The trivia competition came down to who could name the most Walmart video-game deals on Black Friday.
Five men under the team name “Cemetery Lemonade” hastily scrawled down the latest first-person shooters and sports simulators. Messy script filled the page as the team rushed to remember the names of the most recent Call of Duty and Fallout releases and claim first place.
Geeksboro Battle Pub held the trivia showdown hours after a Friendsgiving gathering to kick off a series of wintertime events. Dubbed “A Season IRL,” the series hopes to prompt people to hit pause on the digital world.
“It just feels like whether its nerd culture or even normal culture now,” said owner Joe Scott, “people spend a lot of time staring at screens.”
As many Thanksgivings do, Geeksboro’s ended with leftovers. The Greensboro nerd-themed spot invited people to bring in their unfinished desserts to put a holiday twist to their weekly trivia nights.
Instead of watching football, a small crowd flocked to Geeksboro’s event space to attempt to recall the stars of football films. Cherry pies, candies and sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows found a home on a small bar table against the left wall, as players bantered amongst each other, and tried to place which Stan Lee cameo was in which Marvel movie.
Scott explained one of the goals of A Season IRL was to use shared pastimes to start conversations between former strangers. Like in Lord of the Rings, a franchise Scott cites as a staple to the subculture, people of a variety of backgrounds forge bonds through common interests.
“A lot of people need reasons to talk to each other,” said Scott.
Earlier in the day, the space seemed to transform into the average family living room for Geeksboro’s Friendsgiving. As visitors arrived with aluminum-covered casserole dishes and deviled egg plates, John O’Hurley announced the Doberman Pinscher as winner of the working group for the American Kennel Club’s National Dog Show.
Though the show played on a large projector screen, it seemed to encourage more face-to-face interaction than isolation, as the talk of the table shifted from the dogs on television to pets and other subjects.
Kate Quick, one of the participants in the local Friendsgiving, described her cats and passed her phone over to show photos. For her and many others, Geeksboro serves as a meeting grounds for nerds, geeks and pop-culture enthusiasts of all forms.
“Where else do you get to meet people other than a convention?” she asked.
Geeksboro functions like a constant convention. Programming regularly caters to fans of media from “Doctor Who” to football to Super Smash Brothers, but for the winter, Geeksboro changed up some of their existing schedule and came up with new ideas. These include collaborations with other local businesses and a gingerbread-house party.
Aside from bringing people together, Scott hopes A Season IRL will somewhat combat the seasonal depression many face. Geeksboro provides a setting for “in real life” interactions for both casual fans and those who can name every member of the Justice League.
“You don’t have to be surrounded by blood relatives to have a family,” Scott said.
As Thanksgiving wrapped up, the trivia points were tallied and the winners announced. The members of Cemetery Lemonade divided up their earnings in an almost routine manner. They finished off their pie and reminisced about when trivia was only at sports bars and pop culture remained more underground. The five make up a found family of self-proclaimed nerds.
“Nerds rule the world now,” said member Chris Hornaday.