So it has come, the final Top 10 of our existence as a geek social group. To those who aren’t aware, we’ll still have our Discord channel, where I hope to be able to share some geek positivity, but we’ll be no doubt more focused on video games on there. However, if you’re a geek of any description, come join us. Nevertheless, Joel and Timlah have been at work, sussing out what have been some of our Top 10 GeekOut UK Moments. We think we’ve come up with a fair list.
10) Locked in a Room 2018
Joel: Distance can be an inhibition in some friendships, and yes, it is a shame that I don’t get to hang out with Tim, Jake, Kim, and Pete as often as I’d like to… so when we do spend time together, where better than locked in a room with one another and unable to (satisfactorily) escape without solving clues and unlocking padlocks, arguing over interpretation, arguing with a screen that’s giving hints as maddening and ambiguous as the clue itself! Double letters, man, I swear!
Locked in a Room was my first ever escape room, we apparently got one of their hardest rooms, and it was… frankly a hell of a lot of fun, and no small part of that was the company, nothing affirms a friendship like stress. Chase that down with a burger and a relaxing afternoon ambling around Bristol, and I’d call that one of the bigger highlights of 2018 for me, really must do that again some time.
BUT THE BEST THING ABOUT LOCKED IN A ROOM IS THE BOOT… JUST LOOK AT THAT THING…
9) Amecon 2018
Timlah: The last convention we went to as GeekOut UK, as well as having press passes. Amecon 2018 was a lot of fun, with loads to see and do. Joel ran another panel, which did a stellar job at cramming as many people in as it could. I had a much better lens for my camera, which meant the images taken at the masquerade were as good as they could be. All in all, we were more prepared for this event.
When Amecon next comes up, I think I’d like to go again. No longer as part of GeekOut UK, but now just as an attendee. If not Amecon, then their partner convention Kitacon, which we’ll get into later in the list. The venue choice rocks, staying on site (for me) rocked and basically it was just a lot of fun. I definitely intend to attend more conventions, but it’s all been a bit quiet recently, mostly thanks to the venue being under construction.
8) Interviews with Professor Elemental and Jamie Anderson
Joel: So occasionally we like to discuss kickstarter campaigns that interest us, you might have seen it from time to time. Imagine our surprise when one such kickstarter got in touch and asked if we’d like to talk to some of the crew. Imagine my astonishment when I got to talk to the son of creator Jerry Anderson, and the man determined to see the Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet legacy continue. Granted it was via skype but it was still a great conversation. Well then I got a taste for asking for interviews.
Interviews are hard work. But my next one was with the impossibly lovely Professor Elemental who had the audacity to turn the damn interview back on me. I also got to chat with artist Christian Ward, and while the audio quality was sub-par, it didn’t detract from the joy of the conversation, or the quality of the coffee.
Both of these little highlights were astonishing in so many ways, but both men were great conversation, and we talked creativity, legacy, passion, and finding a niche in life that drives you to do something stupid. I also had the sadistic pleasure of watching Jamie Anderson being interviewed by ITV a few weeks later… it was pretty clear which interview he’d enjoyed more.
7) GeekOut Bristol Meet New Years Eve 2017
Timlah: I loved this.
It was the first time we were given a more “exclusive” run of the Old Market Tavern. We were going to do a New Years Eve event last year as well, but time was running short so we decided to not go ahead with it. In 3 days time, we’ll have our last ever event, which will be a New Years Eve meetup. I’m really looking forward to sending the group off on a high note. But what made this such a good moment?
Well… The above video. It basically summed up everything. People were loud, sure, including myself who screamed out “that’s not the right time!” Honestly, we were all so excited for the countdown. I hope this year’s countdown will be equally as exciting.
6) Kitacon 2014
Joel: This was the year I fell in line, about a year of merciless hounding from the diminutive Bristolian in Steam chat, and off we go to the Hilton in Birmingham to reunite. I’d started to feel a little more at ease about the whole convention scene, little by little starting to integrate, and while I spent an inordinate amount of my first Kita in the traditional games room that may have ultimately been to my benefit, as I still found myself socialising, chatting with the local weirdos (Hi Rosy! This is how long it’s been I’ve owed you a game of Magic) and generally integrating myself into the proverbial furniture.
