Archive for August, 2008

 

The Soapbox Makes Me Taller

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One thing I’ve always noticed that is a permanent fixture on Internet forums is the use of the timeworn soapbox to make a point. Soapboxes used to be around all the time, but now they are a rarity only seen in junkyards and screenshots like the one I have on the right. But on the Internet, the Soapbox still lives, and continues on much like a zombie in your favorite horror movie or one of those serial killers that just won’t die.

You can easily spot a Soapbox post. They start out with some grandiose statement, like “Cats – the most evil creature in the entire universe”. Then they launch into a paragraph of detail, describing the history and object of their lecture with all the drama of a theatre production of “The Iliad”. They flourish with broad sweeping statements and end with a witty saying that is meant to elicit oohs and ahs from the crowd.

Now I have a soft spot in my heart for soapbox posts. Where else are you going to get people who treat something seemingly insignificant to others with the utmost importance? I have to say that the soapboxers of the world certainly give love to some commonly neglected and random principles out there, such as how to sharpen your pencil the right way, the trials and tribulations of software piracy and freedom of information, and of course, everyone’s favorite topic and the thing that ALL soapboxers point to, The Decline of Western Civilization and Society as we Know it.

And let’s not forget a Soapbox post’s mission – to make a change in the paradigm of anonymous internet readers out there. Oh yes, they nobly set out on a mission greater than the monologue before Star Trek, War and Peace, or any other work of media that actually makes a great mission statement in the briefing we call life. With their multiple adjectives, their near-psychic predictions of what will happen if people don’t change their ways, and, of course, the altruism that is totally not self-serving and borne out of personal reasons, Soapboxers look to make you realize how dumb you really are. Yep, of course people will come to their senses and say “wow, that guy making the 12 paragraph thesis is right, I’m such an idiot!”. I’m sure their first reaction is not giong to immediately take a virtual dump all over the post and tell them how wrong they are.

So I say, let the Soapboxers change the world, even if that world just happens to be the fantasy one in their own brain where people listen to them. What would you do with all the Soapboxes if you didn’t?

An OP Review of a Half-Baked WAR

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So with today’s NDA drop for Warhammer Online, everyone who was in the closed beta seems to be scrambling to put down their keyboards and mice and post their thoughts about the game as it stands today, a little less than one month before release. Well, far be it from me to not jump on the bandwagon and start yee-hawing away myself, so here’s a great review of a product that isn’t out of the oven yet. Now, some of us have been licking the bowl longer than others. I myself have been in the beta so long (since June of 2007) it seems like I’m licking the plastic shards off the bottom of the mixing bowl these days. But with that comes a certain impression, and, like with everything on this site, it always looks on the bright side.

Perhaps the best portion of all this stuff has been going through the process as long as I have. Make no mistake about it – WAR has been polished so hard you could almost see the blisters on our fingers from all the rubbing we’ve been doing for the past year or so, ever since public testers were first invited. The core elements of the game – the fact that you can queue in a Scenario and bash someone’s head in from rank 1, the idea of the campaign, the zones and the classes on each side – the experience of going from chapter to chapter living a story in your own fantasy world – all of this stuff has been fine tuned as much as it could be for the time we have left. Even as a half-baked pie, it tastes decent.

I mean, sure, every time you logon to actually do some of that “Realm vs. Realm” thing, you’d better be a race that was beaten by an ugly stick, mutated by one, or clutches one looking jealously at people with better sticks. If you’re the perceived “good guy” Order folks – don’t worry – while you can look forward to many, many beatings by superior numbered Destruction people outside of WAR’s balanced scenarios – it’s a challenge right? You like being the underdog that takes on 5 on 1 and somehow manages to beat them to the point of them calling for a nerf to your class, I’m sure. So don’t worry – if you’re Destruction, you’ll have plenty of time to get in a swift kick to the nads of any Order corpse after it’s been sliced to death, and if you’re Order, you have the wonderful opportunity to trudge uphill both ways and post on Youtube about how you somehow prevented a “zerg” from killing you because you have “l337″ skills. You’ll also get to command all the clueless people who filled your ranks on release who “thought humans looked cool”. Everyone wins!

