The Disgusting, Repulsive, Revolting Rise of Game Fanboyism

June 1, 2011

Editorials

In the previous installment of this editorial article series, R17 discussed the topic of console fanboyism and how it has a negative impact on the market and the gaming community as a whole. Most of us have dealt with such fanboys and know how they can ruin a good time. I know I may catch some flak for this (bring it), but console fanboys aren’t the only threat to our right to enjoy our games; there’s also the game fanboys, the annoyingly loyal players to a specific video game franchise due to catchy references or gameplay content.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my share of references and quotes. I’m guilty of letting out the occasional “giggidy” or “that’s what she said!” when appropriate (as appropriate as that can possibly be). Note the key word: appropriate. Tact is the name of the game here, knowing the right and wrong time to mutter something. I may have been a bit liberal making jokes as a kid, and my comedic skill was a bit unrefined, but like most anybody else, with age comes wisdom. Unfortunately, fanboys seem to be lacking this wisdom, preferring to keep themselves absorbed in the world of their favorite video games by making chronic references to it, to the constant annoyance of anyone who isn’t on the same bandwagon as them. Fanboys represent the sheep of the gaming industry, with their video games as the shepherd.

I can think of very few examples better than the Portal fanboys. You’ve probably seen at least one of these, whether it’s one of your friends or a random internet forum-goer. Portal contained a lot of cryptic messages throughout, especially mentioning a mysterious and insidious…cake. Most players, myself included, boil this down to a simple plot device, making the player feel like something is very, very wrong at the Aperture Science facility. And as soon as the game was shut off, so was the cake, at least for me. But apparently, not everyone can live without the cake-on-a-stick, lying just out of reach of the rapt fanboys. I swear to God, I can’t go to some friends’ birthday parties anymore; I’m just sick of the over-analysis of a simple baked treat. Maybe I’m not concerned about a delicious confection feeding me false information. Maybe I just want a scrumptious slice of chocolate-frosted yellow cake. Paraphrasing Freud, sometimes a cake is just a cake. And for these fanboys, his books come highly recommended. These fanboys are living with a case of self-inflicted paranoia and are perfectly happy for it.

There’s also the creepy, eerily upbeat song players are treated to after beating the game, “Still Alive” (not to be confused with the Mirror’s Edge theme; I’d listen to Lisa Miskovsky’s voice over GLADOS’s any day). The synthesized voice’s verses about revenge and the irrelevance of death were worth a few chuckles the first time, and served as a perfect outro to the game. Unfortunately, not everyone can disconnect themselves from the game’s universe after that point. It’s always an unpleasant surprise when Still Alive pops up on a friend’s MP3 player or is chosen in a full multiplayer session of Rock Band. And yet, these fanboys relish it – the sick, psychotic undertones hidden by an eerily pleasant tune. How could anyone listen to it on a frequent basis? It’s enough for me to consider removing “still alive” from my vocabulary, for fear of stupid giggling or singing in response.

In spite of this, the winner for worst fanboy has got to go to the World of Warcraft. I’ll be the first to admit that I used to be an avid WoW player, up until the early days of Wrath of the Lich King. But one thing that constantly drove me away was the attitude that a lot of players had. An MMO like WoW lives and dies by its community, and unfortunately it’s one whose members enjoy insulting and belittling each other in. What makes the fact even worse is that WoW doesn’t even have a united fanboy player base; instead, they’re stubborn and ignorant, preferring to stay independent and put down others for their opinions about anything and everything in the game – faction, race, class, gear, you name it. “Learn2Play” became the go-to response for anyone who dares to disagree with something a fanboy represents. It was so bad that one of WoW’s top moderators voluntarily quit, with a heated forum post as his farewell letter. He described how much he hated how people with genuine problems seeking help are met with belligerence and insults, and refused to work with a game housing such a community. Eventually, I figured out that WoW wasn’t for me anymore, and following suit, I quit. I haven’t looked back.

What’s even more disappointing is that Blizzard, the company behind the phenomenon, doesn’t try to do anything to fix this issue, but actually perpetuates it. Now I love Blizzard, they’re a great company that makes awesome games. I’m an avid StarCraft II player and I played Diablo II for years. But I’m also surprised at their willingness to sell out to their players, who can pay for iPhone apps to check their in-game transactions and keep in contact with guild members. One of them, in fact, the Armory app, performs a function you can get for free by visiting the WoW web site. Why would you charge for it? And eyes have rolled when they released WoW Mountain Dew; its Alliance- and Horde-themed flavors were sure to spark petty debates. “Cherry is OP, buff Berry flavor.” “Berry is fine, Learn2Drink.” Ugh. My choice of fruit flavor shouldn’t have to represent which faction’s camp I’m in. Hell, I’m not in either; sometimes I just gotta do the Dew. And I’ll thank the fanboys to leave me out of their nonsensical politics. There’s a life outside your house, Learn2Live.

I guess there isn’t much to say in closing that hasn’t been emphatically described above, or in R17’s article. Fanboys have had an effect on most of us gamers at some point and will continue to have a negative impact on the gaming industry. Don’t let it happen to you. Do you have any fanboy stories you’d like to spill? Leave it in the comments section belooooow!

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About Argus9

Jonathan ‘Argus9′ Zisser has been an avid gamer for over 20 years. His early years of playing the NES with his father helped springboard his interest in gaming, and has eventually matured into an avid following for the gaming industry. Studying Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University also gave him insight into the more technical side of video games. A passionate writer as well, Jonathan loves conveying his experiences and opinions by creating engaging articles as often as possible. More often than not, he tries to break down today’s industry and write editorials that make his readers think.

View all posts by Argus9

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2 Comments on “The Disgusting, Repulsive, Revolting Rise of Game Fanboyism”

  1. Damian Delafosse Says:

    Great Article man, but how come you didn’t mention the feud between Battlefield and COD fanboys. It’s run rampant on youtube and on every video involving the two series.

    Reply

    • argus9 Says:

      Thanks, to be honest I wrote this article looking back at my previous experiences with fanboys. I choose not to follow the debate between COD and Battlefield, because honestly, they’ll both be good games. People should just choose which they prefer and respect others’ choices. It’s not like choosing one game over the other has any major impact on your enjoyment of your favorite game.

      Reply

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