I Was Geeky When Geeky Wasn't Cool. Were You?
Marc Allie
United States
Bolivar
Missouri
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It has long been a dream of mine to write a book, and a few weeks ago, that dream finally came true! My book is called I Was Geeky When Geeky Wasn't Cool, and as you might surmise from the title, it is about growing up geeky in that most glorious of decades, the 1980s. There's a hefty dose of pop culture references, some funny parts, some sad parts, and more than likely some parts that you will identify with.

The writing process is long and arduous, and I thought finally reaching my goal was worthy of celebration. BGG is by definition composed of other geeks like me, and so, the purpose of this geeklist is to celebrate geekiness itself!

I've taken the liberty of starting the list with a few items that were formative in my development as a geeky, nerdy kid. Most of them are related to the events that are further explored in the book.

Feel free to add to the list yourself! If there was something you obsessed over when you were growing up, or represents a special time in your life, go ahead and post it. Be sure to give us plenty of details about your geeky development.

By the way, you can find out more about me and I Was Geeky When Geeky Wasn't Cool at marcallie.com, if you like. Thanks for reading and I can't wait to see what the community here at BGG comes up with!

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1. Video Game: Asteroids [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:2116] [Average Rating:6.27 Unranked]
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Marc Allie
United States
Bolivar
Missouri
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I loved all video games as a kid, but Asteroids was by far my favorite. The cabinet art was striking, and the control panel looked exactly like what a deep space pilot would use. The ominous music and sound effects really pumped the adrenaline. Best of all were the gorgeous vector graphics, which glowed brightly on the screen. I spent hours playing Asteroids when we spent a week at a campground. Other kids might have spent the time biking or fishing, but I wanted nothing more than to blow up giant space rocks and travel through hyperspace.

I spent hours and hours with Asteroids when we finally got the cartridge for my Atari 2600. Without the control panel and glowing monitor, the experience was dimmed, somewhat. That didn't keep me from playing it, though. Asteroids was the first of many video games that I geeked out over, and STILL geek out over, to this very day.
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2. Board Game: Batman [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Batman
Marc Allie
United States
Bolivar
Missouri
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I fell for comic books and super heroes very early on in my life. Spider-Man and Captain America were favorites, but more than any other hero, I went way, WAY overboard with my love for Batman. My parents had to buy three or four Batman costumes for me every Halloween, since I wore them out with use. Those nasty plastic costumes weren't the best, but when you are five years old, you really don't mind.

Now, when Underoos came out, that was a different story. A Batman chest T-Shirt coupled with blue and yellow underwear was about perfect. Add in some long underwear and a blue bath towel, and you were the spitting image of the Caped Crusader himself.
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3. Board Game: V [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: V
Marc Allie
United States
Bolivar
Missouri
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Sci-fi was a favored genre for me growing up. Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Automan... the list goes on and on. But more than the rest, the mini-series V, about the arrival of lizard-like aliens disguised as humans, was formative to my development, for two reasons.

1. I was nine years old when the first series came out, and ten when the second arrived. This is the perfect time to develop a crush on a member of the opposite gender. In my case, I fell fast and hard for Diana, femme fatale of the alien Visitors. She looked great in a space jumpsuit, had the biggest hair I had ever seen, flew around in a spaceship, and ate rodents and birds for snacks. What young nerd wouldn't have fallen for her?

2. The very first time I stayed home by myself was to watch the second night of V: The Final Battle. My decision to do so was quite questionable given my hyperactive imagination. I was pretty spooked after the first half-hour, but when someone actually came to the door and knocked, I was certain that I would die a horrible death.

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4. Board Game: Transformers Adventure Game [Average Rating:4.38 Overall Rank:18234]
Board Game: Transformers Adventure Game
Marc Allie
United States
Bolivar
Missouri
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I loved my Star Wars action figures, but Transformers were the toys that ignited my imagination more than any others. The toys themselves were brilliant feats of engineering. Each was like three toys in one: a robot, a car (or plane or tape deck) and also a puzzle of sorts. I played with my Transformers to the point that the joints were so floppy they would barely stand up on their own.

When the cartoon came out, I was enthralled. Learning about the origins, abilities, and personalities of all these characters was incredible. I begged my parents for an Optimus Prime for Christmas back in 1984. Unfortunately, it would be almost thirty years before I owned the noble, wise leader of the Autobots.

