I’m A Nerd-Baller, And Proud Of It

by Frost on August 10, 2011

I’m writing this post because I love StarCraft. I don’t allow myself more than a few hours a week of VR, but most of what I do consists of playing that one video game.

Most weeks of my life, I’m pretty busy. But I still get in a couple hours of laddering where I can. Sometimes I’ll block off a rainy Sunday afternoon and just play until my forearms can’t take it, no matter how many of Day[9]’s stretches I do.

I don’t own any other video games. I beat the original Halo and GTA:SA on my brother’s XBOX, many years ago. They were okay. I used to live with a guy who had one of the Call of Duty games on his PS3, and I’d let him beat my ass at that occasionally. But none of those games has ever had as much appeal to me as the Starcraft series.

I bought the original in the 8th grade, and Brood War shortly thereafter. I got pretty good. Maybe not XDs’Grrrr good, but I could hold my own in x17. I had a few friends who were into the game as well, but none seemed to “get it” like I did. I loved the game more than any of them, and kept playing on my own when they moved on to whatever was shiny and new.

I stopped playing Brood War in the summer of 2000. I was starting high school, and had decided that I didn’t want to be a “nerd” anymore. I was going to be the cool guy, the athlete. The type of person who doesn’t play geeky sci-fi RTS games. It was a decision made purely based on a desire to fit in, and I still remember the pain I felt when I snapped my Brood War CD in half – the only way I could force myself to stop playing the game I loved.

Fast forward to the end of high school, and I’d achieved every goal my unpopular, self-conscious middle-school self had ever dreamed of. Captain of the football team. Captain of the Rugby team. Popular. Dating the biggest-tittied girl in school.

I couldn’t have cared less about my dim memories of Starcraft, and the unhappy era of my life I associated it with. I became a huge dick, and spent four years mocking the people in my high school who did nerdy things like study for exams, play classical instruments, and worst of all, actually pick their hobbies based on what they enjoyed doing, rather than what they thought would be perceived as popular.

Sup brah? Yeah, that was me.

Fast forward another five years. I hadn’t played Starcraft for a decade. Thankfully, I was self-assured enough at this point in my life to not feel embarrassed for playing a video game when I was a kid. I would occasionally mention to friends, in a joking way, that I used to be a “near-professional Starcraft player” and that I had played against guys who were now considered famous. Sometimes I would tell girls I was trying to sleep with about my Starcraft days to, you know, show off my human side.

But I still didn’t care about the game, much less ever consider playing it. I was too busy living my life, finishing grad school, getting a job, and settling into a comfortable yuppie existence.
One day, a few months into said existence, I mentioned my semi-pro crafting days to a group of old and new friends. The response surprised me:

“No way! I loved that game!”

“Yeah man, me too.”

“Dude, we should play sometime! That’d be hilarious!”

I thought about it for a second and decided… fuck. Why NOT play some Starcraft? I half-seriously warned my friends that they would have no chance against me, and we all picked up $10 copies on ebay.

The first time we played – and keep in mind, these are true broskis I’m talking about – we had a blast. We played 1v1 tournaments, 2v2s, FFAs, and (at my challenge) a couple of 3v1s for hours into the night, barely drinking the beer we brought because we didn’t want to be off of our games.

I immediately loved it as much as I had when I was an awkward 13-year-old, praying my father wouldn’t wake to the dial-up screech from our basement because I had snuck down to play from midnight until 4am on a school night.

Only one of my friends was good enough to challenge me in a 1v1. After a few more LAN parties over the next month, he asked me:

“Yo, did you hear that there’s a Starcraft 2 coming out?”

I was giddy with excitement. I had never even considered the possibility of a sequel, and was content to think of Starcraft in purely nostalgic terms. My friends and I bought the game on release day, and I shelled out $800 for a new computer. Just to play Starcraft 2.

That was a little over a year ago. Today, I play ~5 hours a week, usually in one go. I play Terran in the North American diamond league, and usually find myself ranked in the single digits. I make my girlfriend watch casts during dinner. I have the WoL poster up in my bedroom.