Gotta say, the UI looks great. Yep, you can move all the elements around, you have an amazing Tome of Knowledge that would (and probably could) record when you last picked your nose and how often, and everything is easy to find and convenient, from the action abilities to the party windows to the layout, all customizable. Hey, it’s easy to make a variation on a hamburger when someone has it pretty well done already, right? Heck, I’ll get this out of the way right now – most of you who are reading this played WoW , and if you say you didn’t I would question your honesty, because it’s like masturbating – millions have done it at least once, but not everyone’s willing to admit it. The UI is definitely easy to teach to someone who’s sat down with WoW – it has similar shortcuts, it has similar feel, and it has similar layout. But don’t torch me at the stake yet – why, I think it’s a good thing. There’s no need to innovate or think of TOO many new features, because you don’t want to overwhelm someone with too many selling points, right? I mean, when was the last time you had a choice between a hamburger or an exotic new dish that might have been made with the brains of a monkey, and chose the latter? Yeah, I thought so. WAR’s UI better be like a hamburger, because today’s fast-food society demands it! The customer is always right!

And what about all those “Secondary” things about WAR’s beta right now? Crafting, for example. Boy, I do have to say that finding my own recipes is kind of interesting, challenging, and fun to do. Of course, when I do make something it’s probably something that might be more useful to a 2 year old with a crayon for a weapon instead of my character, but hey, it applies somewhere, and it’s the thought that counts, right? Oh, the many things that I have crafted with my own two hands that I have generously donated to some merchant who takes in orphans to feed. Slight Allaying Draught that heals 50 over 4 seconds, I salute you, and the pet cat or rat who benefited from it does as well! And let’s not forget the PvE dungeon aspect. I mean, yeah, the dungeons might have been more deserted than an ice cream store in the dead of winter, but I’m sure the 60 or so people out of the hundreds or thousands who tested the dungeon found all the bugs and there won’t be a single one for release at all. With all those other people testing how hard they could slam their weapon into their opponents’ faces, someone has to do the boring dirty work of testing a wing of a dungeon that has mobs with pathing and direction issues worse than the Blair Witch Project kids.

So with all this going so well and with so much time to test since everything appears to be just peachy keen, is WAR ready right now? You bet it is. It’s ready to be judged within 5 seconds of footage by people who like to get their daily lulz out of posting chain letter comments on YouTube videos. It’s ready to be potentially cast aside as the MMO with “the worst launch ever” and the common words “epic fail” attached to it. It’s ready to be invaded by tons of players who might not have the slightest idea how to ask for help unless it’s with three letters and the grammar of a Wookie. And of course, it’s ready to deal with the angst of many people who were somehow bested in combat not because their opponent was better than them, but because they are “OP”, “need a nerf now”, and “use cheap BS”. In a game where the point is to take the enemy’s capital city and moon them at the same time, expect to see a lot of bare geek ass on fansite forums as Mythic is smart and sane enough not to run their own.

I can’t wait. Can you?

 

NDA Nostradamus

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So the latest, exciting news on the WAR front is the fact that the Non-Disclosure Agreement will be dead in a matter of hours, allowing many people who’ve had to have their lips zipped and their mouths shut to finally talk to everyone who wasn’t their friend or on their IM list. Yes, once again I’m going to invoke the cheesy Braveheart comparison and say that soon, the masses will know just what kind of freedom they’ve been clamoring for. Of course, that will get some people beheaded just like in the end of the movie, but who’s really counting?

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to this, and no, not because I’ve been in beta for over a year now. No, I’m excited because there are just going to be so many productive and awesome posts, threads, and news about this that I might burst with joy. Or is that a headache or migraine coming along? Ah well, no worries.

