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.
- Doug is completely obsessed with Neill Blomkamp, as you can see by his “Please Look at Me Neill Blomkamp” blog. He once won a mug in a Lost costume contest by buying and dressing up in a $150 polar bear suit, and is especially proud of this video, where he presents Guillermo Del Toro with one of his concept art books.
- 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!