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batson

Gaps in your nerd knowledge

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So I'm just gonna go out on a limb and assume that everyone single person here is a nerd. Obviously including myself. That's why we spend time on a Sonic the Hedgehog board in the first place.

So anyway, recently I've been entertaining myself with watching people on Youtube reacting to various media that they've gott no previous exposure to. These include pop culture juggernauts like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. And sometimes I think to myself "How is it even possible to have reached adult age and having no familiarity with something like Star Wars whatsoever?". This in turn however led me to think about which phenomenons of popular fiction that I myself have similarly missed out on, especially considering what an insatiable pop-culture devouring nerd I am. The aspects of nerd "canon" that I have allowed myself to ignore.

In my case, I think perhapes the biggest example is Harry Potter. The series is obviously one of those things that everyone in the geek community makes references to with the assumption that everyone will understand them. And whereas I know the basic gist of the series and can name several of the major characters, the fact of the matter is that I have never red a Harry Potter book, and I can just barely remember watching a few of the movies. Specifically, I have seen the first two movies and parts of the... third? Or maybe it was the fourth. Well one of the earlier ones. And honestly I just wasn't captured by any of it. Maybe I was already a bit too old for them by the time I saw them but I just didn't get into it. I've understood that the later books and therefore the later movies get progressively more adult, so maybe at this point I would enjoy them more...

But regardless, yeah, as it is I pretty much have to consider myself a Potter virgin.

But what about you guys? Which "canonical" nerd franchises (by which I mean franchises that every nerd is assumed by other nerds to be familiar with) have you missed out on? I'm really curious to know.

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There are a lot of "nerd" franchises that I've never gotten into, but that's mainly because I've never really tried to get into them. I have, however, tried Harry Potter, but no matter what I just cannot bring myself to like it. I've read the first few chapters of Philosopher's Stone or Sorcerer's Stone for the Yanks, watched the first 2 movies and I get the general idea of the series, but to me it just seems like your average run-of-the-mill children's fantasy book. Not saying it's bad, I just don't get what's so special about it that it warrants a multi-billion dollar empire.

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52 minutes ago, batson said:

 

But regardless, yeah, as it is I pretty much have to consider myself a Potter virgin.

Same here, @batson accept it was against my own will. My mother would let me read the books or watch the movies she thought it was some dark magic or something. Star Wars i'm pretty good with but when Disney-Plus came into the world i pretty much had to drop it for now( but i have to say it did inspire my Signature). Funny enough i missed out on Star Trek i know i missed out and tried to make it up i couldn't it was to much to bare i got bored quickly. The bad live action video game movies that is another thing that went over my head. Tron the movie i never saw.  I probably have more that are at the back of my mind but that's all for now.

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I have no knowledge of Lord of the Rings whatsoever. When I was 12 I was invited to a sleepover with a friend and they put on the movies and not only was I lost but I fell asleep. I know I should give the series a chance one day but I also have a horrible attention span. So I never got into LOTR but I appreciate everyone who can commit to the franchise. 

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I don't think that, right from the moment you declare yourself a nerd, geek or whatever, you obligatory have to know every single detail of the most popular franchises out there. For me, I feel and always understood that, you take a series you have more familiarity with it, dive deep enough until when you feel tired and/or there's nothing more left to explore and move on.

In fact, I even thought you was going to talk about this. My main "multimedia" franchise is Star Wars. I LOVE Star Wars, but as deep as dive, the more I know how little I know. It's not just 9 movies, a few TV series and books. There's so much I don't know: The Old/High Republic Era with easily goes to 20000 years worth of story content, some details of the 2008-2020 Clone Wars, basically all the gap between the Prequels and OT. This is not mentioning that basically every character has 2 to 5 books based on them according to their importance. Still too little? Just think that an entire universe continuity was discarded and now is considered Legends. Easily a hundred of books set on a parallel universe (Despite I feel myself more attached to this continuity).

