Sunday, March 15, 2009

Possibly the Nerdiest Thing I Have Ever Done

I live in a world of geeks, nerds, and people who know the difference between the two. I am at a school which attracts the edges of the spectrum - odd people and brilliant minds from all over the world. I have spent twenty minutes listening to a debate over whether matrices should be indexed beginning at 0 or 1. I have witnessed a guy propose to his girlfriend with a PowerPoint in the middle of the annual science fiction movie marathon (right between Gattaca and Sunshine), and stunningly she said yes. I see people walking down the halls barefoot between nitrogen tanks, and have been unsure whether they just like to go barefoot or whether they happened to forget their shoes in lab that day. I have seen five - FIVE - different versions of a Sudoku solver program, because people here can write the program to solve it faster than they could ACTUALLY solve it.

But I have reached a new level.

I was invited to a game night. I happily accepted, because I jump at chances to hang out with friends who do not spend their weekends at bars and clubs. I figured a good game of Texas Hold 'Em, maybe some old-school Monopoly. We did play cards for a while, but then someone suggested a game which I had never heard of. Apparently, though, this group plays the game fairly regularly, and it's a favorite. So, sure, why not learn something new?

One of the guys disappeared into his room, and came back with all the necessary props. We all sat in the middle of the floor, somebody ran a power cord over and plugged it into the wall, and suddenly I realized what I was looking at.

It's called Motherboard Jenga. The idea is that you start with the guts of a computer, the motherboard. You take turns using pliers or a soldering iron (also provided) to remove parts. The first person to kill the system loses.

Lord save us.

I don't get any hits off of Google, so my guess is it's a World's Best School original game. This game is played anytime one of the EE majors wants to clean out their stash of old computers. A simple memory fault doesn't count as killing the system. The key, I found, is to avoid disconnecting anything necessary for the cooling system, because if the cooling system isn't connected it triggers a shut down. Unless, of course, you have disconnected whatever it is that triggers the shut down.

I lost in the third round, but I'm not at all sure that was a bad thing.... I am torn between thinking this was quite possibly the coolest game I have ever played, and thinking that I have crossed some irreversable line.

So what say you, internet? Awesomeness, or what is WRONG with those people?


  1. Hmm. It's not quite that bad, but my flatmates sucked me back into wargaming yesterday. I gave up in my teenage years when I discovered music, girls and all those other teenage things, but I figure it'll give me a hobby and something to socialise with. I just wish it could have been doing something cooler...

  2. That is a really really cool sounding game! When I was reading, I was thinking you were going to go with a geek staple, like Munchkin (or anything else by Steve Jackson), or Settlers, or Set.

    The only unfortunate part is requiring a computer to spare for dismantling. :P

  3. Dorky. Very, very dorky. But that's okay, it's only expected at where you're coming from. Enjoy it while you can???

  4. Correction. There is now a hit on Google - your blog!

  5. Oh, wow, that's definitely awesome. I immediately thought, "Well, you could remove a lot of decoupling capacitors, then maybe the drive controllers and onboard peripherals,..."

    So perhaps I'm not the right person to judge.

  6. That depends: at heart, are you an ME or an EE. For an ME (like myself) it's a little bit wrong. But EE's rejoice, for this is definitely their game.

  7. I'm impressed...I guess it tells you which field you're in when nerdiness actually impresses you...

  8. oh my gosh MIT. you are ridiculous.