12/13/2012 - If you still need to be convinced that geek culture has hit the mainstream, you’re living in a sealed-off Batcave. The highest-grossing films (The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises) and top comedies like Big Bang Theory are deeply geeky. Target shelves are stocked with euro-style board games like Settlers of Catan, and the video game industry is set to make 67 billion nerdy dollars this year. Now, I don’t expect all of you to be listening to chiptunes, using a Makerbot to custom craft miniatures, or rocking a sweet pixel art tattoo, but you’ve got holiday obligations, so don’t embarrass yourself. Crank this festive season to 1.21 gigawatts with these sure-fire geeky gifts for under the tree, menorah, kinara or undecorated aluminum pole.
1. A Vintage NES and a ton of games ($100)
Local game shops like Level Up Gaming (levelupnh.com
) can set you up with a vintage ’80s or ’90s gaming console and a bucket of games for less than a bare-bones Wii U. The current crop of consoles are growing long in the tooth, and the next generation heralded by the Wii U lacks the innovation of Nintendo’s former outing and the sheer horsepower of the Playstation 3. You’re better off playing the nostalgia card for older geeks or showing your old-school cred to a young nerd. Give them a taste of an age when infinite continues were only a myth.
2. A hat that says “w00t” ($15)
Popular geek exclamation of triumph custom embroidered on a fitted cap by a local artisan? Yes please. From etsy.com/shop/threadfed. Psst, they also make one that says “1337 633K” which ain’t too shabby as far as geek slang goes.
3. Verily, a mighty flagon of mead!
Purchase a silver or gold plated flagon fit for the king of kings from the FC Ziegler Catholic Church supply company, or nab a more affordable stein from your local brewpub or beer shop. Fill it to ye brim with the booze of yon champions, fermented honey-wine from the fine folks at Moonlight Meadery (moonlightmeadery.com
4. Custom cosplay attire ($500-$1,000)
You might not be aware, but New Hampshire has an oddly active cosplay (costume play) community. Nab your favorite dorklings old issues of Shonen Jump or a superhero rag and take it to Costumes of Nashua (costumesofnashua.com/) or Derry’s The Costume Gallery (www.thecostumegallery.com/). Shake a fist full of cash in their face while pointing at an insanely frocked cartoon character. Your geek won’t know what to think of your oddly insightful gift.
5. The Hulk ($15,000 minimum bid)
What’s green, enormous and emitting deadly radiation into your living room? It’s probably your genetically modified Christmas tree. But on the off chance that your douglas fir isn’t slowly cancer-ating you, why not make space in your family for a life-size statue of the Incredible Hulk? Bruce Banner’s alter ego fits perfectly into your foyer, conservatory or billiard room for the minimum pittance bid of $15,000 through Harrison’s Comics (978-741-0786). What better way to ensure that your son or daughter never has a repeat visitor to the house?
6. A Magnavox Odyssey ($75 to $2,200 based on model year)
Listen, unless you’re gonna build a functional PDP-1 to properly run Spacewar!, the Magnavox Odyssey is the closest you can realistically get to the black obelisk of video gaming. The 1972 Odyssey is rare, but a healthy trade of the ‘75 Odyssey 100s and its descendants are available online. While you’re at it, grab a copy of Odyessy and NH inventor Ralph Baer’s Video Game’s: In The Beginning (rolentapress.com/).
7. A print of a petite magical horse
Portsmouth illustrator Sara Richard (www.sararichard.com
) does a brisk trade in magical horse friend pictures and various scribblings in the comic industry. Commissioning any work of art is a tricky gift prospect, but comic nerds are a bit of an easy mark for composition matter. Sneak a peek at their coffee table sprawl of funny-books and memorize even a single title. Most competent illustrators should be able to create a character inspired by your title selection.
8. Fiasco ($25)
I can’t recommend this role-playing experience enough. Last time I played Fiasco I was a one-legged Native American princess who was embroiled in the illegal manufacture of drugs using run-off railroad labor in the Wild, Wild West; it got more ridiculous from there. Each player is a junction in a web of dysfunctional schemes and relationships, and the game ties the fate of all the players together in a wonderfully Coen brothers manner. Sure, it’s not New Hampshire native, but I live here, and I love it, and so should you. Visit bullypulpitgames.com/store
9. A Ghostlight Theatre corporate sponsorship ($500)
You get a swag bag from New Hampshire’s quirkiest theater troupe, a full page ad in every program, two season passes to whatever fever dreams they manifest (past award winning outings include, Zombies!, Titus Andronicus and subUrbia), as well as a personal promotion before every show. That is a level of ego stroking and inclusion from a clutch of talented performers that simply cannot be matched for the money. Shoot Ghostlight a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
for info on their sponsorship packages.
10. Rusty wind up toys from yesteryear, especially tin robots
Old is the new new. Classic toys from the Rockwell days of Americana complete the look of any working geek’s desk. Get yourself a vintage ray gun, a tiny Forbidden Planet Robby the Robot, and a creepy cymbal-clapping monkey to top off a geeky gift basket. Match these toys up with some bargain bin DVDs of classic sci-fi, pulp or horror flicks and a box of Sno-Caps or Raisinets for a punch to the ol’ geek nostalgia-plexus. Get in touch with a local antiques shop, like From Out of The Woods Antiques (fromoutofthewoodsantiques.com
), and you should be able to find a cool old toy or two with little effort.