Now I remember why I don’t do as many story/memory/recollection-based contests as I used to. It’s because they’re pure agony for me to decide a winner. Seriously, out of 375 comments — many of which were just people replying to each other — I had 75 Honorable Mentions my first go-through, and that’s while I was trying to be selective. It’s not inaccurate to say that I thought 80% of the entries were good enough to be HMs, so please, if your entry doesn’t appear in the 30 I managed to winnow it down to, please know that chances are I loved it anyways.
So let’s get to it. Oh, and a special mention to DoctorSmashy, who provided a variety of childhood art that has been delighting me for days (that would be the themed vehicles of the Sinister Six +1 above). Shall we?
Bad Brendan said:
I once spent an entire summer designing a Transformers RPG. I filled up 160 pages (2 note books) with hand drawn charts explanations Design for Robots and vehicles on graph paper.
Hell i even had rules for under water combat.
This was in the 80’s and i was still in elementary school at the time. No body wanted to try out my game they all just wanted to play D & D.
Still kinda pisses me off.
I had a whole series of Aliens in disguise pictures I drew, they were a bunch of well Aliens that looked like teenages in the 90’s, sadly almost all of them looksed like Adam X from X-men, backwards harts with long hair showing, some even had some hair sticking out of the front of the har as I apparently didn’t understand fitted hats were much cooler back in the day. There was a whole story that was pretty much a rip off of the x-men and one of them was evil, and no idea how this happened but his name was Johnny Cash and he wore nothing but black and a big Dollar Bill for a mask.
I think Fabian Nicieza stole my idea or possibly the show roswell.
I think my nerdiest creation would be a program I wrote on my commodore 64. it was to organize my books. I guess it could be called a database program. I led a very sheltered childhood.
Honestly, I never expected a contest entry this innocent from Abraxas.
Oh, this one is easy. A living card table robot designed entirely to play card games. I was living in the Yu-Gi-Oh! craze at the time, and actually wrote a series of (very poor) crossover fanfiction starring me and that robot. I considered it my crowning achievement.
When I was a young, nerdy little girl, I used to construct gigantic LEGO space stations. They would be a good 10 or 11 square feet, and were entirely self sufficient.
Seriously, I included kitchens, bathrooms, beds, gardens to grow food in, a rec room with a television, mailboxes, solar panels and an electrical grid for power, maintenance rooms, mini cars to travel around in, docking stations for space ships, science labs, training areas, maintenance droids, and a space walk strip, complete with space suits.
These stations were usually inhabited by Jedi and various other Star Wars LEGO people.
(I did partially make it self-sustaining because I kinda thought my LEGO people came to life when I left the room and didn’t want to not provide them with necessities like bathrooms and entertainment)
My nerdiest childhood creation was probably my complete disregard for any shred of lore for my GI Joes, Star Trek and Star Wars figures and Gundam toys.
Instead I concocted a fantasy universe where a pseudo-Star Trek crew with super powers led by Q (Picard was his first officer and could melt your face with his mind) flew around in space and time in their starship and kicked evil alien ass with X-wings and giant battle mechs and sometimes the Dino-Rider dinos, occasionally doing battles to the death Highlander-style (often lightsabers. The Star Trek figures’ phaser accessory had a ray emitting from it already and so it looked sort of like a lightsaber). Oh, and Worf was a ninja.
Included purely for the amazing throwaway line: “Oh, and Worf was a ninja.”
Like any nerd who had seen “Star Wars” that summer of ’77 the drive was to make your own movie. I built an elaborate framework in the front living room to make a stop-motion rig, and decided I had to do explosion tests. I utilized flash-bulb filaments that sparked nicely, but wanted to use a model rocket engine (removed from the housing) for smoke. How I convinced my mom to let me ignite it I don’t remember, but she ended up being my camera man. I put a tarp down on the carpet, but didn’t foresee the engine melting through the wire that held it. The engine dropped to the floor, burning through the tarp, the shag carpeting and to the hardwood underneath. The tarp caught fire, the house was full of smoke with the smoke alarm going off, my mom continued to film until I yelled at her to stop and my dad charged in from the garage wondering what the hell was going on. After I had stamped out the fire, the engine was fused to the floor like a tiny meteorite. But damn it all, that was one glorious looking explosion on film.