So now, hours from the floodgates, here are some really great predictions for the dropping of the WAR NDA:

I will be rich off of the words “WoW 2.0″: That is, if I had had the sense to somehow find a way to be paid 10 american cents whenever I heard the words. Boy, am I looking forward to this stuff despite that, because hey, why try to let a game stand on its own merits when you can try to point out what it rips off from other games that have ripped off other features? Never has a criticism such as this been so in-depth and all-encompassing. Exciting!

The game will fail and fall into the depths of MMO Hell: At least, according to at least hundreds of posters who will make the same kinds of predictions I’m making now. Hey guys, I know that we all can channel Nostradamus here, but heck, leave some room for me to make some wholly accurate and not at all assumptive predictions, will you? I mean, I’m certain that I’m going to find a post that starts with a dramatic, interest-inducing statement of “epic fail” and ends with “this game sucks” really extremely helpful and not at all biased. Sure, dying a ton of times or only playing 15 minutes in a fast-food society like ours might have been factors, but who’s really going to report boring factoids when you can go for popcorn worthy theatrics.

The game is perhaps better than sliced bread, the invention of fire, and quite possibly, sex: And I really only put “quite possibly” on there because hey, just because you probably haven’t ever had sex with someone doesn’t mean you can’t compare something to it, right? This is really the other end of the spectrum, but boy, if only the haters and these folks could realize they learned from the same Forum Drama 2.0 book, we’d have less of a battle on our hands. Anyway, I really look forward to all these extremely gushy posts about how the game could quite possibly rival the peak of ecstasy, even though there are some things omitted like game details, or mechanics, or that time you might have gotten stuck naked in the opposition’s capital city because of a teleport bug. God, that realistic stuff just gets in the way of the awesomeness aura, forget that.

Our eyes will be given sensory overload with a bevy of video footage: Oh man, I can’t wait to see all the videos that people have taken of their gameplay footage. Yep, nothing will rock so much as yet another video of “PvP” set to the likes of Linkin Park, Disturbed, or any other rock band that tends to scream their words. Or how about all the “epic” PvE videos consisting of a grand total of one shot that doesn’t go anywhere and shows nothing but spamming heal buttons, set to all that music by X-Ray Dog or Immediate Music that people certainly have not used over and over again. Certainly there’s no need for actual video editing or cutting, or music timing – not when you can crank out 15 videos of a 5 minute clip set to a looping top 40 song. I mean, quantity is king! And let’s not forget all the video feedback. Gosh, if you enjoy Youtube commenting you’re going to love some of these gems when they come out.

Forum moderators and administrators, along with some bloggers will suffer mental breakdown due to insanity: The only prediction that I can confidently say has already come true. The blogs I link to, not to mention myself, are perfect examples. Oh, how I love those masses – so cuddly…so chatty…so angry-mob-with-pitchforks-and-torches-that-would-burn-your-place-down-if-they-knew-your-address. Thank God for the anonymity of the Internet, where we can all certainly be assholes without any form of retribution.

Mark my words – this is all coming true. You’ll thank me when it does!

 

The Forum PM Treasure Trove

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One of the best parts of being a forum administrator is that you get tons of fan mail. Yep, it seems that when you’re out there fighting the forces of evil, putting out fires and dousing the occasional troll, you’re just destined to receive a love note or two. This is great, because obviously geeks like you and me who take a positive tack on the fact that people on the internet like to chat it up really like to show that they just can’t get enough of you and your dedicated job. So without further ado, I’d like to highlight some of the mail I’ve answered in my private messages box. Boy, these are real gems, so much that I had to change the forum names to protect the innocent from the pure, unadulterated good feeling these gave me.

Originally posted by feuterfest:
…? lol seriusly ur makeing me laught

saying this is a rant or a angry post.. ? its called its a FACT so far i seen treats being closed for hammering the company coz they deserve it since they give words and dont do anything.
so dont go all funcom on be a lock topics that have a meaning

Why, I didn’t realize I could inspire such humor! I’m touched, really I am. I’d have to say that your ability to spell and produce proper grammar also makes me laugh in that hearty way that you do when a friend slipsand faceplants on the sidewalk. Silly rabbits. And I also didn’t know that “FACT”s and “topics that had a meaning” meant that you had to compare a company’s performance toa  bowel movement. I must simply be more careful in the future. Thanks for the tip!

