It’s All Geek To Me

Bust out your finest nerd shirt and wear it proudly — today is Geek Pride Day! For the Star Wars fans out there, Episode IV was released thirty four years ago today. It’s also Towel Day for you  Hitchhiker enthusiasts — a  time to wave your favorite dishcloth in the air and remind people not to panic. For the rest of us sci-fi lovers, horror fans, gamers, otakus, action figure collectors, and lovers of things you probably wouldn’t see on the front page of US Weekly, it’s a day to embrace and bask in the awesomeness that is geekdom!

As you can probably guess, we have lots of geeks here at the Lab. After all, it would be pretty hard to devote your career to making games if you didn’t have at least a little geek in you.

Don’t you worry, though. We’ve got that more than covered…

Take me, for example. Over the years my obsessions have included anime, video games, comics, toys (errr…action figures), and D&D — you’re not hardcore if you’ve never had to calculate THAC0! I love attending nerd conventions and may have even shown a few fan-vids at them.

I’m also a card carrying member of the sci-fi museum, and I can’t resist Star Trek or Stargate re-runs on the SyFy channel. On top of all of this, I’m a huge Trekkie — my husband and I actually took our son to have family portraits taken with Shat, Riker, and Data at this year’s Comicon. Oh yeah…we dressed him up as Spock, too.

My list could go on, but I’ll just put on my Geek Pride party hat and help you get to know the rest of our team by sharing their geek and nerd cred. This is going to be super long, so remember Rule #4 and fasten your seat belts!

  • Foge wasn’t sure where to start with the question, but managed to pick a few things out.  He pointed to the Penny Arcade shirt he was wearing and said he got it by beating Bayonetta on hard mode and emailing the PA guys about his accomplishment. The other day he explained what a Redcap is and why its cap is red. He sleeps with a Millennium Falcon comforter on his bed, wishes he could eat here every day, and has cats named Merlin and Galactus.
  • Gronk is one of our resident “tasty beverages” fanatics, with an obsession for home brewing, unique scotches, and collecting absinthe. He also plays Warhammer (Grey Knights and Orcs), owns over five pounds of multi-sided dice, is obsessed with the Muppets, and occasionally wears a dragon shirt his mom bought him.
  • Dave is a huge digital music hobbyist. He’s been known to compose tracks for demoscene compos, can identify any synthesizer on sight, and can name the artist, title, and year of any 80’s pop song.
  • MarkY claimed he wasn’t a geek, but I busted him on that as soon as he admitted that he was in a Pokemon tournament in high school and is fully caught up on the Naruto manga. I also found out the hard way that he dislikes when people pronounce it as “Nuh-ROOT-oh” instead of “Nahrootoh”.
  • Brant is another person who tried to claim that he wasn’t geeky or nerdy, but I found out otherwise. As you probably already know, he’s our resident gun guy. What you probably didn’t know is that he goes shooting at the range at least once a week. He’s also the one that buys practically every game that comes out, beats them, then loans them out to friends. He’s done this so many times that he’s honestly lost track of how many he owns and who has what.

  • Steve was in a PhD program for Roman History. He’s taught Latin to seventh graders, owns an extensive collection of paper games from the 70’s and 80’s, and once represented the African country of Djibouti at a Model U.N. conference at the actual U.N. Oh, and he’s met Gary Gygax and Shigeru Miyamoto personally.
  • Lisa’s dad took her to Star Trek conventions at the Seattle Center in the 70’s, and to the early Seattle Comicons “when they were still free”. She’s also been known to go out and watch Flash Gordon movies from the 30’s, proudly admits that she went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show over twenty times in high school, and owns an impressive collection of miniature soldiers  and hollow cast civilian toy figures.
  • When I asked Shaun what his geek and nerd cred was, he looked surprised and said “I’m an astrophysicist for God’s sake”. ‘Nuff said.
  • Zips is our quiet mad-scientist programmer. At home, he’s an avid baker, obsessed with making the perfect loaf of bread. He’s built his own furniture for years (although he admits that he recently caved in bought his first pre-made couch), and he also owns several computer vision patents.
  • I found Scott hunkered down behind his towering pile of Rockstar cases. When I asked him what his cred was, he thought a second, got a serious look on his face, and said “Columbo. I watch that show ALL…THE…TIME.” He also later admitted that he has a stack of math books in his bathroom that he reads every day.

