Editorial: Gamers Replace Boasting With Hostility
This may be another one of those "it's just me" scenarios, so I'm wondering if others have noticed a disturbing - and relatively new - trend in the video game world.
Look, there have always been fanboys. Back in the day, when consoles were more expensive than they are now (taking inflation into account), and our parents were reluctant to buy more than one platform, we had to choose between the Colecovision and Intellivision or the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Rarely did I know anyone in school who had more than one system, which is what initially bred the very first generation of fanboys. Now, as everyone here well knows, I despise the word and I despise the type of person who assumes such a label; they're bad for the industry in general, and I typically want to jam a shrimp fork in their eye. Refusing to play certain games due to brand-name loyalty has got to the most irrational and idiotic sentiment in the entertainment world today. However, back then, it was kinda like, "yeah, I have the SNES and it's better than your Genesis." Then the two would argue as kids tend to do.
The problem is, those kids have grown up (well, that's debatable), and they're still arguing...except the difference is that instead of the aforementioned statement, it's "the Genesis sucks." It's about bashing, not boasting. It's about attacking. It's about hostility. It's about "you're an idiot because you bought that," not "I'm awesome because I have this." Some may not see the obvious distinction, but I sure as hell do. The bottom line is that I remember a lot of loyalists and debate in the old days, but I don't recall so much in the way of nastiness or ugliness, which seems to infest every message board on earth (except ours, of course ;)). Why is it now hip to hate? All the crap floating around about system wars and all that is not only ignorant - it has always been ignorant - but now it's so disgusting, no normal human can handle it for more than ten consecutive seconds. It just seems to me that these people are so unhappy; it's as if they're secretly pissed that they voluntarily restrict themselves, and they need to take it out on someone.
Rather than explaining just how great Gears of War 2 is, Xbox 360 fans only want to bash the PS3. Rather than talking about great MGS4 is, PS3 fans only want to bash the 360. Why? Perhaps it's a reflection of the times; perhaps everyone really is more unhappy than they were 20 years ago, and maybe the Internet simply breeds and even cultivates hostile behavior. But while I'm quite certain we'll never get rid of the fanboys, I would much rather have the kind who love to boast rather than the kind who toss sh** at the opposition. Even here, where we attentively regulate the Comments - thereby creating an intelligent, informed community that typically debates and doesn't feature flame wars - those who sign up just to cause problems only use hate as their weapon of choice. No Xbox 360 fan has ever signed up to post something like, "LAMLAMLAM; the 360 has Gears 2, way better online, and at least it's affordable!" No, they sign up to post, "LAMLAMLAM, PS3 sales suck and nobody cares about Blu-Ray!" Both individuals will get the insta-ban treatment, of course, but one I despise far more than the other.
And sadly, all I see is the same type. The haters. What is causing this horrid streak of unbelievably rude behavior? I'd like to believe the theory I mentioned before; that the fanboys are starting to realize just how mocked and derided their lot is, and just how much they're missing by limiting themselves. You can't experience everything great this industry has to offer if you're a fanboy; plain and simple, and maybe they're starting to recognize this. Maybe they can't do anything about it, so they take their frustration out on others. Who knows? All I know is that I miss the days when taking pride in your choice vastly superseded bashing on another's. That's all. 'shrugs'
12/12/2008 Ben Dutka