Nerd Culture

Blizzard hosts one of the biggest gaming conventions every year with their annual Blizzcon. Blizzcon gives us updates and sneak peeks into some of the nerdoms favorite titles; World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo III, Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone. There’s many panels, games, merch, and it’s all a bit dizzying for even the most hardcore fan. What’s new? What’s next? What’s good and what’s a letdown? NerdBastards is here to break down the 5 biggest announcements from Blizzcon 2018 and give you insight into what to expect from the future of Blizzard Entertainment.

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Why Nerds Should Visit Vegas Today

Las Vegas attracts all kinds of folks every year. Some come for the gambling, others the nightlife and shows. Some, on the other hand, come for the opportunities to geek out!

Wait… what?

That’s right. Nestled between the seemingly endless casinos, nightclubs, and concert halls, there is a whole lot to do that’ll more than satisfy your inner nerd. Since this side of Sin City is often overlooked, we thought we’d share some of the best places to meet like-minded folks all across the shrine to hedonism that is Las Vegas.

The Nerd

The Nerd is an absolute must-visit for all geeks who find themselves in Las Vegas. Co-founder Nick Fotheringham says the idea behind this nightspot was to create the ultimate “anti-club atmosphere.”  That means elitism is left at the door – there are no celebrities out front whilst you struggle for a glimpse of stardom from behind a velvet rope. When The Nerd does bring in celebrities, they’re ones you’ll care about and they’re there to meet their fans. Think Comic Book convention that serves drinks!

Adorning the walls of The Nerd is various film, comic, and pro wrestling memorabilia. All of this further adds to the low-key, unpretentious vibes created by the owners. Guests are invited to enjoy bowling, billiards, and video games. There are also discounts for those attending in cosplay!

If you’re of a geeky disposition or just like a laid-back, non-pretentious place to escape the excitement of the strip, you can find The Nerd at 450 Fremont Street. It’s open from 7pm until 3am every day.

Arcades

Of course, Vegas is famous for its slot machines. It’s almost impossible to visit the city without running into one. However, gaming in Sin City needn’t require you pour stacks of cash into a one-armed bandit. One of the best ways for us geeks to unwind in Vegas is a trip to one of the many video games arcades.

There are loads to choose from too. There’s the Game Nest Arcade with its sea of classic titles, the Fremont Arcade which is conveniently located right next to the anti-club The Nerd, and the Press Start Gaming Center with its rammed schedule of gaming tournaments. These aren’t the only arcades in the city but they’re certainly some of the best. Each offers a slightly different take on the classic video games arcade theme. You’ll find a hugely impressive array of cabinets, consoles, and rhythm games spread out across the city in these meccas to gaming past and present. Most of the machines in the popular Vegas arcades are set to free play so an entry free will get you as much gaming action as you can handle!

 

A Gamer’s Paradise

If you’re looking for a suitably geeky souvenir from your time in Las Vegas, A Gamer’s Paradise might be just where to find it. It’s probably the city’s most well-stocked video game shop. You’ll discover endless shelves of classic titles for just about every system you can imagine.

If you’re looking for a particularly rare bit of kit, you’re highly likely to find it amongst the extensive catalogue of hardware. What’s more, the staff are committed to tracking down items they don’t stock too. If a particular title has eluded you and you have a trip to Vegas planned, give them a call. They might be able to get it in by the time you arrive!

A Gamer’s Paradise also offers a repair service for a plethora of different consoles. If your Atari 2600, Commodore 64, or Amiga 500 has a fault, bring it to the store. The staff are absolute masters and are confident they’ll be able to fix even the most obscure systems!

The Pinball Hall of Fame

Fancy yourself as a bit of a pinball wizard? Head down to the Pinball Hall of Fame at 1610 E. Tropicana. It’s part museum, part pinball arcade that spreads out over a massive 10,000 square feet. The idea behind the Pinball Hall of Fame is simple – to showcase the largest pinball machine collection on the planet (well, that’s open to the public, anyway).

Of course, the fun doesn’t come from looking at pinball machines, it’s all about playing them. That’s why every single title in the Pinball Hall of Fame is setup for the public to enjoy. If you’ve got a rare old favourite, it’s the ideal place to get reacquainted.

What makes the Pinball Hall of Fame truly special – particularly for Vegas – is the lack of profit seeking there. The focus is on the games themselves. That’s why they’re so meticulously restored. Components are replaced when the game would play better thanks to a new part, rather than when they strictly need it. What’s more, all additional profits after the staff take a wage and the machines are looking and playing their best are donated to charity.

Money hasn’t been wasted creating a grandiose space to showcase the collection either. There’s a distinctly low-key thrift-store feel to the joint. It’s unpretentious and welcoming – just like it should be!

In fact, the owner Tim commented about the Pinball Hall of Fame’s mission a couple of years ago:

“The minute we start becoming professional, it’s all gonna be about the dollars and it’s not gonna be about the games…  There’s no real economic reason for this to exist, or capitalism would’ve already built it.”

Get Your Geek on in the Casinos!

Finally, of course, a trip to Vegas would hardly be complete without setting foot in one of the many iconic casinos of the city. To us geeks, the idea of sitting at a blackjack table might not be the most riveting but don’t switch off just yet!

Hidden amongst the sea of slot machines found in every corner of the city of Vegas are many incredible homages to some of the movies best loved by those of us with a nerdy disposition.

Many test their skills online for free before they arrive. That’s not strictly necessary though. The best thing about slots is how accessible they are even to new players. Unlike most of the games we’re used to playing, skill isn’t strictly necessary. This means there’s more opportunity for gamers to enjoy the often-breath-taking visuals on impressive casino representations of Star Wars, Godzilla, Superman, Jaws, and Ghostbusters.

