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Time was, once upon a time, I pretty much knew it all as far as geek lore.

There was a lot LESS geek lore, back then. I knew how to play Dungeons and Dragons, and can still rattle off most of the spells, durations, and components of first edition wizard spells. Meanwhile, my parents still call it "Dragons and Dungeons."

I used to amuse my classmates by, when being given a rough synopsis of a Star Trek or Twilight Zone episode, being able to list the title and season of the episode, and often the guest stars. Later, when Star Wars came out, I was able to list trivia, chapter and verse. I LIKED this stuff. And if you're going to sit and watch The Big Bang Theory with me, watch out; I can identify many of the background props, and point out consistencies and inconsistencies in what they're doing (the Dungeons and Dragons episode, they were playing Fourth Edition, and not very well, and in the episode where they were playing Talisman, the board was set out with no regard to the rules; the Toad marker was on the Crown of Command space, an event impossible in the actual game. And more than once, I've noted the comics and stuff in Stuart's comic shop, and wondered if anyone else has noticed that his stock is all over the place as far as "when it came out," he has no "New Releases" shelf, and with very few exceptions, everything in the shop is either from DC Comics or Time-Warner, the conglomerate which indirectly owns The Big Bang Theory.

But times have changed.

I can still rattle off everything I knew... but there's a lot more to know, now, and for all the time I spend on the internet, stuff doesn't soak in by osmosis like it used to. I actually had to have someone tell me about this "Numenera" thing Monte Cook came up with. I have no idea how many Kickstarters there are, now, relevant to my interests. I rely on my daughter to keep me filled in on things I don't actually pay attention to, like Adventure Time, anime in general, and the Teen Titans cartoon (for all that I was the one who turned her on to anime, decades ago). Good lord, there are grownups watching My Little Pony these days? For that matter, there's a new My Little Pony show these days? I thought that died forever back in the early nineties... and now there's more miniatures companies than just Grenadier and Ral Partha; nowadays, there are literally more miniatures companies than I can keep track of. And a great many of then don't suck! Nowadays, I need people like Rhonda Bender and the Reaper artists to tell me things, like, "Reaper doesn't make the Matt Smith Doctor in a fez, but there's this one British company that does, and they also make Postapocalypse Elvis..."

...and today, in a discussion about Batman, I had to go on Wikipedia to find out who's wearing the Robin suit now. There had been several Robins of which I was not aware.

And part of me mourns that I am not the Alpha Geek I once was. And part of me is kind of happy that I'm sort of normal, in that I have no idea who's Robin these days.

Anyone else ever have this problem?

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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A big part of it is that geek is becoming mainstream (look to Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones success as some proof). More people means more varied interest. I for one think it is a good sign.

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It really has evolved with the times. Most of us remember being geeks or nerds as being non-mainstream, this was before all the cool tech started coming out that elevated the nerds and geeks to control Fortune 500 companies, create multibillion dollar movie franchises, and create electric car companies, et cetera.

 

I don't think it's a bad thing, now it's socially accepted to be smart and it's part of our culture rather than a subculture. With it being "popular" to be geeky or nerdy, the culture grows and evolves even faster and changes more so that we can't keep up with ALL of it all the time.

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If Tim Drake isn't still Robin then I'm not sure who is these days. I gave up on comics after DC started undoing every single good thing they ever did in Crisis on Infinite Earths. I hear the New 52 stuff is really good, but I haven't read much of it. 

 

I'm in the same boat as you Doc. When I was in High School there were 4 or 5 of us who were gamers. The rest were jocks. I did go to an incredibly small school though. I didn't, and don't, like Big Bang, so I can't tell you much about it. Most of my GoT knowledge comes from having read the books. I'm not even close to "alpha geek," and honestly I'm not sure I ever was. I do find it amusing that the things that I caught so much grief for most of my life are now "cool."

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I think it all comes down to shame and internet grouping. But I have a wierd A to B to X sort of brain, so lemme explain that one.

