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Alive 11
Geek Tribes
In  this age of obsessive cataloguing and relentless subdivision  of  social
groups,  why should we be any different from the rest of the world.  It only
takes  a  little effort to realise that the entity called "Geek"  is  not  a
homogenous lumpen mass,  but rather a creation with many layers. This is the
tale of the many different geek tribes, and how you can tell them apart.
I  might  add that it is perfectly normal for people to be members  of  more
than  one  of these tribes,  and there is a great deal of  mobility  between
them.  For  example,  today's gamer geek may innocently try out that obscure
CD-Rom  with  a  strange  Finnish name on it,  see the light  and  become  a
fanatical  demoscener.  Anyway,  have  fun and see if you can spot which  of
these groups you belong to!

Are  there any missing from my quick and too-easy analysis?  Please write in
with your views, a future update to this list may be possible.


Firstly,  but not necessarily at the top of the geek tree, we have the group
known as Brand Name Loyalists.

These  people  make a great fuss of the distinctive and superior  (to  them)
nature of their chosen hardware,  and take great pleasure in disparaging the
opposition. These days this definition mainly applies to those people caught
in the Steve Jobs reality distortion field,  the Apple Mac fans. With a more
diverse market there were many more in the earlier days. Check out the Retro
Platform Diehards to see where this started. Now there is not so much cachet
attached to individual brand or company names. Who gets a sneaky thrill from
owning a generic Dell-like orange box?  Come to think, I've not really heard
of too many fiercely passionate Sony Vaio owners either?

Most likely to say:- "The PPC is a different architecture,  so the mhz speed
is meaningless!"

Least  likely to say:-"This conflict is silly,  actually a lot of what  you
say makes sense!"


Retro  Platform  Diehards  are former Brand Name  Loyalists  who  were  left
stranded by the demise of the parent company,  and their beloved platform in
the computing mainstream.  The names Commodore,  Amiga,  Atari,  Acorn,  and
Sinclair spring to mind. These people tend to be some of most fiercely loyal
and long suffering geeks, afflicted by many misfortunes, but also cherishing
the few triumphant moments more keenly than the rest.  Many people here also
claim a parallel membership with the demoscene tribe.

The  majority  are only really part-time Retro Platform  Diehards,  guiltily
indulging themselves with more modern hardware as needs must.  (Yes, and you
can now shoot me too!) It is even possible to split these further into 'Real
Hardware' and 'Emulator' clans,  although as usual,  the two aren't mutually

Most likely to say:-"Rodolphe Czuba is a genius!"

Least likely to say:-"I'm really looking forward to Windows Vista!"


The  concerns of the Brand Name Loyalist have not gone away,  even with  the
clumping  together of the majority of the market into a small  selection  of
hardware types. These have transmuted into software, specifically the tribal
disputes  that break out over the flavour of operating systems.  The typical
O/S  Warrior ignores hardware,  which is usually something very generic  and
intel-based,  but is fiercely passionate about his software.  Common battle-
lines  are  drawn over Linux versus Windows.  Interestingly the Apple  Brand
Name  Loyalist also fights here in the MacOS corner.  Bill Gates wishes that
these geeks, the anti-Microsoft ones at least, were all dead!

Most  likely to say:-"Nyaaah!  (Insert opposition name here) smells of  poo
and wee!"

Least likely to say:-"This conflict is silly, why not take the good bits of
ours, and mix them with the good bits of yours, then everyone is happy!"


Retro  Collectors  are  the  people on whose backs  Ebay  was  built!  Their
interest  started  from their early years with geekish  tendencies  showing,
although  outright geekishness was suppressed for a time by the  conflicting
demands  of  real life and maturity.  Lately,  with the return of some spare
time  and  disposable  income,  the Retro Collector seeks to  return  to  an
idealised  past  of  warm and fuzzy childhood memories.  These  Geeks  often
evolve  into Console Fans,  as they chase that addictive rareness fix  which
retro gear can only go so far to satisfy!

