A few months ago, I wrote a feature about the things that are wrong with the gaming industry on the whole. Some of that had to do with the games themselves, some of it had to with the journalists that covered and reviewed them, and some of it had to do with the gamers that played them. In terms of gamers that are hurting gaming and its culture unknowingly, console and even PC fanboys rank right at the top.
What is a fanboy? A fanboy used to be someone that just played and loved their system or machine exclusively. I think we’ve all done this at some point in our lives. I remember loving the Sega Genesis and the Nintendo 64 and being just fine with not owning the rival systems.
However, somewhere along the line, things changed. It wasn’t just enough to love your system and be happy with it. You had to defend it with vitriol. You had to argue for it without reason or ration. You had to die on every hill for every mediocre game that came out for your system exclusively. Where did it all go wrong?
I really wish I could answer that question. While I’ve been guilty of fanboyism a few times in my life, that childish notion ultimately got put behind me as soon as I wanted games the other system had. Even though I loved my Genesis, I went over to my best friend’s house to play Super Nintendo every other day. And I eventually did get a Playstation to complement my Nintendo 64. Heck, I was a pretty rabid Sony supporter after that for the Playstation 2, but ended up getting both an XBox and a Gamecube to play some of those exclusive titles as well.
To me, fanboys are so destructive to the gaming community because they’re out for themselves instead of, I don’t know, the good of video games. You see, if just one console “wins” or completely destroys another, it hurts the future of video games, and the kinds of video games that can be made for us to enjoy. Likewise, fanboys don’t care about what games are actually good on other systems, they just want to see their console of choice justified. They want someone to hand them a trophy in the annual “You’re Right Awards”, which only exist in their minds.
It’s the same with anything really. Sports teams and politics come to mind. People just like to be right, and will support any moronic thing in order to be on what they view as the winning side at the end of the day. However, fanboyism in politics actually make sense to me because it’s about things that matter, and sports teams are about rooting on your home town or school. Video game fanboys are just a different beast, and an ugly stupid lumbering beast at that. Why? Because being a console fanboy is about supporting a company, and not a cause or home town.
Let’s get real. Video game companies don’t care about you sitting in your living room having fun. They care about their bottom line, and that’s how much money you are putting into their pockets. The fact that people choose allegiance to these guys above the medium itself is completely ridiculous to me. They would rather be right in their console pick than play all of the great games that are available to them. They would rather nobody played awesome games so long as they got to keep it for themselves.
PC fanboys are a different breed, really, but in the end it’s the same. For some reason, they’ve decided that playing games in one particular fashion trumps all others, even if there’s a great game to be had on a “lowly” console. Yes, PC games are better at controlling things like FPS games and anything in the RTS genre.
But come on, you can’t deny that there have been some great shooters on console, and when’s the last time a truly ground breaking RTS came out anyway? I get so tired of reading PC fanboy comments about how consoles suck and how PC is where it’s at. I’m sorry, but I don’t think building a $500-$1000 dollar rig every two to three years to play Valve games and MMO’s (because that’s all that’s really worth playing on PC these days) makes for the best gaming system ever.
The truth is, none of these methods of playing are the best. Fanboys need to grow up and realize that. I’ve gotten so annoyed lately with all the discussions, particularly with PS3 and XBox 360 fanboys. One of the recent ordeals is that the graphics on Ghostbusters are supposedly better on the 360, which has lead to no end of moronism coming from the XBots out there, spouting garbage about the superiority of their system and how crappy the GayStation is. Just as classy as all the teabaggers on Live.
Likewise, Sony fanboys have gotten so defensive and reactionary, they flock to Web sites (Edge’s review of Killzone 2, for instance) to spew their weak defenses for a game that isn’t worth dying over. I mean, seriously, Killzone 2 is not the thing you should hinge your system love on, it just looks ignorant. Wii fanboys really aren’t quite as bad, but I think they’re at least a little more humble because they don’t have quite as solid ground to stand on. The rest of us should probably take more cues from them.
The funny thing is, if Halo came out on PS3, Sony fanboys would go crazy and shout about how they won a great victory, even though they trash Halo daily. It’s the same thing we saw when Final Fantasy XIII and the next MGS were announced for the 360, the XBots rejoiced at some supposed coup that Microsoft pulled off. It’s all such nonsense, really. When did we stop caring about games instead of what system we played them on?
For me, I’ve got the PS3 and the 360 and love them both. Do I play one of them more? Sure. But I imagine that’s going to change several times over the next few years. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter to me which one is “better”. I’m not insecure enough that I need someone to validate the choices I’ve made with my money. I just play my games and enjoy myself. Fanboys should try doing the same.
So what do you guys think? Does fanboyism annoy you? Is there any fanboy out there that’s particularly irritating? Go!