Category Archives: geek life

Universes

Not like the great big cosmos out there in space…that’s nerd stuff and I can’t even begin to explain to you how little I know about space. No, when I say universes I mean as they pertain to books, movies and comics. In the case of geek culture, universes are much less complicated than the thing that NASA deals with.

Okay, so Universes come into play a lot in comics. First there are major universes, like Marvel or DC, then there are the universes within those universes. Most super heroes have had many different versions of themselves running around and have died and come back to life many times over. Each universe has a name and usually when discussing that universe or a specific version of a super hero, since the one I know the most about is Spiderman, we’ll use him as an example, the universe is said in front of the hero’s name.

In Ultimate Spiderman, the universe is called the Ultimate Universe and is a very big one, Peter Parker sacrificed himself in some epic battle and the new Spiderkid on the block is Miles Morales who is black and Hispanic. However, in Superior Spiderman Doctor Octopus is now in the body of Peter Parker and Pater Parker, in the body of the not so good Doctor, is dead. There is also the Amazing Spiderman Universe, there was also Spiderman 2099…lot’s of different versions of Spiderman running around in alternate universes. So depending on the universe different things can be happening, which is why it’s important to know which one you are discussing when someone brings it up.

Now for books this idea is much more simplistic. There is only one universe, unless your book has been turned into a movie, in which case you have book universe and movie universe. People will definitely differentiate seeing as in the movie it never happens exactly as it did in the book. More over, sometime nothing happened like it did in the book in which case book fans will treat them like they don’t even relate to each other.

See? Our universes are not nearly as complex as…our universe. I bet now you understand why people are always talking about the Avengers movie being a mix of universes. Though I, personally, believe the Marvel movies should be considered their own universe, as should DC movies because they usually try to mix the universes and that makes something new…how many times did I say universe in this post?

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Questions?

Yep, here we are. I have realized that there are somethings I have not answered throughout this challenge but am frequently asked about the geeky things I talk about. Since I know that I can’t cover everything in this diverse and rich culture (sounds crazy, but i promise it really is), I have decided to at least answer some FAQ that I and friends of mine hear often.

This first section will pertain to the linguistics of Geek Life:

1. What is head cannon?

So, I believe I told you what canon was earlier, but just in case I’ll repeat it. Canon is what actually happened in the story. So J.K. telling us who marries who is canon. But my idea of what Teddy Lupin is like after the war is over is head canon. As in, because there isn’t much information on him, I get to make up what I believe him to be like because there is no canon on him, and that becomes my head canon. What, in my mind, I believe to be true.

2. What does SPaG stand for?

Spelling and Grammar. Usually used when people are pointing out little mistakes you’ve made, often on your fanfiction. Fanfiction being the fiction fans write about the stories that other people have created, but they love. It’s basically being able to pretend that one thing you wanted to happen, did happen.

3. What does PWP stand for?

Porn Without Plot, or Plot? What Plot? These are smut stories that are basically fan fantasies about characters they wanted to hook up. There is no story line, no plot. These are pure smut stories.

4. What is slash?

Slash is used in reference to gay romance stories. However, the difference between slash and a normal pairing of gay characters is the characters being paired in slash are not gay, and sometimes (it’s about to get really weird) related. So slash is only used to describe a fan fiction story where straight characters are being portrayed as gay for the sake of the story and quite often include sexual scenes that go beyond kissing.

5. What are lemons and limes?

Lemons are sex scenes that are very descriptive. These scenes go over every detail of the sexual encounter. Limes, on the other had are the soft-core version of sex scenes. The reader knows the characters just had sex but there is not abundance of detail.

6. What is a Mary Sue?

A Mary Sue is pretty much the worst thing a character can be, in my opinion. A Mary Sue is basically a perfect character, she’s quite often a self-insert, as in the author but with a different name and basically everything the author wishes they were in real life. Mary Sue is the most beautiful girl in all the land. Mary Sue is intelligent and funny. Mary Sue has guys lining up around the block to date her. Mary Sue is kind and insightful. There is nothing wrong with Mary Sue, and that is exactly why everything is wrong with Mary Sue. What’s the point of a character who will never grow because she’s already perfect? The male version of Mary Sue is Gary Stu.

This next section is about Geek Life in general:

1. Why do some people play tabletop games instead of video games?

Tabletop games are sometimes more fun than video games, in my opinion, because tabletops are always new. The story is forever changing and you never play the same game twice. I mean, you can love a video game and the ones that allow different options give you slight variations in the story depending on your choices, but there are a finite amount of options and outcomes. With tabletop games, there are infinite options for how your game will turn out. Infinite beginnings, infinite endings, because imaginative people imagine different things. That’s why some people would choose tabletops over video games.

