Booyah Buddha: What Is Your Geek Focus?
As the newest member of the Booyah team, I am the resident rules lawyer turned rules author/editor. I also tend to be a Zen-like center of calm and introspection. In this regard, as I take on the task of revitalizing our online presence, this is the first in a series of “Booyah Buddha” blog entries, taking on various subjects with an air of inner reflection. Hope you like it!
Pop culture has integrated into our society more than ever.
Based on a statistic that I made up, about 90% of the world’s population can be considered a “geek” or “nerd” about something. Maybe they’re really into fantasy stories or super obsessed with reality TV and celebrity culture. If I had to make a wild guess, I’d say that most people reading this (a blog entry on an indie board game publisher’s website) could probably be considered board game geeks to some degree.
But is that your only geek focus or even your primary geek focus?
Personally, I consider myself a dual-priority geek with tabletop gaming and anime/manga equally being my primary geek focuses. These interests are huge parts of my life and most of my free disposable income goes to supporting these hobbies (usually more on the tabletop side since a Crunchyroll subscription takes care of the bulk of my anime needs these days).
That said, I do try to keep a level head about myself when it comes to gauging the “geek level” of others. Just because someone may have never seen any anime beyond what has been on TV and notable movies like Akira and Miyazaki films doesn’t mean they can’t totally out-geek me as a hardcore computer gamer or knowing everything ever about Star Trek.
On that note, I watch Board Game Breakfast from The Dice Tower every Monday while I get ready for work. During a recent episode there was a segment about the use of board games in TV and movies.
While there were a number of interesting pieces of information during the segment, it started off on the wrong foot with me when talking about The Big Bang Theory. The Board Game Breakfast contributor said the games that the guys played in the show (things like Ticket to Ride and Catan) did not properly reflect the “level of nerd” that the characters are meant to be. She said that they should instead be playing heavier and more niche games and be shown opening up their latest Kickstarter shipments.
I have to fully disagree with this opinion.
While The Big Bang Theory can be a bit divisive, I did enjoy the show quite a bit as I watched the first eight seasons. During my time with the characters, I feel like I have gained a pretty good understanding of what they were going for in their creation. Talking again about Geek Focus, these guys are pretty much general sci-fi, fantasy, comic book nerds; your standard Comic Con types obsessed with DC, Marvel, Star Wars, Star Trek, and/or Tolkien works.
This might be hard for people to accept when your main geek love is board games, especially if you make a living off of the hobby like the Dice Tower contributors, but not all geeks are super geeky for the same things as you.
Hardcore niche board games by definition are not mainstream.
And you know what? That’s okay.
For them, playing board games is mainly just something to do while hanging out with each other. The board games are secondary to being in the company of friends, not the other way around as the case may be for more serious board gamers. The popular, light/medium weight games they play on the show fulfill that purpose just fine.
They have also played Dungeons & Dragons on the show, and based on what we know about the characters, I get the impression that they’re not particularly hardcore in this area either. They seem much more interested in the social, roleplay, and storytelling aspects of the game with little focus on the mechanics. I doubt they ever took part in the Edition Wars, likely just playing D&D because it was D&D, being perfectly fine with going from 3.5 to 4th Edition to 5E without any real complaints.
To be honest, I couldn’t imagine most of them ever playing a non-D&D RPG other than maybe dabbling in Mutants & Masterminds or some version of a Star Wars RPG.
When looking at myself, I can see at least one similar casual-level division to my geekiness: I’ve been loving the crap out of all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies since the first Iron Man film. Before that, I had fun watching the Blade and X-Men movies. Batman Begins is still one of my favorite superhero origin movies. However, you could probably count the number of DC and Marvel comic issues that I’ve read on one hand.
Some hardcore comic book nerds might call me a total poser for that, but whatever. American comics aren’t a major focus of mine, and once more: that’s okay. They can probably tell me every little difference between the MCU and the original comics, but do they know the three most prominent tsundere roles of Rie Kugimiya? Could they even tell me what a tsundere is without looking it up?
So what’s my point here?
I believe that taking a look within, knowing what being a geek means to you and recognizing the limits of yourself and others, can truly enhance the understanding between members of our universal community.
Just because someone might not be as into something as you think they need to be (those filthy casuals!), don’t look down on them. They could very well think the same about you on a different geek subject.
And if you seem to be the ultimate apex nerd who has no equal in any subject: Please, still be humble and considerate. Is showing your “prowess” really worth dragging other people down?
We can all get enough grief from the outside without having to deal with it from within.
The Booyah Buddha has spoken!