Originally Posted by Dacogiron
Im sorry man but it gets kind of ridiculous for what we got warnings over. If we cannot turn down an app and then tell them they are not good enough on our own recruitment forum, and then my Guild leader gets banned, why do we even have regiment forums. a lot of us are leaving WoW because it is a care bear world, and that is exactly what you are tryign to make here it seems.

Wow, you know, I honestly didn’t think about that when I issued that warning. I mean, gee, people just own their threads, and if I went in there and barged into it like Goldilocks in the three bears’ house, well that’s just out of line. I mean, never mind the fact that I’m supposed to keep some kind of order, I’m the party-crasher in my own house. This is a real eye-opener, one of those things that really makes you think.

Speaking of bears, and “carebears”, yes, I am definitely making our forum into a complete simulation of that wonderful little 80′s show where the bears had stomachs that could laser out a hole in anything. I thought that was pretty cool, didn’t you? But yes, maybe I shouldn’t issue a warning for you and your friends piling up on some poor schmuck in the thread like some cheap gangbang and saying that you literally wiped your ass with their application. I’m sure you meant it in the most positive and productive way possible and I’m betting that person feels so much better knowing they failed on the internet. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind!

Originally Posted by koolkidluke
why did you unlawfully lock my thread? ill have your job

Really? You’d like my job? Well as much as I’m sure you’d probably like to emulate me, I just have to say that you should really strive to be your own person. Maybe one of these days you too will have a forum where you can deal with your inferiority complex by banning people all day, since that’s why the rest of us do this and it isn’t at all because we want “productivity” or “community”. Nope it’s all about me. Besides, how can locking threads be “unlawful” when I am the law? It’s like a cop saying that they unlawfully arrested someone who pulled down their pants in public, like you pretty much did when you made that thread specifically “only for 14 year olds who like to swear and make gay jokes a lot”.

That’s all for now. Boy, all this great mail just makes you feel good inside.

Positively Quickie Post #4

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The best part about working for a major gaming fansite: The people are passionate, dedicated, and slightly insane.

The worst part about working for a major gaming fansite: The people are passionate, dedicated, and slightly insane.

That being said, there’s nothing particularly bad doing work for a major gaming fansite, since it’s both incredible and masochistic at the same time.

Ah, logic, and the random thoughts that working all weekend on post-NDA content will do.

 

The Geek Essentials

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Mythic Producer Josh Drescher talked a bit today about fitting a bunch of junk into your little bags for a jaunt, pretty much calling out fellow employee Justin Webb for trying to cram everything into one carry-on bag for a trip to Germany’s Leipzig.

Now I’m not really sure what Justin is planning to do while at the convention, but you never really know – it’s entirely possible that a single bag can be filled by a geek in order to go to a gathering of other geeks. Times like these, we have to be thankful that the things that advance in technology actually are becoming smaller, and not the other way around. Can you imagine fitting a cellphone the size of a giant pizza into your carry-on?

I can’t really make a judgment either way whether or not Justin has the ability to stuff that bag silly. Granted, he has an advantage – he has a loving wife who can help. Women, and especially women geeks, somehow have this extradimensional power to put the necessities in purses – even things that aren’t really, as Justin says, “bits and bobs”.

