We all have interests, whether it be sport, music, games, niche pornography, reading or something totally different. What you’ll also find with having any interest are other people who share the same or similar interests. Everyone loves a good chat about their latest purchase of a book/ticket/game/DVD. But in this day and age, you are not allowed to enjoy what you enjoy, oh no, because someone who doesn’t enjoy it will always go out of their way to tell you why you are wrong for enjoying it.
I’ll come out and say it, I’m a MAN OF THE INTERNET, by that I mean I take an interest in anything that would be considered “nerd culture” (Man of the Internet sounds much more badass though.) I’m not ashamed of this, I enjoy watching entire series of Star Trek and playing obscure NES games, when I’m not fantasising over my favourite Anime character that is, and I’ve found many like minded individuals –not in person of course, that would involve going outside...
And we can talk for hours about our various interests, with no fear of judgment. Only on the internet of course, if I even mention my level 80 Paladin in World Of Warcraft in the real world (IRL as I would say) I can expect to have the crap beaten out of me by some uneducated brute who is in romantic love with “Shola” or some other footballer, whose name wouldn’t sound out of place at a Klingon battle ceremony.
Ahh, good old football fans. The Catholics of the hobby world. When they aren’t gathering in their decedent cathedrals to worship Ball and Foot, they are preaching the latest scores and telling the parable of “that miracle goal.” They spend time distancing themselves from us ‘nerds’ when, in actual fact, they are exactly the same, if not worse. I have friends who go to conventions dressed as characters from their favourite game, comic, film etc. This is known as “Cosplay” you know who else likes to dress up as their favourite characters? You guessed it, football fans. Yes, really. How do you identify a football fan? The gormless look on his face? No, it’s the replica strip they wear with the name and colours of their favourite team on. Is this any different to me walking down the street wearing a Star Fleet uniform? No. If you wear an Alan Shearer football shirt, you are wearing a goddamned Alan Shearer costume. Football fans are just closeted cosplayers. What really irritates me is that they are allowed to get away with this. I have to hide my “nerdiness” like school boys hide their crotches in the changing room shower, while the football fan parades up and down the lockers, footballs on show for all to see.
Another stereotypical nerd hobby is videogames. Again, many parallels can be drawn between the world of virtual reality, and football. I know the entire roster update for the latest Street Fighter in the same way a NUFC fan knows the name of every current player in the team. The difference is, if I bring up games in conversation, the subject is quickly brushed over. If football is brought up, the conversation can last an infinite length of time –I say “conversation” it’s more a series of noises and grunts. If I talk about the tech specs of the latest console I purchased, I’ll be branded a “geek” and sent away to cry into my Anime Girl body pillow. But the common or garden football fan is free to talk about the offside rule and toe punts without fear of ridicule. Football even has videogames! The long running FIFA series releases the same game every year, but of course, these manly men of football wouldn’t be caught dead talking about the gameplay of a videogame, they talk about the games as if they’d been watching “the match” and they act as if they are the manager of the actual England team.
I’m not saying my hobby is better, but it is. The reason it is better is because I don’t try to hide what I do behind a wall of lies. I am not insecure about my interests. What I want to know is, who came up with this idea of what nerds are, and what made the football fans exempt? Did some beefy man declare that football is the only hobby allowed to act “nerdy” without being bundled into the nerd culture? It’s not like other elements of nerd culture haven’t leaked into the mainstream, sci-fi films were once only enjoyed by the minority, now everyone has seen Star Wars, and films such as Avatar – which technically exists in the same canon universe as the pop culture classic Alien- can become one of the highest grossing films of all time. You can’t honestly tell me that the basement dwellers made that happen.
It’s about time the nerds stopped hating on the football fans for being elitist with their fandom, and it’s about time that the football fans stopped pretending their sport is anything more than a “fandom” in the same way that Doctor Who or Twilight is. And hey, at least we still have the furries to hate on together.
- A short “rant” about my brother.
Last Monday a package arrived on my doorstep. I opened to find an original 1985 Nintendo Entertainment system, a copy of Super Mario Bros 3, Contra and Megaman 2 amongst others. To my knowledge these are three of the best games for the system.
I never played the NES as a child, I was born 8 years after it’s original release and grew up with a SNES, Genesis, Playstation and the king of the handhelds; The Gameboy. It was on the Gameboy that I was first introduced to classics such as Pokémon, Mario Land etc. My point is I grew up playing Nintendo games, I consider myself pretty good at platformers from the 8bit and 16bit eras, I can run through Megaman 2 in less than an hour, and know where all the warp whistles are in Mario 3.
My brother on the other hand would struggle to find the “B” button on a NES control pad. This is the reason I am writing this today. My brother, Izaac, was born in June of 1999. A child of the Millennium. He didn’t grow up in the waning years of the “Bit wars”; he didn’t witness the death of Sega, the Birth of Sony or the polygons of early 3D gaming. He grew up with the PS2 and Xbox.
