Guilty pleasures. Secret shames. Quiet indulgences. Even as nerd culture has come to dominate pop culture at large—where babies Yoda can captivate people who might not have realized they’re still making Star Wars movies, or how Avengers assembled can make people who’ve never touched a comic book weep—we still have our own little special corners of bullshit. The things we usually try and keep away to ourselves.
Except now, as we all find ways to pass time and just cope with the crushing realities of the world around us, collectively battening down our hatches, it kind of feels like we’re also just not caring so much about hiding. In my own spheres, that’s mainly become clear between my colleagues here at Gizmodo. The site’s Slack group dedicated specifically to Animal Crossing has been bursting with people sharing pictures of cute outfits, lavish island build projects, and yes, people salivating at high turnip prices, in a way I think no other video game has gripped this group of people before.
More specifically at io9, I’ve noticed my dearest friends just throwing around every idea under the sun that speaks to things we typically wouldn’t write about, the things we’d usually be a little too shy to do. Because, well, they’re the things we’re really into but have to act like reasonable, somewhat professional adults, and write for an audience that—ostensibly!—has to believe that.
Beth’s playing board games like there’s no tomorrow. Charles is writing his ass off about Digimon (goddammit, he’s got me back into it to). Germain, when he is not joining me in Lego-lust, has turned to managing his hordes of collectibles. Cheryl is doused ever-further in more good horror than you would know what to shake a machete at.
Jill, god bless her, is dreaming her own Black Widow movie.
And then there’s me. I’m devoting a little part of my Sundays to building models of giant robots—like Kiramaizin up top, the mecha from one of my other pleasures right now, Super Sentai series Mashin Sentai Kiramager—or bits of Lego I’d stashed away before the lockdown really kicked in. I’m crying (often, and often loudly) over Final Fantasy VII Remake, re-embracing a childhood favorite that means to much to me.
I’m also watching an awful lot of Stars, of the Trek and Wars variety, animated shows like the aforementioned Digimon, or classic Simpsons now that Disney+ is here in the UK. Or diving into piles of RPG books I’ve bought, meaning to play them, but now just...reading them because it’s way harder to play. Hell, like Henry Cavill apparently, I’ve been thinking a distressing amount about painting some Warhammer miniatures (I’m sparing myself until the new Age of Sigmar Lumineth Realm-Lords come out, eventually). Or if not those, guys like these Star Wars: Legion models:
I blame Clone Wars, frankly.
We’re going a little loopy, but it’s in a healthy way, I think. These are all things we’d probably all be doing in some ways anyway. But we’d be doing them all a little more privately, a little more...away from the eyes of the world. But with our friends and family far apart, shut away in their own homes, embracing the things we truly love—and not being ashamed to acknowledge how much loving these things is helping us get through things right now—has become a way of being together.
We’re all nerds here. But we’re all being a little bit nerdier to cope.
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