Let’s take a look at the essential items any geek should take on their trip away from their precious, precious rig and Internet connection:

  • The Mobile Status Symbol - You know all those crazy people who buy an SUV even though the only off-roading they are planning on doing is pulling out of their clean suburbanite street into the driveway? They’re not really interested in off-roading, just saying “hey, lookit me, I gots me a gas guzzler!”. Geeks are the same way. Every geek has one mobile device that they like to whip out oh-so-nonchalantly and look sophisticated and advanced. An iPhone fits the bill nicely. So does a really slick-looking PDA that isn’t a Blackberry (because the geek more than likely has set up Blackberries for a clueless CEOa nd wouldn’t be caught dead with one). The point? Flaunt the technology you have that no normal person could ever hope to understand beyond “ooh shiny.”
  • The Computer – There’s no way a geek leaves home without some way to stay wired and feed their addiction to the OS of their choice. The funny thing is that we have this reverse Freudian thing where we like it small. The smaller, the better, the slimmer, the better. If you have an ultra-slim-light-featherweight computer with an 10 inch screen that you could break more easily than a pair of chopsticks, then you’re doing something right – and you’re saving space, too. Exceptions include geeks using largish computers to show off their latest 1080i render of a fan video of themselves killing the hardest boss in an RPG. See: Mobile Status Symbol.
  • The Sunglasses – Because the resolution of “the real world” is honestly too much for your refresh rate.
  • The Cool Quirky Thing – Every geek has something that they think is unique that they want to show to other geeks who might appreciate it. It might be a pen with light saber sounds. It might be the photocopied script of the latest Batman movie. Heck, it might even be the piece of lint off of Joss Whedon’s overcoat that he wore to the Serenity premiere. Either way, it’s cool, it’s needed, and it’s packed.
  • The Games – Geeks get bored easily, and trust me, you wouldn’t like geeks when they’re bored. Time-wasting games that geeks can bury their noses in are a must for any trip. With their gaming console probably owned by someone who is local, portable devices like a PSP or a DS rule the day. Anything to conveniently avoid unnecessary social interaction.
  • The Clothes – Geeks have three fashions – awake, asleep, and naked. Given the fact that they hopefully will not end up in naked mode at an inappropriate time, the only real difference between awake and asleep is which t-shirt, which unbuttoned or otherwise not-worn-in-the-intended way over shirt, and which pair of jeans or khaki shorts they choose to wear. At least 6 combinations can be had from three pairs of shirts and jeans, and you can count on a geek counting the clothes they are wearing as one combination. Still have space problems? Perpetuate the geek stereotype of being overweight by wearing multiple pairs of pants and shirts. Just hope you don’t get strip searched.
  • The Boring Stuff – toothbrush, soap, towels, undergarments, passport, plane ticket, toiletries, usually stuffed or thrown carelessly into the bottom, top, or sides.

Given all this, is it entirely feasible for someone like Justin to fit the essentials in a carry-on? That depends on Justin, but I’d have to say, don’t be surprised if one carry-on can hold a world inside of it.

 

Raidedication

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So from the online pages of Pet Food Alpha comes yet another sensational story in raiding. For the uninitiated, raiding is a game mechanic in many MMOs where groups of folks from various locaitons playing the game band together for a night of merriment, adventure, stories, and drama. Usually, going to a dungeon is involved, which challenges the group throughout the night, culminating in an epic encounter with a decidedly evil, and sometimes ugly, opponent. Each person, depending on what class they play has a role in the overall success of the night. It’s kind of like going out to a bar with your friends for a night out on the town, only instead of the roles being Healer, Tank, and Damage Dealer, it’s Bar Slut, Unlucky Single Guy, and Alcoholic Puker.

Well speaking of blowing chunks, the story talks about MMO Final Fantasy XI’s latest and greatest raid encounter, involving a boss named “Pandemonium Warden”. Apparently, the fight is an extended one – so extended that one particular group of intrepid adventurers spent 18 hours trying to take it down, playing to the point of exhaustion and losing their ramen and caffeine-induced lunches.

Now if I was like some other blog, I might try to do something like point to the awful development of the encounter, the appalling nature of an 18 hour stint in gaming, or make some kind of negative, thought-provoking rant about society’s obsession with pixels. But don’t forget – here at Overly Positive, we’re all about seeing the silver lining in the dark cloud.

