My Geeky Origin Story
Aloha friends, if you read the post earlier this week you’ll know I’ve been gone for over a month. School was killing me. Now that things have settled down a lot I am ready to get back on the blogging bandwagon. When I came across Mickey’s of Nerdily.com idea about sharing my geeky origin story I just couldn’t pass it up. There are so many different factors that make up who we are as geeks and nerds. We all come from different places and it was fun reading each and everyone’s story. I am a little late but that is the story of my life. I hope at the end of this point you’ll check out the other stories as well.
Somewhere in the late 1980’s…
My journey began with getting my first Nintendo. My mother was an Active Duty Airmen and we were living on the island of Crete at the time. As a single mother, I’m sure she wanted to give us the best she could. Enter the Nintendo and the first game that came with it Final Fight.
My younger brother and I played the hell out of this game. I mean we played it so much we had to finally do that trick where you blow into the cartridge to make the damn thing work. Final Fight truly would be the game that started my love of video games. It was a side-scroller and had a sort of storyline. Basically, you beat the shit out of gangs to save the mayor’s daughter and one of the playable characters, Cody’s girlfriend. We loved that game. I believe ultimately Guy ended up in Street Fighter, but this is the game he originated from. I think in retrospect it might not have been the best game for two little kids. Yet, this was the game that got me hooked. It led to me begging for more games like Ninja Gaiden, Mario Bros, Duck Hunt and ultimately Final Fantasy I.
And then Hayazaki…
I didn’t know it at the time, but my mom was totally a closet Anime lover. Anime was not well known in the west during the late 80’s so the small amount of it that made it was butchered beyond the original intent of the film or show. Regardless, my mom loved them to pieces and she introduced my brother and me to tudio Ghibli’s film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
At the time it was titled simply Warriors of the Wind. This version of the film was butchered so badly 22 minutes were cut out of the film to fit a more child-friendly adventure film. I loved it none the less. I remember cheering on Princess Zandra and being completely engrossed in the film. It wasn’t until I lived in Japan a number of years later that the main protag was not Princess Zandra but instead Nausicaä. Additionally, the huge part of the film cut was the environmental problems it never occurred to me the Ohm were really not that bad.
Flash Forward to my first years in Japan…
In 1996 or so we got orders to move to Japan. Upon moving to Japan I was still very much into Disney films and cartoons. I loved to draw and I had dreams of becoming a cartoonist or animator for Disney some day. I was in the 6th grade when I first encounter Sailor Moon on Japanese TV. In addition to the good ol’ AFRTS now known as AFN, which provided free programming for military families we got local channels as well.
Sailor Moon, I remember was on Asahi TV on Saturday nights. Without question, after I discovered the show I also discovered manga club at my middle school. Our Japanese language teachers ran the club and introduced all of us to the magic that was manga. Right away I jumped into the Sailormoon manga and recorded every episode of Sailor Moon on my VCR. This anime ignited the spark that got me into anime. I loved it so much I was heavily influenced by Naoko Takeuchi’s art. I copied all of her work and created my own African-American sailor scout, with her own story and friends. Along the way because I was in the thick of it I found Trigun, Rouroni Kenshin, Gokinjoumono Gatari, Boys Over Flowers, Marmalade Boy, Good Morning Call, Outlaw Star, Akazukin Cha Cha and so many others. I loved anime so much in middle school and high school. The best part being I could turn on the TV and find anime on in the afternoon or really late around 1AM. I continued to make my own manga influenced by all the shoujo manga and anime I watched.
Enter Final Fantasy VII.
It was my first year of high school when I discovered Final Fantasy VII. This was my family’s last year in Japan and my love of Anime was growing more and more each day. While I still had a healthy relationship with video games, we had a Nintendo 64 at home, I didn’t have the same spark I once held in my childhood. That was until I met Final Fantasy VII. I was introduced to the game from some fellow band geeks. We had a get together after a band trip to Northern Japan, at this get-together, someone thought bringing their newly purchased Playstation would be a good idea. I got to play the first 20 minutes and I knew right away it had to be mine. That summer I saved up all the money I made at my summer job to get a Playstation and FFVII.
I played FFVII until my disc broke. From that point on I got heavily into gaming. I was bitten and there was nothing that could stop me, I loved games so much. Any JRPG the better, I didn’t care how bad the storyline was or how poor the game mechanics were just that it was a beautiful game that needed to be beaten. FFVII lead to Star Ocean, Lunar The Silver Star Story, Grandia, Wild Arms, Legend of Dragoon, Legend of Mana, Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy 8, Saga Frontier, Suikoden, Breath of Fire, Xenogears, and Kingdom Hearts.
