Welcome to the Geek Files, the area of my website where I fess up to
geekish activities that I have enjoyed indulging myself in, and sometimes
still do. "And that's different from the rest of your website ... how
exactly?" I hear you ask. Simple! Here I at least admit it ...
Axis & Allies
Axis & Allies is a huge wargame that was released by Milton Bradley during
the mid to late 80's. The scale of the game is immense, covering global
conflict beginning in the peak of World War II during the spring of 1942.
This and two other games, Shogun and Fortress America, made up a trilogy
of sorts and between myself and two other friends at school we had all
three. Ah, happy days! Also, the complexity of these games makes Risk seem
like Snakes & Ladders. Nothing against Risk ... but it's for weenies ...
or chimpanzees ... or both. Anyway, there's nothing quite like rewriting
history and having Germany invade the United States, which even back then
had Weapons of Mass Destruction. Sadly, that was the one thing the original
game lacked - the ability to slap a nuke onto the end of a V2 rocket and
put Churchill's cigar out once and for all. I say the "original" didn't have
this. Mine did! MUHAHAHAHA!
The Nintendo Gameboy has been a real life-saver for me. Allow me to explain.
I never owned the original release of this handheld console. I wasn't
particularly interested. Then when I moved to the US in 1996 I was
persuaded by a friend to buy the newly released Gameboy Pocket. Lucky for
me, as my job requires me to do loads of travelling to other countries which
equals many boring hours of airtime. Not anymore boy-o! Kids in the plane
would be drooling all over the floor as they watched me sit contentedly with
my Gameboy, light, headphones, and a stack of 20+ games. I've continued this
fine tradition and now have a Gameboy Advance. Kids still hate me. So does
the toilet seat.
Dragonlance and Fantasy Books
I first started reading fantasy novels in early high school and have done
so ever since. Starting with Dragonlance, my addiction grew worse and worse
until I was spending copious amounts of time with my head in the world of
dragons and wizards instead of doing more important things like ... mowing
the grass. That's what Dad used to say anyway. He took grass cutting pretty
seriously though. I don't get hardly any time to indulge myself in a good
fantasy book these days, what with being an adult and all. Too much crap out
there at the moment anyway, like Tolkien & Rowling. Who the hell are they
and what the hell are they doing in my local bookstore instead of
Dungeons & Dragons
Did I really play Dungeons & Dragons? Well, maybe. Okay, yes I did. Only a
little bit mind you and not enough to make me want to dress funny. The
funnily dressed bit came about all by itself. I certainly didn't care too
much for any characters I rolled up. My friends and I would spend the
occasional weekend creating characters, then killing them off by exposing
them to Savage Rabbits, a Sword of Killing, or a Spear of Guard Slaying +6.
I haven't played in ten years which is a shame because I sorely miss
incurring an alignment change due to hacking an NPC in half for no apparent
reason. Ah, those were the days! I even attempted to reach the epitome of
geekdom and painted miniatures for a while, but then realised this was
never going to win me the Turner Prize and went back to being a Chaotic
Neutral Half-Wit ... I mean Half-Elf.
Starcraft & Warcraft
The advent of real-time strategy games seems to have been targetted at
people just like me because I've been sucking them up like crazy for
years now. First came Warcraft, then Warcraft II, then Starcraft, and now
Warcraft III. It's like Happy Hour at the local M&Ms factory! My favourite
is still Starcraft, mostly due to the storyline but also due to the high
body count. Not that I'm violent mind you, I just take exception to mutated
dogs trying to tear down my base. Hopefully our friends over at Blizzard
Entertainment will continue churning out the good stuff ensuring that geeks
like me are kept off the street out of harms way.
Mazes & Labyrinths
Okay, mazes ... yes I do like a good labyrinth now and then. I enjoyed
creating mazes alot when I was a kid, doodling away on a piece of paper
when I should have been listening to my teacher blab on about Shakespeare,
Chemistry, or something equally tiresome. When not locked in the
classroom, I would build a maze out of lego and insert unsuspecting
slaters in them in order to ascertain their intelligence level (which I
can report is unsurprisingly low!). I've moved on from torturing insects
though and these days I'm more into coding and perfecting programs which
randomly generate mazes and solve them. But why??? Well ... somebody has
to ... right???
Once upon a time (the 80's), in a place far away (Tamworth), there existed
a computer called an Apple \\e. Though absolutely laughable by today's
standards, this soon-to-be-door-stop did have one redeeming quality, the
ability to allow me to play Ultima. As well as providing me with many (MANY)
hours of entertainment as a lad, the Ultima RPG series has had quite a
profound effect on my programming style and inspiration. Ultima is still
very cool in my opinion, but then these are the Geek Files - thereby
rendering my definition of "coolness" rather obsolete.