Editorial: The Fanboy Never Wins
If you didn't already know, if you're too far lost in your parents basement, if you haven't stepped outside and sampled more of the real world (or more of the geek world), you probably don't know that the fanboy invades just about all entertainment venues. Oh, they're there, all right, and they work diligently to make things worse for everyone who simply loves that particular form of entertainment. But why do they seem to be so much worse in the game realm? And why is the new fanboy far worse than the old fanboy? To say fanboyism is just another adolescent superiority complex thinly veiled as "loyalty" is, in all actuality, an understatement. These days, fanboyism is more about making other people feel stupid than it is about blindly backing a certain brand or product. The fanboys lost back when they tried to prove "theirs" was better than "yours," and they're losing even more now by trying to browbeat everyone around them by accusing the "opposition" of being clueless retards. In the end, the fanboy, regardless of the venue or time period, never wins.
Thankfully, our loyal readers here at PSXE know very well we're not a fansite, and just because we focus on the PlayStation brand, we're not ignoring the bad news and only posting the good. We're a legitimate gaming site and we aim to keep it that way; we're the single best source for PlayStation-related news and content on the Internet (oh, 'tis true), but we do not endorse PlayStation over any other brand for any reason. I own a Xbox 360, just like I owned the original Xbox, and I never understood the fanboy idiocy even back in the golden days of the SNES vs. the Genesis. I had both, and even if you didn't have both (perhaps your parents couldn't afford it, and I completely understand that), it didn't mean "yours" was better than "theirs." Don't we have enough of this crap in the real world? And yet, generation after generation, era after era, we get the same bullsh**. Normally, I would've come to accept this as a matter of course in the industry, but like I said above, the reason they lose now is due to their unbelievable hostility.
Before, more people were likely to compare the best of "their" platform to the best of the "competition's" platform. You know, like the SNES and Mario and the Genesis had Sonic. That type of thing. But now, it's more like just slamming on another console's games rather than promoting the games on your own personal selection. Why is that? Why are the System Wars firmly cemented in aggression and negativity? I'd hate to equate this kind of behavior to video games (that'd just be more ammunition for the anti-game factions of the world), but I'm having difficulty understanding this relatively new phenomenon. And worst of all, it's nigh-on unavoidable. These people are everywhere. They even pop up on our site in the Comments section once in a while with the express purpose of slamming the Xbox 360 and/or Wii, even when the article in question has absolutely nothing to do with either console! They're just here to bash, and by the way, if you're thinking about doing that, bear in mind you'll be gone. Fast.
I love great games. I wouldn't care if I had to play GTAV on a freakin' toaster made by Milton Bradley. Logos and brand names mean nothing to me. I may say Sony consoles are far more reliable than Microsoft consoles, but that's not an opinion, and it's more like consumer intelligence and responsibility. But I'm not about to say the Wii is a piece of junk; it's probably the most reliable system out there. And that leads me to my primary point- the negativity, the hostility, the "new" fanboy losing in a new way...it all stems from a simple refusal to admit we're wrong about something. Nobody in this world ever accepts responsibility for anything, which is why the crux of this hostile fanboyism - pointing fingers; saying "your" big game is worse than "mine" - is easy to explain. To me, anyway. In the world of fanboyism, no concessions are ever made, which is why the debates are both mindless and ultimately pointless. Nobody on either side can ever be wrong.
And because they apparently don't know how to react in any other way, they simply attack the other person. Way back when, the fanboy promoted; now, the fanboy only attacks. And both times, they lose. But I'm far more upset about this new breed of fanboy, because rather than boastful, prideful, and egotistical, they come across as sullen, miserable, and nasty individuals. Before, I didn't mind being part of a group that included some ego-maniacs who paraded around in their Nintendo t-shirts and grinned mockingly at everyone else. Hell, it's better than dire personal threats and flaming all over the Internet when someone tells an Xbot that Halo isn't so great. And the person who said it likely runs around doing it all day long, just to get a rise out of the Xbots. It's ugly, stupid, and extremely disappointing. If you love games, great. If you prefer a certain console over another, fine. We all do. But when you come across someone with a different mindset, how about trying the approach of the olden days? The only slightly less stupid but far more civilized approach?
No attacking, just "yeah, I see your point, but the PS3 has this." Not, "no, that game just sucks and so do you." You want to erase some of the stereotypes that are still stuck to us even after 30 years? Stop acting even younger than most of you are, and if you must be a fanboy, do us all a favor and stop threatening to beat the opposition over the head with a shovel. Seriously. You'll still lose - thus, the name of this piece - but at least it won't be borderline sociopath behavior.
8/8/2008 Ben Dutka