1. Trying To Find The Postman
The hefty price tag of £435 for the PS3 upon its release in the UK in 2006 was off putting, and Microsoft’s new and exclusive IP Gears of War was all the rage upon its release in 2006. Many of the guys in year 8 of Thamesview School (including myself) bought an Xbox 360 solely for the release of Gears (or at least our parents bought it for us.) So two years later and Gears of War 2 has been announced, and never, and I mean never, has there been a more anticipated game than Gears of War 2. So of course me and friends alike pre-order it from Amazon and pay first class in hopes that it arrives a day early, which Amazon has been known to do when delivering games. So it’s Thursday, November 6, 2008 – it’s snowing outside and it’s one day before the release of Gears of War 2. Gears 2 is all I’ve been able to think about and it’s all I’ve been talking about all day. The wait is almost over. But it gets to lunch time and the wait becomes unbearable. Me and my good friend Gibbs decide to bunk the last lessons and go home and play Gears. So we walk to my place, open the door. We look down at the post. There’s no Amazon package. We come to the conclusion that the postman must still have our copies and he hasn’t posted them because we need to sign. So there’s only one thing left to do: We need to find the postman. So we voyage around Riverview in our School uniforms in the snow looking for the postman when we should be in whatever lessons we were supposed to be in. We must’ve been looking for thirty minutes until we found him delivering the post to The Boat (a pub in Riverview) and we sprinted towards him. So we explain the situation to him and basically let him know how important this package is. He must’ve thought we were the biggest squares in the planet because we were anticipating the post so much that we couldn’t wait for him to delver it. Anyway, long story short, he didn’t have the package, and me and Gibbs both went home in dismay. (It did get delivered the next day, though, and it was worth the wait.)
2. Getting Up On Stage With Sum 41
October 29, 2010. I remember it fondly. I was with my good pal Joe that I grew up with, and we both grew up listening to Sum 41. It was the first time in over three years that Sum 41 were on a UK tour and it was also the first time we managed to secure tickets to see them live, and it also happened to be our first foray into Camden Town. I’d heard stories about Camden. Some rather strange stories. After walking up the steps from the station and entering the town, within minutes I saw a witch riding a bike and I saw the reincarnation of Bob Marley ask me if I wanted any drugs. It was three days before Halloween, though. But anyway, we arrive at the venue rather early and queue up outside and wait for hours until the doors open. But it was worth the wait as we make our way to the front row. Filled with glee that we’re in the front row, we get talking to the security guard and he tells us that Deryck (the singer) will be letting fans watch the show from the side of the stage. Sure enough, not even one song in and I get invited up on stage. The video tells the rest of the story.
3. Fandango: Raw, April 22, 2013
Fandango was on a hot streak after making his in-ring debut at Wrestlemania 29 and beating Chris Jericho in singles competition. He was over. Big time. it was largely to do with the fact that European fans started what became known as ‘Fandangoing’ during the Monday night Raw the day after WM 29, which involved chanting and throwing your arms up and down during Fandango’s entrance theme. So when I arrived at the 02 arena and looked up on my phone the card for tonight’s event I was disappointed to find out that Fandango wasn’t in London; he was in Belfast working a house show. My hopes and dreams of Fandangoing and getting to see the man who is undefeated at Wrestlemania were crushed. So about halfway through the show and having a good time and accepting the fact that Fandango wasn’t going to be in London, Fandango’s music plays seemingly out of nowhere, and… well… I go bananas. Perhaps bananas is an understatement, but I can’t overstate how much of a fool I can only imagine I made of myself, but Fandango doesn’t only top my list of nerdy moments, it tops the lists of one of the greatest moments of my life.
4. Trying To Find Mass Effect 3 In Beacon Woods
In one of the most elaborate video game marketing stunts of all time, EA, from various locations all over the world, launched several copies of Mass Effect 3 into space. February 27, 2012 (almost two years ago from the day I’m writing this) one copy of Mass Effect 3 got launched into space from England’s capital, London at 11AM. Out of all the places in the UK it could’ve landed, just mere hours later it had landed and the tracker located its position to be in Beacon Wood Country Park in Bean. To this day I still can’t quite believe that it landed so close to home, and in all honesty I wasn’t even that jazzed to pick up Mass Effect 3. But upon hearing of the news that it was so close to home, Gibbs, (who you may remember from the Gears of War story from above) my good friend Jack and myself decided to go on a little scavenger hunt in Beacon Woods. Only a handful of problems though: 1) None of us had been to Beacon woods before. 2. It was dark. 3) The woods was huge and it was probably stuck up a tree. But we carried on like troopers in the dark with our torches searching for Mass Effect 3 until an hour or so when we realised we just weren’t going to find it in the dark. So we wake up the next morning and discover that the Mass Effect 3 Space Edition that launched in Beacon Woods has been recovered by someone, and that our journey into the woods was wasted. Not completely wasted, though; because every time I read about Mass Effect it brings me back to Beacon woods on that cold, dark night with my two good friends just innocently trying to find a videogame up a tree.
