I am, or have been most of my life, a closet “fanboy”. I’ve always been a gamer and loved comic books, but growing up in the south where football and sports were king, identifying as someone who’d rather spend their time slaying dragons or reading Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, and Madeline L’Engle books never seemed like the play to make if you wanted to survive the social jungle of High School. Lately though, and I would have to say over the past fifteen years, I have started embracing my inner geek a bit more. Mostly through my writing, which has fueled by my passions….video games, sci-fi and fantasy books and movies, and comic conventions and cosplay. It started with comics and Star Wars figures. GI Joe and He-Man were next, and I steamrolled into everything fantastical I could consume, though keeping my inner self a secret. From there it was off to college, and my first foray into Dungeons & Dragons…which ultimately sent me over the edge. And the funny thing is, I just happened into to it. I joined a fraternity in college and one quiet night I was wandering the fraternity house and, per usual, knocked on a door and just went in. What I found were four of my closest friends hunkered down around a table with notebooks, tiny figures, and a shitload of dice. My best friend was cordoned off in a corner, looking like the others, but with stacks of books which I later learned were D&D Source manuals. They greeted me with controlled suspicion, not realizing my secret. I played dumb, asked what they were doing and if I could watch. They told me, said yes, and so I sat on the edge of this fantastically created world, sipping cheap beer, and completely enthralled with the concept of dreams you have as a kid being played out in a dungeon on graph paper. After that, I created my first character, Thanos Half-Elven (was reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight at the time and for some reason identified with Tanis), and I wandered the world with Klangedden Red-Beard and many other amazing characters, monsters, and villains.
That’s where it really started. From there, with the invention of the Playstation, came obsessive video game play, more novels read (continuing with The Dragonlance Chronicles by Weiss & Hickman), and full immersion into role-playing games with my other fraternity brothers, who like me, were a bit hesitant about sharing their affinity for D&D. After college I moved to Mississippi, another mecca for football, fried food, and no imagination. However, two important things came into my life during this time; Tolkien and Harry Potter. There was an old drive-in outside of town and I went to see a double feature one Friday night with a friend. The first movie was Pearl Harbor starring Ben Affleck (wish I could get that three hours of my life back), but the second movie was The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I had never read Tolkien, nor had I really wanted to do so. I was very much against anything people told me I “had to read” or “had to see”, so anytime someone pushed Tolkien on me, I pushed back. But, I thought I could sit through the movie, at least. Not only did I sit through the movie, I think I had a hard-on the entire time. How had I missed this? I was hooked. I immediately went out and bought book upon book about Middle-Earth and have never really left. Harry Potter came to me on vacation with my family. My nephew had just finished the first book and I found it lying outside on the deck. Again, I had pushed back against Harry and Muggles, and Voldemort, but I decided to take a look. Again, hooked. I read books 1-3 right there in the sand and after reading about Rowling’s story, was determined to be a writer again.
So, since then, I have reconnected with the G.I. Joe Team, The Avengers, The Walking Dead, galaxies far, far, away, Hobbits, Dark Lords, Final Fantasies, Mud-bloods, mutants, and the Browncoats of Serenity Valley. I have crushes on Mara Jade, Selphie Tilmitt, Marvel Girl, and several wenches from Tamriel. I’ve wasted countless hours immersing myself in games like Shadowrun (RP and Video Game), Skyrim, Shining Force, and Final Fantasy. I’m writing again, and most of it is Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I just finished Phillip Dick’s masterpiece Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and watched Bladerunner for the first (and definitely not the last) time. And who do I have to thank for all of this? Ernest Cline, the man who penned Ready Player One. A fanboy himself, he has, in my opinion, captured my childhood in book form. I plan on writing a review of the book in a later post, but thanks to Cline, I am now ready to drop the quarter in the game and hit player one.
So, what’s this all about? Well, I plan on discovering all the things I’ve been scared to look for over the course of my life. I’m in my 30s now and intend to make up for lost time. So, if it resonates with the fanboy, geek, dork, nerd, indoor-kid in me, i’m gonna enjoy, immerse, and write about it. Roleplaying games, video games, books, movies, art, cosplay, comicons, genres, and all the things that go with it…and more importantly, all the people and their stories that go along with it as well. I also plan on revisiting all the things that I loved as a kid, books, movies, so on and so forth. I’m particularly excited about seeing Willow for the first time in about twenty years. So, read on, Player One. And may the odds be ever in your favor.