Of course, casinos are known for switching up their slot offerings frequently. Therefore, us providing a list of machines and the venue you’ll find each of them in is rather pointless. You’ll have to head out onto the floor for yourself and see what you can find!

All aboard the Magic Bastard Bus, students! We’re going to SPACE! That’s right, those nerdy bastards as NASA have gone where every nerd has wanted to go before – etching some of Nerdkind’s favorite things into the stars themselves in the form of constellations! From comic books to sci-fi, NASA has added a list of unofficial constellations to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The telescope’s mission covers a range of different functions, but in relation to the constellations, Fermi observes Gamma-rays, unseen by the naked eye. Scientists have made new discoveries based on their findings, being able to see into the past by observing Gamma-rays from further away. But what pop-culture references made it into the night sky and more importantly – how do we know where they are?

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The world would be a very different place if the entertainment giant known as Disney hadn’t of stepped in and lobbied for change to copyright laws. Movies, comic books, anything and everything superheroes would be unrecognizable today. And it all started with Steamboat Willie, soon to be known the world over as Mickey Mouse. Copyright law used to be a very finite thing, but with the popularity of Mickey, Disney couldn’t stand to let him go, and still fights today to hang on to the property. Because of this, many other properties have benefited from the changes in law, including but not limited to Marvel and DC. Ever wanted to write a Superman story of your own? Ever wanted to combine Thor and Wonder Woman in their own superhero duo? You can’t. But only because Disney stepped in. What did they change? What beloved superheroes could you be creating with today?

Even Batman loves a good, nerdy podcast!

Maybe you’ve found some time on your hands. Maybe you like to listen to something other than talk-radio on your drive to work, lunch break, or traffic-laden drive home. Maybe you need something new for the office radio. Or perhaps you just love the sweet, sweet sound of nerds talking. Whatever the case, you’re wondering about nerd-centric podcasts to add to your life. What better than CELEBRITY nerd podcasts??? We’ve collected podcasts by names nearly every nerd knows that you need to be introduced to today. So, dive into 5 nerd podcasts to add to your playlist and get listening!

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Marvel Comics, now owned by Disney, has set a dangerous trend. With the firing of James Gunn for past tweets, Disney let the despicable trolls of the internet know that if they were loud enough, acted outraged enough, smelled bad enough in front of the noses of the right people, then they could control Disney’s (and therefore Marvel’s) social media policies, all without ever actually declaring an official social media policy. 6 years past since James Gunn made some vulgar tweets, which he then apologized for years later, only to be punished for this year. And now Marvel has caved to similar declarations made by similar trolls to who got Gunn fired from GotG Vol 3. The target of the anti-fans ire this time? Chuck Wendig.

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Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-BATWANG!

 

Ever wonder how you measure up against The Caped Crusader? WHO HASN’T? Batman: Damned gives bat-fans the answer to the questions have been burning in their bat-brains for generations. And it nearly broke the internet. Trolls crawled from every bridge to lament the dirty trick of making them accidentally see the outline of a male genitalia instead of the outline of every single crevice of the female form. The internet can’t even decide what to call it. Batschlong? Lil Wanye? Bat-a-wang? Never before has there been so much open discussions of Batman’s crotch. Warning! Fictional comic book nudity to follow!

 

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5 D&D Settings To Shake Up Your Game

So you’ve played D&D, Dungeons and Dragons, a couple of times. You’re fairly familiar with the rules, but the setting doesn’t really appeal to you. The knights in armor, medieval-thing just ain’t your bag, man. And learning a whole new system seems daunting, and what if you don’t like that either? Learn a third system for a third kind of game you may or may not like either? We say thee, nay! There are numerous third party settings for the Fifth Edition D&D system. Sci-Fi, fantasy, future, noir, hack and slash, political thriller, you only need to know where to look to find something that suits your interests. Then branching out to other systems within the settings you enjoy is less stressful of an idea. So here are 5 D&D Fifth Edition settings for your TTRPG group to try out!

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For centuries, writers have been transfixed by monster stories. The most common monsters are from the 20th Century films: Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, the Wolfman, King Kong. But the ancient greeks had Medusa and the Minotaur. The Nords marvelled at Fenrir and Jormungand. The Chinese spun tales of Zhulong and Juiwei Hu. Humans have always been fascinated by the terrible creatures lying around each corner and, perhaps more fascinatingly, the aspects of their humanity.

Even more of a marvel is the evolution of monsters and love stories. Often, monsters would steal young women and were seen as cruel antagonists. They even were commonly metaphors for female impurity. However, over time, the idea of monsters being romantic leads grew and has become a new trope in literature and cinema. One of the earliest, most popular examples of this is the iconic, classic tale of Beauty and The Beast.

While Beauty and The Beast is a leader in this romantic subgenre, other films such as Twilight, Warm Bodies, and The Shape of Water have also been modern staples of the “finding beauty in ugliness” love stories. Though only these few are mentioned, there are countless more tales expounding upon the topic. However, one might wonder, how does such an odd sub-genre come about?

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PAX West 2018 showcased hordes of new games and pixelated adventures. However, one that was quietly unique was a graphic novel game focused on queer teens and mental health: Burn Ban. While hardly a perfect game or story, the game highlighted aspects of youth culture and mental illness that are often glossed over until it’s too late. Talking to one of the devs, it was a passion project for the team, however they also wanted to combat the toxic versions of mental health from stories like 13 Reasons Why.

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