5. The Dark Night Rises (At 5AM)
If Gears of War 2 was my most anticipated game of all time, then The Dark Knight Rises was my most anticipated movie of all time. Never before have I wanted to see a movie so much and never before have I seen so much media coverage of a movie before its release. Rampant rumours of casting, plot threads and shooting locations were popping up everywhere on the internet, and I read every dam one of them. So when it was announced that Paramount would be showing the first six minutes of TDKR – i.e. “The Bane Prologue” – in front of Mission Impossible IV showings at Imax cinemas, Jack, Gibbs and myself instantly booked tickets for our first ever Imax experience. (Side note: None of us were even that bothered about seeing Mission Impossible IV; we just wanted to see the first six minutes of Batman and we paid over £30 for the privilege. No regrets.) So anyway, the faithful day comes (July 20, 2012) and the first showing is at 5AM. So yes I got up at 4AM in the morning to see The Dark Knight Rises, and no I couldn’t wait like a normal human being to see it at a normal time. But like most other nerdy and somewhat eccentric moments on the list, it was worth getting up so early and I can say it’s the only time I’ve seen a film where there’s been a standing ovation at the end.
6. Getting Sharky – Crazy Bones
There were four huge fads of being a kid in the 90s & early 2000s, and those four are Pokémon, Digimon, Yu Gi Oh and Crazy Bones. All hugely popular in their own right, but out of the four, Crazy Bones seems to be the one that either people forget – which is strange considering they’re still going today. Just what exactly were these Crazy Bones, though? Well, they were these little plastic figures that came in packs of four and cost £1 a pack, and I guess the goal – much like Pokémon’s strap-line – was to collect them all. But it wasn’t my goal and it wasn’t my friends’ goal to collect them all. Our goal was to get the rarest Crazy Bone; the shark, the myth, the legend: Sharky. Sharky was by far the coolest Crazy Bone of the bunch and we all wanted him, though none of us had him and by the way we talked about Sharky on the playground, it seemed about as likely as one of us seeing the lochness monster before ever getting him. However, one day… one day… I got a pack – no different to any other – except for the fact that it had Sharky in it, and I freaking lost it. After calming down after ten minutes or so, I called my friends to tell them the breaking news. Of course they didn’t believe that I had won the Crazy Bones lottery, but they were all in shock and awe the next day at School when I walked up to them and reached into my coat pocket like a total badass and pulled out Sharky.
7. Becoming The (Riverview School) Yu Gi Oh Champion
The four years I spent at Riverview Primary School (2000-2004) were four of the best years of my life. I met many kids there that remain great friends to this day, almost ten years later. But the one thing I’ll remember the most with my time at Riverview School is Yu Gi Oh. Pokémon was out (sort of), Beyblade had its stint, and Digimon stopped by for a cup of coffee. Yu Gi Oh stuck around right up to 2004, though. And by that time I was the best god dam Yu Gi Oh player on the playground. I was so good that you make an appointment if you wanted to challenge me. Not just any jabroni could walk up to me and challenge to a duel. I looked after my deck of cards (which I still have to this day), I wrote down and practiced strategies at home so my opponents didn’t know what to expect from me, and you had better believe I took every game seriously. So I was the champ, I carried myself as a champ, and everyone knew I was the champ. When that sad day in June of 2004 came (the day I left Primary School for good) I was willing to put my title on the line against the number 2 player, a guy named Ben in the year below. It’s the last day of School and I should’ve been saying bye to people I probably won’t see again, but me and Ben have more pressing matter to attend to in the ‘quiet area’. If he beats me then I pass the torch. Simple as that. No best out of three, no excuses and no regrets. After an exciting, nerve-wrecking and tense game, I beat Ben with my wit, skill and experience. And still to this day nobody has beaten me, so I’m still The Riverview School Yu Gi Oh champion.
8. Runescape – Paying Real Money For Fake Money
Two years prior to Gears of War’s launch, years 7 (2004-2005) and 8 (2005-2006) was all about the massive multiplayer online game Runescape. This is the first and only mmo game I’ve ever played and it’s for good reason: their addictive nature. Though I wasn’t alone in being addicted to it, as every time I logged in there were at least ten other kids from School online – and this just added to Runescape’s already addictive nature. Why it proved to be so popular is simple: 1) It was free. 2) Unlike most free games, Runescape was actually a good free game. A very good one, in fact, that developer Jagex Games kept expanding the world and adding new features. But it got to a point after countless man hours and months of playing that leveling up – essentially the goal of the game – was getting harder and money wasn’t as easy to acquire. So instead of leveling up the hard way, some evil geniuses thought it would be a good idea to sell their in-game money for actual, like, real money; and suckers like myself actually paid them. (Looking back though, it wasn’t my money i was spending, it was my parents).
9. The Battle For Games Workshop
I hate Bluewater. I hate the shops and I hate shopping. I hate the fake and pretentious hipsters there. I hate the Z-list celebrities it attracts and how people talk about it like it’s a big deal. I hate when I’m driving home from Dartford that there’s always congestion just before getting on the A2 back to Gravesend because of the amount of twats coming back from Bluewater. I hate that people can’t stick to the fucking left when walking. I hate that there is a restaurant there called ‘Wagamamas’ – that is a stupid fucking name for a restaurant. And Bluewater is a stupid name for a mall. (Lakeside is just as fucking bad but that’s for another day.) One redeeming quality to Bluewater, though, is Games Workshop – even if it is about as out of place as a church in the middle of the Ghetto. But the long of the short of it is this: one day on a Sunday, from midday to 5PM there was an intense five hour game of Warhammer that to the average human being that doesn’t know squat about Warhammer would’ve been like watching five hours of dudes rolling dice and moving plastic figures whilst talking a foreign language.
10. Writing a List of Top 10 Nerdy Moments
Writing a list of your top ten nerdy moments is a pretty thing to do, right?