Mega Ran returns to the scene with a new chip-hop track for anyone who's ever needed music to survive. The Philly born, Phoenix based Teacher/Rapper/Hero releases a new tune from his upcoming EP, Wouldn't Miss It For The Worl... read
NES all up in this beast with LP of Devastation [Remastered]
// Tony Ponce
It's been almost a year since the comedy rock-rap duo of "8-Bit Duane " Zuwala and "The Amazing BrandO" Lackey made peace with each other following a very intense falling out. Back in the studio as The Adventures of Duane &a... read
You're probably sick of seeing clips of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on the Dtoid front page, but I can guarantee this one tops 'em all.
Regular watchers of Fallon's show of course know that the in-house band is none other t... read
Contributers include composers of Street Fighter IV, Streets of Rage 3, and Ape Escape
// Tony Ponce
Mega Man rapper Mega Ran may have recently dropped a stellar Castlevania hip hopera album, but he'll never forget the little blue dude who propelled his music career, resulting in his decision to leave his teaching gig and fo... read
Download "Basic Braining" for free exclusively on Destructoid
// Tony Ponce
Asian sensation Adam WarRock is a pretty chill dude. Our own Tara Long of course loves him to pieces, but it was I who managed to score a brotastic fist bump at last year's Nerdapalooza in Orlando. He's so skilled, he can tu... read
I gotta give it up for my man Mega Ran, without a doubt one of my favorite nerd music acts around. He's got quite the spread, from Mega Man to Final Fantasy VII and even to River City Ransom. And next on the block is the tur... read
Last year, I discovered a nerdcore rapper by the name of Richie Branson, who laid verses atop anime tracks from Cowboy Bebop, Gurren Lagann, and more. He was also a very vocal proponent of bringing Toonami back onto Cartoon N... read
May 03 //
Taylor Stein Relinquishing to the siren's call of television, a bout of channel hopping led my eyes to the Independent Film Channel, IFC. A rerun from the sketch comedy show Portlandia stretched across the brightly lit LED. Out of the numerous skits showcasing Portland's eccentricities, a segment called Nerd PSA caught my eye. Highlighting the differences between two factions of nerdom, the satirical hilarity could not overshadow a valid and interesting theme pertinent to the gaming community.
Who qualifies as a nerd -- those who align with the physical and social blemishes of the pejorative or individuals who adopt the interests and trends deemed off the beaten path? Is the term clad in negativity, a scarlet letter to be embroidered in secret on one's soul, or has the word been reclaimed as a positive cultural symbol? I decided that it might be interesting to play the role of devil's advocate in this debate, so without further adieu, meet Brian P. an 'actual nerd.'
Upon absorbing the video's thematic significance, I found myself battling with the word's connotation, a term muddled in variable ambiguity, traveling back and forth between a pool of positivity and negativity. At first, my mental scuffle poised me against the beautiful woman and purported nerd. With a swift onslaught of jabs, I attempted to defend my legitimacy in the legion of nerds, geeks, and dweebs against her seemingly phony demeanor. "She's so fake, God what a poser, she obviously doesn't play videogames and she certainly isn't a comic enthusiast, just look at her."
The implications of my snap judgments disengage the mental blitz. I wonder if people doubt my enthusiasm in the realms of technological pursuits, gaming, and quirky hobbies because I deviate from the stereotype's carbon copy? Although the woman in question could very well be sporting dark-framed glasses to garner a few extra cool points, metaphorically bearing the moniker of a nerd's repertoire to appeal to trendy sentiments, a simple notice of her gender, attractiveness, or charisma is certainly not enough to remove her candidacy as an admirer of nerdy hobbies.
Exploring beyond the confines of the segment's intended comedic purpose introduces a question about what constitutes a nerd. The term elicits a wide breadth of imagery, a slew of definitive characteristics that bleep on the radar of social unconventionality -- glasses, social awkwardness, alternative dress, and unusual hobbies. Seeking to conjure a decisive definition, an outline to explore the innards of a real-deal nerd, leads to a realm obscurity. Rather than pinpointing the core of an 'authentic model,' social conditioning echoes caricatures in my mind's eye, essences of Urkels, Napolean Dynamites, and Ugly Bettys. Exploring the commonalities, the conglomerate of pop-culture misfits certainly cannot encapsulate the entirety of the term ... right?
