The Year In Nerd

January 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments
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The older I get the more proud of my characteristics I become. Foremost among these is my nerd qualities. Where as once I might have hid my interests in shame, now I proudly wear them on my chest. I am a nerd, and proud of it.

If only people more fully owned who they are.

I have a friend who works in computer repair, plays video games all day, but no he isn’t a nerd. Of course not.

Nerd culture is far reaching, crossing mediums, and has exploded with the internet. A decade ago if you were a nerd you were a dedicated but isolated and lonely person. Today anyone can be a nerd in minutes by looking through google and wikipedia.

I no longer have to delve so deeply into any one topic, I can spread my wings and enjoy nerd culture on all levels. Whether it be television, movies, music, clothes, games, or anything else.

In any case, here are the things I was interested in as a nerd in the year 2010.

Games

Let’s address some really obscure stuff you guys probably don’t know I like. For instance, there’s this upcoming game called Guild Wars 2. Apparently it’s a big deal. Despite some popular blogs impressions, turns out you can jump, and it isn’t heavily (not as much as Guild Wars) instanced.

People really freaking love this trailer.

If you weren’t playing Minecraft this year I suggest you turn in your nerd credentials. I’m going to need your laser gun, your Star Wars dvds, your flash drive, and a sworn statement written in Klingon or Elvish that you will not participate in nerd activities.

I won’t summarize the game except to say, it’s legos, and it kind of rocks.

What quickly became one of my favourite games of all time and surpassed it’s predecessor with ease, was also one of the best selling games of the year. It sold 2 million in it’s first week, who knows how many more since. Mass Effect 2.

What was so great about it? A streamlined approach to action, a fully fleshed out and deep universe, great voice acting, well written story, and an epic sense of adventure. There is little to complain about when saving the galaxy as Shepard.

Honorable Mentions:

I don’t think New Vegas quite measure up to the likes of Mass Effect 2, but then I’m not sure if any game does. It’s good. Worth playing. Not Mass Effect 2.

Dragon Age is a good game but felt stiff in the corners. The fights all too often just ended up being larger and larger numbers of enemies to increase difficulty. The story was good, and the companions, but I thought it was brought down by the mechanics and play.

Not worth mentioning and yet here we are:

Warhammer, Aika, Free Realms, EQ2, LOTRO, all games I tried and didn’t really feel like trying again.

LOTRO was probably the best of these, but I just couldn’t get past the long boring travel and kill ten rats quests.

Television

I’ve quite grown accustomed to being able to watch British series through various shady sites on the web, and one of the first was Doctor Who. I thought Eccleston was cool, Tennant was great, and I’m still figuring out Smith, but all the same I really enjoyed the most recent series.

I don’t think DW measured up to some of the Tennant series, Blink and Midnight come to mind as transcendent episodes, but it’s still one of the best shows on television. I know some people don’t like the glorious farcical elements, the trippy fantasy mixed with unlikely science fiction, but that’s one of the best parts. There’s also this deep seated pacifist message in just about every episode, kind of brave for this day and age.

Sherlock was the real surprise for me this year. When I heard remake, I just thought “oh god please don’t crap on the memory of Arthur Conan Doyle”. However I was greatly pleased to find the 3 episodes absolutely entertaining. Great chemistry between the leads, tight story telling, absolutely no lame “updates” to the character, only realistic representations of what Sherlock might be like in the 21st century.

As a mystery fan I felt obligated to check it out, as a nerd, I feel obligated to show it off on my blog.

I, like most men, played cowboys and indians as a child. Or alternately cops and robbers. Justified is like the two of them put together, only instead of indians you get white trash. The simmering rage that surrounds the main character is so interesting to watch. The hot female leads don’t hurt either.

I nearly entirely forgot to mention one of the best sitcoms I have ever watched. The IT Crowd. The short 6 episode series always leaves me wanting more, but the jam packed quality of each episode is impressive. The first season may start out slow, but by the end, stretching into this years fourth season, is non stop laughter. My absolute favourite this year was The Final Countdown. It was brilliant. Satire on that level is unbelievable. Truly one of the most knowing satirizations of what it is to be a nerd I’ve ever seen.