Most  likely  to say:-"Original Quicksilva cassette label  from  1982,  wow

Least likely to say:-"Let's throw out all this worthless junk..."


Hardware  Bodgers  and Software Tinkerers.  The term "bodger" is  unfair  to
those real engineers amongst us, but would admirably cover the vast majority
of   wannabe  system  builders.   Tinkering  geeks  tend  to  confine  their
speculative activities to extravagant software installs. You will rarely see
these  people with a fully stable or completed system.  If you do,  it is in
the  microscopic time interval between projects.  These would also have been
found under the category of Comms Freaks in the pre-internet age,  when some
people took it upon themselves to care about things like Baud Rates.

Most likely to say:-"It just needs some more ram for it to work,  and maybe
reflash the bios."

Least likely to say:-"I fancy an out of the box solution!"


The  Demosceners,  aka the Pouet Crowd form a very distinctive  sub-culture.
These are predominantly European and young(ish).  Great emphasis is given on
either technical excellence,  or great artistry according to the fashion and
hardware platform.   Some members are very talented and able,  whilst others
claim associate membership through feats of heavy drinking! These are one of
the  few geek tribes which physically gather together at parties,  mainly it
seems  for  the feats of heavy drinking,  although it is rumoured that  some
other activities take place.

Most likely to say:-"That rout is lame,  I can get an extra 0.5444 fps with
my code, unoptimised!!"

Least  likely to say:-"It's all very nice,  but why can't they do something
useful with that talent?"


'Leet'   wAnNabIes,  in touch with their inner fifteen  year old,  are often
interrelated  with  the  demoscene  crowd but  with  leanings  to  the  more
underground parts of that scene. They try too damn hard to impress.

Most  likely to say:-"We 0WnZ sOmeThing with a11 teh Kapitalz in Teh  wroNg

Least  likely  to say:-"Oh stuff this for a night at the opera  Tarquin,  I
hear  that  the  new  production  of  Carmen  at  the  National  Theatre  is
particularly exquisite!"


One  of the larger and better known groups are the Gamers.  These are placed
on the lower branches of the tree of geekdom,  and they are despised by most
regular geeks.  However,  their geekish interest in acquiring the most up to
date  hardware  for gaming qualifies them.  If you were really pushed,  they
could  be  renamed  as Consumer geeks.  These are the geeks closest  to  the
regular  users in temperament.  They are also one of the only groups,  apart
from demo-sceners who socialise with each other,  offline,  in "Frag-fests",
which are like demo parties, but without the black humour.

Most likely to say:-"Eat plasma death, mothersucker!"

Least likely to say:-"Have you ever thought how much cool coding goes  into
this game, must try to do some myself!"


Another  grouping to be found at the wealthier and more consumer  orientated
part of the geeksville district are the collectorish Console Fans. These are
often  turning Japanese with rare and expensive import stuff,  the more  Far
Eastern and obscure,  the better. Where they own more conventional hardware,
it is likely to have a huge Manga/Hentai tentacle porn collection stored  on
the hard drive.

Most  likely  to  say:-"Tsunami Shit Throwers,  what a game!  I had to  fly
personally to Osaka to get it!"

Least likely to say:-"What the f*ck is a Wonderswan?!"


And finally,  we come to the Users,  the rest of the computer owning public.
They care not for the computer itself.  It is as a means to an end,  whether
it  is  booking holidays online,  simple home/office tasks,  sneaky acts  of
fornication via an old girldfriend rediscovered on Friends Reunited, or else
transmitting spam through a zombie client they are totally unaware of. These
people have come late and reluctantly to computers, they are the rest of the
population who are not geeks. They are the preferred clients of Microsoft!

Most likely to say:-"It'll come in useful, but I'm not quite sure how?!"

Most  irritating  thing they say:-"Eeeh!  That Mr Gates,  he's a very  nice

Least  likely  to  say:- "That triple  transparent  tunnel  effect  in  the
Zzsploch! Megademo was really cool!"
CiH, for Alive! Mag, Sept '05
Alive 11