Late to the Game

Everybody has certain subgenres or trends they catch early. You know, the whole hipster "I liked it before it was cool" BS. I have a few myself, but I'm not gonna bore you with brags this time around. Instead, I'll talk about the opposite, the subgenres I didn't glom onto until way after they got a following. I'm not restricting this to books, but they will make appearances. I'm only doing seven, because I don't wanna cry, but there are some big ones here.


Seven Times I Was Late to the Game


1. RPGs


No, not grenade launchers; role-playing games. When I was younger, a lot of my friends were playing DiabloFinal Fantasy, all that kinda stuff. Not me. Isometric viewpoints turned me off of a lot of western RPGs, and JRPGs had that weird turn-based combat that I found silly. I mean, I'm not gonna stand still while a ten-foot-tall swings his battle-axe at my skull, am I?

Then, in my twenties, I got a copy of Game Informer showcasing the new Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion. This was right before the 360 launched, and the graphics looked so good. The story was pretty cool, their description of a living world had me intrigued; I was hooked. My roommate got a 360, we got Oblivion, I was on my way. But slowly.

First it was just the Bethesda games, TES and Fallout. Then Witcher 2 and Kingdoms of Amalur. Then a few of my friends got me to join a D&D game or two. Ohmigod, so much fun, and it got me over the whole turn-based prejudice.

My first JRPG was Eternal Sonata, because it revolved around Frederic Chopin. It's still not my favorite stuff, but it's pretty nifty.


2. Steampunk


It always seemed pretty cool, but the fictional side didn't grab me for a looong time. The aesthetic was fantastic, but I've never quite adopted it beyond the occasional desktop wallpaper (BTW, if one of your friends is planning a steampunk wedding, don't bother getting a gift, it's not gonna happen; three different couples I knew were setting these up, not one came off).

I just didn't dive into the fiction until a few years ago. I like it a lot, but I do still prefer Weird West; mixing horror, fantasy, and westerns just gets my groove.


3. 2D Fighting Games (Sorta)


Okay, I definitely dug SF2 and Mortal Kombat as a kid, but when Tekken and Soul Blade hit arcades, I found my new thing. I still dipped the occasional toe in, but I was never any good. Then I played Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. Not when it came out, mind you, but last year. Finally, the mechanics actually clicked. For the first time, I could reliably pull off super moves. Now, I'm actually hooked on the more technical fighters, the ones made by Arc System Works and the like. I'll never be tournament grade, but I'm actually better at those than Street Fighter now. The 3D fighters are still my bread and butter (I need Soul Caliber VI, man) and the new MK's are the fighters I'm actually good at, but I'm looking forward to digging a lot deeper into the tricky stuff.


4. Anime/Manga


Another thing I had circled around for a long time, dipping my toe in once in a while. I read a little Alita as a teen, watched Akira and a few others, but never watched any anime TV other than Pokemon (which I still like a lot). I know which anime show hooked me, Fate: Zero, which had an awesome (if complicated) premise, but I don't remember how it hit my radar. Then, Cowboy Bebop (Firefly Mark I, basically) and Samurai Champloo, among many others. I'm a demi-Otaku now, and I'm thrilled.

As for manga, I'm not neck-deep or anything, but I am branching out. 


5. Non-Superhero Comics


Hey, at least I got there. Again, there was the occasional Sin City or some such that grabbed me, but it was basically "All tights, all the time" for my comics consumption, before I dropped them entirely for over a decade. Then I got Comixology and dove in headfirst. Lumberjanes and Giant Days are now two of my favorite funnybooks ever. So good.


6. Audiobooks


There are a few reasons for this one, the biggest being that, when I was young, most audiobooks were abridged, and tjhey were dictated more than performed. Also, when I was on the move I wanted music; if I wanted to read, I could sit my ass down and do so, thank you. Then I started working graveyard shifts, and audios started creeping into my diet. Now, anytime I'm playing a non-narrative game, I've got one playing in the background. I still love my paper copies, but they've become part of my literary life.


7. Social Media


Had no inclination until I heard about GoodReads. "Wait, I can geek out about books with like-minded lunatics? Score!" That got me used to the online culture in a friendlier way than, say, the YouTube comment section. When I left Denver this last time, Facebook was a must to keep in touch with some people, so I had to join the masses and become an online entity. Still, there is only one pic of me on the Interwebs and I have a super-generic name, so I don't deal with a whole lot of trouble.


There you go, proof that I am a late adopter more often than not. What can I say, I tend to stay in my lane.