Honorable Mentions:

Chuck is pretty consistent. it lays on the line between mediocrity and greatness on a regular basis. I like that it is purposefully and willfully nerdy at times but there are a few problems. The needless conflicts (that could be resolved if two people just had one conversation) are a little irritating, and I often wish Chuck would grow a spine.

The Good Wife is perhaps the best network drama on the air. The deep rooted cynicism appeals to my particular sense of nerdery. The storylines are complex and interesting. The acting is superb, and they veer away from cliche whenever possible.

The Daily Show and Conan are what I watch to laugh. I am grateful every time I watch Jon Stewart that I don’t live in the United States. Conan’s brand of humour has entertained me greatly for something like 18 years now. I used to stay up late on friday nights just to watch the first 15-30 minutes of his show which came on at 1:35 in the morning. Dedication people, that’s what being a nerd is about.

I keep adding to this. Community also rocks, along with How I Met Your Mother. Two network shows secretly written by huge nerds.

Not worth mentioning and yet here we are:

The more time passes the more disappointed I am in the Lost finale. What a terrible ending for all those who watched for the science fiction and fantasy. Nerds who were drawn in over so many seasons were left out to dry.

Stargate Universe started out fairly boldly, a dark, endlessly hopeless approach to the Stargate…. uhm, universe, that stole from Battlestar Galactica heavily. Unfortunately it was too rooted in the old shows and had too many miracles to keep a sense of realism.

After the cancellation of Legend of the Seeker, a show I watched simply because it was the only fantasy show on television, I started to watch Merlin, the only fantasy show on television. They both suck.

Oh and I was fairly outraged by the cancellation of both Spectacular Spiderman and the most recent X-men cartoon, not because they had bad ratings, but because Disney bought Marvel, and Disney likes to make their own cartoons. They were 2 of the best Marvel animated series to date, making Disney look like idiots.

Movies

Scott Pilgrim vs The World is probably the best movie I saw all year. Altogether I don’t have a high opinion of most movies I see, but Pilgrim appealed to me on several different levels. It was funny, interesting, well written, well directed, and showed an originality few movies do anymore. I wrote in a previous post that, essentially, the box office take is why nerds can’t have nice things. Too few of us paid to see a movie made by, and for our community.

It is just plain enjoyable to witness comic book movies being made that aren’t garbage. The Batman movie of 1989 certainly began a new era for comic book movies but it has taken some time for studios to understand what it takes to do it right. There are still bad ones being made, Ghost Rider perhaps, but Iron Man 2 was a continuing example of how to do it right. Great casting, good special effects, well written, good direction, and best of all a sense of realism. Nothing worse than seeing purple pants in a Hulk movie or an accurate wolverine costume in an x-men movie.

Okay I haven’t seen Inception, but I believe it belongs here. A huge budget, massive stars, brilliant director, and all for a heist movie that’s inside someones dreams. I don’t know how anyone could say it’s not fit for nerds. And who better to exhaustively pore over the ambiguous ending and themes of the movie than nerds? Nobody, that’s who.

Honorable Mentions:

Believe it or not The A-Team wasn’t terrible. Certainly the very last action scene was, but the rest of the movie was affable if entirely unoriginal.

I can say the same for Prince of Persia. It certainly tried very hard but it was lacking a certain amount of rewatchability. Most of the characters just didn’t have much depth.

Winter’s Bone. Again I haven’t seen it. A crime noir set in the country. One of the best films of the year. I’m kicking myself for not having seen it yet, it’s right up my alley.

Not worth mentioning and yet here we are:

Airbender. Nuff said. Or is it? I loved the cartoon, they massacred it. Now it’s nuff said.

Dinner For Schmucks/The Other Guys. Could have been a great movie considering the talent it’s trucking around, but I wasn’t particularly impressed by the weirdness and the lack of jokes.

Jonah Hex. What I said about Iron Man 2 only the opposite.