2. How are geek parties different from normal parties?

Ummm…I don’t know? They make geeky references? Some people might play video games? Sometimes they are in cosplay while doing so? I can’t really answer this question because it’s sort of a stupid not stupid question…does anyone understand that? I mean, it makes sense why you would think it would be really different from a “normal people party” but normal is relative. So, “geek parties” are normal parties to me. And if you mean do geeks drink, the answer is it depends on the geek, just like every other person. You don’t get thrown out the club for drinking. If it helps, at the parties I go to some people drink, some people don’t. Usually someone brings out a party fighter and a group plays that, sometimes they play drunk because it’s funnier that way. A decent chunk of people actually get my references, which is nice and there are no hard-core drugs…but sometimes there is Hookah. Does that help?

3. How do you keep all that stuff in your head?

Same way you retain all the information you do. It interests me, so I hold on to it, file it away in the section that one files away interesting things. Just because you don’t know what I’m talking about when I’m rambling on about it doesn’t mean it’s any different from how confused I am when you ramble on about sports I don’t understand. So…I guess we really aren’t that different.

4. What’s it about?

I usually get this question when I tell someone I like Doctor Who…and it’s painful because the most simple explanation get’s me weird looks and the most complicated question still doesn’t even scratch the surface. The thing I want to say to people who ask their geeky friends this question is, it’s hard for us to explain what our shows are about because we dig so deep into them it’s hard to simplify what they are about. I mean, a man who is very old and the very last of his kind saving the universe with his companion and blue box that’s bigger on the inside doesn’t really cover it. Two brothers who hunt monsters with a weird angel that doesn’t get most things, isn’t what Supernatural is really about. But saying it’s about family and tough moral choices also doesn’t really cover it. So, please, for us geeks, stop asking and just watch and episode or two. Take a leap of faith and just watch it.

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Manga

First things first, manga is not anime. Though most animes were manga first. Basically anime is to manga what movie adaptations are to books, only since they are shows they are much closer to the actual manga…so more like GoT show to book.

Now, geeks who like manga usually (always) like anime too. These are your Anime Geeks, or if they are obsessed to the point of loving Japanese culture as a whole, they jump to weeaboo territory. A weeaboo is a geek who has become so obsessed with Japanese culture/anime and manga that they try to act as though they were Japanese…other geeks are not usually fond of weeaboos because they tend to be hipster annoying. And they spend a lot of time saying “Actually, in Japan…” even if they’ve never actually been to Japan. Asians are not usually fond of weeaboos because they find them racist.

Like I said before, most anime shows were first manga. The thing about manga are that they are Japanese so they are written from right to left, instead of left to right. Most are printed in black and white instead of color and I can’t really read them because they hurt my eyes after long periods. The thing is, even though I’m used to black and white because I read books, it’s different with manga because they are basically graphic novels. Anyway, just a warning to people with bad eyesight, you might want to just watch the show.

There are plenty of different types of manga, action, adventure, sci-fi, even romance so there is something for everyone. I have never gotten into anime to the same extent of Anime Geeks, and I have never gotten into manga, though I’ve read one or two (and I think my eyesight is what kept me from really enjoying it). But I have seen the sections devoted to it in bookstores and the selection is impressive. So, if you ever wanted to check it out you will usually find it in a bookstore (like Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million) near the YA section, in the same row they put the comic books.

And that’s all my knowledge of manga. Enjoy.

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Gaming and Gamers

Aaaand….cue nerd rage! Raging is literally at it’s finest (or worst, depending on how you look at it) here! So I already told you a bit about consoles when we went over electronics, now I get to tell you a bit about the people who use them. Gamers are a wide and diverse group of geeks…though some of those who game are not considered gamers or even geeks. When it comes to gaming there is a certain level of superiority felt by certain gamers over each other. Lets get into that.

First, we have “real gamers” versus “casuals”. Anyone who plays party games, phone games, or casual mode on any game they play, is considered a “casual” by other gamers. You will sometimes hear the joke made that they are “filthy casuals”, by other gamers. I, personally, do not like the idea of insulting people who game just because they aren’t gamers. Once again this is sort of like being a geek for books versus being a book nerd. You can enjoy playing games without being a gamer. I will state though, that people are only called casuals if the claim to be gamers but the only games they play are Just Dance, Candy Crush and Mario Party.

