more. It only made me a better, stronger person. People either loved me or hated me. Nobody used any run-of-the-mill words to describe me, and I liked it that way.

Being a geek changed my life for the same reason we’re now changing the world. It saved me from being boring.


Posted February 2, 2012 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

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