That started me on a path that led today to a collection of Transformers that numbers in the hundreds. Some of them were for my kids, honest!
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5. RPG Item: Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:137]
RPG Item: Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules
Marc Allie
United States
Bolivar
Missouri
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On the teeter totters at recess one chilly January afternoon, I enjoyed my first session of Dungeons & Dragons. There were no dice, character sheets, or rule books, just three fifth graders with great imaginations. We went on a journey through the grim land of Barovia, and explored the castle of the dread vampire lord, Strahd von Zarovich: Ravenloft.

D&D became a big part of my life from that point on. I read all the books I could get my hands on, created my own dungeons on graph paper, and made more characters than I could ever possibly use in a game. I still play D&D to this day, with some old friends of mine and our children.
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6. Board Game: Baseball Card All Star Game [Average Rating:5.41 Unranked]
Board Game: Baseball Card All Star Game
Marc Allie
United States
Bolivar
Missouri
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The summer between 7th and 8th grade, our washing machine broke, so we spent lots of time at the local laundromat. I was given four quarters to spend each week, and, with no comic book rack or arcade game around, I usually bought candy from the convenience store next to the laundromat while we waited for the laundry to finish.

I spotted 1987 Topps baseball cards near the candy one week, and on a whim decided to pick a couple packs up. I was hoping for an Ozzie Smith, but got something even better inside: a checklist card. It became my goal that summer to collect every card in the set. I began watching baseball obsessively, clearing my schedule to see as many games as possible.

This was, perhaps, the least geeky thing I ever went nuts over. I suppose part of the reason I went crazy for baseball cards was it seemed like a more normal thing to do than playing D&D or reading Asimov. Being more normal, sadly, became very important to me as I grew older. Thankfully, I got better, and embraced my nerdiness as I grew older.
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7. RPG: Tunnels & Trolls (1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Editions) [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:612]
RPG: Tunnels & Trolls (1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Editions)
SW
United Kingdom
Oxfordshire
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we were so poor I couldn't even get my hands on D&D so had to go for the bargain basement Tunnels and Trolls

I spent literally hours designing, both dungeons for my family to enter (and never escape alive -bwahahhaaa), as well as 'solo adventure books'.

Ah, those were the days.
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8. Board Game: Soccerama [Average Rating:5.10 Overall Rank:17510]
Board Game: Soccerama
SW
United Kingdom
Oxfordshire
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...and for those UK geeks trying desperately not to be written off completely as 'too geeky', there was Soccerama. A boardgame about being a football manager trying to win the European Cup.

Used to play this on a Saturday night before 'Match of the Day' came on the TV. Most of my friends were down the pub.
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9. RPG Item: Traveller Boxed Set [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:50]
RPG Item: Traveller Boxed Set
John Di Ponio
United States
Lake Orion
MI
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Traveller was intro to geekdom. Before high school, I was an AH and GW gamer but not really playing games outside of the realm of family and a couple of close friends. This game blew me away with how open gaming could be! I loved the imagination and different friends I made while playing the game. I still long to find a a Traveller campaign to get back into!
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10. Board Game: Amigos [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Amigos
The commodore Amiga (the Amiga 600 in my case) was hugely influential on my childhood. No Mario or sonic for me; I was becoming a pirate in Monkey island, engaging in copyright infringement with Giana sisters, killing mutants in Flashback and fighting as a ninja of the Nth dimension in Zool.

The Amiga i had was an Amiga 600 HD (hard drive, of a whole 30 megabyte). Also, Bills Tomato Game, nuff said.
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11. Board Game: Car Wars: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.46 Overall Rank:18238] [Average Rating:5.46 Unranked]
Board Game: Car Wars: The Card Game
Chris Funk
United States
Springfield
Ohio
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I was into computers, comic books, video games, Star Wars, Star Trek,you name it. Started in elementary school with an Atari 2600, which went to a NES, and then Genesis, to the SegaCD add-on, and the rest go from there.

When I was 16, I started helping out in a local comic shop. By my senior year in high school, I was there 50+ hours a week. Basically, if I wasn't in school, I was there. We were a tight group of friends and we would play games after the shop closed until 11:00/12:00 at night. Back then, Car Wars the Card Game was a relatively new one and we combined two sets to make a 10 player game. Complete chaos, but I love it. I still have my copy that I bought in 1994.

