Most people’s story of how they became a geek usually starts with watching a friend play console games, or a parent with a PC for work that they decided to hack on. My journey into geekdom started far less prosaic; mine started with a girl.
I’ve always been into the fantastical and alternative – the first book I remember reading on my own was about a dragon – but my parents weren’t entirely sure about this computer stuff. I think the fact we had one at all is a shining testament to my brother’s ability to expound the Value of the Home Computer for Work and Study (insert cheesy 80’s synth here). This meant I knew how to work a PC when I hit High School, but computers were supposed to be a tool for education, and gaming consoles where right out.
So when my best friend asked me to go to ‘Computer Club’ at School because a boy she fancied was going, I was ambivalent. I thought I’d end up doing homework for an hour, but I went anyway because she was my friend, and she, like, was so totally into this boy, you know? (We didn’t actually talk in that manner, but it amuses my thirty-year-old self to picture my thirteen-year-old self like that).
So we rocked up to the smallest of the school’s three computer labs, and I was surprised to see a group of boys enthusiastically and completely engrossed in guiding little men and crustaceans around a map. The best friend went to coo over her amore, and I sat down at a workstation. I was asked if I wanted to join their game, and sat back as someone installed something called StarCraft, while someone else told me all about Terrans, Zerg and Protoss, and how they wanted to kill each other. This was the first time I played something that wasn’t an edutainment game, and though I was bad at it, I was hooked.
Which brings me to the meat of my post. A company called Man Crates got in touch and asked me if I would write about my descent into geekdom, and the sort of thing that makes me think of my history of games. With their Retro Gaming Crate filled with sugary treats and a NES console, they want to help kindle remembrances of crazier times, like sitting in your boyfriend’s living room, chugging Relentless, and cursing him out because he just scored a Humiliation on you in Quake 3, or watching your best friend button-mash her way to victory in Super Smash Bros, while you cheer her on with bowl of Haribo.
The crush that got me into gaming might have only lasted a few weeks, and I’m still really bad at most games, but what I got in exchange was a lasting passion, a radio station and a mild addiction to pixi stix. I would never change any of that, but it could certainly be enhanced by the presence of a retro crate of yummy sweets.
Disclaimer: This post is inspired by Man Crates, a company specializing in ‘manly’ gift boxes.