  • Jensen is our resident foodie. I found out that he’s building his own sous-vide cooker and is genuinely excited about buying a $600 cookbook called Modernist Cuisine. He also writes a Seattle transit blog on his free time and was one of the creators of a popular bus app that most of us use to figure out local routes and times. Because of this, we like to blame him when our buses are late (or if we miss them). JEEENNNSEEEN!! *shakes fist*
  • Reid pointed out that he works on video games for a living, then followed up with an admission that he knows Betty Rubble’s middle and maiden names AND the Skipper’s actual name. He can also throw down like a champ when it comes to It’s a Wonderful Life trivia.
  • Ben surprised the hell out of all of us by admitting that he and his wife have been ballroom dancing for over ten years and that he won a Dancing With the Stars competition in Chicago with his mad swing and cha-cha skills. He even has the video to prove it! He also confessed that he didn’t get any sleep the night before his son was born because he couldn’t stop playing Plants vs. Zombies.
  • James can quote the first ten seasons of The Simpsons, spends more money on action figures now than when he was a kid, and frequently wears his “Belgian drinking helmet” around the Lab for no good reason. When it’s not on his head, it’s flipped upside down on his desk with a fake brain inside. He may also be tied with Emily for the “Most Zombie Shirts Worn in a Week” award.

  • Phinney seemingly geeks out about everything. He frequently comes in on Mondays way too excited about seeing a “sick omoplata” or “flying triangle” or eager to explain the difference in weight distribution between a muay thai and shotokan stance. He keeps an online database of personal ratings and recommendations for hundreds of Seattle area restaurants and food trucks. And he always has at least half a dozen card game, board game, writing, and art projects active outside of work, like helping out with the Tree of Life Deva for the Fremont Solstice Parade.
  • I don’t think I’ve gone two days without seeing Emily walking around with some kind of game or zombie shirt on. Her house is filled with action figures, games, comics, and horror props. She does zombie walks at least twice a year, is in costume twice as much, and watches more scary movies than anyone I know. She’s also obsessed with anything Conan, plays the trombone, worked on the third place demo at NVscene 08, and treats her thirteen birds like they were her children.
  • Kevin was another person that tried to pretend he wasn’t a geek. When I pointed out that he just released an album, he grinned and mentioned that it was made in his studio. You know, the one that contains over 300 feet of meticulously hand-crafted cables (he’s obsessed with them) and a 47 inch screen as his main monitor. He also admitted that even though he’s a professional musician, he still plays piano with one finger.

To round off the team, I’ll close with Jeff. If he isn’t the geekiest studio head out there, I’ll be shocked. Check this list out:

  • He has watched Pulp Fiction once a year, every year since 1994 and can recite screenplay from memory. Often does, to the annoyance and increasing bafflement of his friends and family.
  • Can name every pre-rolled character provided in the original “GDQ” AD&D modules released in 1978, including Gleep Wurp the Eyebiter, Fage the Kexy, and Beek Gwenders of Croodle (spellings approximated).
  • Has read every novel that won a Hugo or Nebula award since 1965. Well, at least the ones that are still in print or that he could find at a used bookstore.
  • Attended the official Wizards of the Coast HQ midnight release party for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition in 2000. Sadly he didn’t participate in the dramatic poetry readings, though.
  • Attended a lecture by Lois McMaster Bujold in 2004. He says if you don’t know that name, a) you should, and b) he wins.
  • Has completed Final Fantasy Tactics (original 1998 PlayStation version) three times, including the Deep Dungeon twice and getting Cloud once. That’s like, what, 300 hours of his life? He also manually spliced two controllers together so he could play it with his best friend, even though the game didn’t support multiplayer. But that doesn’t give him geek cred. The fact that he’s buying a used PSP to play through the War of the Lions remake this summer is what does.
  • Played the cello in high school and college. As he puts it, “I got yer cred right there, boy.” To prove it, here’s an old video of him playing the Guild Wars theme.

In the past, “geeks” and “nerds” may have been stereotyped as the thick glasses and suspender wearing Steve Urkles of society — you know…neeeeerds. Luckily, times have changed. Now, anyone can stand up and exclaim “I am a geek” or “I am a nerd”, and you’d probably be surprised by how many geeky people you pass on the street every day.

Do you consider yourself a geek, or do you have interests that some people consider geeky or nerdy? Come celebrate with us by sharing your own cred! As you can see, we all wear our badges with pride, so we hope you guys do, too!

Happy Geek Pride day, everyone!