Dr. Shoggoth said:
When I was a kid, I drew dinosaurs. So do a lot of kids. But hundreds of my dinosaurs were fictional. Inspired perhaps by the book “The New Dinosaurs”, I invented a huge world where dinosaurs didn’t go extinct, and my character was the daring boy naturalist who could travel to this world and catalog them all. My fake dinosaurs had natural enemies, predator/prey relationships, favored habitats and ecologies. But the kicker? Each species also had a correctly conjugated, accurate Latin name.
Al Harron replied to Dr. Shoggoth:
My brother… I must embrace you, for I did exactly the same thing. Complete with latin names, ecosystem, predator-prey relationships etc. I think I was also inspired by Dougal Dixon. Man, I have to go track down my pictures. Most of them were sauropods, ’cause I love sauropods. Especially diplodocids, because I felt they were underrepresented in The New Dinosaurs (stupid Titanosaurs…)
Babbletrish replied to Al Harron:
I, too, had a whole imaginary ecosystem that lived in my algebra notebooks, and it’s largely Dougal Dixon’s fault. The again, his deeply strange speculative biology books *did* get me interested in creature design. Good to see there are other fans of these books out there.
Making up Latin classification names for made-up dinosaurs? You guys are my heroes.
At some point in the early 90’s, I was on a mission to actually BECOME Spider-man. When my early experiments with making a “radioactive spider” by dumping random crap from my Junior Science kit on them failed (they mostly just died in puddles of borax and ammonia), I decided to take a page from Peter Parker’s book.
I refocused my efforts on building mechanical web shooters, with a crude little box full o’ string tied to a hex nut. That chunk of metal gave my “web-line” the inertia it needed to fly out of my wrist… and *thwap* my little brother square in the forehead, resulting in its “confiscation.”
I was not deterred however, so I stockpiled dozens of cans of silly string, and then tore through my mother’s hair spray canisters looking for the perfect “spinneret” nozzle.
After securing this thing to my forearm, I spent a glorious afternoon decking the yard with my DIY web shooters.
I was then grounded, ordered to remove “all of that stringy crap!” from the trees and bushes in my (and my two neighbor’s) yards, and had my NES taken away for a month.
I was a bit pissed when those silly string web shooters started appearing in toy stores when the first Spider-man movie came out. I wish I’d known what a “patent” was when I was eleven.
For the record the Star Wars one is my entry. I literally rewrote the entire original trilogy genderswap’d.
Princess Leia became Prince Lee,a hot-blooded jackass that cared more about getting revenge than he did his safety or anyone else.(Get it? Because he doesn’t act very princely!….I was nine>.
Luke Skywalker became Luka Skywalker,a shy but cheerful girl who was always afraid of screwing things up.(Sorta like a female Shinji from EVA)
Han Solo became Helena ”Hana” Solo,a Defrosting Ice Queen mercenary who spends most of her time snarking and drinking. Her ”outfit”consisted of a vest,bikini top and shorts.(At the tender age of nine,I was already well versed in the art of fan-service)
Chewbacca’s only change was that he now had a bow in his hair to show he was a girlXD.
I could never think of a nice name for Obi-wan,so Obi-wan Kenobi became Beatrix Kenobi,who was basically the same character except she looked like she was in her forties(Fan-service!)and she hated Hana.
Mine was a mix with Jesus and whales. In my catechism class in grade school we had to draw the batism of Jesus. I had this huge obsession with whales because of Free Willy, so I really got carried away and added like 30 ”holy” whales in the scene, even flying whales, who were all hailing Jesus. This was my masterpiece in this class so far, as in all the other drawings of biblical scenes I had to do I always found a way to add some whales for my story continuity. I sure didn’t have the best grades because of obssession-with-whales-that-makes-no-sense-in-the-context but I was proud nonetheless of my Jesus, Master of the whales, my own childhood comic book.
