Tag Archives: geek

What’s On Thursdays: The Guild

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They work in our offices. They shop in our stores. They murmur to each other in a pidgin dialect only the depraved would understand. Some of them even look like us. Every day they lock themselves into electronic insane asylums across the country. They are players of what some call Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games.

MMORPGs have been addressed in sitcoms before, most famously in South Park‘s “Make Love, Not Warcraft” episode. The concept is generally deemed too nerdy to become a regular factor in such shows, so the characters forget their addictions in time for next week’s installment. As I know, and as the producers of The Guild know, it’s not just a game, it’s a lifestyle.  The Guild follows the misadventures of six online adventurers and their terrifying real-life encounters with each other. Dr. Horrible‘s Felicia Day is cast as Codex, a human healer who when not unemployed in real life has her existence turned upside down by Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh) who shows up at her apartment to proclaim his love after misinterpreting a few winky-smiley faces.  Vork the fighter (Jeff Lewis) is the long-suffering guild leader who tracks his mustard supply down to the millimetre. Clara the mage (Robin Thorsen) uses the game to take the pressure off of (not) raising her three kids. Rounding out the cast is Bladezz the thief (Vincent Caso) and TinkerBalla the ranger (Amy Okuda), who both consider Machiavellian treachery a personal hobby.

This show could have been like the torrent of gaming comics on the market that make fun of video game addiction. Instead all of the characters play the game for different reasons. Clara tries to relieve boredom, Bladezz is looking for rules he can easily break, and Codex seems to be looking for order in a life that doesn’t seem to have any. The best moments of the show come when the characters try to apply the logic and consistency of the game world with the real world and the results are often hilariously tragic. The production also has a polish and quality that many web shows just don’t have. The Guild is extremely deserving of the popularity it now holds. The only gripe I have with it is that the secondary characters don’t seem to have as intense an inner life as the main characters, and seem to just drive the plot rather than have motivations of their own. The Season 2 DVD just came out on May 19th, and it looks like they’ve secured funding for a third season through Microsoft. This is great news for web shows in general, so I look forward to the new season, which is scheduled to start shooting in June.

The Friday Files

Square Enix is re-releasing Romancing SaGa 2 for the Nintendo DS (Final Fantasy Legend II as it’s known in the west). There’s also a retrospective video on the same site. It’s a crime how little of the SaGa series was actually translated into English. Via Gametrailers.com

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One more thing I forgot to mention about Tokyo: UFO catcher machines are everywhere. So much so that there’s apparently an industry event to showcase new toys. My favorite are these Gatchaman figures. There’s even a themed USB stick! Check out the rest of the 15th Prize Fair at Nekomagic.com

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I’ve never finished an Armored Core game before, but they sure put out some nice model kits. Check out the full review at CollectionDX.com

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Legend of Galactic Heroes. Seems like it’s the only science fiction series out there where the capital ships look built by an actual military. Via HobbyLink Japan

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There is absolutely no good reason why Tekkaman Blade is not in Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom. They should’ve gotten an injunction or something and just slotted him in there. Here he is (foreground)  in Soul of Chogokin form. Via SRW Hotnews

Society for Geek Advancement

Okay boys and girls, get your commenting caps on. I want to know what you think of this video I found via wilwheaton.net.

About 10 seconds in I was thinking to myself, “Look, just show me the logo for Axe, or Gillette fusion Gamer or whatever you’re trying to push on me. Don’t preach to me about what I am or am not.”

While agree with the video’s overall message, the presentation comes off as a little dishonest. Unlike the “I Am Canadian” commercials on which this video was based, geek stereotypes aren’t just based off the conjecture of people refusing to see beyond their overgrown lawns. I happen to fit in to some of the stereotypes that the those so-called geeks dismiss. I play D&D whenever I find a group. My wife knows that when I’m plugged into my iphone, that DOES mean I’m not listening. Most of the clarifications in the video sound derisive and condescending (“It’s pronounced MEEM not MEEMEE!”). With all of the specialization that goes on in Geek culture, I take for granted that I will have to slow down on the jargon at some point.

I’m not even sure there is a need for such a thing as a Society for Geek Advancement. Aren’t we a society for advancement, period? Aren’t we geeks all ready to wrestle with something that’s complicated and unfamiliar just because it’s there? To me, the geek life is the last bastion of the frontier spirit. In the past, if you wanted to explore the unknown, all you had to do was get a horse and keep riding over the horizon. Now, with the entire world explored, we are left to satisfy our mental wanderlust with computers, handicrafts, literature, science, and technology. We toil and struggle with whatever we’re obsessed with and more often than not we acquire more knowledge that we use to get ahead. It doesn’t even have to be a new invention,  because if you are the only person in town who knows how to string a CSS together, chances are you’ll be able to make some money from that.

