web geekery & autodidactism

September 01, 2014

This is a guest post.

There was once a time when geek culture was sneered at by the so-called uber cool cliques or hipsters of this generation. But in true hipster fashion, such a sub-genre becomes ultimately cool; as they traverse the most debated topics and put their own spin on such trends. Now, as geek culture becomes a more accepted fascination of niche subjects, it nestles quite comfortably among pop culture references.

Over the last ten years, online gaming has become the epitome of geek culture. The obvious stereotype has been pegged on gamers for many years; teens staring at their monitors from an inch away, playing games into the early hours of the morning with minimal social interaction, when they should be doing more productive things with their lives. The same goes for comics – once an iffy topic in which many would get teased about if they affiliated themselves with the so-called endeavor that is more aligned with young children than young adults. In recent years, it has been transformed into a super cool way to meet new people with similar interests. And this all changed with the uprising to the mainstream of Marvel comics and the franchise films that we see prevailing across many formats throughout the world. Marvel’s evolution was apparent in 2011, when Disney bought the company for $4 billion as reported by Forbes. From then on Marvel became synonymous with the big blockbuster superhero action flicks we see so often hitting the cinemas.

The Marvel Universe

And the Marvel franchises have become so popular in many countries, especially here in the Philippines, that each release is met with a rapturous deluge of fans packing out cinemas across the country. But it’s not just the films that engross Filipinos and people from all countries - the many online games and apps available also enthrall the geek culture. The rise in Internet accessibility has also contributed to Marvel’s success. For countries like the Philippines, back in 2011, only around 33% of people had access to the Internet as per Internet World Stats. This figure has since grown exponentially and so has the smartphone usage making the franchise accessible to many through smartphones. Gaming Realms, the company behind Free Bingo Hunter says, “Mobile Internet is one of the most powerful trends on the Internet landscape.” And like aforementioned, mobile Internet via smartphones is being embraced not only by the geek culture but by the mainstream, too. The days of just gamers engaging in games has long gone.

Aside from the endless video games covering many of its franchises, Marvel has also branched out into slot machines, which are showcased in many of Vegas’s grandeur casinos. They have also infiltrated the online portals, with many Marvel-themed slot machines hitting the online sites. Slots like; Captain America, Blade and Fantastic Four slots. Gimmicks such as Marvel’s slot machines, its new apps and new films were all showcased at this year’s Comic Con 2014 in San Diego.

So, what has Marvel proved apart from the fickleness of hipsters? It is proved that with enough innovation and dedication that a franchise such as Marvel can be revitalized and reborn. Who would have thought ten years ago that Marvel films would have been accepted by the mainstream? Releasing five huge films per year, making the once un-cool, the new cool. Or is this just geek culture taking over the world?

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