Our fictional ubernerd Brian touches on the barebones definition with a laundry list of defining features; guaranteed identifiers of nerd-kind. With vigilance, he asserts that wearing glasses to see, not for fashion, watching Star Trek, playing Skyrim, and being shy are generalizible nerd monikers. Check, check, check, and check. Minus the 'eventing' and physical stature component, it seems like Brian and I have quite a few things in common. That is, until he drops the kicker, "A real nerd is ashamed to be called a nerd." Wait, that doesn't sound like me.
I don't try to hide the fact that I've put over 300 hours into exploring the world of Skyrim or that I'm blind as a bat without my glasses. I can thank my mother for my love of Jean-Luc Picard, and my adoration of Batman, Storm, and Wonder Woman has gotten me through tough times. Though I sport a badge of nerdiness with great pride, I wonder if adopting a sub-cultural pattern of behavior is enough in the eyes of the masses to be knighted under the flag of nerdhood or if the term is incomplete without the negative accompaniments?
There is certainly no argument on my end that Brian is a foil to our lady nerd. Keep in mind that in the world of Portlandia, just about every reference is a hyperbole-stricken satire deviating far from the boundaries of reality. Brian and lady nerd, as I call her, represent two opposing ends of the spectrum, extremities that conveniently make a drastic contrast possible and the scene, well, funny.
While two similar people may seemingly oppose each other on intrinsic levels, it is possible to conceive that the duo can maintain an inkling of common ground. To reference my many hours playing BioShock Infinite, those two may "swim in different oceans but they land on the same shore." Can the pair not share of love of gaming and comics, can they not embrace a common label of being a nerd?
This article does not serve to formulate a dichotomy of who is and who is not a nerd. It certainly isn't my position to construct a partition between groups or assume that my judgment on the matter is absolute. Rather, it is my mission to welcome a discussion pertaining to a term that has gained traction in the mainstream landscape; climbing out of the dingy basement of self-denial and into the public spotlight as celebrated individuality.
To this humble writer, the title of nerd is no longer adorned with an emblem of disgrace. While some oppose this ideology, casting out all who do not adhere to the physical, social, and leisure stereotypes as inauthentic, I would argue that there is a growing trend of pride associated with the designation, the type of positivity that has the power to unite nerds from casual to hardcore, under a flag of shared admiration. I think it's possible to be a normal, socially-robust individual while still clambering to all things quirky, original, and even 'uncool.'
What does the social designation 'nerd' mean to you? In your mind, does self-identifying as a nerd make you inauthentic?
Image sources: 
Exploring the boundaries of 'nerdom' Following a swift completion of BioShock Infinite's 1999 mode last week, I was hit with a particularly potent wave of boredom. Quelling the bubbling cauldron of monotony was easy while skating through the battle-torn dystopia... read feature
In case you've forgotten that Destructoid is staffed by beautiful, talented people, let me remind you that we've got artists, singer-songwriters, scientists, and former reality show stars amongst our ranks. We are some gifted... read
This Pokémon rap, a parody of Trinidad James' "All Gold Everything," is so ridiculous that I have to wonder how anyone in the video could keep a straight face. Thugged-out Pokémon trainers wearing... read
How can I help you, King DeDeDe?I NEED A MONSTAH TO CLOBBER DAT DERE KIR-BEH!
