The 3rd Counter-Culture
Lars Konzack Aalborg University Niels Jernes Vej 14 Aalborg Ø, DK-9220 Denmark firstname.lastname@example.org
The aim of this paper is to examine what geek culture is and how it influences game culture.
Culture, Games, Geeks, Generations, Information Society
ACM Classification Keywords
What is ageek? What is a nerd? These questions have popped up occasionally within the new game cultures from classic roleplaying games and LARP communities to trading card games and videogame communities. There is a sudden need for a definition. We want to know what these people are – and in this context, we will go even further to find out what kind of culture they represent. Wikipedia defines geek in thisway: “A geek (pronunciation /gi:k/ ) is a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by obscure or very specific areas of knowledge and imagination. Geek may not always have the same meaning as the term nerd.”  This leads us to the Wikipedia definition of nerd: “Nerd, as a stereotypical or archetypal designation, refers to somebody who is
© Lars Konzack 2006. Presented at FNG2006, June26–28, 2006, Preston, England. .
perceived to be of above-average intelligence and whose interests are not shared by mainstream society. Most people's interests are in the subjects of sports, music, fashion, food, etc., but nerds typically have interests that are more encyclopaedic.”  Wikiepdia goes further to find out the difference between geek and nerd: “The word "nerd" refers to a person of"above-average intelligence" whose interests (often in science and mathematics) are not shared by mainstream society. By contrast, a "geek" is essentially a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by obscure or very specific areas of knowledge and imagination.” And continues: ”Thus a "nerd" is primarily marked as having a high intelligence and is not necessarily more fascinated with onesubject any more so than another. A "geek", however, is obsessively fascinated with particular subjects, but is not necessarily attributed with an above average intelligence. Thus a "geek" has the compulsion and drive to learn vast quantities of knowledge about a particular field such as computers, or Star Trek trivia, without high intelligence being assumed. More than likely, the main confusionbetween the terms comes from their common association with specific areas of knowledge that seems to require a high level intelligence (for example, mathematics and science). Thus a "geek" who was obsessed by the pursuit of mathematical or scientific knowledge, might also be classified as a "nerd" as society considers such pursuits to be intellectual in nature and as requiring high intelligence.” The difference between geek and nerd is as you might already have noticed not that interesting – unless of course you are a part of these ongoing murky debates about geeks
vs. nerds. As for this paper there will be no real distinction between the two terms. For that reason geek culture and nerd culture will be seen as the one and the same cultural movement. What is interesting to us is thefact that these definitions touch the geek culture without really defining it. But from what is being said, we may determine that it’s an intellectual cultural movement. It has something to do with Star Trek but certainly not anything to do with sports, music, fashion, and food. It is referred to as obscure and not being mainstream. Brad King and John Borland notice that a central part of geekculture is role-playing games and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien . One might have argued earlier that Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings were obscure but nowadays they seem to represent mainstream. What is going on? What happened?
Generations of the Information Society
To answer these questions we must get a broader understanding of the geek culture and what kind of society that created...