One does not just wake up one day as a geek. It is something that happens slowly over time as a result of what you are exposed to and what intrigues you enough as a child. I was lucky enough to be born with a big brother (7 years older, to be exact) who loved nerd stuff, from Star Wars to Atari (this was quite some time ago, obviously). It was his excitement that sparked my love for cool nerd toys. A love that would go on to eventually define a big part of my character and who I would become. Spoiler alert, a geek. But I know I would not be the geek I am now had I not played with these cool nerd toys growing up. For that, I thank my parents and my big brother. Hell, even my sister had a She-Ra figure. We were all pretty effing nerdy now that I look back. We even played Dungeons and Dragons as a family. Holy crap, I just realized I grew up in a nerd family. How insane and awesome is that?
Anyway, here are the toys and consoles and games that truly had an impact on my life and who I became, and I am sure quite a few of you can relate to some of these choices.
Dungeons and Dragons
As I already mentioned, my entire family would play D&D. I mean extended and all. My uncle was a crazy-talented dungeon master and we would play at least ONE massive, day long quest every year. Often more if we could all find the time. For the -3 of you who don’t know what Dungeons and Dragons is, it is a table top game played almost entirely in one’s imagination, with the DM being a sort of proverbial DJ keeping the whole thing on track. I was my Mom’s familiar (a dragon) and I died trying to save her one day when she went all Leroy Jenkins and got killed by a bunch of Golems.
See, I was born a nerd and died a nerd before most even knew the term. By the way, D&D is still awesome but I have no one to play with now. Anyone? Hit me up. I am chaotic good. Just saying.
We loved the Atari 2600 in my house, we were not commies. But our TRUE love was for the ColecoVision console. Yeah, the controllers were weird as fuck, but to me, this was the coolest of the cool nerd toys. I am sorry, but we had a steering wheel and a gas and break pedal to play with the game Pole Position. That destroyed ANYTHING Atari was doing at the time. Hell, not many systems even do that now.
Also, the game Venture on Coleco is STILL one of my favorite games and would make an amazing phone game, so someone get on that. Watch above video for proof. Don’t let simple visuals fool you, game was crack.
Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots
To this day, outside of them LOOKING cool, I still don’t know why I loved these things so much. Two plastic robots in a cage and you would flick levers maniacally to make them flail while the other player did the same. Eventually, one of the two robots would land a blow and the loser’s robot’s head would pop up and need to be pushed back into place. Round over.
It was very simple and repetetive, yet you got a HUGE buzz from beating whoever you were going against. It was simple, yet oddly, never got old. Sad thing is, I saw one of these things at a antique store the other day for 60 bucks and my heart sank. Are we all already THAT old? Jesus.
Speaking of old, how about something I still collect…..
All bow down before Hasbro, who were my childhood king. And yes, I still collect. When I say I still collect it is very rare and has to be a piece of this caliber (which I actually own and is hanging over my desk, smiling at me right now). But even from my massive Gi-Joe collection from my youth to the amazing Spawn McFarlane toys of the 90’s, well made figures (with articulation) have always been very cool to me. Just be aware, as I am sure you know, it is completely within your legal right to murder anyone who ever refers to those works of art as “dolls.” Just let it be known. No survivors in such instances. ESPECIALLY if someone is talking down to you in a passive aggressive manner. Then you have FULL license to kill, real talk.
So those four cool nerd toys helped form me into the geek I am today. How about you? Leave us a comment and let us know which nerd toys helped define YOUR childhood.