Orlando Geek - Where to unleash your inner geek
The standard definition that we are most familiar with for the term "Nerd" doesn't exactly have the same legitimacy as it may have had in decades past. Today, "nerds" aren't clutching their inhalers while sporting several pens in their protected pockets. They aren't all four-eyed and suspender clad wallflowers.
Sure, they may have a collection of twelve sided dice, but more than likely they are wearing solid colored hoodies while blending in with their group of socially active friends. The "nerd" has morphed into the "geek", and further progression shows that they have blossomed into the often brilliant minds that quietly run our technologically dependent world.
I'd know. I live with one.
Regardless of their sex, age, or class, they have a propensity for all things "geekish". Sure video games are a huge lure, but they take their passion for role playing to the next level by gathering around their modest card tables with fellow introverts to play complicated board games with more rules than an enterprise grade firewall.
They have firmly rooted obsessions for all things Marvel and D.C., and if you ask them which they prefer, you might be surprised to find that they are far from mutes. They simply hold their conversational skills for the more important debates in life, like who Rey Kenobi's father is.
So if you are married to one, are friends with many, or find yourself on the cusp of entering the geek lifestyle, and searching for hangouts around Orlando to unleash your inner geek without judgement, here are some places to bask in the glow of true geekdom.
Tucked behind the mammoth Waterford Lakes shopping center is a haven for your geek squad that wants a friendly tavern like atmosphere to play games, have a brew and some cleverly named grub. If you, like me, have never seen Lord of the Rings, you might not get many of the references or drool over the huge LOTR mural, but there were other pop culture references I got like the "U.S.S. Cheddarprise" and "Groot Beer" which was gin and rootbeer. They have a great selection of board games on the first floor that you can enjoy with your group. I'd say the games lend themselves to more seasoned board gamers, but for amateurs like me there are options like Sorry!, Monopoly and Battleship. I tried my hand at games that required patience and rule reading and failed miserably. Your dining options are mostly standard bar food, so while this isn't a foodie paradise, it's proper sustenance to fuel your many battles and more importantly soak up the alcohol from the ample beer selection.The second level is a gamer lounge with Wii U and Xbox 1 game consoles to play with wall to wall flat screen televisions. The catch is it's pay to play. It will cost you $5 per thirty-minutes or food or drink purchases. I played Injustice and enjoyed a hard root beer, so I left content, but still not knowing what a "Smaug" is.
Not much prompts me to trek down I-4 into tourist madness, but Player One is one of the exceptions. It's tucked away at the end of Palm Parkway just a light down from the horrific Crossroads traffic but you forget Disney property is right across the street as you enter.
Five dollars gets you unlimited play, although they strongly suggest you are keeping your bar tab open and active during your stay.
Banks of old school arcade games line the walls, along with older consoles like Game Cubes and Sega Genesis which are in comfy booths where you can sit back, beer in hand and relive the glory days of Sonic the Hedgehog along with hundreds of other titles thanks to handy ROM cartridges. At the bar, newer consoles are set up with Wii's and Play-stations so you can play newer games, and there is an area in the corner for more active games like Rock Band and Dance Dance Revolution Universe.
ID's will be checked at the door, so this is a 21 and up hang after 6 p.m. and the beer list is plentiful with selections both on tap and in the bottle. Every time I've been the music has been straight out of my 90's high school days which is an added bonus. It's a great place to bring a group of friends and they also rent out the space for private events. Cliff's Books
I love strolling through the quaint strip of downtown Deland, and every time we visit we stop at Cliff's Books. This isn't a comic book shop specifically, but amid the tightly entrenched stacks you will find comics and and some vintage merchandise.
I was very stoked to find an area with Babysitter Club books, one of my favorites growing up. I know that doesn't count as geek material, but if you are someone who likes a hunt for graphic novels and older comics you don't mind cramped spaces, trek out to Deland and search the stacks at Cliff's.
Gods & Monsters is a huge space filled with more merchandise than you can visually handle. It’s overwhelming eye candy in every direction and you need to take a moment and let it all soak in as you enter.
Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, The Simpsons, DC or Marvel; they have something for everyone. I even spotted from Frozen merchandise somewhere in there. Whether you are shopping for the geek in your life or for yourself, you have so many options right at your finger tips no waiting for Amazon to deliver these goods. Graphic novels, collectibles, games and art all await you here.
One of the cooler aspects of the space is that a large portion in the back is dedicated for gamers. The Off World L.O.U.N.G.E. allows a cool space with free-to-play video & tabletop games or you can bring your own.
Want an epic game night with friends sitting in a large mid-evil looking booth? Call your squad and set up shop here, with a bar just steps away. Feel like chilling solo? Sit at the bar and play Mario while you grab a drink.
If pop culture geekery is your pleasure you should probably check out Think Geek in the Florida Mall. This is the first brick and mortar store for the e-commerce company.
The options online are certainly more extensive and less pop culture driven. This isn't a place to find merchandise to science, music or spy wear, but it's laid out for ease on your eyes when looking for specific items from your favorite t.v. shows, video games and movies.
Again, this takes you to another tourist trap area but more than likely you will find something here that will make heavy sighing behind small mall walkers well worth it.
This isn't your average comic book shop, hence the words "super store" in the title. It houses aisle after aisle of pop culture merchandise and figurines, much of it vintage.
As the wife of an avid lover of all things geek, sometimes I feel a little out of place after ten minutes of browsing. To my absolute delight, my first trip to Acme let me give my man all the time he needed because they have a large event room that was playing Jurassic World. Yes, Chris Pratt kept me company and kept me from looking at my watch.
The room, which is filled with local pop culture art and a pretty nifty comic book floor, can be rented out for events.
The rows are a feast for the eyes, but seamless to browse by the movie, t.v. show or hero that you are looking for. With a plethora merchandise and comics be ready to settle in for a serious quest for goods, and pack a snack.
It looks like a standard comic book shop until you realize this is just as much a social hub as it is a place to pick up the latest graphic novel for your collection.
A Comic Shop also houses The Geek Easy, an internet cafe, bar & grill and all around geek lounge that hosts events all week long. Trivia night, Karaoke, Live DJ's and a Comics & Craft night are just some of the regular events that make this a great spot to meet new people or just hang with your friends that is somewhere besides your crumb-filled Ikea couch. On top of that they host marathon nights of classic t.v. shows and movies.
Check out their Facebook page to see get the info on all the events they host so you don't miss out.
If you are a lover of intense Board Games you've probably heard of Cool Stuff Inc. It has one of the biggest and best inventories of games in the country that they sell mainly through their website. Gamers in Orlando have a perk they may not even be aware of. Instead of waiting for a must have game to come in the mail, their warehouse is located on 17-92, so you can walk in, "order" your game on one of their computers and pick it up immediately at the counter.
If that weren't enough, you can buy and play here. Rows of tables take up much of the store front where gamers congregate to play. Weekly events for geeks of all kinds are hosted here for different games like Pokemon, Dungeons and Dragons and Yu-Gi-Oh! I did happen to see someone dressed like Missy Elliott in the "The Rain" video on my last visit, so it's safe to say you can come as you are here.
It's safe to say there are plenty of places to unleash your inner geek here in Orlando. We are still awaiting the opening of Joysticks Arcade in downtown Orlando to add to this list. SOON.