As the superhero and comic-book movies become assimilated into the mainstream, nerd culture itself continues to lose more and more it can call its own. It’s a double-edged sword, like watching your favorite underground band find a massive following. You’re happy for their success, and you appreciate that the world finally understands what you’ve been saying for years, but on the other hand, the band doesn’t belong to you anymore. It belongs to the world.
My guess is that role-playing games, once reserved to parents basements and seedy comic-book shops in Davis Square with strange, irregular hours and a clientele of Mountain Dew swilling misfits — may be the next bit of nerd culture absorbed into the masses. It’s already starting to happen: Dungeons and Dragons played central to a recent episode of “Community” and now Felicia Day will star in a web series based on the role-playing game “Dragon Age.”
It’s big enough now that even I am attempting to cover it. Don’t ask me to try and understand it. My only knowledge of role-playing games comes from Felicia Day’s first web series, “The Guild,” which was about a collection of LARPers and their attempts to socialize in the real world . Her next web series, due out this summer, is based on the Dragon Age franchise. I don’t know what that is or how it works, but it’s apparently set “In the Tolkienesque sword-and-sorcery,” where “several races join forces to combat a scourge called the Darkspawn.” Day not only wrote the series, but she stars in it. And though I don’t get the LARP, I get Felicia Day enough to want to take her behind the middle school and read her some R A Salvatore (hey! Is that an appropriate reference?).
Anyway, there’s now a short teaser trailer for the web series, and damn, Felicia Day in thigh-highs and elf ears while wielding a sword must have hit a nerd nerve buried somewhere deep within me. It looks fun. Unfortunately, if it succeeds and helps to popularize role-playing games in mainstream culture, the nerds might lose something else to dumbass, fantasy-football plebes like myself.
If it’s any consolation, I’ll at least give the nerds credit for appreciating it first.