Once we get into the realm of “real gamers” we find different gaming preferences. I am an FPS or RPG girl, myself….or an FPSRPG, those do happen. Don’t worry, I’m about to explain what both of those mean.

  • FPS– That stands for First Person Shooter. FPS games are games where you are watching things happen in first person and you are fighting. So in Call of Duty you are the soldier and you are fighting other soldiers. However, not all games where you shoot things and have the ability to go into first person view are first person shooters. The main point of a FPS is combat. Fighting waves of enemies with a variety of ranged weapons. Some well-known First Person Shooters are: Call of Duty, Battlefield, Doom, GoldenEye007 and Halo.
  • TPS– Literally the exact same thing as an FPS only you are viewing in third person instead. I have only included this to give examples so you may better understand a FPS. Well known Third Person Shooters include: Gears of War and Warframe
  • RPG– Stands for Role-playing Games. These are the games were you are living the life of someone else. Now this might sound like that’s every game ever invented, but the key difference between any other game and an RPG is you are making important decisions that will alter the character’s path and change moments in the story. This means you will actually decide what your character says in response to certain questions and this decides what type of person your character is. You also usually get to decide what your character will look like. Well known Role-playing Games include: Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Skyrim.
  • MMO– Stands for Massive Multiplayer Online. This basically means you have a giant explorable world that you and millions of others make characters for and play online. Most often these are RPGs. But you will also find some that are not. Well known MMOs include: World of Warcraft, EverQuest and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  • Simulators- Pretty self-explanatory is this not? Games that simulate things that have happened or you could do in real life. The most popular Simulator game is literally named for what it is, The Sims. There are also flight sims, driving sims, and war sims.
  • Sandboxes– These are games where you are pretty much thrown into a world and left to your own devices. There are different types of Sandboxes. Games like Grand Theft Auto offer you a story line that you may or may not choose to follow. Then there are Sandbox Creators like the Tycoon franchise which let you build a city, zoo or theme park and manage it.
  • Platforms– These games have been around for a long time. They are usually some of the easiest games to play. The most basic of platforms is jumping from platform to platform in the attempt to reach your end goal. In the more complex sense they are somewhat puzzle games. You must figure out how to get around objects or past enemies to keep moving forward. The best example I can give you is the original Donkey Kong, you know the one where Mario is trying to save the girl who isn’t Princess Peach and DK is throwing barrels to keep him away?
  • Side Scrollers– These are usually 2D games, but it is not unheard of to find a 3D side scroller. The defining factor of a side scroller is that it is viewed from alongside the map. You are never in front of or behind the character you are controlling. Original side scrollers only allowed for your character to go forward. But as time went on, it became possible to, not only go back, but also up and down. Two of the most well known side scrollers are Super Mario and Little Big Planet.

Alright, and there you have it. Now, a lot of these games can be considered more than one thing. For example WoW (World of Warcraft) is an MMORPG so it is a giant online role-playing game. But the are all usually mostly defined by their biggest attribute.

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Dungeons and Dragons…Duh

Challenge DOkay, did you really think I would go through a geek culture A to Z and not touch on not only tabletop games, but THE tabletop game? Please, I think I know better than to leave this one out. I will proudly admit that I have played before, so I do know a little of what I’m talking about. Let’s start by breaking down the basic set up.

First, you have your DM (Dungeon Master) who is the creator of the world you will play in. The DM’s main job is to make the game fun for it’s players. Also, contrary to popular belief it is entirely possible to play DnD without ever entering an actual dungeon or facing off against a dragon. That, once again, depends solely on your DM. The DM creates your world, decides what challenges you will face and knows where your story should lead you. However, any good DM will allow for several options on your part and have planned out what paths those options will lead you down. The best type of DM is the type with endless imagination.

Now, by saying you don’t actually enter dungeons or fight dragons, I’ve probably confused you all about the name. So, allow me to clarify. A dungeon is pretty much any map your DM creates that you must go through when fighting or solving puzzles. It’s anything that is not a town, or some other place you would consider a resting place for your group. Dragon is used in reference to any boss level fight, as in the hardest fight you face. Sometimes this may end up being an actual dragon, but more often than not it isn’t.

Your role as a player is to be as imaginative and proactive as possible. Immerse yourself in the world your DM has created, much like you would for any video game. The only difference is that your ability to imagine is what limits how well you receive the game, not a company rushing game makers.

There are, obviously, many other tabletop games. But Dungeons and Dragons is really the game that started them all.

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