About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.

I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.


Nerd Q&A: Why are Nerds So Good at Games?

Gamerscore - Rihanna Xbox Live
Here's a fun question:

Why are most nerds excellent gamers?


That's really all there is to it, but you know I'm not just going to give the short answer.

I'm glad the question was phrased with “most nerds” because not all nerds are excellent gamers. Take me, for example. If there's a way to lose a game I will find it. This isn't because I'm not a nerd, but because I spend my time outside of work watching movies, reading, and writing so I don't have a lot of spare time to work on my video game reflexes or my board and card game strategies.

Oh, and not all gamers are nerds, of course. (I don't think Rihanna quite fits the nerd profile.)

Still, one of the characteristics of nerds (and geeks) is their tendency to focus (some say obsessively) on a particular set of things. For a significant number of nerds, their focus is on gaming. They spend a lot of time playing games, but also studying them, reading about them, talking with other people about playing them, and coming up with strategies for beating them. So, when you play a game that a nerd is familiar with, it's like playing tennis with a pro. They're going to be amazing. Gaming nerds also tend to master game playing in general, so they can look at a new game and apply a strategy and skill set to it, even before they play. Even if you give a gaming nerd a brand new game, chances are that nerd's ability is going to be way higher than someone who only games a few times a week.

Here's an interesting experiment. Get one of your gaming nerd friends a new game, but make sure she understands that she has to talk about everything she's doing while she plays: explain her strategy, describe what other games it's similar to and how it's different, talk about how it makes her feel when she executes a particular action successfully. You'll not only learn a lot of strategies for beating the game, but you'll also get a lot of insight into your friend.

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