 

Less people are shaming each other over their interestes. Geekdom varied wildly back in the day. You could be a math nerd, a computer (comodores and calculators), a science wiz, a D&D nerd, a comic geek, etc. etc. etc. But whatever geeky stuff you were into, you still deserved to be shoved into a locker and made fun of.

 

After the internet was adopted by absolutely everyone, the public started to wise up to the fact that interests were diverse, and everyone had them. Suddenly a guy like Vin Diesel can admit to loving D&D, and it's cool when an action star like Dolph Lundgren has a chemical engineering degree.

 

I think Alpha Geek is still up for grabs, but like sports you can't be a master of everything. If you knew the minutia for every game that came out, every Sci-Fi series that was produced, and every comic that hit shelves, you would bleed from the eyes and ears. You can also rest assure that you probably have me beat in almost every corner of nerdity and geekdom.

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 Like others have said, there's simply too much out there now. Even a sage has specialized areas of knowledge. 3rd ed, 3.5, Pathfinder? I'm quite knowledgeable about (used to be about previous editions, but that knowledge is largely forgotten now). Never really learned about 4th edition or the upcoming 5th edition except the basics. Likewise, Forgotten Realms (up to about 1382 DR anyway), Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Ravenloft and the planes I'm quite knowledgeable about. Eberron, Dark Sun, Mystara or any of the multitude of third party d20 worlds not so much. I'm also quite knowledgeable about RIFTs, L5R and Warhammer Fantasy but not Warhammer 40K.

  I don't know much about anime or cosplay. I'd have to refer you to my fiancee on those topics.

 Neither of us know much about the various card games, magic, yu gi oh, etc.

Edited by dwarvenranger
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I think Nerd Cred is a myth. It's something a certain group of people made up to feel good about themselves, because they excelled at something when it felt like they didn't at all, because the jocks kept pushing them into lockers. In reality, there has always been way too much stuff to be nerdy about. It was never just about D&D, Star Trek & Wars, Conan, and super hero comic books. It's always been about what we're passionate about. That's why it's suddenly exploding all over the place. People are discovering that it's good to be passionate, it's good to be able to recite your favorite lines in a movie at the drop of a hat, whether that movie is Avengers, The Notebook, Breakfast Club, or Roasemary's Baby, it's a Good Thing, because it's a passion. You can be nerdy about anything at all and you don't have to wear glasses and have a PhD to do it (thank goodness!). You just have to be genuinely interested and passionate about a subject and devote yourself to it enough to enough knowledge in it that you can have "discussions" with "experts". Heated discussions even ^_^

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You just have to be genuinely interested and passionate about a subject and devote yourself to it enough to enough knowledge in it that you can have "discussions" with "experts". Heated discussions even ^_^

 

I will cheerfully discuss "Star Trek" with anyone. But I do not do "Kirk Vs. Picard" arguments. Not any more.

 

 Like others have said, there's simply too much out there now. Even a sage has specialized areas of knowledge. 3rd ed, 3.5, Pathfinder? I'm quite knowledgeable about (used to be about previous editions, but that knowledge is largely forgotten now). Never really learned about 4th edition or the upcoming 5th edition except the basics. Likewise, Forgotten Realms (up to about 1382 DR anyway), Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Ravenloft and the planes I'm quite knowledgeable about. Eberron, Dark Sun, Mystara or any of the multitude of third party d20 worlds not so much. I'm also quite knowledgeable about RIFTs, L5R and Warhammer Fantasy but not Warhammer 40K.

  I don't know much about anime or cosplay. I'd have to refer you to my fiancee on those topics.

 Neither of us know much about the various card games, magic, yu gi oh, etc.