Game music arrangement repository OverClocked ReMix has released Milky Way Wishes: A Kirby Super Star Tribute, a project that has spent a dizzying... read
Simon Belmont, Alucard, and Link nod their heads to these tracks
// Tony Ponce
Mega Ran, everyone's favorite Philly rapper not named Will Smith, started a new project earlier this year called Time and Space. On the second Tuesday of each month, he will release a short EP of hip hop arrangements that sam... read
I've heard Lucio Baldomero's rapping skills live a few times at MAGFest, accompanying my favorite game music cover band, The OneUps. He's just released his first full-length album, The Master System, which features some excel... read
Samples Super Mario RPG, Illusion of Gaia, and Beyond Good & Evil
// Tony Ponce
Just after MAGFest ended last month, nerdcore rapper Mega Ran unloaded a new EP on the Destructoid doorsteps. A collection of tunes from games like Battletoads and Earthworm Jim with original lyrics added, Time and Space was ... read
Man, videogame remixer Dj CUTMAN is a showman indeed. Look at that sick armor he wears to his shows! Never seen him perform live? Check out this recording of his MAGFest 11 set -- nothing like being there in the room, but you... read
Mega Ran's FFVII tribute album gets redone like CRAZY
// Tony Ponce
Random AKA Mega Ran knocked it out of the park with Black Materia, a love letter to his favorite Final Fantasy ever. He followed it up a year later with Black Materia: The Remixes, which inserts new beats into old tracks, exp... read
MAGFest 11 has come and gone, but as James Hetfield once said, the memory remains. Why should we have to wait a whole year for the next event, though? Why can't MAGFest be every day, or at least every few weeks?
MAGFest organ... read
As I mentioned earlier during Mega Ran's exclusive album premier, Niero and Dale North fell in love with "Sock Hop" when Ran performed it during his MAGFest set. They loved it so much that they downloaded the song from Bandc... read
Jan 07 //
Tony Ponce [embed]241891:46275:0[/embed]
Samples Battletoads, Gitaroo Man, Mega Man X, and more My boy Random a.k.a. Mega Ran was performing at MAGFest, so of course I had to swing by his set and show some love. Those who had never seen a Mega Ran performance were in for a treat. Even Niero and Dale North were floored b... read feature
In all the bustle of the Mega Man anniversary celebration, we failed to mention that Final Fantasy just turned 25 as well! Yep! On December 18, the very day after Mega Man's birthday!
Ah well! It's a big enough franchise tha... read
The first "game music with lyrics" group I remember falling in love with was The Adventures of Duane & BrandO, the white boy nerdcore tag team of Duane Zuwala and Brandon Lackey. Their curse-laden rhymes were loads of fu... read
In celebration of Halloween, Phoenix-based rapper Random a.k.a. Mega Ran and Richie "Toonami Is Back Bitches" Branson released the holiday-themed The Ghouls 'n Ghosts EP. It's a collection of song collaborations from various... read
Microsoft and 343 Industries are drumming up excitement for the upcoming release of Halo 4 with an official soundtrack remix contest. Musicians choose one of three song stems to chop up, upload the finished work to SoundCloud... read
A rapper named Random chops up NES sounds to make his music. One of the most popular brawlers on the NES was River City Ransom. "Random" and "Ransom" are just one letter apart. It's pretty much the most inevitable thing ever.... read
You ready for PAX? It's just a few short days away! I wish I could go, but The Fates have conspired against me. I'll be missing out on many things, such as the Fangamer VERSUS Attract Mode party going down on Saturday night a... read
Two days ago, we learned the heartbreaking news that Nintendo Power, one of if not the most influential American gaming magazine, would cease publication following the December issue. Maybe you've been a long-time subscriber... read
Last weekend, August 3-5, a bunch of nerds made Central Florida our b*tch. I'm talking about Nerdapalooza, an annual celebration of geek music spanning nerdcore, hard rock, chiptunes, and other genres. Think MAGFest, only sma... read
In February, Adam WarRock released his free Mass Effect 3 EP exclusively on Destructoid in celebration of the release of the game. Now, as part of his annual donation drive, he's released a follow-up track, "Garrus... read
What a lying son of a gun. When rapper Random dropped Mega Ran 10 last year, he also announced his desire to move away from Mega Man-themed projects aside from the odd single here and there. But like Michael Corleone, I can ... read