Recently, I had the pleasure to travel to Paris, France, and Budapest, Hungary. Paris is lovely in spring and my days were full of being outdoors, architecture and cheese. Budapest is also lovely with spectacular architecture, the Danube River and paprika. Both visits were a wonderful and welcome change of pace from my usual life of sitting at a desk, staring at the monitor, manning the email queue and two or three work-related conversations, either in person or over instant messenger.
Experiencing a different culture is mind-broadening, while simultaneously putting into sharp relief those things that make home, well, home. The freedom of having a car rented in Paris was nice, but Charles de Gaulle Circle – with it’s 10-ish car-width, but no lines marking lanes – is frankly terrifying. Language and linguistics are fascinating to me, but Hungarian is so different than any other language I’ve ever learned, hearing it and reading it everywhere was a bit daunting, and left me wanting familiarity.
Even still, amid all the unfamiliarity, there were moments of recognition, moments of belonging: at a café in Paris, a crew of guys with longish hair and over-the-shoulder laptop bags wearing black, button-down shirts with a blue logo … Blizzard people; on the plane from Paris to Budapest, a flash of Mary McDonnell on a laptop screen … Battlestar Galactica fan; Game Developers Forum 2008 in Budapest where I shared bor (wine) and palinka (evil Hungarian liquor) with CDProjekt Hungary, Black Hole Entertainment and Crytek guys.
This is my tribe, our tribe. We recognize each other in cultures and geographies different from our norm. We recognize the clothing, we know the entertainment media, we understand each other’s interests. Even across language barriers and oceans we connect, over the internet, yes, but in person as well. We are the same. It is our Geek Culture. And this week’s issue of The Escapist is all about us. Enjoy!