 

I am inclined to agree. I learned Yu-Gi-Oh because my students knew about it, and it was a tool to engage them in class. Same with Pokemon. But neither was something I would have looked up on my own (I investigated Magic: The Gathering due to the awesome art). In my day, it was possible to be completely familiar with every science fiction and/or fantasy show on television. I guess it's still POSSIBLE, but it's more effort than a grownup with a job and family really has time to DO nowadays. That, and I tend to investigate new shows before watching them, because I really, REALLY hate it when they suddenly get cancelled, or the writers don't know what to do and go all "Lost" on us. My leisure time is too little and too important to waste on crap nowadays.

 

Guess that makes me a cranky ol' man, don't it?

 

I kind of had that happen with me. My daughter is just starting to read my comics and I started her with the x men.she watches the anime x men and other x-cartoons ( see what I did there ) on netflix and is asking me about people I never even heard of

 

My little girl  discovered superheroes with the second Batman movie, and got in big. She particularly liked the idea of female superheroes who were as capable and interesting as the men, if dressed a little more stripperifically. She got into the old early nineties "X-Men" cartoon in a HUGE way.

 

So for her birthday that year, I gave her my old longbox, with bagged X-Men dating back to the seventies. Had the entire "New X-Men" run starting with Cockrum, and through the entire Claremont/Byrne era. She about lost her little mind. More so when the cartoon announced the oncoming "Dark Phoenix" story arc... that my daughter had already read about in the comics. She was more excited about having those comics than she was about her first driving lessons, now that I think about it. Made me feel like a daddy, and a good one.

 

I'd bought those comics when they were something like a quarter, thirty cents each, off a spin rack at the drugstore. Nowadays, I do not buy comics; there's not enough to hold my interest for a month to month basis at anywhere from three to five bucks an issue, and from what I've seen, the styles and ideas of the seventies and eighties are LONG gone, given way to newer, edgier, and weirder ideas. They've changed, and I've changed. But I might still buy 'em if the prices were still proportionate to my income. But nowadays, the people who really KNOW comics are the people willing to spend the time and effort and MONEY. And I quit being one of them quite a while back, although conversations at the shop are still interesting and informative (There's a new Green Lantern? An artist, you say? Dang, how many human Green Lanterns ARE there these days? And Sinestro has his own Corps, now? Wow...)

 

Today, there's just WAY more to keep track of. Some of it's crap; it always has been. Some of it's brilliant; it always has been. I guess I just mourn for the days when it seems like I could keep track of it all, and know, at least peripherally, what was going on. On the other hand, these days, sometimes I get nice surprises...

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I think we all have different niches we are passionate about. I could care less about comic books although I know enough to not be totally in left field. I can enjoy a good super hero movie without knowing the original comics. What I know best are boardgames and the sheer number of those that started comng out around 2000 has left me in the dust. I try to keep up on at least some the major players since I have to be able to answer questions at auctions. Many games that I would consider niche games are quite main stream now. I was surprised when I stumbled on a list of popular games that at least half were games that I would consider very niche. The world is constantly expanding, its a good thing.

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I'm old enough that I had the same experience with SF&F books as you're having with TV shows. When I was in Jr. High, I could reasonably read every significant science fiction or fantasy book as it came out. That hasn't been possible for at least 35 years.

 

I miss quite a bit of good stuff today, I'm sure, but it's because there's enough good stuff out there to occupy my time.

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I'm younger than some of you, older than a lot, and I remember as a teenager having read every single fantasy and sci-fi novel in the local library that was any good (by my opinion of course). Used book stores are filled with sci-fi and fantasy so bad that no one ever buys it, but in recent years there seems to be a larger and larger percentage that is quite good. I think it's wonderful that there is so much good material that I'll never get through it all. I remember way too many dry spells where I waited a year or more for the local library to get anything that wasn't pure dreck. 

 

These days as far as comics go one of the few I bother keeping track of is Invincible. To my mind it's probably the best running superhero book currently going. 

 

Interestingly enough I had a conversation with the newbie in our help desk right at quitting time today. Turns out he's a big RPGer, and has a weekly Pathfinder game. We were talking systems, and he knows next to nothing about all the systems I know the most about (Basic, 1e, 2e, etc). It was a fun conversation. 

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