*Vulcan salute*

Jess

  1. Researcher: Scott
    Date Recorded: May 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    …now i understand…

    • Researcher: Jeff
      Date Recorded: May 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Indeed. Thanks for your help, sir.

    • Researcher: Mom & Dad Strain
      Date Recorded: June 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      How wonderful it is to know that the $5,000 cello and all those lessons finally paid off.l

  2. Researcher: Barra
    Date Recorded: May 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Glad that your all such geeks. Should make the games awesome. I am a sci fi geek. Read any sci fi thing that I can find, regulary browse any thing that catches my intrest to the point of exhaustion. Also like to look at toys/collectables on my way to work. And happy geek pride day to you all

  3. Researcher: MarleyTheMongolianMoose
    Date Recorded: May 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I don’t own a normal t-shirt. They are all nerdy t-shirts that I buy from thinkgeek, or jinx, or XKCD, or other various places or sites.

    I own multiple zombie t-shirts specifically including one with an 8-bit brain.

    http://www.jinx.com/identity/holiday10/men/zombit_premium.html?catid=124&cs=2&csd=124

    I own a ton of boardgames, Carcassone big box, 3 different versions of Dominion, 2 expansions for settlers (A friend owns the original), Chaos in the old world, BANG, and a bunch of munchkins, and zombie related board games (Zombies!!!!, Zombie Dice and Zombie Fluxx).

    http://www.mmozed.com/forums/index.php?topic=684.msg13851#msg13851

    Zombie movie collection, and a lot more in general B Movies.

    And I love computer security and in general computer programming. I find hacking to be competition between me and the creators of something I am hacking, and computer programming is just awesome.

    And that is why I am a nerd :P

    PS: http://randomdistraction.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/megashark-full1.jpg I love this picture

  4. Researcher: Keith Tallon
    Date Recorded: May 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I’m definitely both a geek and a nerd. I’m more geeky than nerdy — though anyone who knows the difference between the two probably qualifies as both.

    In addition to vigilantly keeping tabs on an awesome nascent zombie game, I’m a sucker for most forms of media, love horror movies, good anime, science fiction and fantasy novels, I play way too many video games, collect and occasionally write poetry, enjoy cooking (I probably have 10 different varieties of chiles stocked at all times and refuse to use packaged blends for tacos), and lately find myself reading (and enjoying!) instructional books.

    Also, I have to add that I’ve dumped at least as much time into Final Fantasy Tactics as Jeff, according to your estimates. I had several games where the clock stopped at 99 hours and change; I looted everything in deep dungeon on my second playthrough, and then went through a third where I literally did everything. I mean everything: I recruited every character, found every unique item in “Depo Dungeon” (it sucks when you hit the correct square and don’t find the appropriate item and have to start a level over), learned Ultima and the Zodiac summon spell, and got every unique item outside of Deep Dungeon, too, including the improved Escutcheon and holy lance and the unique loot that can only be stolen (Elmdor’s loot is totally worth the trouble, especially if you make Ramza a samurai).

    By the time I ended that last playthrough, I had Cloud at level 99 and was using the deleveling trap trick to increase Ramza’s stats (you can deliberately set off the traps as a class that doesn’t gain many stat points as it levels, then level back up as a class that does to beef up your character.) Still, I find myself wishing I’d had the Japanese version so I could learn to be a dark knight…

    Also, back to the whole geek thing, I definitely just took the time to write all that…

    • Researcher: Keith Tallon
      Date Recorded: May 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      Also, Emily:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBGOQ7SsJrw

    • Researcher: Jess
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 9:32 am

      That Conan musical link is epic! I’m still recovering from giggle fits. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the Conan soundtrack while playing D&D, they’re totally synonymous.

    • Researcher: Brant
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 9:52 am

      Nice one Keith, though I’m still partial to this one:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlicWUDf5MM&feature=related

    • Researcher: Doug
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 10:44 am

      Does anything truly get nerdier than one man playing six tubas to reproduce the classic Anvil of Crom?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au-xtvEANWg

      Also, love me some Robocop rap!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUnMF7dV86k

    • Researcher: Emily
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 11:01 am

      YES! I LOVE THAT MUSICAL!!! :)

      Great list, Keith!

    • Researcher: Suburban Freak
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      This guy did Conan, Total Recall, and Predator, but he missed The Running Man(which has a singing character in it already). hhhhhhmmmmm.

    • Researcher: Emily
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      Yes, yes it does. DynamOOOOOOOOO!!!!! (Although, my favorite guy is still Fireball.)