So this is "just" Star Wars. Just to think there are other universes as rich as this one, I get crazy: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, the whole MCU. And most of these really didn't bring much of my attention as SW. I'm not saying we can't still befriend, but I feel better each one stay at his own corner.

But it's not like I just live of Star Wars. I mean, we are in a Sonic forum. I do have an affinity with other franchises like Sonic and Tomb Raider, and both amaze me as much as Star Wars. Following them for years and still find content I was never aware.

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6 hours ago, Piko said:

There are a lot of "nerd" franchises that I've never gotten into, but that's mainly because I've never really tried to get into them. I have, however, tried Harry Potter, but no matter what I just cannot bring myself to like it. I've read the first few chapters of Philosopher's Stone or Sorcerer's Stone for the Yanks, watched the first 2 movies and I get the general idea of the series, but to me it just seems like your average run-of-the-mill children's fantasy book. Not saying it's bad, I just don't get what's so special about it that it warrants a multi-billion dollar empire.

Born in 2003.... yeah you were not the right age to get into it. Heck, the first 2 movies came out before you were even born!

As a kid during that era, about 9 when the first movie came out... you just had to be there. It was so huge. Kids my age could see ourselves in the characters and everything, fantasizing about getting that envelope from an owl... it was silly but we loved it. We didn't have as many options back then, that weren't ridiculously outdated or too pre-schoolish. It was that or LoTR, and that franchise was too mature and kinda boring for most kids.

Also librarians being like "Yay it gets kids to actually read!!". Oh and the crazy religious cults we have in the USA also helped spread it, ironically, by protesting and book-burning etc. Made us like it even more to spite them.

Anyway...

Honestly, the whole "nerd/geek" whatever thing, I just... I don't even bother. My interests are very specific (maybe due to autism), and change somewhat frequently. I never got into Star Wars, or Star Trek (my dad tried getting me into either of them, didn't work lol), and I'd enjoy trying D&D or similar but I have no friends to play with (and irregular work schedule prevents it). Not into superhero comics etc. at all. I'm not into most video game franchises, especially fantasy or online ones.

How come someone very into sports (even just watching them) isn't a geek, but someone into fantasy/sci-fi movies is? Why the divide?

I call myself an introvert, say what I'm into, and leave it at that.

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There is a metric ton to the point where it is more like massive holes rather than gaps however the line between "nerd" pop culture and anything else blurs over the years. Even things we don't think of as nerdy such as fiction books can be presented in depth, I imagine something like Sherlock Holmes could have been considered "nerd-like" back in the Victorian Era when some people weren't educated to read or in many cases didn't have much money to live off.

Since I am not into fantasy (and is a historic "nerd" thing), stuff like Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, Dungeons and Dragons, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter (outside of watching the first movie), Narnia, etc is very poor to non-existent. Sci-fi is a bit different so stuff like Star Wars and Star Trek is hit and miss though which is a bit better but only because my dad and my brother were really into sci-fi, not into them as much. Other sci-fi? Nope in most cases and not into them especially Doctor Who where it seems to be advertised as a drama in recent times.

Comic books are interesting because many of the characters are pop culture icons making them hard to avoid. Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men. They appear in films, games, cartoons, merchandise. The problem with comic books when it comes to the source material is that they can be kinda complex with alternate universes, different characters of the same character, storylines that are other comic books (e.g. Chapter 1 might be in a Batman story, Chapter 2 in a Superman story, Chapter 3 is back to Batman while chapter 4 might be err... Swamp Thing and they all follow on) and well confusion whether it is an old continuity or a new one. There are a metric ton of comic book characters that I just don't know, only heard of the name or have knowledge because they appeared in something that I watched (a good example is Batman: The Brave and the Bold where it is full of obscure characters). Plus something like the MCU is interconnected meaning that it is easy to get lost when you only have an interest in a character/characters but not in others. Let's put it this way, I first found out Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (and imagine that many people did) and now the PS4 game but before then I won't know who he was apart from that he was Spider-Man related because of not reading the comic books. As for any other comic books, even worse on that scale. Admitted, kind of a different kind of comic book I was into Asterix and Tintin when I was younger. While a majority of Tintin outside of the really early questionable content and the unfinished book I have either read or watched the quite faithful cartoon but over time a lot of that knowledge has gone... Plus they still make Asterix comics so I wouldn't know who the newer characters/plotlines are (last one that I read was I think when Goscinny was still alive and the last one that I'm aware of was Asterix and the Falling Sky, the last one where Uderzo was involved).