So last week, after hooking up the NES (without help from my parents) I decided to show him how much fun Contra could be. His response made me burn with anger. “I don’t like this game, it’s too hard and the graphics are rubbish.” I pushed past this, admittedly Contra is a hard game, and I shouldn’t have introduced him to this amazing console with a punch to the face. I popped in Super Mario Bros 3, and as the curtain rose his little face lit up. He recognised Mario. Great, I thought, he might enjoy this. I played through the first stage, very easy for me; I’d sunk hours and hours into the Gameboy Advance version. Then it was his turn. It was painful to watch, he had no idea to hold “B” to run before a jump, he hit the second Goomba, and then fell down a hole. I bit my tongue and played through the level. The final straw came when he complained that “the music stops when I jump” and how “the sounds are much better on Xbox.” I literally grabbed the controller out of his hand and pushed him out of the room.
When did children lose the ability to appreciate anything that doesn’t have online multiplayer or a colour palette composed of three greys and a few browns? I would rather shoot pixilated Aliens in Alien 3 for the Sega MasterSystem than “Frag” generic Russian/Korean/Space Marine in Gears of Halo Duty 7. Admittedly I have played countless hours of TF2 and Fallout:NV, but I will always have time for the classics. I have over thirty games consoles, only three of those are of current generation, and even my custom built gaming PC is used mainly to play Doom, Quake and Emulators.
To wrap it up, it really shocked me to realise that my own brother didn’t share my love of the retro. I assumed, possibly wrongly, that he would be able to pick up any controller and instantly know how to play. Maybe the age difference was a bigger thing than I thought; let’s just hope that not every twelve year old can’t get enjoy the good old NES.
With all the recent controversy relating to the suitably dubbed "nubageddon" I started to think "Are useless accessories and add-ons for Nintendo Consoles anything new?"
When I was around 6 years old, I was given my first games console, a clear plastic Gameboy Pocket. Now this single hand-held gaming device would have been boring without a game -in this case Super Mario land, still my favourite Gameboy game- and without batteries pretty useless. To put it simply, back then batteries were expensive and two AAA batteries was a lot for several hours of gameplay, so he first accessory that I will mention is, the battery pack, which could be charged from the mains power. This is what I consider a useful accessory, and now everything comes with an in-built rechargeable battery. Back at the time I was amazed that you could recharge a battery, I was so used to binning them after the device they had previously powered stopped working, but this was more than just a battery pack, it gave me the option of playing my portable console anywhere, without having to carry batteries.As the years went on, the battery pack lost its ability to hold a charge, and I was left with a blank screen just as Mario was about to jump a chasm. So overall it was a good, a very good accessory, and helped me enjoy such an amazing console and ignite my love for gaming.
Many years later, I got an upgrade, to the Gameboy Colour, and Pokemon. At the time, my bestfriend and myself were obsessed with Pokemon, him having Red, and me having Blue, we often met up to battle each other, well, I battling, we just mashed the 'A' button,until one of us lost and punched the other to make up for the loss. We didn't live to close to each other so meeting up usually meant having a sleep-over -slumber party for you Americans.- which brings me onto my second accesory, the worm light. Now anyone who owned any of the Gameboy consoles will know that, up until the SP (yes I am aware of the GB:Light) ,you had to be sitting on the surface of the sun to see anything on the screen. So this was obviously a problem when your parents would come into your room and say "Turn your Pokemons off and get some sleep." No matter how much you whined that you needed to save first, they would win, by turning off the light. But fear not Pokefans, the worm light would save you from your tyrannical dad, with his light switches. For anyone who doesn't know a worm light is a small bendy tube with a light on the end, which plugged into the small port on the the side of the Gameboy and bathed the tiny colour screen with a little yellow glow. As a child this was awesome,I could battle Gym Leaders after 'bed time' especially at sleepovers, playing Pokemon until 9pm was the ultimate rebellion at the age of eight. Sounds great right? Wrong, the little worm light drained batteries about four-thousand times quicker than spamming the 'A' button and without my beloved battery pack, I couldn't play my games for too long with light on. And other than that, it looked stupid, having a bright pink squiggly tube sticking out of my garish green Gameboy Colour. This is the bad accessory, but if I'm honest it was still pretty useful.
The most exciting news from Nintendo when I was young was to hear about the new Gameboy Advance, with smaller cartridges, in full colour, and brand new Mario games! Yes, as a 11 year old, this was great news, a new portable console, and with it came yet more useless accessories, I had them all, sub-woofers, double worm lights (two battery draining lights on one console!), the 12 player link cable, the adaptor to use it as a Gamecube controller -I never had a Gamecube- and many more. But the prize fro the ugliest goes to a screen magnifier that I owned. it was not just a little piece of convexed PVC, that clipped nicely onto the top of my Gameboy. Oh no, this was power armour for the Advance, made of heavy duty plastic that encased the little console making it unrecognisable, it had a built in loud speaker and huge rubber grips on the back, it replaced the d-pad with a sticky joystick and two huge rubber plates covered the A and B buttons, this pocket console needed its own bag when wearing its protective suit, and when combined with the duel worm light, it was one ugly piece of hardware. This wouldn't have been so bad, if my parents didn't insist on me keeping it in the case, not that I could get it out, you needed a screwdriver. So I had to put up with this until the release of the SP, a backlit -goodbye worm light-, a rechargeable battery and a huge screen, this was truly the perfect Gameboy.
And that is my article, I had plenty more consoles and accessories I could have talked about, but the Gameboy Line was and will always be my favourite place to find copious amounts of accessories, so just think, yes the 3DS might get a nub add-on, obviously you can get a thousand kinds of DS stylus, but is that anything new? I for one say, no, it is just gaming.