I… I have no words.
Crazytopia. A Pie Version of Wolverine and his magical Pie brother live in a fantasy world with their anthropomorphic Moose, Monkey, flamboyantly homosexual antropomorphic mole friends. We had, at the end of this wonderful saga in my life, one 475 page novel, over forty drawings, back stories which included abusive childhoods and magic destinies, an entire planet more or less mapped out, histories mapped out, an entire pantheon of gods (Including Rohan the Disgruntled Moon Man, God of the Moon), and an eventual death for every character. I suppose what makes this one so special is the attachment we had to the characters, and how ridiculously developed they became. They had relationships, got married, got divorced, met someone else. It’s hard to describe but this Universe held such an important place in our hearts. I have photos somewhere and I’ll try and scan them and send them to you, but don’t hold your breath. There just came a point however where we looked at it and thought, “Jesus Christ, they’re anthropomorphic Pie People, that’s not right.” And so it had to end, a saga that lasted six years of my life, six years of development and characterization. The saddest thing is, I still miss them now.
When I was a little girl, I wrote a book version of the movie “The Princess Bride”, complete with illustrations. Yeah-I know there ‘is’ a book, but does it have illustrations of Cary Elwes getting electrocuted through his nipples, drawn by a 6 year old? I don’t think so.
I’ve gotta get another Honorable Mention for this, because I’m still writing mine… it’s evolved substantially from an idea I had in high school, about animal species raging bloody war with each other, and a group of exiles that saves the world without society knowing. Nine years later, I’ve got my own site and I’m working on the fifth book in the series. 12,000 hits so far! http://tasakeru.com
Keep on keeping on, man.
I spent several years, yes years, composing a trilogy series that was set in 300 years in the future and also 500 years in the past from now. I wrote hundreds of pages of notes, and created a fully realized world, with formal and vernacular language, geography, science and technology, magic systems, flora and fauna, politics, history, culture, media, fashion, education, governments, dozens upon dozens of major and minor characters, plotted out all the major story lines and how they intersected. It was, in the fullest sense of the word, a fully realized world.
Everything was going great, all my notes, all my plots, writing chapters, editing profusely…until my friend remarked that my protagnist was named Lily Peters. And her boyfriend was James.
I had managed to name my 2 main characters after Lily and James Potter from Harry Potter.
I was so upset, I never wrote that story again. My friend told me to just rename them, but years and years of writing their lives, I couldn’t. Damn you JK Rowling!!
I wrote myself into The Lord of the Rings as Frodo’s second hobbit companion. I didn’t write a short fanfic or something, I rewrote THE ENTIRE BOOK to insert myself as a character. At some point, Sam tragically died so that I couild have Frodo all to myself.
D. Highmore said:
When I was 6 I made a photo-comic of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, using stuffed animals. Indy was a Pound Purrie cat with a plastic hat from a “Buckaroo” game sewn on his head. I spent a whole summer taking hundreds of photos, which cost my parents a fortune to get developed. Built “sets” out of cardboard and polystyrene and shot the whole thing in the garden.
The following year, I attempted “Temple Of Doom”, but gave up trying to make the mine cart set…
Ms Weirdo II said:
For Christmas one year, my Mom gave me one of those “plastic kiddie tents” (beauty and the beast themed). Remember those? You had to assemble it with plastic rods? You had to read directions to assemble it?
Naturally, I used the rods to assemble an apatosaurus’s bone structure.
When I was six I build a 1.5 feet tallrobot out of (mostly) Lego that could launch rubber-powered missles out of its breasts. The trigger to open the “missle-bays” and fire was in its crotch. Back then I found the design absolut logical and did not understand why my parents kept giggling when I presented my archivement.
You know, I would make my own entry, but the most awesome nerdy thing I made as a kid was the full Rincewind + the Luggage costume I made in 7th grade and mentioned for the last Halloween contest. Apparently, Rob was not impressed, however, as I didn’t even get a mention. Hrmph!