We also played V:TM, Mage, and other White Wolf lines. We tried a D&D adventure once. Once. I was the only one alive at the end, and only barely.

The comic store was also where I got my real bug for computers. I learned DOS. I learned how to manipulate the autoexec.bat an config.sys. Why? So we could play the Doom shareware we just spent all night pulling from Apogee's BBS on a 4800 baud modem. Yep, my career as an I.T. person began because I had to hack a system to play Doom.

After the comic shop, I worked in a video game store. And then a video rental store (back in the day of VHS). After a temp job as a file clerk, I got my first professional I.T. job as a tech support call rep.

My board game habit started a couple years later with HeroClix. My friends from the comic shop started playing and we made it a monthly thing. It was a board game tied around a geeky comic book center. A couple years after that, I went to my first Origins and came home with a copy of Station Master and Monsters Menace America. All downhill from there.

And then I was a band geek. Marching band and all.

So yeah, geek from the start. My mom was a Dr. Who geek and I even grew up on Tom Baker and Monty Python. I'm a huge Python geek, too. I've even met Eric Idle and got his autograph.

Marc, you are definitely not alone in this geek world.
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12. RPG: Villains & Vigilantes (1st Edition) [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:681]
RPG: Villains & Vigilantes (1st Edition)
William Curtis
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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I was introduced to RPGs by this gem listed here. I was on a Youth Group trip and the Youth Pastor decree'd that the 13 year olds keep me (11 at the time and the youngest on the trip) out of trouble... I was introduced to Villains and Vigilantes and got to combine my imagination with the Marvel Comics I loved as a child...
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13. Board Game: A Christmas Story Board Game [Average Rating:2.47 Unranked]
Board Game: A Christmas Story Board Game
Arsonist Aunt May
United States
San Miguel
California
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I looked exactly like Ralphie all the way up until high school...


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14. Board Game: LEGO Creator [Average Rating:5.21 Overall Rank:18734]
Board Game: LEGO Creator
Arsonist Aunt May
United States
San Miguel
California
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So many hours were spent with these wonderful toys. My parents didn't have a ton of money, so a lot of my toys were dug out from dumpsters in the back alleys of toy stores. They were still "new" and usually in the box, so it's not like they had to scrape off boogers and hamburger meat before giving them to me.

Anyway, one huge haul was a massive box of Legos taller than me at the time. Mostly the generic bricks, but there were a few specialty sets as well. I too loved Transformers, but again money being an issue, couldn't talk my parents often into getting them, so I started building my own. They were pretty basic transformation-wise, but I did build a pretty cool faux Prime with trailer. I wish I'd had kept those Legobots, but hey-- when you're a kid you don't think about nostalgia.

And whodathunk it, Kre-O makes a whole line of Legoformers now. So I obviously must not have been the only kid doing that.
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15. Board Game: Indiana Jones: Fortune and Glory [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Indiana Jones: Fortune and Glory
Peter Thur
Germany
Weitersburg
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Arcade games completely passed me by. But when I started to visit a billard pub in the early 90s i discovered pinball machines. The pub had an Indiana Jones in the back corner and I spent a few marks playing....

Playing has become considerably cheaper, because Indy is now standing in the living room.
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16. Board Game: Grind [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:7132]
Board Game: Grind
Arsonist Aunt May
United States
San Miguel
California
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Don't know if anyone remembers this little gem:


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In high school, a friend and I spent good chunks of our part-time job money on this electronic crack. My high school allowed off-campus lunches, so during lunch period we'd swing over to a nearby arcade called The Gold Mine and would get a few games in. The thing I thought was awesome was my math teacher loved that game too, and he'd often join us. Coolest teacher ever.
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17. Video Game: Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:4165]
Video Game: Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars
kelsith
United States
Bloomington
Illinois
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Very similar to the game above, this was a great way to spend a summer.

