Welcome to the Broke Nerd Blog!

My passions for content marketing and nerd culture collide with space and money constraints in this consumer blog dedicated to nerds on budgets. It's my platform for promoting the deserving people, places and products I encounter via my hobbies. It has a local KC-metro flavor (as that's where I live) and places a premium on value and experience. In short, I love finding great values in tech, media, games and collectibles; exploring the best thrift stores, pawn shops, swap meets and sales to find them; and documenting it all right here.

The Olathe Public Library Retro Gaming Forum

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The Olathe Public Library (downtown branch) will host a Retro Gaming Forum on Thursday, Feb. 7, from 6:30-8:30 pm, led by yours truly! This month's topic will be the SNES, and will include an original SNES console and a few games to enjoy, and several discussion topics. Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite games to show off, and/or a sealed snack to share. The subject matter and conversation will be catered to adults, but all are welcome.

Ford Product Design for Great Christmas Gifts

I just wanted to show off some of the Christmas presents my friend Tracy made for people this year. There's an acrylic LED sign and Christmas tree, a custom remote boat and cutting board, and plenty more! Tracy does a lot of 3D printing and CNC work and if you don't like shopping for presents - like me - he's got a lot of creative ideas that might work for you. Click through the album and check out his Facebook page while you're at it, and let him or me know what creative ideas you might have; he's always interested in trying new things!

Prospero's Books (Kansas City, MO) Review

My wife and I recently visited Prospero's Books in Kansas City, MO, and really enjoyed the store and West 39th St neighborhood! The prices were nothing special by any means, but the guy working the counter was very pleasant, the whole store was both comfy and filled to the brim, and just generally offered an interesting experience. If you can forgive my poor narration and editing skills, I even have a little video.

LG Aristo 2 Plus - 2018's Best New Phone For Broke Nerds

The LG Aristo 2 Plus isn't the best new phone in 2018; it would've been up there in 2008, maybe. (Just look at these badboys.) However, if you want a solid GSM/HSPA/LTE phone (sorry, Sprint) without buying used or spending a lot of money (maybe it's just me), this is the phone for you.

There are better, more qualified places to go for specs and reviews; I'll point you to some I found helpful. The bottom line is that I love my LG Aristo 2 Plus, 2018's best brand new phone for broke nerds.

Ode to John (Riggs)

John Riggs might be my favorite internet personality related to gaming, if not all together. He doesn't upkeep a fancy website, create highly cinematic videos, or spend gobs of time streaming or on social media. Instead, what I appreciate most about Riggs is that he feels very real. Of course he's a very real person; he's tall, he has a big personality, and he's just generally hard to miss. I mean that the content he creates always feels like it's made by a real person - a dad with three kids and a regular day job, who is responsive and inclusive on social media, and for whom gaming is more hobby than lifestyle - rather than a performer a personality. (It's purely coincidence that for his day job he is, in fact, a radio personality.)

Heartland Pawnbrokers (Olathe, KS) Customer Review

I love stuff; toys, games, electronics, collectibles, home goods, you name it. Naturally, I have an appreciation for the best places to find that stuff, like thrift shops, swap meets and flea markets. My time in the corporate retail workforce has particularly fostered my interest in pawn shops. They don’t have the best reputation overall, but I think that’s a shame given the combination of products and services they can provide. Balancing unique merchandising challenges with loan brokering creates a very interesting business model about which I’d love to learn more.

Olathe, Kan., has a handful of reputable pawn shops. One of its best-reviewed is Heartland Pawnbrokers, for which reviews’ common theme is great customer service. Often times when I go thrifting I'm not looking for anything in particular, so I place a premium on a memorable in-store experience. This includes characteristics like store aesthetic, product assortment and organization, and (of course) customer service, so the reviews caught my attention.

Top 100 NES Games For Collectors (and a TON of Honorable Mentions)

Let's say you've got a little money and nothing better to do, so you decide to start an NES collection. You do a quick Google search for "best NES games" only to be disappointed by handfuls of top-### lists built on nostalgia goggles and high price tags. This list has that hypothetical person in mind.

This is not a one-by-one list based solely on quality. It's a collection of pseudo-logical groups of licensed North American releases prioritized by how I'd recommend a new collector pursue them. I did attempt to order games by importance within their respective tiers, based (unscientifically) on quality, popularity, value and iconic importance to the system. Here goes...

Nintendo Gold: Mandatory
They're the best, most iconic and most common games on the system. They're not literally the five best games, but if you own an NES you literally need to own these. You could be very happy with little else.

1. Super Mario Bros 3
2. The Legend of Zelda
3. Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt
4. Super Mario Bros 2
5. Tetris

UPDATE - 2nd Annual CMN Slowpitch Softball Fundraiser

UPDATE: I dug up every photo I could find from the past two years of Slowpitch Softball Fundraisers for the Children's Miracle Network, and stuffed them in an album for your viewing pleasure. Between these two events we raised more than $1000 dollars, and we're very excited to do it again next year!