I have to say, I’m impressed with this kind of endurance. I mean, ok, so in the 18 hours these folks sat their asses in front of the computer, they could have actually earned enough money to save on their emergency room bills, or went out with actual friends who don’t know how to push hotkeys for 4 hours, or futilely IM’d with a person they were trying to have cyber sex with. Sure there are things to take care of like personal hygeine, or eating, or going to the bathroom, but those are trivial in the face of such an accomplishment. The Olympics has nothing on MMO gamers when it comes to endurance tests. That Survivor show has an endurance test that asks people to do things like stand on poles until they fall off, and it’s nothing compared to sitting a bunch of geeks in front of a computer and giving them an encounter more difficult than solving a Rubik’s Cube without all the colors. This is a testament to the physical prowess of geeks to stare blankly at a screen for hours like zombies. Eat your heart out, Jeff Probst.

Can you also imagine the productivity you could harness out of this little experiment? I mean, Square Enix, if they’re smart, have hit gold. They have somehow unlocked the method for keeping people’s attention for 18 hours at a time. Gee, if I could keep people’s attention for more than 10 minutes I’d be rich, so I can’t imagine what being able to keep someone chained in one place for 18 hours could accomplish. Perhaps Square ought to look into putting a raid encounter into an electrical plant and employing gamers to hit the raid boss to generate power. Can you imagine the energy generated by thousands of bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived MMO addicts? Talk about a cure for the energy crisis.

And let’s not forget the notorious recognition that this group of people will get from actually attempting to slay this monster over the course of over half a day, assuming that their sickness-inducing encounter hasn’t addled their brains and caused them to lie or exaggerate. Heck, with 18 hours to kill a day on a game like this, the brief, shining moment of internet fame from thousands of adoring anonymous and faceless masses has to be a boon to these folks. Who needs real, actual interaction with people you can touch and see when you can gain the love of millions of nameless people looking to show you what they think of your amazing and incredible feat. Even if 3/4ths of the comments are a mix of laughter (with you, not at you I’m sure), rage, and sarcasm, attention is attention, right?

Just think folks – Square actually made it seem like the excruiating pain of going through yet another 40+ hour RPG adventure in Final Fantasy XIII is nothing compared to this little gem of an encounter. Making a boss that someone will actually try for 18 hours until they are physically ill? Marketing genius right there. All you have to do is keep the playerbase from actually dying. Profit!

Meanwhile, I think I’ll just go to the bar.

 

Betagasm

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One of the most curious things to observe when it comes to MMO development is perhaps the last month up until release. This is most commonly known to developers as “final polish”, or “complete and utter chaos” and to players as “final countdown”, or “hurry up and release the damn game already, I’m starving”. The community’s reaction to the last few weeks before a game’s release can probably be called at best “excitement” and at worst “irrational hunger tinged with a touch of cannabalism” as they devour news bits, developer posts, and sometimes one another in an effort to keep themselves calm. It doesn’t always work.

For MMOs close to release, like Warhammer Online, this hunger ismade all the more worse with the introduction of that wonderful juicy bit of appetizer called “beta”. If the game is the main course, beta is that elusive smell of the food that makes you water. It’s the taste test of what could potentially be the best tasting dish of all time or a failure on the BBQ spit of an MMO’s life. And it always makes gamers crazy.

Now, some killjoy would probably try to discourage the kind of behavior that rivals rabbits in heat. But hey, I don’t really mind. Go right ahead. Post something every 2 seconds about how the servers might be up for beta testing just because the spelling on one changes. Type all in caps while screaming about how you are pressing F5 every two seconds. Talk about what you’re going to do when you get into the beta, even though you’ve posted about it in 20 different topics 20 different times. I’m sure it’s not at all annoying or even remotely redundant. I’m sure the people who make an attempt to get you to relax are just people out to ruin your fun and deserve to be flamed with a blowtorch and burnt to a crisp.

I’ll just kind of wait here until you get all tired out, and then we can put you in bed, read you a nice little developer interview and a beta testamonial, and let you nap a little bit. I’ll wake you up when release comes around.

