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We Are Living in the Golden Age for Geeks

It's time to appreciate how good it is to be a geek right now because, not to end on a downer, it will eventually come to an end. The grip that Tribe Geek has over the popular culture will slip eventually and we will be forced to look backwards with our trademark nostalgia.

The downside of any supposed 'golden age' is that those lucky enough to live in it are rarely cognisant of the fact. It would seem that we can't recognise a 'golden age' without having nostalgia for it. This obviously makes living in a golden age and knowing it seem logically impossible. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were able to appreciate the present as a golden age in the history of, for example, the popular culture? Well, as luck would have it, I believe that we can because - and I speak on behalf of, and in some senses to, my fellow geeks here - we are very much in a 'golden age' of geek culture. We nerds/geeks/fanboys etc. have really never had it so good.

The $64,000 question prior to any discussion of geek culture- and we know how much the geek world loves a good throat clearing proclamation - is, of course; what is geek culture and who is part of it? Well, in reverse order, I'd say that if you identify as part of the geek culture then, congratulations, you're part of it and if you don't then, congratulations, you're not.

At its best - and I freely admit that I may have some massive rose-tinted and thick-rimmed glasses on here - geek culture includes everyone who wants to be in it. It is, after all, an entirely self-assigned label... Or it is now... I could go deeper into this, but a discussion of the etymology/sociology of "geek" will have to wait for now. Convenient as it may be, if you accept the answer to the second part then the first is automatically answered for you - either you're in or you're out, your call.

Failing that, I'll just have to appeal to a broad understanding and suggest that if you clicked on an article about geek culture (which you did - thanks by the way) then you know exactly what I'm on about - or you at least know as much as I do.

Even with such a shabby definition of geek culture in mind, I still maintain that we are living in a golden age of geekery.

Think about it for a second.

Comic book superheroes and their support characters have gone from living only on the bookshelves of comic nerds to being the single biggest thing in cinema. The top actors of our day are clambering over themselves to get roles in movies made by Marvel or DC. They want to play characters the very knowledge of whom would merit a round on Mastermind ten years ago. Video games are now so ubiquitous that one of the big problems with them is that they have been invaded by the kind of jock-ish, sexist, frat-boy morons who used to be the exclusive problem of professional sports.

If this doesn't convince you, think about the tool that you're using to read this - the Internet and computers more generally. They were formally the exclusive remit of the computer geek but are now an essential part of modern life. Think about everything you do on a daily basis involving computers, from clawing, half-asleep, at the alarm on your iPad in the morning to that last check of Tumblr before you go to sleep at 2am - now try counting those occasions. Hard isn't it?

Essentially, what used to be exclusively geek (fantasy, sci-fi, memes, strategy game etc. etc.) is now mainstream and we should love it.

Ok, so far all I've shown is that we're living in a time of prevalent geek culture and, of course, prevalence is no guarantee of quality. Remember that the X Factor has 12 seasons to its name while Firefly only has 1 - Q.E.D? So, are we just under an avalanche of geek stuff or is it genuinely good?

I'd say it is really good - for the most part.

The production values and sheer force of creativity on display across the geek media is staggering. From familiar and endlessly re-trodden faire like Batman to the more adventurous material like Guardians of the Galaxy or the sublime Watchmen, it's not only clear that there is a lot for geeks out there but that it is being produced well and we should be delighted.

The explosion of high-quality nerd fodder isn't just reserved to the silver screen. Video games, due to an incredible increase in the power and dynamism of the tech supporting them, are now able to roll out big and impressive tittles like The Last of Us or Bioshock Infinite almost on a weekly basis whilst also supporting excellent, quirky and independent offerings.

Remember, 'back in the day' Nintendo only produced one or two excellent Super Mario Brothers games (the first and third, incidentally) to keep us satisfied - now, there's quality platformers available everywhere. It's not just on the consoles either. Check out the App store next time you're wasting time on your smartphone - if you can venture away from Reddit, 4Chan, The Escapist and all the other fountains of geek that have sprung up.

It's time to appreciate how good it is to be a geek right now because, not to end on a downer, it will eventually come to an end. The grip that Tribe Geek has over the popular culture will slip eventually and we will be forced to look backwards with our trademark nostalgia.

Perhaps if we can appreciate exactly how good we nerds have it at present then we might be able to prolong the life of this geek boom? Perhaps, if we think about how it happened - once it's been put in list form and made into a meme, of course - then we can continue it for as long as possible? Because we'll miss it when it's gone. Don't worry though, Marvel and DC are likely to be going full Mortal Kombat in cinemas for a while and Hideo Kojima will still need a paycheque for some time.

The point is; be grateful my geeky brethren, we've never had it so good.

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