Sunday, August 21, 2016

Creating the Geek Elite

I've always felt that there was this unspoken, yet universal, thing in geek and fanboy culture: Geek Cred. You don't just own a lightsaber toy - you own a $1000 replica of Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from The Empire Strikes Back. You don't just own a copy of Deities & Demigods, you own a first print copy with the Moorcock and Mythos stats in it - oh, and it's signed by Gary Gygax. It's like this weird race that somehow reflects one somehow being a "better" fan because they own rare or expensive products.

I get it. I've been caught up in it. I'm not judging it. If you're having fun chasing down rare collectibles or expensive replicas then rock on. But as "geek culture" becomes more and more mainstream, I've noticed something beginning to happen. Items typically associated with Geek Cred are being produced with more and more regularity. I think this is an intentional action on the part of the companies that produce these high end items. The products probably cost far, far less than their sometimes ridiculous price tags and this means that the producers only need to sell a fraction of such items (when compared to more standard items) to reap a profit.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice allowed movie-goers to buy an "Ultimate Ticket" for a mere $100. Monte Cook has successfully kickstarted Invisible Sun, an RPG with a minimum $200 buy in. New Line Cinema has just released an edition of the Extended Editions of both the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy with a price tag a penny under $800. 
All this can be yours if you skip your mortgage payment this month.

And people will buy it. Maybe you won't. Maybe you will. But companies wouldn't sell these things if they didn't think it would turn a profit. I can't help but think that with so many traditionally geeky things going mainstream, that the market isn't tapping into that and trying to create a "geek elite" kind of subculture. As if the measure of how cool a geek you are is somehow measured in a price tag.

Or maybe I'm over analyzing things. Either way, I've got my limits and while some of these types of items are cool in and of themselves, I'm a man with responsibilities and financial obligations, so I don't have nearly a thousand dollars to drop on a set of movies with a few knick-knacks and extras included in the package. But, if you do, then more power to you. Have a blast and enjoy your high end purchases - just remember, it doesn't make you somehow cooler or a more dedicated fan of your hobby or interest simply because you've got more disposable income.

4 comments:

  1. Dog breeders have the French bulldog
    Car aficionados have the Bugatti
    Boat lovers have their herreshof originals.

    It's not just this subculture. It's every subculture.

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  2. I was so happy when I got an out of the package hooded cobra commander (which my nephew broke shortly). I really hope there won't be a geek elite. I really dig Nostalgia stuff, with musty smells. I was over at a friends place and noticed his beat up first edition books. Eventually I'd like to get some of the original basic modules, that will satisfy me. I get what you are saying though.

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    Replies
    1. There's a difference between what you're talking about and Geek Elite. Just by what you say - "musty smells" and the like. You want it purely for nostalgia and aren't concerned with price tag as an object of merit or with the "mint in box" mentality.

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    2. Agreed, the elite thing honestly scares me. That and I really liked being a geek when it was not mainstream.

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