It was also the year I was up until 4AM playing Cards Against Humanity with Kim, Phil, and a bunch of Finnish people… I think, or was that 2015? Considering Kita ’14 was my second ever national convention, I have finally reached a point where the memories have blurred together, and at 4AM it’s little wonder I’d lost all handle on time. It was the year I got to meet Kim and Phil… that too, for sure. And it was also the year I was finally brought to GeekOut to write. What a rabbit hole.
5) GeekOut Shrewsbury Jan ‘19 – It’s Not Going To Chairs
Joel: I have never been so happy to be so stressed. The competition that kicked off the year of GeekOut Shrewsbury meets was a Jenga bracket, pair off, play Jenga, losers drop out, winners advance to compete again, and much like any game of Jenga it was a short but stressful affair.
But my god, the semi-finals… I have never seen a tie in a game of Jenga, a point at which there are no moves that can be attempted, forcing the next player to collapse the tower whether they’re any good at the game or not. So we started stacking chairs on top of the Jenga tower. Little chairs, built for stacking, we weren’t moving the furniture, but we still had to start using other games as a tie-breaker for Jenga. It became a spectator sport, there was yelling, screaming even! And in the end… well the chairs collapsed without so much as wobbling the tower. It was a huge anticlimax, and I frequently yell “It’s not going to chairs!” whenever I’m arguing anything to a standstill.
4) Series Articles
Joel: DMing 101, Beginning Cosplay Guide, Dungeon Situational, Kickstarter Highlights, hell, I even enjoyed the failed experiments like Week in Geek and Blogversation. These have been articles that have kept us going, regular content that could be depended upon, would conform to a broad format, adhere to a theme or a subject, and are generally pretty easy to write, or at least to keep writing for a while. None can be lauded higher than our Top 10s for sure, we’re way better than Watch Mojo and I will fight their whole team!
If you get into blogging, pick a subject, and get weirdly granular about it over the course of weeks. I think my favourite short series on this site was the Babylon 5 In Depth study pieces, in which I went too deep on certain characters and themes that permeate the famous but underrated sci-fi series. There are still titles for more of the series hovering on a desktop note that might one day reappear, we are far, far from out of ideas.
3) Top 10 Bears & Necromancers
Joel: The pinnacles of our series posts, the Top 10s, and our favourites by far:
Bears was our first list and the only one we’ve done twice. It was a lot of fun re-doing the list, although admittedly on our second pass we were a lot more lenient, integrating non-game bears and broadening our horizons to all of geekdom. The first list began with bouncing fan art back and forth of Planeswalkers as bears, and all lists that followed owe their lives to that hilarious exchange. We also had to be more stringent with the entries we included, no fanart.
As for Necromancers… oh boy. Aside from the fact that we had our list abridged at the top of google results for necromancer rankings (thanks google) and if you search Top 10 Necromancers we still dominate the front page, it also brought down massive amounts of views, almost as many as the Crazies in Anime list, but in the space of one year instead of four. It also gave us our first ever evangelical comment. Oh boy did I ever want to give my most scathing response, instead we deleted it on the grounds of irrelevance.
I’d rather have edited the list to include Jesus, he who raises the dead, can wither flesh with a word, and who has advanced to such a level that no death is permanent for him.
2) Ayacon Apocalypse – 2013
Timlah: What is there to say about Ayacon that hasn’t already been said? For those who don’t know the GeekOut UK journey, this is where it all started. This is where I met Joel, where we stood on the steps at the same venue as Amecon 2018 (Warwick University). We stood on some steps at like 1am and we were singing along to Van Canto, an a capella metal band. Joel came over to me and my friend, thinking he would get us to visit his website. He ended up becoming a good friend in return, as well as becoming a pivotal part of this website and our journey.
This is the event that started GeekOut UK. It started us as GeekOut South-West, then after Kitacon 2014, Joel joined in and we slowly became GeekOut UK. This event basically was the reason for our existence as a social group, as a website and as friends. It’s hard to top this, right..?