      I am a complete Ahnold junkie. I own a ton of movies (like Total Recall and Running Man) on Blu-Ray, and watch them all the time. It’s kind of silly, really :)

    • Researcher: Keith Tallon
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      I’m glad I could provide some entertainment! Thanks ^^

      The Predator musical is hilarious, Brant, but Arnie’s Conan is so nostalgic for me that the Conan musical will stay my favorite no matter what that guy comes up with. Jess, I think you’ve discovered a perfect synergy, and I have to confess that I actually listen to the theme song when I’m _not_ playing D&D. You should check out the Skyrim theme song if you haven’t already.

      Also, Doug, I think the lightsaber kid may finally have been dethroned — that guy is dedicated.

    • Researcher: Josh_Rhombusbox
      Date Recorded: June 3, 2011 at 11:13 am

      Ok, i’m a huge fan of the conan movies, yes i said movies, I loved Destroyer as well. The soundtrack to Conan was instantly instilled in my heart when i was young. That link you posted with the tubas, just made my day.. even if it was nerdy! yes!

  5. Researcher: UNKNOWN
    Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 12:29 am

    AWESOME, naruto and pokemon!!!!!!!!

    That reminds me of a game idea i thought of once. The same style as pokemon(top down or such) but in the naruto world using ninjas. You could find or train for jutsu and custom ur guy. That would be EPIC.

  6. Researcher: Suburban Freak
    Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I dont know what is worse, my obsession with knowing random pop culture info, or my obsession with anything that Jim Henson has created. It has gotten so bad I find myself making puppets, including a test of a resident A.I. bot the hangs out @ http://www.mmozed.com and lives in a cage. The worse part is that puppet is demanding an upgrade before he meets the public. And I thought one of them was bad.

    • Researcher: Brant
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 9:08 am

      Yeah…I forgot to lock the cage after Dantron’s walk one day and, um, it’s embarrassing. I mean, you spend $1.7 Billion dollars developing a cage that can house a robot from the future…

    • Researcher: Suburban Freak
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 11:09 am

      The new cage is almost set to be released along with the new “Lair 3″. Dantron will not be happy. At least I made sure there is still a volcano. hehe

    • Researcher: Keith Tallon
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      Did you ever watch The Storyteller? Check it out if you haven’t; fables + muppets = win. Also, Farscape.

    • Researcher: Emily
      Date Recorded: May 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      Yeah, are you talking about the Jim Henson’s Storytellers show? I loved the one about Icarus and Daedalus. Something about Greek mythos + Muppets is great (like you say) :)

    • Researcher: Suburban Freak
      Date Recorded: May 27, 2011 at 6:19 am

      I love the Story Teller, and don’t know why there is not more programing like this any more. The sad part is that you can’t view all the episodes because there were 1-2 stories where on the Jim Henson Hr and as hard as I have looked, none of the episodes from that show were ever released on VHS or DVD.

    • Researcher: Keith Tallon
      Date Recorded: May 27, 2011 at 8:21 am

      That is exactly what I’m talking about, Emily. Also Suburban; enter Netflix? There were 2 seasons on there last time I checked — and that’s just streaming.

    • Researcher: Keith Tallon
      Date Recorded: May 27, 2011 at 8:24 am

      My favorite was the one about the guy the with magic bag,although Icarus always strikes a chord. I could see myself doing the same thing if I managed to invent working wings. Ooops!

    • Researcher: Suburban Freak
      Date Recorded: May 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      Keith Tallon
      Those are the 2 orignal seasons that aired. In the Jim Henson Hour he release an additional 1-2 Storyteller stories. The one I remember off the top of my head was “The Monster Maker” it involves a young kid going into a sfx shop and interacting with the creations in there. The biggest was creature was a half covered hydrolic dragon. These are the episodes that are missing for the season collections.

    • Researcher: Keith Tallon
      Date Recorded: May 28, 2011 at 1:07 am

      So I did a little poking around, as unseen The Storyteller episodes are definitely worth tracking down. I found the full episode list on imdb, and it looks like you’re not alone in your predicament. Apparently the show bombed, and Disney bought the Muppet segments only, which has made the distribution of the parts we’re interested in a little tricky.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096619/board/nest/73079216#73079216

      Anyway, long story short, it appears that most of the segments you were talking about were distributed in a stand-alone format shortly after the show aired/was cancelled. Unfortunately, unless you’ve got what you need to view a Laserdisk or you want to trade with this lady
      http://www.kermiclownvideos.com/
      you may be out of luck when it comes to getting a physical copy.