 

Phototerrorism at its Best

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It’s nice to know, even at people’s most serious, that there are people with a sense of humor out there.

Ever heard of the “photobomb”? Well it’s making its way around the Net right now in constantly forwarded email and links via Facebook or Myspace, but apparently it is the “fine art of ruining people’s photos”. It smacks of a mix of “haha” and “wtf”.

Now I can’t imagine what happened to the people who took these photos or the ones who bombed them, but I’m probably betting that some of them probably weren’t none too happy that their tender photogenic moment was ruined by some jackass with no pants pseudo-humping the statue behind them. But personally, I find it hilarious. Where else do you think that some people who would normally not be photogenic – like geeky people – get their revenge on the more popular and better looking of the world? I mean if you really think about it, what better way to hide the fact that your weight rivals that of a beached whale or your face breaks a mirror than to make a totally ridiculous expression in a serious photo?

Honestly, this stuff makes doing the whole “bunny ears” thing to someone in a picture really old and tired. When you can literally show your ass in a picture that is meant to evoke a sense of wonderment and feeling, then I’d have to say, mission accomplished. And if they really want your ugly ass mug off of one of these pictures, there’s always the use of the neato technology of Photoshop, which, since we’re probably the only ones who know a thing about operating it, could turn into a nice little wad of cash for a little “photo touchup”.

Of course, sharing is caring, so this link should help get you started on your photobomber career:

http://www.asylum.com/2008/06/13/photobombers-ruining-your-picture-one-click-at-a-time/

Happy ambushing!

 

The Geek Prom

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Not too long ago there was a post on Mythic producer Josh Drescher’s blog about how San Diego Comic-Con is like “The Geek Prom”. That’s actually pretty accurate except for the fact that I don’t recall my high school prom having every other person dressed in spandex or having to deal with the fact that the food and drink was probably as unhealthy as injecting caffeine directly into your head.

It’s interesting to see how those of the geeky persuasion tend to lament the media coverage of such events. Yeah, sure, there appear to be two modes that the mainstream media tend to approach covering a convention of nerdy folks. Those modes are 1: Poorly Hidden Confusion and 2: Look at the Weird People. And yeah, when the media person chooses to interview the person who likes to dress in a chicken costume and talk loudly about cock all day, it might not put geeks like you or I in a positive light.

But geeks shouldn’t hide from this kind of exposure. In fact, they should embrace it. The thing of it all, is that conventions are perhaps the one time out of the year for many people when they can feel good about being the square peg in the round hole of society. You don’t like the fact that people give you funny looks when you show them your extensive Sailor Moon DVD collection, even though you’re male? It’s accepted at a con. You ever see a blank look in the eyes of your “normal” co-workers when you show up to your job with your hair dyed like the Green Lantern, complete with cool decoder ring? No problem for cons. What about the fact that you’re able to recite the entire season 1 episode finale of Heroes and can haltingly speak Japanese like Hiro? That’s all good too.

Geeks may have shunned, or not been able to act normal enough to ask someone to, the prom, but at a convention, even the geeks can get laid, even if it’s with someone who most certainly had trouble fitting into their Japanese high school student outfit. There’s hope, and if the media wants to look at you the same way as it looks at a 5 car and 1 beer truck pileup on the highway, then so be it.

As a convention worker (if you thought attending cons was weird, try staffing them), the best part of a con that I chaired one year was watching a real, actual high school prom who had had the unfortunate luck of being in the same facility as us. Despite our insistence that a picture of someone who thought they could be a ninja at 340 pounds was not the background ambience their event needed, they still wanted to show up. As the normal prom-goers showed up, wearing the latest and greatest in fashion and looking all the world like a 17 year old version of GQ magazine, they were quickly and suddenly surrounded and overwhelmed by costume-wearing, catgirl-calling, decidedly average looking masses of geekdom. And as the geeks looked at the oddly dressed teens with the same looks they got every day in school, you knew this was the modern Revenge of the Nerds.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. And neither should you.

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