Joel: Hopefully 2020 will be the year I get to meet Matt Mercer in person again, and remind him of the poorly drawn d20 he put in my notebook, and wearing a tutu while being spanked with a LARP sword. What Tim neglected to mention is that it was, for both of us, our first ever anime convention, the biggest of its kind in the UK. For me, it meant a dramatic shift in my confidence, an outlet for creativity, and months of harassment from some guy in Bristol who wanted me to write for him. Who’d have figured?
To say that this event was transformative would be an understatement. The start of a beautiful friendship for sure, it’s a rare week that passes where Tim and I don’t chat, but nearly seven years later and I have become someone unrecognisable from the man nervously starting conversations with drunk strangers. I now do so aggressively.
1) GeekOut Bristol Meet & GeekOut Shrewsbury Meet Debuts
Timlah: If one thing was ever going to top the moment that defined GeekOut UK, it has to be our actual event debuts. GeekOut Bristol had a ropy start, which I think means that I was able to give Joel the right starting point for the GeekOut Shrewsbury events. The very first GeekOut Bristol Meet was between myself and one other person. We laughed about it, we drank, we played games and it was still a fun night out. If he ever reads it, thanks Felipe for being there on the first event, as quiet as it was.
However, I guess in theory we didn’t “truly” debut until we hit Meetup. For better or for worse, the website was pivotal to our continued success. Friday 21st February 2014, our first Meetup-based event happened… And there was a good turn out! There were only 7 people confirmed as going, but we ended up with 15 people. I thought that was incredible.
Who knew we’d go on to have an event with over 70 people? Unbelievable. Thanks to everyone who believed in us along the way.
Joel: My first GeekOut Meet was March ’17, I think I saw ten people in the entire day and not all at once. No complaints here, everyone there had fun, and they told two people, and they told two people… may be a slight exaggeration, actually a lot of our rush of popularity came from friends and friends of friends, no small amount of local interest, and it turned into something of a snowball attracting upwards of 35+ people, not bad for something held on a Thursday.
I take solace in knowing that I put together something that people are earnestly sad to see fade, to the point where the torch has somewhat been passed, and while a name change is required, a new gaming group is rising from the place where GeekOut Shrewsbury ends. I don’t guarantee they’ll have disappointing prizes, I don’t know that they’ll keep the crowd favourite games, and I certainly don’t plan to attend every event with the voraciousness that some people came to ours, as if on strange pilgrimage.
But I’ll see you all on the other side. I hope that for some of you, it made as big a difference as Aya Apocalypse did for us.
Some moments are more memorable than others. Some moments though are a bit more… Hmm… Conceptual than it is an actual specific moment. So here are two more conceptual GeekOut UK Moments, which really helped us with pushing the boat out there, so to speak.
GeekOut’s YouTube Channel
Timlah: The GeekOut YouTube Channel, ahh I loved running this. Don’t get me wrong, I stopped as life had gotten hectic at this point in time. We moved twice in about a year, which was enough to make me sort of stop making content. Then, the actual work that went into working on this website, along with the work on running the meetups had actually increased. So, I stopped making content.
However, I add this in as an honourable mention as I genuinely believe it gave me a lot of life lessons. Can I make a video now? Yeah. Do I know of some decent enough video editing software? Absolutely. Was Stonekeep not the most awesome 90s game ever made? No… But I bloody love it anyway, so shush. Let me have this one thing, damn it.
Every Creator Who Has Contacted Us
Timlah: This is a huge point we really needed to make on this list. We didn’t want to put any one creator above the rest. Over the past six years, we’ve had creators messaging us for advertisement of their products and services. You know, it doesn’t matter what the niche is, people who reached out to us were pretty much always on point with what our message was all about.
I was privileged enough to read plenty of amazing books, which inspired me to write my own during NaNoWriMo. I’ve seen plenty of amazing game developers, some on the start of their journey and others who are hugely experienced. They’ve inspired me to finally pursue a passion of mine, which I’m pleased to say that development on my first game is going well. Basically, without creators, I dread to think what geek fandom would be like, so thank you to every single one of you who reached out to us. From reviews, to product giveaways, we’ve had a lot of amazing times, thanks to these creators.
And that’s it, another week has passed us by, which means another Top 10 is over.
And that’s it, the last Saturday of us updating this website has passed. This was our last Top 10. Thanks for always being there for us. Thanks for reading and remember:
Geek proud, GeekOut.
Timlah & Joel, signing out.