For and Against: Fanboyism • Page 3

Fahey vs. Minkley.

You know what you're doing? You're clogging the airwaves. Screwing up the signal to noise ratio with your tiresome, meaningless flamewars, your pointless leaping to the defense of globe-spanning corporations who couldn't give a damn if you were slaughtered in your bed tonight, were it not for the fact that then you'd stop emptying your wallet into their cavernous bank accounts.

I guess this is fun for you, although let's be honest here - it doesn't say a lot for your argument if you spend more time posting on the internet about the sexual orientation of other console owners than actually playing games on your own system.

It's not that we don't all understand your motivation. You just spent a hell of a lot of money on a console and some games and, dammit, you're not going to let some other angry kid on the internet slag off your purchase.

At least not without exacting sweet, sweet revenge, probably in the form of spelling the name of their favoured company "$ony" or "Micro$oft". Boom! Pow! Knock-out punch! (What a shame there's no S in Nintendo - first fanboy to crack that tough cookie is an internet superhero.)

Of course, real fanboys have grown out of ascribing anthropomorphic sexualities to inanimate gaming hardware. They've packed up their $ signs and clever rhyming puns featuring the word "gay" and moved into the comments threads about Serious Business, like quarterly financials and profit forecasts and corporate lawsuits and pixel shaders and alpha transparencies and shadow mapping and cabbages and kings.

Let's face facts - you don't know a damned thing about any of that stuff. Not really. You've read a few articles on the internet, and you've seen some phrases repeated often enough that you can blab them back out again like a parrot (possibly with some extra swearing added to show just how serious this all really is).

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On the plus side, a haircut like this should act as a very powerful contraceptive.

But if you really understood market economics, or corporate law, or modern graphics processing hardware... Well, you'd be earning a lot more money, you'd be able to afford to buy all the consoles you wanted, and you wouldn't have to engage in competitive online urination contests to prove the worthiness of your purchasing decisions.

The problem for the rest of us - the reason you're an annoyance, not just an amusement - is that you make so much bloody noise the games media, the whole conversation around games, ends up catering to you.

Online discourse has changed in the past five years. Stories about corporations and graphics chipsets have edged out the opportunity to actually talk about games, about what they do and how they do it and where they're going and where we'd like them to go. Those discussions are still happening, but they're happening on the fringes. In the middle ground is a pack of bizarre, braying lunatics.

You've turned discussion about videogames into a weird, mirror-world parody of itself. Reading a gaming forum or comment thread (sadly, even reading a lot of games publications themselves) has become like turning up to a book festival, keen to discuss this year's best literature, only to discover that everyone else there is an insane bore.

An insane bore who only wants to talk about the fonts and paper types used to print the books, or who insists on only reading books published by Penguin - and loudly casts aspersions upon the bedroom peccadilloes of anyone who reads books published by Random House. Or should I say, Random Hou$e! Bash! Boom! Take that, Random House book-reading bottom-pirates!

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Of course, back in the day we had PROPER, IMPORTANT console fanboy wars.

Yes, I recognise the irony of referring to books in an article addressing a demographic unlikely to have read any without pictures. I embrace it.

I love videogames. My own enthusiasm for them is almost boundless. That's why you, the fanboy - the loudmouth with unwavering passion for arguments but not for creativity, for insults but not artistry, for denigrating the joys of others but never truly exploring your own - are such a damned disappointment.

You type so much and say absolutely nothing. You attract enemy radar. You nudge people while they're trying to shoot. You muck about.

Finally, worst of all, the fanboy is a boring gamer. He is devoted to specific genres, set in his ways, despising and deriding change or progress, yet always quick to bemoan the industry's "lack of innovation".

This isn't healthy enthusiasm. This isn't something we should celebrate as a sign of the passion gaming can induce.

You fanboys are just loud kids, most of whom wouldn't dare to say boo to a goose in real life, rejoicing in wearing team colours and getting to call the other team "gay" from the anonymous safety of your messy bedrooms. You've invaded our hobby, flooded our conversations with braying inanity, and twisted the media to your way of unthinking.

Frustratingly, you didn't even read this - you got to the bottom of the page, didn't see a score, and clicked away. That's the kind of person you are. If only you'd click away for good.

Cast Your Vote

Well, there you have it. Are you in favour of flame war-starting fanboys and console racists? Do you think they keep the industry alive? Or would you rather the internet became a bit more like Newsnight Review?

(Personally we'd rather Newsnight Review became more like the internet - imagine Tony Parsons telling Tom Paulin to eat some dix, n00b. But anyway.) Have your say below!

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