We geeks used to know our place in the universe. In the grand scheme, we were the weaklings at the bottom of the food chain.
Other kids played sport or listened to Guns N' Roses, we talked about Tolkien and Dungeons & Dragons and had sand kicked in our face at lunch hour. And it was okay. We didn't have girlfriends but we had Magic: The Gathering. At the time it seemed a fair trade-off.
Suddenly, terrifyingly, this has started to change. Our hipper friends openly boast on Twitter of having gone to The Hobbit. News of a new Star Trek movie is generating excitement among people lacking even conversational Klingon. Is there a more fashionable TV show than Game of Thrones, a swords-and-sorcery fest that literally features ladies in chain-mail bikinis?
It goes deeper than that. According to retailers, ultra-nerdy board games such as Settlers of Catan and Arkham Horror are winning a mainstream following.
So are we all geeks now? Let's find out. With The Hobbit sweeping the box office, what better time for an impromptu nerd test? If you fail, well at least you probably won't die a virgin. If you pass – see you at Warhammer on Wednesday!
1. Radagast The Brown is ...
a) The producer of Tinie Tempah's new album
b) A gastric illness particular to the Indian sub-continent
c) The third most powerful of the Istari, after Saruman and Gandalf
2. What was the sequel to The Hobbit?
a) Dial 'M' For Mordor
b) Look Who's Tolkien II
c) The Lord of the Rings
3. King of Tokyo is...
b) A New York sushi chain
c) A dice game from legendary boardgame designer Richard Garfield
4. What was Gary Gygax's contribution to human civilisation?
a) Invented the canned drink ring-pull
b) Was a co-owner of Studio 54 nightclub
c) Co-created 'Dungeons & Dragons' in 1974
5. Have you ever attempted to speak Klingon?
a) Never ask me that again
b) I only studied French and German at school
c) NuqDaq 'Oh puchpa' 'e' ?
6. How many 20-sided dice do you own?
b) How can a dice have 20 sides?
c) I think you'll find the technical term is 'D20', actually
7. Harry Potter is ...
a) A delightful sequence of children's novels.
b) A moving exploration of adolescence, disguised as mere fairytale.
c) The worst fantasy books ever written – flying broomsticks . . . I mean, come on! Could you be more condescending?
8. The Dark Knight Rises was ...
a) Long, noisy and boring
b) Who cares – you were mostly there for Anne Hathaway and the catsuit. Miaow!
c) At least an hour too short – when's the special edition DVD out?
9. MasterChef is...
a) A reality show in which Dylan McGrath shouts at punters who've made a mess of their soufflé
b) The Special Branch code-name for Enda Kenny
c) The only thing standing between mankind and the Covenant hordes.
10. The absence of strong female characters in Lord of the Rings is...
a) A damning omission which makes the books virtually unreadable to a modern audience
b) A product of the author's stuffy Edwardian upbringing
c) Helloo . . . ! Who slew the Lord of the Nazgûl, then?
12. Who or what is the Crawling Chaos?
a) A Metallica side-project
b) What happens to Dublin Bus when it rains
c) One of the many names of HP Lovecraft's demon god Nyarlathotep.
a) Excuse me?
b) Do you need a handkerchief?
c) Really? I'm more a Cthulhu man, myself.
13. You've just asked a girl on a date and she's said 'yes' (try to suspend disbelief for a moment). Do you...
a) Bring her to whatever chick flick is showing at your neighbourhood multiplex.
b) Treat her to an expensive meal, declining to mention the two-for-one deal you scored online.
c) Invite her to your medieval recreation meet-up. They're serving jellied pigeon tongue!
14. Bruce Campbell is...
a) Your Scottish cousin, twice removed
b) Rhyming slang for a convoluted sexual position. You looked it up on the internet once – ouch!
c) Only the greatest actor of all time – that's right, even greater than Christopher Lambert.
15. You're invited to a fancy social occasion. You reach into your wardrobe for...
a) The designer shirt your missus bought you for your birthday.
b) Your 'hilarious' Christmas jumper. Dude, you're such a hoot!
c) A recently ironed 'Worf For President' tee.
How did you do ?
Mostly 'a' and 'b': Congratulations. You are not, nor have ever been, a geek. You can watch The Hobbit safely knowing you are in little danger of contamination.
Mostly 'c': Hey, when are you going to return that set of MouseGuard graphic novels I loaned you? Don't make me diss you on boardgamegeek.