I am a geek. I’m pretty sure I’ve always been a geek. And, my mom is still getting over it. These are my top 5 gateway fandoms that made me the gal I am today.
The first time I saw one of these, I was about four years old. My brother came for a visit, and he brought his console. I watched as he and my dad played Super Mario. I was too afraid to ask for a turn, but I wanted to play video games too, so I grabbed my Aladdin handheld from my room and played along beside them. A year or two later, I begged my mom for a Super Nintendo, and one day it was waiting for me under the Christmas tree. Of course I had Super Mario and the Donkey Kong games, but I was (and still am) terrible at platform games. I loved Super Mario Kart, and I used to rush down to the basement before everyone woke up to play the game and narrate the race like the sportscasters on TV. The game that was my absolute favorite though? Mario’s Time Machine!
Of course it would be a game that’s nerdy. Mario’s Time Machine is an educational video game, where Mario goes back in time to return artifacts stolen by Bowser.
You walked around towns in different time periods (This is Philadelphia during the American Revolution), and you talked to different people from history. Then there was a page from a history book that required you to fill in the blanks in order to get the stolen artifact back. Now that you know this, number two on my list should come as no surprise.
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego was on TV when I was really, really young. I was terrible at the game show because I was four, but I still watched it, and I still knew all the words to the theme song. Then my mom bought me Carmen Sandiego Junior Detective, which looking back, that computer game had really lame gameplay. My all time favorite was Carmen Sandiego’s Great Chase Through Time. I was introduced to so many important historical people for the first time, like Queen Hatshepsut and Murasaki Shikibu. If I still had this game, there is no doubt in my mind that I would be playing it right now instead of typing up this post.
I was such a good Super Sleuth that my mom bought a subscription to Highlight’s Top Secret Adventures. Every month, I would received a portfolio that told me all about the stolen artifact, cards of all the suspected villains, a fact-filled guide to the country that needed my help, and an activity book that, once completed, revealed the real criminal. THIS IS STILL A THING!
Both Carmen Sandiego and Mario’s Time Machine fueled my love for human history. It was my favorite subject in school, and I still spend hours reading up on different people and subjects. Earlier this year I was briefly obsessed with the stone age, and I read article after article and watched documentary after documentary about the evolution of our early ancestors. I just sort of kept going and now I’m in the Early Bronze Age– Ancient Sumer, and I recently read Hammurabi’s Code and The Epic of Gilgamesh.
Final Fantasy VIII
Let’s get back to video games for a second. My interest in video games didn’t cease after SNES even though my mom thought it would be a good idea to sell the console and all my cartridges for $50 at a garage sale when I was nine. I know. I still cry on the inside whenever I think about it. But, I got over it because I had the PC and all of my educational games (sup’ Carmen Sandiego and Purple Moon games?). Somehow, I ended up with a Playstation One, and I don’t think I even had to beg for it. I was 13-ish, and I was only familiar with racing games and platform games. (For the longest time, I was obsessed with the Spyro games. I would play them and replay them.) And then in high school, my friend introduced me to Final Fantasy VIII– my first RPG. It was such a new experience that I couldn’t figure out how to get past the first disk, so my friend gave me a handy (100+ page) guide to help me out. The storyline. The music. The side quests. The battle system and leveling up. I played it during spring break my junior year of high school. I took breaks only to go to the bathroom and to make quesadillas. I stayed up until 3:00 in the morning. I got so pissed during one of the boss battles that I chucked my controller at the console, and then I panicked because I thought I broke the game. I spent 80+ hours trying to beat the game. It was like a nuclear bomb exploded in my brain completely changing the world of video games for me. I needed more. I bought Final Fantasy VII (which I still haven’t beat). I BEGGED for Playstation 2 when it came out, and then I rushed to Gamestop to buy Final Fantasy X and even X-2. I was introduced to Elder Scrolls: Oblivion for the PC. And then the XBox 360 happened along with the Fallout games and Skyrim and BORDERLANDS. OHMYGAAAAAAAAH!
To this day though, Final Fantasy VIII is still my favorite. The graphics are terrible and the outcome of the story never changes, but I replay it all the time.
The Lord of the Rings
Or more lovingly, “LOTR”. When I saw the trailer for the Fellowship of the Ring in theaters, I knew I had to see it– Elijah Wood was going to be in it, and I LOVED Flipper. So, I dragged my parents to see the film on Christmas day. Then they ended up falling asleep during the film. I ended up dragging each of my (two) friends to the theater after that so I could watch it just one more time. I asked for a DVD player for my birthday just so I could buy the extended version, and I ended up watching the Fellowship of the Ring 15 more times the first year it was released on video.
This was the first time I ever became ridiculously obsessed with something. My friends and I came up with elven aliases and back stories, and we all fought over Legolas in the notes we would pass to each other during 8th grade English class. We wrote reaaaaaaaally bad fanfictions and role played adventures in Middle Earth in AIM chat rooms.
I’m not sure I even need to go farther with this one.
What are your gateway fandoms?
The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick host Five Fandom Friday. I totally didn’t know it was a thing until today, which is why I’m posting this on a Sunday.