What about anime? It's where it gets tricky because some are in one country mainstream or at least accepted as getting into pop culture while in others you don't have a single clue what you are on about. Plus for years at least in the US and the UK, it was considered a nerdy subject (to the point where some "nerds" can be traced to sci-fi cons and recently Discotek Media where their releases are for the old school market). A lot of anime knowledge which is still something like 2-3% of all anime knowledge is filled with Lupin the 3rd, again mainstream in Japan and Italy, cult in the US, barely a blip elsewhere. The rest is filled with Space Adventure Cobra, Sherlock Hound and Golgo 13 but they are too obscure or not talked about much. I suppose Akira and Ghost in the Shell count? Right? A slice of JoJo on top? The big pillars of Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Detective Conan along with Neon Genesis Evangelion, the other GAINAX shows, Yu Yu Hakusho, Fist of the North Star, Cowboy Bebop, Studio Ghibli or the modern isekai/slice of life stuff are... I know a few characters, have a basic idea what it is about at most. Trying to get into Gundam though and that is one of the old more "nerdy" ones along with Space Battleship Yamato and Macross even though wasn't the fanbase more feminine? Besides in the case of One Piece and Detective Conan, the entry barrier is a bit too high with their 1000 or so episodes, multiple films, spinoffs, etc. Taking another example, there are a few shojo series but I only know about Lady Oscar because I watched one episode in Italian, wouldn't mind watching more though since it was the basis of a lot of shojo series out there. On the opposite scale, I would rather want to forget Sailor Moon.

Saying that used to be quite well on games but as age grows on you, much of that knowledge is wasting away... Plus many of the popular games are online focused. There are also series that I haven't either got into such as SMT, Persona, the kind that Atlus seem to bring out.

Then again its all down to specialist subjects. I don't have much of a clue about sports, music (gameshows seem to like Ariana Grande a lot), films and especially books. They can be presented into detail, sports can even go into statistics. With sports though I think there are three types of fans, the kind where they watch it because it is your local team/your family got you involved, the "hooligan" type where it ranges from rivalry of a team to actually causing violence and the analysts. The latter usually write books, play Fantasy Football/Football Manager, hack a sports game (e.g. NHL 94, Tecmo Super Bowl) or any of those. Then again it depends on the sport, darts are usually the latter two categories while football (soccer and American), Basketball, Baseball can be all three. Still don't ask me who is playing in a football team or who is at the top of the league, the current golf players, etc, I just don't know.

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I just thought of another essential franchise that I've completely missed out on. This isn't really a gap in my "nerd knowledge" as much as just general "popular culture" knowledge though, because it's so mainstream.

I'm talking about Spongebob Squarepants. Everywhere I go these days it seems that everyone is assumed to be familiar not just with the basic outline of the show, but with specific episodes and moments. Kinda similar to The Simpsons. Like, people will casually say a quote the show and just assume that everyone will get it. 

