Yesterday, while I was working a shift at Pips, there was a table that was hanging out on the patio who I can tell was new to the board gaming realm. I suggested the game Cash & Guns to get them started, and throughout most of the night I stood by them, metaphorically hand-holding them through each game they wanted to play.
As they were taking a break and wanting to move on to their next game, one of the patrons started to converse with me about this whole board game revolution. She asked how many games I knew on the shelf, and just became curious about this, what seemed like, a foreign world to her.
Then suddenly, this patron made a comment that startled me a bit. She asked, “who do you play games with,” to which I replied “I have essentially two groups that I regularly play with”. She then said something along the lines of, “are you guys like basement dwellers that don’t get out then?” Now I’ll admit, I was a little offended. I mean for starters, I don’t even have a basement… But then, perhaps due to the alcohol that she was drinking, started to justify that it was weird seeing these “pasty white people up and about”, (although she was attributing that more so to the whole Pokemon Go craze that’s been happening, which I’ll admit, I too am a part of).
I had to say to her that tabletop gaming has changed significantly in the last few years. As a tabletop gamer, we don’t reside in a basement for long extensive periods of time every day. After stepping back from the table, I could look around at the patio and see that every person at the cafe comes from a different walk of life. There are definitely some gamers who act as “basement dwellers”, those that you can tell show levels of social awkwardness when being in public. But to generalize that we are all the same is clearly an incorrect statement. I look at my own group of friends that I play with, each one of us has our own unique set of nerd-isms and geek-isms. There’s one of my friends who collects A TON of Pop Figurines. Another is a hardcore Star Wars fan, who still criticizes me for not watching Star Wars yet. And another watches anime when she gets the opportunity to do so. But we live regular lives outside of these, what I call, geekdoms.
Some, like the woman I was talking about, view geekiness with a negative connotation. We are viewed as people who are socially awkward, physically inactive and stay sheltered in a proverbial basement. When I reflect on myself, I’m pretty sure I can talk to people without hesitation, I play dodgeball, go bike riding and rollerblading, and once again I say, I don’t have basement. When it comes to geekiness, I see that people have varying degrees of it and it is their choice as to whether to state their fandom or keep it locked up out of embarassment, which is a shame, since people shouldn’t be covering up elements of their life that they are most proud of. It is only recently that geekiness has been more accepted by the general public. The best example of this is the Calgary Expo that happens annually in Calgary. It’s not like basement dwellers come out of their hibernation and walk to the Calgary Expo. You can see that every type of person is there and is a fan of some sort of thing. Every patron of the expo also accepts another for their likes of a different show, movie, hobby, etc. (although I’m not sure if that’s true with Trekkies and Star Wars Fans).
So I would like to argue that every person is a geek in some way. If you are a fan of a certain television series, book series, movie trilogy, genre, gaming, or anything related, you in essence have a bit of geekiness in you. It’s up to you to choose whether you share it with the rest of the world.
I feel better now ranting this… Now I’m gonna watch episodes of Battlebots, read some board game rules, and maybe finally start watching a Star Wars movie.