The Geek shall inherit the earth.
Is there any arguing it? You guys who are technology and gadget-obsessed, who have a huge capacity for memorizing bits of information and an infinite hunger for the Next Cool Thing... it's looking like the future will fit you like a glove. One that shoots lasers.
Wait, did we say "the future"? Because looking back on 2008, it seems like that geek-dominated future is already here. Consider...
7The Internet Subculture Oozed Into the Real World
How many of you had a secret club when you were in school? Maybe you didn't have an actual tree house to meet in or a secret handshake, but at the very least you had a series of inside jokes and references that absolutely nobody else would get in a thousand years. But what if one day you heard the football team borrowing those jokes? Or worse, the teachers? What would that say about your club?
Now imagine what the first few message board friends who started "Rickrolling" each other a couple of years ago must have felt like when they saw Rick Astley interrupt the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with "Never Gonna Give You Up"...
... to universal laughter and applause by the crowd. "Ah, yes," said countless middle aged housewives and Armani-wearing stockbrokers, "I do believe we have been Rickrolled!"
It was just the latest in a long line of the Internet subculture's invasions into the mainstream. The guys who remember that thread on Something Awful a few years ago, where everybody chipped in wacky facts about Vin Diesel (and later, Chuck Norris) saw that inside forum joke get mentioned in the 2008 presidential campaign. Oh and you can buy the bound version of it in book stores. While you're there, pick up the LOLcats hardback.
Then we have the Anonymous protests against Scientology, where members of the 4chan boards and others formed the world's largest flash mob to take on the cult while wearing V for Vendetta masks, making international news in the process.
Many thought this would stand as their largest accomplishment, but it turned out to be a distant second. The first was when, after invading her message boards, they induced Oprah Winfrey to repeat about three different 4chan memes at once on national television, culminating with the phrase "over 9000 penises."
We guess you have to take the good with the bad from Anonymous. And to be honest we're not even sure which one that was.
6Your Grandma Became a Gamer
For the first 20 years or so of video gaming, it was a kid's pastime. Then, starting in the mid-90s, it branched into a geek pastime.
That was the perception, anyway. As recently as a few years ago, if you saw a grown-up in a movie playing video games, it was the filmmaker's way of signaling that he was an immature man-child (in The 40 Year Old Virgin they demonstrate Steve Carell's lack of a love life via his elaborate gaming setup; in The Break-Up Vince Vaughn's video game addiction proves to his girl he's not ready for an adult relationship).
It was either "video games" or "put him in a diaper."
But Nintendo had an idea. They'd make the control pad for their new machine look like something every non-gamer is familiar with: a TV remote. They'd build a nonthreatening, cheap little console that looked like a device almost every non-gamer owns: an iPod. They'd ship it with games that would be utterly familiar even to someone who had never seen a video game in their life: boxing, tennis, baseball.
In Wii Sports you find no aliens, no blood and guts, no bald-headed space marines, no cutscenes with androgynous heroes casting magic spells. Simple games, with tutorials that would walk you through the even simpler controls.
The result? In 2008, we found rooms full of elderly types playing video games. As we watched them flail around with their Wiimotes, we realized this was gaming doing what gaming does best: taking our minds off of the encroaching black maw of death.
On gaming message boards, the hardcore gamers screamed about how the Wii had ruined their hobby, as if the oldsters and soccer moms had crashed the video game party, clearing out the bongs to put down a shuffleboard court. But it was the opposite. Gaming had finally broken out of the niche, its sprawling roots finally invading every last demographic.
Yes, the Wii is a toy, but don't underestimate gaming's role in the future of the culture. Playing is the brain's way of training itself, and what you are seeing up there are the last non-geek holdouts learning to function in a digital, virtual world, in a way that will define how humans interact with computers in the future. First the Wii, then World of Warcraft, then the neural implants. Right on schedule.