And then there was fan art…
On the high that was FFVII I made fan art about the game and I even joined DeviantArt for a time to celebrate FFVII. When we moved back to the states, I had a friend that created fan art and fan comics with me and naturally from that friendship lead to the self-published online comic community. I began to take my comic making seriously, I sought out other comic artists to connect and learn from. I drew so much my bedroom walls were covered in all my artwork. I gave out original artwork for gifts rather than buy anything. I drew all the time on Oekaki boards and I had a shoujo manga that was serialized on my Geocities website. Additionally, I an online comic collaboration where we drew our favorite characters from other artists into our comics.
Through high school, I was dead set on attending The Savannah College of Art and Design. I wanted to be a sequential artist at this point and knew beyond a reason of a doubt I could do it. Sadly, the state of Georgia only provides full HOPE scholarships to public schools. SCAD was a private school and thus I’d only get a small portion of the HOPE, not enough to cover a full year of school, let alone four years. My dreams of becoming a sequential artist slipped from my fingers before they were even realized. Or rather I let those dreams slip. I stopped all art at this point but I still managed to find a little time to game. I continued to game on console until the release of Final Fantasy XI. Something about the MMORPG just felt out of place for me and I began to lose interest in the gaming community. I stopped gaming altogether when the first expansion released.
The gaming dry spell
I joined the Air Force and left everyone I knew behind to take an assignment to Japan. I returned to gaming for a brief period when I met my future husband. He introduced me to World of Warcraft. For almost three years we played that game and along the way, we found Aeon, Warhammer Online, and Guild Wars. MMORPGs were my life for three years and then one day I woke up and just stopped playing games. I didn’t want anything to do with them anymore, the spark that was once there left me. I had nothing left, no art, no video games, no geeky TV shows or movies I was just a shell of what I once was. It is difficult to pinpoint what happened. Thinking back on it I really don’t know what happened I just suddenly lost all interest in who I once was. When Dragon Age: Origins came out my husband bought the game right away. He decided he hated it and it sat on our shelf for three years. In crept Mass Effect 2 but there was nothing BioWare could have done at the time to draw me in. Even with my husband encouraging me to play I dropped Mass Effect 2 like it was hot.
After the birth of our son, I finally found solace in games. I separated from the Air Force and enrolled as a full-time student in Art school. During those long, zombie-like nights of nursing my son, I found Dragon Age: Origins collecting dust on our shelf. I figured since I was up I better do something with my time. Thus Dragon Age pulled me out of my slump. The story struck a cord with me and I began to fall for Alistair and wanted to know more about the character. My interest in the Grey Wardens and everything they stood for fascinated me and I got Dragon Age 2 as soon as it released. I gamed during my son’s naps and or when I was really stuck during cluster feeding. It rekindled the love I once had for video games. Yet, with this reinvigoration cause the realization that I no longer cared for JRPGs. It has been western games all the way since I found myself again. This is not to say I don’t give JRPGs a chance I always do…but they remained the same and I grew up.
Never go to a party without a banana
Now that I was back to video games I still denied another part of me that loved geeky shows. Fellow classmates kept telling me over and over to watch Doctor Who. The first time I watched only the first episode of the 9th Doctor and I thought it was the worse show every following somewhere behind Terra Nova. Yet, repeated requests to watch Doctor Who began to get under my skin. I implemented my four episode requirement. If a show didn’t hook me by four episodes in then I never watch it again. Lucky for me Doctor Who got so much better!
The show changed my video of sci-fi for the better. I was on the geeky train and not afraid to go all in at this point. Due to the show, I decided to start a geeky blog after years of keeping a photography blog. I’ve met other like-minded women and mothers on Female Geek Blogger and Geek Girl Bloggers. Some of these relationships are standing on the makings of becoming lasting friendships. I have found a safe place to openly be a geek and embrace aspects of myself I tried to hide for so long. It has been a beautiful and trying journey and I am now in a very happy place accepting myself in all my geeky glory.
If you read this far then check out all the other bloggers that shared their origins!
Geeky Brunette’s Story (Coming Soon!)
Mandy’s Story–from The True Ultimate Fangirl Officially (Coming Soon!)
The Gamer Wife’s Story (Coming Soon!)
Sadie by Design’s Story (Coming Soon!)
Kimi’s Story (Coming Soon!)
That was my story, where does your begin? Share your story with me in the comments or on facebook. Better yet join in the blogging line up!
Mahalo nui loa!