As for me though, I never got into the Spongebob craze. I saw commercials for it when it came out, and then saw maybe one episode of it, and for years that was it. I remember when the show turned 10 years old in 2009 and MTV had a marathon of episodes (MTV of course being part of the same parent company as Nickelodeon) and also showed a documentary about the series and it's impact. I ended up watching maybe four or five episodes during that event, as well as the documentary. And at the very least, I felt that I was for the first time able to see why so many people liked the show. It seemed to blend ironic comedy writing with a sense of unironic joyfulness. Though with all that said, I didn't keep watching the show afterwards. I think that over the past 12 years I've randomly watched maybe one or two episodes.

I do however recognize what an impact the show has had on american television animation, an impact that I think ironically has been felt more during the 2010's than during the shows hight of popularity of the 2000's (maybe due to the fact that it wasn't untill the 2010's that people who grew up with the show started being involved in the making of cartoons?). I'm specifically refering to Spongebob's (the characters') personality. These days the "overtly enthusiastic" character is ubitious in american television cartoons. You know, the type of character that will act like a common event like, I dunno, eating waffles or going to the movies is the greatest thing in the universe, with the intended audience response being to smile and laugh at their overtly enthusiastic mindset. In fact there are many cartoons where basically the whole cast has shades of this. I'm thinking stuff like Teen Titans Go or Thundercats Roar (I haven't watched much of those either btw, but enough to get the gist). Cartoons where the show episode can be about "Today we're having SPAGHETTI!" and then the entire cast get super excited and dance and twerk with joy.

Not a bad impression for a sea sponge.

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7 hours ago, batson said:

I just thought of another essential franchise that I've completely missed out on. This isn't really a gap in my "nerd knowledge" as much as just general "popular culture" knowledge though, because it's so mainstream.

I'm talking about Spongebob Squarepants. Everywhere I go these days it seems that everyone is assumed to be familiar not just with the basic outline of the show, but with specific episodes and moments. Kinda similar to The Simpsons. Like, people will casually say a quote the show and just assume that everyone will get it. 

As for me though, I never got into the Spongebob craze. I saw commercials for it when it came out, and then saw maybe one episode of it, and for years that was it. I remember when the show turned 10 years old in 2009 and MTV had a marathon of episodes (MTV of course being part of the same parent company as Nickelodeon) and also showed a documentary about the series and it's impact. I ended up watching maybe four or five episodes during that event, as well as the documentary. And at the very least, I felt that I was for the first time able to see why so many people liked the show. It seemed to blend ironic comedy writing with a sense of unironic joyfulness. Though with all that said, I didn't keep watching the show afterwards. I think that over the past 12 years I've randomly watched maybe one or two episodes.

I do however recognize what an impact the show has had on american television animation, an impact that I think ironically has been felt more during the 2010's than during the shows hight of popularity of the 2000's (maybe due to the fact that it wasn't untill the 2010's that people who grew up with the show started being involved in the making of cartoons?). I'm specifically refering to Spongebob's (the characters') personality. These days the "overtly enthusiastic" character is ubitious in american television cartoons. You know, the type of character that will act like a common event like, I dunno, eating waffles or going to the movies is the greatest thing in the universe, with the intended audience response being to smile and laugh at their overtly enthusiastic mindset. In fact there are many cartoons where basically the whole cast has shades of this. I'm thinking stuff like Teen Titans Go or Thundercats Roar (I haven't watched much of those either btw, but enough to get the gist). Cartoons where the show episode can be about "Today we're having SPAGHETTI!" and then the entire cast get super excited and dance and twerk with joy.

Not a bad impression for a sea sponge.

I know you just did not compare Spongebob to Teen Titans Go.

*rolls up my sleeves as my hands form fists*

Nah but in all seriousness, there is a difference. Spongebob didn't overdo it, well not in the earlier seasons. Seasons 1-3 are considered the show's best, with maybe 4 and 5 being good too? I mostly stopped watching TV by that point. So when I mention Spongebob, it'll be the early seasons.

That said, I don't blame you for tapping out during the show's debut. Early into Season 1 was... questionable quality. It was okay, still trying to find its footing. I remember constant commercials for the big debut, Nickelodeon hyping it up, my mom had our VCR set to record it while we watched.

