Fanboys, by definition in the video game industry, are the raving and rampant champions of their preferred system. Usually fanboys take up allegiance to a certain console and will not only buy pretty much anything that comes out for the system, but champion it across the battlefield of every major forum on the video game website front. They are the first line of defense against any game exclusively coming to one system or the other, and will usually show up in news posts to deride or defend the game; most of the time one that the world hasn’t even played yet. Logic is usually their worst enemy and they will attack you simply for owning a different system, not only insulting your system, but indeed your very way of life. Fanboys are a mean and nasty virus of contempt for anything they don’t own that are holding back the gaming community.
At this point you may be saying to yourself “Hey, screw this guy. Just because I love me some Nintendo, doesn’t mean I’m a troll and a blight on the industry.” You are correct good sir/ma’am; just owning a console and being happy with it does not make you a fanboy, merely a fan of something you love. You don’t usually broach fanboy status until you completely disregard, put down, or generally hate on any game that doesn’t come out on your system. That’s when you cross the line from a mere fan, to a raving forum lunatic.
To truly combat the fanboy we must first understand this creature of contempt. Usually I’ve found fanboys are forged out of a few key values that when combined together create a paragon of corporate loyalty. The biggest factor usually is that the person chooses a system at the start of the generation, cannot afford the others, and so to make themselves feel better about their purchase set out to tear everyone else down. Many of these people can’t afford all three consoles, or even two of them, so the standard buy both consoles argument will bounce off them like they were made of titanium. In defense of this I can completely understand. I don’t typically have a lot of disposable cash so one console a generation is usually enough for me, especially in this generation when exclusives are dwindling quickly and major releases come out on pretty much every platform. Still, while I may be envious, I don’t tear down a game simply because I don’t have the console to play it on.
The second factor can also be pretty important and can coincide or appear completely separate from the first factor. This is the almighty factor of nostalgia or brand loyalty, usually inspired because the system they first owned or the system that they enjoyed the most was the predecessor of the current console. You don’t see as many nostalgia driven 360 fanboys, due to the Xbox not being around as much, so this is usually more rampant in fanboys that fly the PlayStation and especially the Nintendo flag.
Third, and most annoying, is the person who really and truly doesn’t care about the console or game they are trashing. These individuals are there just to inflame the rage of fanboys and either vanish into the inter-webs like a troll ninja or stick around and continue to poke a bear in the zoo. These are probably the easiest to understand and the ones that have the least impact on the industry, but are the most annoying. Luckily they can be handily explained by John Gabriel’s Greater Internet F***wad Theory (Warning Strong Language: Link Here).
The damage to our gaming community is easy to see, all you have to do is click into any news post on just about any gaming website, but especially something about a game exclusive to one of the consoles. Immediately you’ll see not only personal insults, but people tearing down a game they’ve never played usually while throwing around some (to them) amusing words like Gaylo (Halo), Xbots (Anyone who would enjoy this game and owns an Xbox), Gaystation (Tear on Playstation) and a few others you don’t even want to see in print here. It makes people hesitant to post to even say they think the game looks great because invariably some fanboy will come along trying to tear them down. The attacks don’t always stay strictly on the game either, they are fast to devolve into personal attacks on an individual that the fanboy doesn’t even know.
The worst part may be that the game itself might be something the fanboy himself would even enjoy if he gave it a chance. However because it’s not from his chosen system or a developer he doesn’t care for he instantly will decide to hate it, going so far as to boycott and attack others over it, just to show his loyalty to a company that, quite frankly, couldn’t really care less about anything more then the consumer’s dollar. Worst still, is that these very vocal individuals are not only making themselves look bad, but the gaming community as a whole. Trolls in general seem to lurk everywhere in the gaming community, not only to strike out and offend people who only have one system or like an exclusive game, but to complain and whine every time anything doesn’t go how they think it should. Really it ends up making gamers look like mean and nasty internet inhabitants that are as whiny and entitled as they are close minded.
Now I’m not saying that the gaming community as a whole is worthless. For instance, here at theparanoidgamer.com, I think we mostly have an understanding and accepting group (a few bad apples not withstanding). There are those that disagree, even our own writers, but do so in a respectful and intelligent manner. Those of us that dislike a game for truly meaningful and real reasons, not just because Nintendo or Microsoft is publishing it; and that’s okay!
My point is not that we need to agree, it’s that we need to disagree in a better manner, and not just decide we hate something because it’s on our current system. We, as gamers, need to hold developers responsible for poor business decisions such as Day One DLC and vote with our wallets, rather than bash and deride people who enjoy a game for what it is, regardless of those practices. It’s sad that a very vocal group makes it harder for the rest of us, the real gamers that love games and not just the companies that sell them, to come across as an intelligent and respectful group that just truly love the medium that they’ve dedicated hundreds of hours of free time to. The people that will give any game on any system a shot and not just dismiss it because they might not own the console it resides on or decide for arbitrary reasons they have to hate the developer that puts the game out.
As a man who only owns an Xbox and a Wii, and can’t play the myriad of great exclusives on the PS3, I’d still like to quote a hilarious fake Sony Executive for my close.
“Because every gamer is a true gamer: motion gamers, sitting gamers, everyone. And though we may pledge fanboy allegiances to different flags, deep down inside we all serve one master, one king and His name is Gaming. FOREVER MAY HE REIGN!” ~ Kevin Butler