1. Card-Based RPG
RPG stands for role playing game. You’ve heard of these kinds of things before. Pokemon, Yugioh, Magic the Gathering, Bakugan: these are all card-based RPGs. The idea is that you collect these cards that represent characters who will battle each other. The cards indicate power levels (stats) and specific rules that the characters must abide by or which rules in the game they can bypass. You play the cards against another card wielding person. As with all RPGs there is some kind of progression or advancement with your character(s).
RPGs can be presented different media platforms. I’ve played these types of games on my computer without cards. You may have heard of something called World of Warcraft. It’s an RPG of immense popularity. I’ve played that game. Perhaps you’ve run across the name Final Fantasy – again, a video game and a lot of fun to play. Despite enjoying some form of RPG, I just won’t do the card ones.
There’s something that seems fundamentally childish about card-based RPG. RPG is already nearly synonymous with ‘nerd’ so adding another socially discriminatory stereotype doesn’t make this any more appealing than admitting you live in mom’s basement. Nobody other than fellow card gamers wants to hear about your card collection. Nobody. I don’t mind that it exists and that people play it, but it’s just not for me.
For the record, I’ve never been into an RPG that relies on story tellers (game masters), wild imaginations, (ex. Dungeons & Dragons) and/or multi-sided dice.
2. Read Comic Books
Everyone loves a comic book movie. Most people have never read the comic that a movie is inspired from. A perfect example: A while back I wrote a blog lamenting the annoying fact that Bumble Bee in the Michael Bay Transformers movies can’t talk. I get all nostalgic when I think about BB in my days of watching cartoons as a kid. The real issue is that I didn’t know that Michael Bay got this idea straight from the comic book that explained how Megatron destroyed BB’s ability to talk. Bay stuck to the comic and since I don’t read comics and didn’t do any research I was slamming Bay for not staying true to the source material when that’s exactly what he did. Oops.
People do this all the time. When a comic movie comes out and the hero is running around in spandex and it’s kind of cheesy and fake looking it’s because that’s exactly what comics are like. But we just want the cool powers and want the heroes to look cool to because as we project ourselves onto the characters in the movie we don’t want to be lame or nerdy or cheesy.
For instance, Zack Snyder made the heroes in Watchmen look pretty cool. In the comic they are really lame (except Rorschach) and don’t really have any powers and seem really pathetic and dumb looking – and it’s intentional. When Allen Moore wrote the comic he was making fun of comics. In order to deconstruct the genre he made them all sociopaths and homespun (read: lame). So here comes Zack Snyder who when putting the comic into a movie “updates” the look and feel of the heroes. By doing this he completely misses the point of the comic in the first place.
That, however, doesn’t make me want to read comics any more that I already do (which is never). The point of it all is this. You and I don’t really want to read comics not just because we think it’s what single guys who live alone do on Friday nights, but because comics kind of suck. Well actually they are fun, but it’s just not where any of us are right now when it comes to media. And then there’s manga…yikes.
3. Fantasy Football
What do you call huge nerds that try to hide behind the guise of “sports” to get their fill of RPG? Actually, they don’t collectively have a name, but we’ll go with ‘huge nerds’ for now.
I didn’t realize how nerdy this really is until about a month ago. Some buddies of mine were chatting about their fantasy football teams and normally I automatically tune that kind of talk out because talking sports is kind of dry, but I was shocked because one of these guys is one of the biggest nerds I know. I thought to myself, “how does this ultra nerd get into sports like that?” Then it hit me: they aren’t talking about sports, they are talking about an RPG that simply relies on outcomes of actual sports and player performances in order to progress and score their own fake team.
Since I’ve already established that I’m not into RPG that doesn’t come in video game format, it’s plain to understand why I don’t get into this. Oh also, it’s gambling. I hate losing money.
Cosplay is short for costume play which basically means dressing up for Halloween whenever you feel like it. The thing about cosplay is that there’s no fun way to engage this activity. You either spend a TON of time doing it making absolutely gorgeous costumes and are therefore taking dressing up entirely too seriously OR you don’t spend enough time on your costume and the internet and your now ex-friends make fun of you OR you just pay for something really quality which is kind of a stupid thing to spend money on. On top of it all, you always appear to have no life.
And then there are the nerdy conventions that will make you believe that all these cute girls LOVE being nerdy and dressing up a princess Zelda or Master Chief but the reality is that those girls are being paid to do that and the ones that aren’t also aren’t interested in you (or me). No, I’m afraid the majority of those who absolutely love dressing up in costumes probably also enjoy spending time alone.
I will admit, Cosplay is pretty dang cool to look at. The designs, the dedication, the art of it can be impressive. But as a personal hobby? Yeah right.
LARP stand for Live Action Role Playing. It’s basically combining RPG and cosplay. You’ve probably seen people do this somewhere in your community where they dress up like they belong in the middle ages and have sword fights with rubber or plastic weapons wrapped in duct tape. This is nerd city and I wouldn’t ever do this.
Well I used to do this when I was like 8. Any stick on the ground could be a sword or a gun and I remember many times playing Star Wars or Contra with little more than random props and a grand imagination. But eventually you probably grow out of that. If you don’t, you run the risk of looking like this:
6. Fan Fiction
Fan fiction is simply unauthorized stories being written within and around existing works. An example would be if you really liked Harry Potter but didn’t want things to end after Voldemort and Potter’s senior year, you decided on your own to continue the story by writing more story. This isn’t just a “wouldn’t it be cool if” conversation with your friends, this is sitting down and continuing the narrative either on a blog or a website that supports this kind of thing.
Some people are just so passionate about their nerd stories that they’ll attempt to keep them going. They can’t just let the story end. So reading and writing (and rewriting) of fan fiction is a thing and people participate. Even on a rare occasion a fan fiction will be really good and perhaps even better that the original (and with books like Twilight running around it seems a likely scenario). But all that passion about sci-fi novels or fantasy narratives. That’s just too nerdy for me.