When I was like 11, my best friend and I stole my dad’s video camera and made a short film entitled “Doctor Who and the Planet of the Minipeople”. My 5 year old brother was the voice of the minipeople (read: Barbie dolls in a shoebox spaceship) and my 3 year old brother was their leader and somehow we explained how there were two (female) Doctors because neither of us wanted to be a companion. The best part was when my brother found a set of handcuffs and cuffed me to a chair, then realized that a regular old screwdriver doesn’t really work like the sonic screwdriver on Doctor Who…
The finished video consisted of awful early iMovie special effects and a 5 minute blooper reel of me crying because I was cuffed to that chair for-fucking-ever.
Now I just think “Why the fuck did my parents even let me do shit like this?”.
When I was ten or eleven, I wrote a letter to Playmates Toys with ideas for a second series of Darkwing Duck action figures. I even drew pictures of each figure and their action feature or accessories. The only ones I still remember were a Drake-to-Darkwing figure ala Kenner’s Bruce/Batman figures. (The mask and hat were one piece that would slip over Drake’s face. I think the outfit was either color-change or a cloth overpiece. Then there was Liquidator who would shoot water from his eyes…. Why his eyes I don’t know, seemed less immature than spitting water. And there was a Negaduck (I called him Megaduck) figure who would include an anvil on a string…. I was stretching there. I’m sure there was at least one more but I can’t remember who it was. Probably Gizmoduck.
My mom received a letter back from them and threw it away before I ever got to read it. She told me it basically said the company couldn’t accept unsolicited material. To this day I wish I would’ve gotten to read it, it seemed so official.
when I was 10, I wrote a 200 page story where Luke Skywalker and crew, in an attempt to escape the empire and Darth Vader, fled to Narnia. I didn’t ever finish it, but I got as far as Susan becoming a lord of the Sith because she couldn’t join her family after the Last Battle.
When I was in Kindergarten my mother took me to see E.T. when it was out in the theaters. For the next year I drove all the adults in my life nuts with my drawings of Jesus and E.T. doing things such as holding hands while walking through a meadow, battling Darth Vader and missionaries, and having milk and cookies with Luke Skywalker. There were several other drawings of E.T. and Christ having wild adventures which came out of my wild Kindergarten imagination which I can’t remember. I also made one painting of E.T. crying at the base of Jesus’s cross ( with a lot of blood and a T-Rex crying with E.T.) which got me sent to the principal. He told me gently that E.T. was imaginary, and I shouldn’t mix fact with fiction as I might offend other kids and adults. Still, I kept on drawing my “Adventures with E.T. and Jesus” at home which drove my mother and grandmother crazy.
Ron, if you send me that picture of E.T. crying at Jesus’ cross, I will send you a TR shirt. No fooling. That sounds like the most amazing picture ever made.
When I was young (2000 or so), I created a small world for my action figures called Toyland. It wasn’t that advanced, just some Batman figures wailing on Scooby Doo villans. But as my geekier qualities sprung up, Toyland became more advanced with newer toys and the addition of continuity. Legos fought Armada Unicron, the Stuffed Animals on my bed became wise elders giving advice, wars were fought, power was earned, and higher dimensions were discovered. Their story still continues today at the age of 14. The current Crisis is the Hasbro Galactus killing Unicron and trying to take over the world, which has brought together an alliance between Cobra, the Empire, and the Legos to defeat him. A prophecy is discovered that proclaims that Galactus can only be defeated by the Hasbro AT-AT, 25th Anniversary Voltron, and 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime. I have no regrets.
As a kid I was a huge Animorphs fan. I had all the books, watched the short-lived TV show, and even cried when I thought two of the main characters had died (in the book). One day during class I decided to marry off all the main characters and draw their weddings. I was so proud of my work that I proceeded to brag about it to my classmates and talk to them about why these couples made sense for the rest of that week.
And just so we’re clear, I’m a guy and this was in 7th grade (definitely childhood for me even though some of my peers were already having sex).
