Monday, September 12, 2011

I Heart My Nerdy Girl

This blog was founded on the concept of sharing our geekiness with others, and that's something I enjoyed doing long before Exfanding was a gleam in anybody's Web browser. I've roped my parents into playing video games with me, and I've coerced my non-Trekkie friends into watching the Star Trek movies with me, but perhaps my biggest ongoing endeavor has been to lure my fiancée into trying out all the fandoms I like.

We met at college, and I knew her through the video game club, the animé club (which she ruled over with a velvet fist as president), and the all-girls Dungeons & Dragons group I ran, so she had plenty of geek cred before we started dating. There was a lot of overlap in our general interests by the time we got together, but the specifics varied greatly. I felt it was my joy and privilege to bring her up to speed on the nerdy references I made, and to see about exposing her to some fandoms I thought we could appreciate together.

Considering how much college students love their time-wastey Internet videos, it's only natural that Homestar Runner and Weebl and Bob were two of the first fandoms we enjoyed together. Along those same lines, we started to check in on some webcomics together, such as Married to the Sea and Order of the Stick; it's a wonder we ever got anything productive accomplished.

I had previously been catching up on the original Star Trek as well as The Next Generation by going through both series from the very beginning, with my former roommate regularly joining me. When he got busy with other things, I continued watching on my own, and was happy to bring aboard my Trekkie fiancée--I find that most things I watch are better when I can share them with someone. We're now on to Deep Space Nine and Voyager, which is funny because she's the one showing me DS9, as that's the one series I didn't stick around for when it first aired.

Animé has been an interesting process--as is also the case with music, she likes most of the things I do (aside from "Weird Al"; I'm still working on that), but I'm not too keen on many of the things she likes. We can agree on comedy and action-heavy series, but she has a taste for slice-of-life and borderline fantasy shows, which are generally a little slow for me, and many of the shows she's shown me (.hack, Moon Phase) lacked characters I got terribly invested in. We haven't given up, yet; she did expose me to Captain Herlock, and that was fantastic. She's pretty much seen everything I've seen, as I didn't get into animé until college, so she's been the resident animé expert.

She's also the one I have to thank for my love of Firefly, which almost immediately became my second-favorite sci-fi fandom. Any time she's let down by my response to an animé she likes, I remind her that she gave me Firefly, which was cool enough for me to turn right around and show to my parents shortly after watching through it the first time--and I never rewatch anything in such a short span of time unless I can't wait to share it with others.

My gal plays video games, but is often just as content to watch someone else play the ones that weren't as much in line with her skill set. Unsurprisingly, Mega Man was one of the first items on my list. Over the course of the time we've been together, I've shown her the majority of the classic, X, and Zero series. Enough people I knew in college liked Mega Man, but I only had one friend from high school with whom I could really geek out about the series. My gal started making puns about the robot masters and started humming along when I broke out into Spark Man's music, and it was at that point that I knew she was a keeper.

We've also gone through Kirby's Adventure, Castlevania, No One Lives Forever 1 & 2, the Space Quest series, Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force, Star Wars: Jedi Knight I & II, and Donkey Kong Country 1-3. It's great to have all of these extra references I can make that she'll get ("What would you do without me?" "I'd be a content old man!"), and all of these philosophical discussions about why DKC3 was solid, but lacked so much of the charm of DKC1 (it's because most of the bonus barrels you jump in just teleport you to the bonus round instead of launching you off into space).

I've also gotten her to play through a few games on her own. She joined me on October 1 for my yearly celebration of The End Day by playing through Crystalis, and even though she generally leaves me to play the platformers, she took on the original Metroid. She wanted to have the satisfaction of completing at least one game starring this tough, buff female bounty hunter (before Other M turned Samus Aran into a scared little girl). She's been stuck in Norfair for a few years, which is only a problem because (a) it's very hot in Norfair, and (b) I'm so antsy to show her the rest of one of my all-time favorite video game series. She's promised me she'll finish the game as a Christmas gift to me this year, which is a relief, because now I don't need to make empty threats about not getting married unless she finishes.

I got her hooked on Animal Crossing, and for a time, she kept my long-neglected little town in order by pulling up months' worth of weeds at a time. We of course started playing through the LEGO Movie games together, as well as Tales of Symphonia, and have the likes of Secret of Mana and X-Men Legends on the horizon. She's gone through Dragon Warrior and most of Final Fantasy IV (the GBA remake, though), but she didn't seem to enjoy them as much as I did when I first played them back in my younger years; the former involved too much grinding for XP, and the latter was too angsty and bumped off too many characters unnecessarily for her tastes.

She's tackled Chrono Trigger on her own (and I admit to getting a little twitchy when she started nitpicking about my all-time favorite not-Mega Man game, though she ultimately ended up greatly enjoying it). EarthBound ended up being a hit, but it didn't start out that way for her--despite endless RPGs featuring the same types of fantasy locations, running around modern-day towns and cities was too...normal for her. EarthBound is many things, but normal is never one I ever considered.

I've been a Monkey Island enabler, giving her the first three games to enthusiastically play through on her own, and promising the others once she finished Metroid. I also let her borrow Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I & II, and I don't think I'm ever going to see them again. We're gradually working our way through Half-Life, but progress has been slow because she's been reluctant to watch--the primitive 3-D graphics aren't sufficiently pretty (not that bloody sci-fi zombies are really pretty, per se), and the experience isn't as engaging when you're not the one who's actually running around with a crowbar in hand and his life on the line.

Showing her Civilization III and Master of Orion II has been a blessing and a curse; we both love the games, and enjoy rallying our armies and building our cities, but even when we're not at war with each other, we're at war with each other if our peaceful expansion starts to get a little competitive. Bonus points are awarded, however, because she went out and bought Civilization IV for herself, and I haven't even played that. It's like she's a bigger fan of one of my fandoms than I am. I'm so proud.

Of course, no excessively long, rambly list would be complete without mentioning Portal 1 & 2, which was just as much a sharing of a favorite fandom as it was an act of community service: the Internet makes more sense when you're familiar with these games. Our current project is Sam & Max: Season One, which was particularly difficult to entice her to watch because those adorably ridiculous Soda Poppers skeeved her out. Persistent nagging seems to be paying off, however, and characters she can relate to better like Sybil Pandemik don't hurt, either.

It's exciting to look back on how many fandoms I've shared with her, and I've barely touched on the ones she's shared with me. While the number of video games I've shown her is grossly disproportionate to anything else, our ratio for exposing one another to songs and music artists has been relatively even. I've gotten her hooked on James Taylor; she's gotten me hooked on Beborn Beton. Our tastes in literature haven't been loosed on one another to any great extent, but I've gotten her to read The Time Traveler's Wife and enough Michael Crichton to shake my credibility as the biggest Crichton fan in this relationship.

College was a wonderful time to be a geek, and I'm exceedingly glad to have found someone with whom I can keep that constant exchange of fandoms going, now that we've traded dorms for apartments and Ramen noodles for...okay, so life's not that different, after all.

[Neko-Chan's note: Hey! My cooking isn't that bad...]


JoeReviewer said...

I miss Homestarrunner

Oh and your post was good. I liked the part where...


SwordHMX said...

How did ZSaber react to seeing GlaDos do her thing?

Flashman85 said...

Joe: Thanks! Heh.

SwordHMX: Same way I did: Uproarious laughter.