Top 10 Geek Obsessions of the Decade
Doomsayers and the easily fooled are focused on 2012 right now (so much so that poor NASA had to issue statements debunking the movie myths). But we've got a different date in mind: 2010. The New Year begins the end of an era. Well, a decade actually.
Technology has certainly advanced in the past ten years. Flat screen TVs, GPS navigation and iPods are commonplace. E-books and mini-laptops are making it possible to do anything on the go.
But what of the other geek-friendly creations of the new millennium -- not just for the techie geek, but for fantasy geeks, sci-fi geeks, literary geeks and our other nerdy brethren? Here are just a few of the major obsessions that have made an impact on geekdom in the past decade. Feel free to add your favorites.
Yes, everyone -- even our non tech savvy in-laws and grandparents -- watches videos on YouTube. But where else can you see "Death Star" black holes, original Star Trek bloopers and liquid nitrogen explosions all in one spot? This website is a universal geek pleaser. It even contains videos by geeks, for geeks, that subtly criticize other types of geeks. Sigh.
While Alan Moore's Watchmen was originally released in 1986-87, the decade-long attempt at turning the "bestselling graphic novel of all time" into a live-action movie finally panned out earlier this year. That's not necessarily cause for celebration, especially if you don't appreciate ten-foot-tall CGI blue penises.
The good news? The hype surrounding the movie caused tons of geeks and non-geeks alike to pick up the comic series, embracing a world where superheroes aren't annoyingly perfect. They're intelligent, but flawed. And not always gorgeous. Just like us...
8. Wireless Internet technology
Before wireless technology went mainstream (and public), tech and gamer geeks were confined to their homes. Or skeezy Internet cafes. Now we're EVERYWHERE.
7. Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist and other anime that doesn't suck
Not that pre-2000 anime wasn't great (Vampire Hunter D and Cowboy Bebop being among our faves), but this decade has really seen an increase in serious anime -- Pokemon aside.
Tsugumi Ohba's serialized manga Death Note appeals to the younger crowd with violence and an entertaining plot, but tacks on moral ambiguity and psychological warfare that venture far beyond the kiddie fare most non-fans associate with anime (the series is about a notebook that causes the death of anyone whose name is written inside). Fullmetal Alchemist follows two brothers who tried to revive their dead mother through magic but failed.
Mature themes plus cartoon animation that appeals to our inner children = recipe for geek success.
6. YA Novels that do (sometimes) suck
In the 2000s, it seems that nothing is original in Hollywood. Remakes and movies based on books have skyrocketed to success, while clever indie films waste away in the dollar theatres.
We reluctantly include Harry Potter and Twilight here -- not for the film or lit geeks, but for the masses who've come to appreciate a genre which was otherwise overlooked by those past the age of fourteen. Besides, any franchise which can sell vomit-flavored jelly beans or packing tape to otherwise self-respecting geeks is clearly worth mentioning.
5. Lord of the Rings
We never thought we'd sit through nine hours of film without falling asleep, or having our eyes taped open. Then the pinnacle of fantasy lit -- Tolkein's Lord of the Rings series -- was transformed into a blockbuster. Fans camped out for days prior to the first movie's release, wearing flowing robes and elfin ears. Couples around the globe tied the knot with the One Ring, no doubt with some of their wedding vows in Elvish.
There's a reason why they call it the Crackberry: it's addictive, especially for geeks who care more about accessing schematics and tapping into corporate e-mail than making it look like they're drinking beer from a phone.
Are you a loser? There's an app for that!
Why not the iPhone?? "Because the iPhone is just an MP3 player passing itself off as a real techie device," said one of our tech-geek friends when asked about his device preference. "Plus it's the only phone that'll link you easily to corporate e-mail." Yes, the new iPhone supposedly does that too. But the keyword is easily.
3. Joss Whedon
Anything the man touches turns to geek gold -- well, except maybe Firefly. Or Dollhouse (we know -- too soon, too soon!!). Joss Whedon's Buffy ran for seven seasons, spawning a line of Buffy toys and merchandise, the successful spinoff Angel and a host of sci-fi type conventions which are still going strong six years after the show's demise. Even his thrown together writers' strike project Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog became a cult classic.
We know it's not poor Whedon's fault that his shows keep getting
FOXed axed. Perhaps Dollhouse will get its time on the big screen, ala Serenity. After all, Whedonites are already rushing in with yet another petition.
1. World of Warcraft
With the possible exception of the geek-crack that was Magic: the Gathering, no other product has made more of an impact on gamers in recent years. Created by folks who wanted to push the limits of games like Everquest, WoW holds the Guinness World Record for number of users of a MMORPG (that's Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, for you non-RPGers). After WoW's 2004 release, local and national news was filled with stories of gamers skipping sleep to play, becoming addicts and even dying while re-enacting scenes from the game.
Now, that's an obsession.