      However, there were episodes floating around youtube at one point (removed; or I’d include the link), and may still be.

      If not, though, Netflix still has you covered on at least a few of them. They might even give you a free trial, and if not, it’s like 8 bucks a month for unlimited streaming and 1 dvd at a time.

      http://www.yourfilehost.com/media.php?cat=image&file=monster_maker.bmp

      I’m going to go watch Monster Maker, now — let me know if there’s any others I should see.

    • Researcher: Suburban Freak
      Date Recorded: May 28, 2011 at 9:47 am

      Best thing to do is go to Muppetwiki and search the Jim Henson hour, and you will find links for viewing on line. there is some really good shorts to check out. The show was Jim Hensons’s experiment with digital crafts combined with pratical effects.

  7. Researcher: Brant
    Date Recorded: May 27, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Oh yeah, Red Dwarf FTW.

    • Researcher: Suburban Freak
      Date Recorded: May 30, 2011 at 9:09 am

      I almost forgot about that show. Why can’t we get more original programing then re-hashes of Hawaii 5.0 or Charlies Angels

  8. Researcher: Dantron
    Date Recorded: May 27, 2011 at 11:15 am

    To celebrate Geek Pride Day, Dantron did a cost/benefit analysis on the difference between Energized Plating and Resistance Plating for Dantron’s ship in EVE Online. The analysis was inconclusive as Dantron requires additional data prior to completing the final calculations.

    Dantron also recalled (thanks to Jess’ comment) how Dantron was always calculating THAC0 for the other party members.

    Dantron then pondered which would win: ASSIMILATE or EXTERMINATE…Dantron gives extra Geek cred to anyone that offers a suitable response & explanation.

    Finally, Dantron watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory, all the while wondering if Chuck Lorre downloaded Dantron’s behavioural matrix while creating the Sheldon character.

    • Researcher: Jess
      Date Recorded: May 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

      Assimilate wins – That’s how you build your army to exterminate those who won’t comply. There’s a reason the Borg are the big-bad of the ST universe.
      Then again….Dalek’s are right up there on the evil scale and possibly awesomer because they’re complete smart-asses.
      Conundrum! Damn you Dantron!

    • Researcher: Dantron
      Date Recorded: May 27, 2011 at 11:58 am

      Dantron respectfully disagrees with Jess’ assessment that the Borg would assimilate the Daleks: Dantron notes that the while the Daleks tend to act, the Borg typically tend to re-act. However, Dantron postulates that once the Daleks have acted, there is usually no one left to re-act…unless there happens to be a Doctor in the house…

      Dantron could further expound Dantron’s arguments, however, it would be outside the scope of this article. Dantron will wait for a more suitable time & place to bolster Dantron’s Exterminate > Assimilate position.

      Oh! Before Dantron forgets, last night Dantron designed an experiment to determine if injecting midichlorians into Dantron’s artificial blood would allow Dantron to shoot Force Lightning at zombies…

    • Researcher: Suburban Freak
      Date Recorded: May 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      I have to get that cage finished.

    • Researcher: Dantron
      Date Recorded: May 31, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Dantron agrees…

    • Researcher: Suburban Freak
      Date Recorded: June 1, 2011 at 7:06 am

      Well, the cage fans will be happy. Then Cage has been completed and activated. Now get it in your cage bot, it is found in the “NEW LAIR 3″

  9. Researcher: gabeNEEDSthisGAMEonPs3
    Date Recorded: May 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    were is teh spahagetti and will you guys be at E3 this june?

    • Researcher: Emily
      Date Recorded: May 31, 2011 at 11:19 am

      I ates it, and nope. We’re cranking away on development, so we’re going to sit out on E3 this year :)

  10. Researcher: Shifty241
    Date Recorded: May 28, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    so ive been following this site for quite a while but haven’t commented, but you drew me out on this one

    well to say first i work as an auto body technician my non geek quality. but aside from that i have 17 diffrent MTG decks 7 of witch ive placed in the top 10 in my area, i have 3 warhammer armies (skaven,chaos, and empire) i have watched so much anime that i couldn’t list them all. as well as 200+ hours of world of warcraft but i have since quit

    • Researcher: Emily
      Date Recorded: May 31, 2011 at 11:21 am

      Very cool! :)

      Foge likes to emphasize that he played MtG “casually”, but I think anyone that does TCGs gets instant nerd points. I can’t talk, either. I own thousands of WoW TCG cards (and play it, too).