In particular I remember it was often easier to end a game by destroying enough of the enemies robots than it was actually winning the ball game. (Often combat would occur at the bases when someone was being tagged out...or you could just hit them with a pitch.
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18. RPG Item: Twilight: 2000 [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:639]
RPG Item: Twilight: 2000
John Di Ponio
United States
Lake Orion
MI
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This the last great roll playing game during my college days. It was tons of fun and still a game I would like to play!
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19. RPG Item: Elfquest [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:6353]
RPG Item: Elfquest
Larry L
United States
Stockton
California
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The Temple of Andor, from a Spore GA Logic puzzle. Last EA game I ever bought.
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Microbadge: Laurie AndersonMicrobadge: Tom Waits fanMicrobadge: Ursula K. Le Guin fanMicrobadge: Johnny Cash fanMicrobadge: Disneyland: Haunted Mansion fan
Not the game, but the comic. A fantasy comic about elves! Look battle! Look adventure! Look... orgy?
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20. Video Game: Rogue [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:1380]
Video Game: Rogue
Larry L
United States
Stockton
California
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The Temple of Andor, from a Spore GA Logic puzzle. Last EA game I ever bought.
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Microbadge: Laurie AndersonMicrobadge: Tom Waits fanMicrobadge: Ursula K. Le Guin fanMicrobadge: Johnny Cash fanMicrobadge: Disneyland: Haunted Mansion fan
You might have been a geek in the 80s if you know what "rogue-like" means from personal experience. Although, the term might bring to mind "Hack" or "Moria". If you are like me, you probably didn't even know there was a commercial version until this very geeklist item.
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21. Board Game: Doctor Who: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:7943] [Average Rating:5.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Doctor Who: The Card Game
Chris Blakeley
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I was a fan of Doctor Who before I got to watch it in the mid-80s, latching on to the Target and Pinnacle novelizations. Then the local PBS station started airing it at midnight on Saturdays and I was there, watching every episode from Spearhead in Space to Survival and back again. Then the Virgin novels and BBC novels in college... the Doctor Who Fan Club of America... trying to find the Dapol figures.

I actually made a great friend at the local Waldenbooks (yes, that's how classy my hometown was) because she remembered that I was there every month to order and buy the Virgin books.

The frustrating thing now is that even as I can find Doctor Who everywhere (there was an end-cap display at the local drugstore last month), I'm so disappointed by what Moffat has been doing with the show that I just can't work up much enthusiasm for what's out there now. Ah well...
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From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Phil Bauer
United States
Vienna
Virginia
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Microbadge: Caverna: The Cave Farmers fanMicrobadge: Edward Gorey fanMicrobadge: Gamer FamilyMicrobadge: Cycling fanMicrobadge: Veteran of a Foreign War
My inner geek shows through occasionally, enough that people ask me if I watch "Big Bang Theory." I usually say, "I don't have to watch it, I lived it." My high school ('80 to '83) and college years ('83 to '88)are a mirror image of the show. Though our characters were a bit more outrageous than the people on the show. During those years, I also progressed from D&D white box edition through Titan and Divine Right. Good Times.
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23. Board Game: Warhammer: The Mass Combat Fantasy Roleplaying Game (1st Edition) [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1795]
Board Game: Warhammer: The Game of Fantasy Battles (6th Edition Boxed Set)
David Kershaw
Ireland
Belfast
Northern Ireland
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Lines of Battle: Quatre Bras 1815. Brunswick hussar.
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Microbadge: Miniatures wargaming fan - NapoleonicMicrobadge: I've played games in Northern IrelandMicrobadge: Autism AwarenessMicrobadge: I love running!Microbadge: Wargame Design Hobbyist
A friend bought this, thinking it was an RPG (we were heavily into Runequest at the time). It became clear from the introductory scenario (Ziggurat of doom iirc) that it was a battle game. We avoided the pricey miniatures, using cardboard templates instead, and played hundreds of games between the half-dozen or so of us that were the geeks at school.

This game directly led me to more historical miniature wargames, and I've never looked back!
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24. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1241] [Average Rating:6.95 Unranked]
Board Game: Ogre / G.E.V.
John Di Ponio
United States
Lake Orion
MI
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Not the big monstrosity that is out now (although, I did pick that up and enjoy it) but the small VCR case one. We use to play it at lunchtime in High School.
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25. RPG Item: Top Secret Box Set (First Edition) [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:3597]
RPG Item: Top Secret Box Set (First Edition)
My friends were not really into D&D, so this was my first taste of RPGs. Lots of time spent building my character's back story and designing cool 007 like gadgets and stealthly scenarios. Good memories!

Congrats on your book!
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