When we were in junior high, my best friend and I wrote our own Star Trek spin-off. Not just episodic adventures, mind you–we were thorough. We drew blueprints of the entire ship, mocked up the activities posters from the cafeteria bulletin board, crafted a forty page guide to species, beverages, and planets our characters might encounter,–and since our crew was part of a non-Federation mercenary guild, we wrote up a complete ship list. There were 116 ships in the guild,and every single one had a name, a crewlist, and a backstory. We mocked up *bowling teams* for evey ship, for God’s sake. And we put it all in a huge book of our own invented technobabble gleaned from hundreds of hours of “research” Star Trek viewings. They were fantastic times, too. Our story might’ve been written by twelve year olds, but it was still better than 3/4 of Enterprise, goddammit.
I was a lonely kid and I was good with computers. I grew up in foster care but the school and lots of homes had very basic pc’s. So I programmed a friend in DOS that would respond when I typed to it and I gave it like a bunch of responses. I admit it was kinda sad and geeky but its the truth. I called it Fred…I miss Fred sometimes.
House Jentraides said:
In 4th grade [circa 1993]my friends and I started a secret club called
“Tremors” as we all had a very real, and passionate love for the movie.
I had a manilla folder dossier on every “member” listing their skills,
fictional past exploits, and a hand drawing of their current
We met once during nutrition where we all solemnly swore to have
adventures all over the world and save people from aliens. Just like
Kevin Bacon. Our operations were strictly “underground” hence…Tremors.
We were essentially the Men In Black before there were Men In Black.
Have you been attacked by aliens lately? No? You’re welcome.
All right. How about some winners?
Lady Thana said:
My 13th birthday party was a massive Star Wars-style Model UN where I was the “Secretary General” of sorts (basically an excuse to wear my dad’s judge robes and be even bossier than usual) and my friends were all representatives of various planets. I wrote out planet backgrounds and character descriptions (including costume ideas!) for all my friends and forced various EU novels and other books on them so they could be properly in character. I spent hours setting up my basement with “desks” made of assorted furniture and made sure that the sucky planets (I’m looking at you, Kessel!) were seated at the very back while Coruscant got to sit at the very front (naturally). We even had a page, aka my little sister who I had successfully gotten obsessed with Star Wars muahaha. The resolution for debate was basically the plot from The Hutt Gambit (I spent all my time typing out those character sheets, haha) and I’m pretty sure we voted to destroy all the smugglers after hours of debate of the pros and cons of letting them have a base of operations. Yeah.
The kicker? My mum made me a giant round cake that was going to be the Death Star but she dropped it after taking it out of the oven so that it cracked. Without batting an eye I told her to make it Alderaan as it was exploding. Best. Party. Ever.
That’s quite the creation, and forcing birthday party attendees into playing along with your insane game is significant. Also, having a “Star Wars-style Model UN” birthday party is one of fucking nerdiest things I have ever, ever heard of.
Outside of Oregon Trail, my first computer game experience was a CD Rom game produced by Chex cereal called Chex Quest.
Eventually, I started creating my own Chex characters. I created story lines revolving around my characters– the typical male Chex character (yes, Chex characters are gendered) saving the damsel in distress.
I would draw Chex characters ALL THE TIME. Mom never quite figured out why I drew squares with hatch marks all the time. And my drawings were DETAILED, man. Chex characters parachuting from helicopters–the badguys with black masks and guns that shot slime, old Chex characters with little walkers, and hell man, I even had a little Chex guy in a WHEELCHAIR (totally inspired by “Wheels” from the BK Kids Klub.)
Then I moved onto my Captain Planet fandom and honestly, it’s been downhill from there.
I… I have even less words than with Jesus n’ whales kid. Creating an Expanded Universe for Chex Quest? I’m giving you a shirt purely so that when people ask you where you got it, you have to say “Chex Quest.”
Since this contest was so tough, I might be persuaded to give out one more shirt if you guys want. Let’s call it the Reader’s Choice — let me know who of the Honorable Mentions above you think should get a shirt in this article’s comments (the only caveat is I want to give it to someone who hasn’t won a short previously). Thanks to everyone for entering. May Jesus, his friend E.T. and his many, many whales bless you this Tuesday.