While we geeks struggle to find our place in polite society, we don’t have to make any apologies for who we are. Geekiness is not a curse, it’s a blessing. The fortitude and discipline to follow your passion can sooth any swirly and weather any wedgie. If society has grown to depend on our knowledge and our inventions, we can handle a little stereotyping now and then.

Star Wars Weddings and the Outer Rim of Good Taste

Have you ever wondered how much nerdiness is acceptable in your life? How will the other commuters take it when your bumper informs them that your other ride is a Millenium Falcon? How many Star Trek collector’s plates and Suzumiya Haruhi figures can you display in your house before your dinner guests begin to wonder about you? What will the boss say when he finds out you’ve been tele-commuting from a Battlestar Galactica themed case-mod? Some say that it’s a double standard that we nerds hide our ways from the general public, especially when we have to deal with the play-off beards and smelly jerseys of so-called “normal” people. We often forget that until recently, being interested in Science Fiction, Fantasy or Video Games didn’t have the built-in social component that sports always did. We are always fighting the image of the shut-in fan, locked away in his parents’ basement, wearing an ill-fitted “Lum” t-shirt and cat ears, surrounded by moldy towers of comic books, dvds, game discs, or whatever the heck else he’s used to keep himself off the streets. One can avoid running afoul of this unfortunate creature by being alerted to his distinct musk of corn-chips and feet. Granted, the shut-in fan represents a large enough percentage of nerds that he’s become the stereotype. People from all over the nerd spectrum are wondering, how far can we take our interests before we end up like him?

To solve this dilemma, some nerds have taken to letting their geek flag fly at their weddings. What better evidence is there that you like human contact and have left your parents’ basement than promising to spend the rest of your life with a real live human of the opposite sex? That’s the idea on paper, which holds up rather well until you break out the prosthetic  makeup.

Image from Klingon Wedding

Image from Klingon Wedding

Never mind that these guys will have to explain this picture to their future children, how are the bride and groom supposed to appreciate how young they both look under those tire-tread foreheads? I don’t even want to know what they used for centerpieces at the reception. Now, I understand that the mighty Klingon warrior culture can add some military pomp and circumstance to your ceremony, but the focus should be on the happy couple, not on how well the guests wield their Ma’stakas.

After seeing pictures like this, most nerd couples would probably  want to keep their nuptials free and clear of the hobbies that made them so happy and may have even brought them together. However, some nerd theme weddings go a little bit differently, such as this couple from my favorite tropical hotspot, the Philippines.

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If it weren’t for the lightsabers, you wouldn’t know that the groom’s suit was inspired by Han Solo’s jacket from The  Empire Strikes Back or that the bride’s dress combined elements of Princess Leia’s medal ceremony gown and Stormtrooper armor. I showed the photo gallery to Sara, and after reassuring her that we weren’t going to renew our vows this way, she agreed that it walked that fine line between nerd and outcast. Star Wars complemented and enhanced this wedding rather than just taking it over.

Nerdiness has gained increasing social acceptance in recent years. Thanks to the internet, most cities can hold conventions that bring nerds that social interaction generally reserved for sports fans. For me, being a nerd is a wonderful thing. It allows you to appreciate the things you love in popular culture in the most ostentatious way possible. It is an unpretentious an honest way of life. When we find the right way to share this way of life with other people, the results are enriching, fulfilling, and spectacular.

More pictures of K’Allen and Torsha’s wedding can be found here

Star Wars Wedding Gallery found via Toplessrobot.com

Parts Of My Geekiness I Am Losing

According to some I should have turned in my geek card the minute I got married. Then again, there are many married geeks, and even my wedding wasn’t completely Star Wars free. However, just as Superman gave up his powers to be with Lois Lane in Superman II, I find I am losing components of my geekiness to the mists of time, such as:

-The ability to be personally offended by following: the Wii’s game line-up, Anime voice acting, Live-action adaptations of comic-books, novels or video games

-The ability to discern anime character designers

-The ability to participate in the eternal Star Destroyer v. Enterprise debate.

-The ability to stomach any Expanded universe Star Wars

-The ability to watch anime all night

-The idea that Freelancing is a romantic occupation of freedom and bad-assery as opposed to paper-work and shaking down clients for money

-The idea that spoilers will ruin any and all enjoyment of a book, movie or TV show

Does this mean that I’m just growing up? Hardly. I still watch Doctor Who and Macross Frontier. I check io9.com about twice a day and I often peruse Hobbylink Japan the way many people would peruse a Jaguar dealership. I still think professional sports is like paying to watch other people have fun. What has changed is how I perceive my free time. As I get older, time seems to move faster. It feels like high school lasted longer than my 20s. I no longer have the luxury of indulging my interests to completion. Delayed gratification has its merit, but not when you’re trying to be entertained. Slogging through a 52 episode series when 26 of those are filler is no way to go through life. In fact, it’s no way to enjoy a series. The same goes for relationships. Make an effort to enjoy yourself and those around you.