* * *

Any closet nerd-ballers among Freedom Twenty-Five’s regular readers? Now’s your chance to come clean.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mannerheim August 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

Funny post. Honestly, you do tend to go on and on about how you have an amazing career, flawless health & fitness, deep intellectual interests, a parade of hot chicks at your beck and call, just enough self-effacing humor to be relatable, etc. I thought you’d achieved self-aggrandizement perfection the time you mentioned how sex with hot girls is a major component of your exercise plan, but I think you topped it with: “yes, I was captain of the football & rugby teams in high school, but I was also a WORLD-CLASS STARCRAFT PLAYER (and still am today even though I only play a couple hours a week”. If you were a character in a book I’d assume you were a Mary Sue, maybe that’s a good working definition of success.

Frank August 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Me and my bro (who is much more of a brah than I) play Magic Cards and Counter-Strike 1.6 on the regs

John August 11, 2011 at 11:33 am

Is there a man under 40 who does not play video games? The “cool bros” love halo, madden, call of duty and gears of war. Also if you’re going to be playing PC games it’s better to build your own PC rather than buy one, you can get a far better PC for the same price. I am also a computer enthusiast, no one has ever given me shit about my nerd hobbies, who the fuck says you can’t be a nerd who also hits the weights hard?

MarcTheEngineer August 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

Fuck Starcraft… DoTA is where you get real “nerd” cred…


whiteboykrispy August 10, 2011 at 8:02 pm

“Hi my name is whiteboykrispy, and I used to be a video game addict”

I wasn’t the captain of the football team, but other than that, this is exactly how it went for me.

I was huge into Starcraft and Red Alert (and all its sequels and shootoffs) in middle school. Me and my friends played it all the time, and it was all I could think about during my waking hours. I was thoroughly addicted.

I too stopped playing these “nerdy” games in high school since I wanted to be perceived as cool and made fun of gamer nerds as I climbed the high school social ladder. I’m glad I did because it helped me get out there and not be a nerd anymore, but I never stopped loving the games or feeling the “itch” to play.

My probably stems not so much with a particular game, but for my intense intellectual interest in all video games that appeal to me (which are most games) and the fact that I pick them up fast and get good at them quickly. I can get hooked on any game that is difficult- RTS, shooters, etc…

During my sophomore and junior year of college, when I finally got a 360, I had CoD Modern Warfare practically on an IV into my arm. I’m gonna brag a little- I am THAT fucking good at MW and MW2. I used to relish beating the fuck out of ranked clans in team deathmatch, myself on top of the leaderboard accompanied by a team of mostly shitty random people. In the lobby afterwards, the clan’s curses, death threats, affirmations that I was homosexual, and assertions that I use cheats or mods or you name it (no) brought me endless enjoyment even as they all backed out of the lobby.

I fucking loved kicking everyone’s ass in MW2 so much I skipped a lot of classes so I could play, and there were times when I wouldn’t leave my room for hours. My grades dropped along with my social interactions.

Needless to say, I realized how big of a junkie I am with video games and have voluntarily cut them almost completely out of my life. I sold all my games, and only use my 360 as a dvd player now. I really should sell that too, but I just can’t.

Video games can be fun in moderation, but I proved to myself I couldn’t do that. Now, I just play with my brothers every now and then. I know I need to stay away, so I do.

tenthring August 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Meh, SC2 is just SC1 with some better graphics and a few strategic changes that people vastly exaggerate. Coasting on its predecessors fame IMO.

RTS’s have moved on. I like the Relic games myself. They emphasize combat, tactics, and action while de-emphasizing APM counts and worker micro. The community is smaller, the ladder system leaves a lot to be desired, and twitchy Koreans with way too high APMs complain it doesn’t give them the same advantage. But unless your going to quit your job and become a pro gamer who practices 12 hours a day you aren’t going to stand a chance against those guys in SC anyway, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of quality competition from good people that will challenge you.

BP August 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

A better strategy might have been to become a regular poster over there and establish a reputation as a legitimate SC enthusiast and contributor. Once you built your reputation you could start directing people to your blog to help them improve their non-SC aspects of life game/health/confidence/etc. Good concept of directing traffic to your site, execution’s a little iffy.

Enjoy your stuff BTW.

Gaming Glitch August 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hi Frost, great read! I actually run a SC2 Blog website which is doing extremely well. I am looking for some blogger/writers that just love to discuss SC. Please contact me if you have any interest in this.

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