Now is a great time for geeks to “live long and prosper.” From Super Mario Brothers t-shirts to G.I. Joe tote bags, geeky subculture is slowly but surely becoming not only socially acceptable, but trendy as well.
Gone are the days of poking fun at Trekkies and gamers. Seeing teenagers sporting vintage Pacman shirts or referencing Star Wars may not be as socially alienating as previously thought. Breaking out Super Smash Brothers at a party won’t get you awkward stares from across the room. Even World of Warcraft is being used to sell Mountain Dew by creating flavours such as Alliance Blue and Horde Red.
“I definitely think that video games today are being geared towards wider audiences,” says first-year Laurier student Carla Egesi. “If I were to go to the EB games down the street, I could practically get a video game for every single member of my family.”
Egesi believes that video games aren’t aimed at the usual stereotypical gamers of yesterday. While everyone could probably think of someone they know who fits the bill of a typical nerd, nowadays almost anyone could pick up a video game and find some enjoyment in it. Games like “Nintendogs” and “Little Big Planet” can provide fun for even those most skeptical of video games.
Video games aren’t the only thing getting a social makeover. The success of summer blockbusters such as “Transformers” and “Star Trek” present the possibility that toy collecting and wearing Starfleet insignias may be well on the way to becoming normal. Bags and shirts with the Autobot logo printed on them are popping up more and more in crowds.
What does this mean for “natural-born” geeks? Either a sigh of relief at the thought of being considered “normal” or a cry of anger at the fact that their hobbies are being invaded by mainstream media. I, for one, have been a geek as far back as I can remember. Seeing some people playing video games in the hopes that it will make them “unique“ sometimes strikes a chord with me, but I think that the rendering obsolete of the stereotypical image of a pimply-faced, greasy-haired and socially inept video game nerd is a wonderful thing. One thing is for sure: geek stereotypes are being rewritten with each passing year.