And how was it?

Meh. I thought the first episode was a little fun, but kinda corny. It didn't instantly strike gold for me either. Had to give it a few episodes before it became the show I had to watch, and by Season 2, it was everyone's favorite.

As for the aforementioned difference between (early) Spongebob, and shows like TTG...

Spongebob had its silly random moments, and that was that. It wasn't 100% based on "OMG WAFFLES WAFFLES WAFFLES" (seriously, I died a bit inside upon viewing the infamous Waffles episodes of TTG... I'd rather look at blue waffles than watch that damn episode again.)

The characters had depth. Spongebob was more like a silly adult. He had a job, he had talents, he had some responsibilities and a lot of morals. Honestly one of the more moral cartoon characters, and if he messed up, he did learn.

Nowadays, these silly random humor cartoons... no, it's just waffles waffles waffles non-stop. No serious moments, no morals. No character development. No personalities beyond loving waffles. And that just doesn't work.

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10 hours ago, Angyu said:

As for the aforementioned difference between (early) Spongebob, and shows like TTG...

Spongebob had its silly random moments, and that was that. It wasn't 100% based on "OMG WAFFLES WAFFLES WAFFLES" (seriously, I died a bit inside upon viewing the infamous Waffles episodes of TTG... I'd rather look at blue waffles than watch that damn episode again.)

The characters had depth. Spongebob was more like a silly adult. He had a job, he had talents, he had some responsibilities and a lot of morals. Honestly one of the more moral cartoon characters, and if he messed up, he did learn.

Nowadays, these silly random humor cartoons... no, it's just waffles waffles waffles non-stop. No serious moments, no morals. No character development. No personalities beyond loving waffles. And that just doesn't work.

I didn't intend to say that Spongebob and TTG are particularly similar, just that the specific trait of "overt enthusiasm" in cartoons was probably popularized by Spongebob, an later shows took that trope and turned it up to 11. A major difference though is that in Spongebob it's mostly just confined to the main character, creating a contrast between him and most of the other characters (though I think his buddy Patric is usually on the same page as him). Something like TTG on the other hand takes place in the kind of universe where basically every character can get super excited over the most mundane of things, and, likewise, act as if the smallest of obstacles can be the greatest of tragedies. Basically, overreacting is a defning trait of the whole show. And like I said, it's not just TTG; it's a trait that marks an awful lot of modern children's cartoons, from Thundercats Roar to Unikitty.

I also want to say that personally, from what little I'v seen, I vastly prefer Spongebob to those newer shows I just mentioned. In case anyone is wondering why I've even seen those newer shows in the first place, it's really only because I have friend who has all those kids channels (CN, Nick, Disney Channel) and when we are at his place and just chillin and talking we often have one of those on in the background (we are both general animation enthusiasts). And while Spongebob is a likable show, I really can't stand stuff like TTG or Thundercats Roar. They're just exhaustingly annoying. It's like wtaching a 3 year old on a sugar rush trying to be a comedian. And yes yes, I know, "It's not meant for you, it's meant for kids", but the thing is, kids cartoons in the past weren't nearly as annoying.

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Double Post:

It seems as though that there are some who understand Final Fantasy VI better than I could. I liked the game but I did not understand the game. 

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Pretty much all the big names, if I'm honest.

 

Star Wars, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, Assassin's Creed, The Last of Us, Attack on Titan....all stuff like that. I've always been the type where the more I hear people raving about something, the less inclined I am to actually look into it.

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This topic is basically how I feel about Warcraft in general, but especially the World of Warcraft. I don't care about or play many MMOs in general, but no other MMO I can think of is as widely-played and liked as WoW, so this one comes up a lot and makes me realize again and again that "well yeah, I know nothing about this, so I can't contribute anything of value to this conversation... I'll just wait until people are done talking about it, then chime in" or the like.

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