Books

Can’t say I read too much that was particularly impressive. I’m a big Star Wars fan but this year I read last year’s books, Abyss, Backlash, Outcast. I was surprised by the quality of the Star Wars ebooks, Lost Tribe Of The Sith. They are free and well written.

Ghosts of Ascalon was a surprising treat. After years of hearing of absolutely terrible game tie-in books, I was not expecting such an impressive read. A well written story that although contained a few cliches, was fleshed out with deep characterization, well used lore, slight twists on old ideas, and an appetizing cast.

Only read about 6 or 7 books this year. I admit, I need to buff up my book habits.

Not worth mentioning and yet here we are:

I’m not happy with Del Rey. Their policy on hardcover books has quite irritated me. While most publishers release a paperback about 6 months after a books hardcover release, they wait a year. When their Star Wars series only had the occasional hardcover this wasn’t as much of a problem. Each release in their latest 9 part series, Fate of the Jedi, is released in hardcover. I’ve therefore been boycotting their hardcover books, where before I might have bought them from time to time. For a book company to prey on the rabid fandom of their customers is abhorrent to me.

Internet

I started using Reddit. Years ago I used digg, but never really found it to be all that great. I mostly used it because my best friend liked it. Cut to years later and the content on Reddit suits me much better. Farcical cartoons, images, memes, linked right next to serious news, politics, and information. It’s mostly liberal but does entertain opposing views, has a large amount of Canadian content, and plenty of nerd references. To keep up with internet jackassery I have to do nothing but check in with reddit on a regular basis. For me it was one of the top internet sites of 2010.

The Gregory Brothers had some of the catchiest music of the year, who cares if its funny too. I was tempted to go with Double Rainbow as well, but Bed Intruder is just king.

I don’t even know where I came across this video, who made it, or why it’s so funny. It’s awesome, that’s all that matters.

I think images with concise, witty, observations and one liners quite took off this year. I found the following meme particularly therapeutic. I hope it helps out fellow nerds as well. Socially awkward penguin rules!

Although I think I’ll give Forever Alone a nice second place finish. He really worked hard for it.

This video was not very popular but ended up being one of my favourite videos of the year. So true to life and if you can type, you can make something similar. I suppose the trend in general towards these text-to-movie videos alone is worth noting, as there are several other well known and similar videos.

I first saw the following linked from the AV Club. Just as with any sane teenager, I dismissed Insane Clown Posse back in the mid 90s. I find it incredible that in 2010 they suddenly beame irrevocably relevant, even if it was only because they’re funny. Unintentionally funny. Leave your scientist talk at the door folks and enjoy.

The year was filled with countless things I haven’t mentioned, reams of comic books, console games, tech devices, zombies, you name it. These though were what occupied my time, or shortly will occupy my time. What was in your year of nerd?

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13 Comments

  1. Great post, embrace NERDOM!

    • that’s what I’m sayin

  2. Tron. I can’t believe it didn’t even get a mention. For shame!

    You need to go see that movie sir.

    • you make it seem like i should castrate myself for not having seen a movie that came out less than 2 weeks ago or something.

  3. Pft to Tron.

    Happy new year to you too.

    • happy new year!

  4. Happy new year, Hunter! I really scoured my brain for good nerd stuff when you asked in Twitter, but I just couldn’t come up with much. It’s been a good year for nerdom, I think, but not great. Just some highlights scattered here and there. May 2011 be an even better year for the nerd!

    • I think fantasy and sci fi really didn’t have much going for it, but if you wanted intelligently written entertainment that targeted nerds you would be fine.

      I left out a few things I perhaps should have mentioned, harry potter movie, tron, maybe some other stuff. particularly from the beginning of the year, stuff i can’t remember.

  5. Dorkface.

    • I’m not sure why you would call a complete stranger a dorkface young lady but rest assured, the feeling is mutual.

      • 😉

  6. Happy New Year!

    Blink was simply one of the best episodes of the ‘new’ DW. I find it interesting that the Doctor and Rose were hardly in it. Great writing, great direction and great acting by the entire cast. I hope that won some awards.

    • yeah agreed. not only were they not in it, but what little of them that was, was brilliant.


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