In High Definition virtual reality on the Internet.
I’ll be digitally represented by an avatar I have tried so hard to tweak to look exactly like I imagine myself to look like when I was 30 (because in my head I still see that face). This is some weird virtual app that allows semi-popular nerds to host their own TED talks, only you don’t have to go outside to get there. I’ve been invited by some semi-famous blogging nerd who likes me for some crazy reason. Have I really become famous? Perhaps. Maybe through my strange association with famous people like the Penny Arcade guys, or Wil Wheaton, or Zeke Iddon. Scratch that last guy – his YouTube count fell under the 6 billion mark this week, so he’s been regulated back to quasi-famous status. Maybe because I write for a popular game review site. Maybe because I did something like accidentally cause the self-destruction of the Food Babe through innocent trolling.
There’s a line of us sitting in director style chairs on some sort of weird digital stage that looks like the ones they use for political debates, but in reality, I’m sitting at home with my VR headset on, in my boxers and old fashioned white undershirt. I’m remixing a popular dance song in the background while playing Settlers of Catan on my smartphone. The guy just to my right has finally stopped droning on about some theory of social media, and how it is the new civilization. Mostly because that’s all I hear younger people talk about – social media. My palms start to virtually sweat as I close all my other apps and stand up, my script hanging in a word processor app at the corner of my vision. I look out at the thousands of GIF* representations of listeners and VR participants (some on the PS5 or XBox Square), and introduce myself.
“Um, hello. My name is Nathan EmCeeKhan Baumbach.”
I’m supposed to talk about the medium of video games and the progression of video gaming tech, but my mind suddenly comes to a screeching halt. Who wants to hear about that junk, which is going to be regurgitated over 9000!!! times in other talks and speeches, possibly by people way more famous than myself. Instead, I open a link to Google images and I shut off my word processor app. I’m going off-script, going to surprise the digital, virtual audience with my every day rambling about my life.
Not just my life, but my life for the last 50 years involving technology and being a huge nerd.
This is that speech. Granted, I’ll break it up in odd increments in more than one article so you’re not reading a nine page dissertation on Oldie McOldpants and his youthful adventures through the fastest evolving computer era in his life. I’ll link you to everything I talk about, so you can go read about it (WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Y/N?) and see the interesting pictures that I don’t link. I’ll also try to keep a similar format so readers can appreciate the organization of a fellow geek in a time when it’s nearly impossible to be organized in any form of blogging today. I’ll also avoid using too many abbreviations and emoticons (OMG WTF ORLY? >_<).
Why am I doing this? Because this person wrote an article that you can’t avoid on Facebook that I think is great but also falls laughably short. It’s also a bit elitist – hey, I was born in 1972, and I experienced a lot of those things, so it’s not limited to your bawdy-tawdry late 70’s/early 80’s generation. Guess what kids? You’re not special – we’re all special. Congratulations – you’re just like 10 years of other gamer generations who lived that (1968 to 1987). It’s really a pre-1995 mindset, not an era. Deal with it. ;)
The articles will look something like this:
= THE DATE
Kind of go over the period in question, with a small historical snippet about what’s going on outside the nerd realm.
= MY AGE
How old I am at the time. Because it will help you relate or not relate to what I’m talking about. And remind us how old I am now (42).
= THE PHONE
What the phone looks like during this time period. It will floor you, trust me.
How you got the news and entertainment.
What consoles or technology is available.
= NERD/EVERYONE ELSE HOBBIES
What nerds and everyone else was doing at the time. I may not be involved yet, but I have been told.
What we were … what I was wearing, according to family photos.
What people (and I) were listening to. The genre, mostly.
Our favorite nerd toys. Usually plastic things.
Only the most important topic.
= MOST IMPORTANT THINGS
Here I’ll give you examples of how it all came down in my life, how I saw it, how it went, how everyone else was reacting, and more importantly – why nerds were bouncing up and down excitedly like they had Pop Rocks in their pants.
Coughing slightly, I smile and give a small wave right before I launch into the most obsessive old fart fanboi rant imaginable. Watching as avatars and GIFs in the audience disappear because they are totally not interested in what I was talking about. But that’s okay – I’ll keep talking, even if it is to myself in the end. I’m a geek, a gamer and socially awkward person. I’m used to going into those situations alone.
* In fact, the first speaker did her presentation on the proper pronunciation of the now totally acceptable and ancient word GIF, and how it lead to the FaceSpace Crash of ’21.
Nathan is a 40-ish year-old gamer, father and programmer. His hobbies are board games, video games and watching his son. He wrote for http://www.ironmanmode.com/ for the years of 2012 and 2013 to make money for Child's Play. He has been basically playing games since the 1980's in one form or another. His very first favorite video game was actually an arcade game called Dig Dug. He has played every generation of video game console (including the Magnavox Odyssey)