Gaming Fanboyism: A Necessary Evil

Shane Chandler February 23, 2011 0

Many a key on the collective keyboard has been pounded in the name of brand loyalty. As a gamer I can almost guarantee that you've come across your fair share of flag waving for a specific console, genre, or game. From any perspective on this opinion-laden battlefield, the act of even possessing such strong loyalty to merchandise seems somewhat absurd. Rather than try to be a peacemaker in this ridiculous war, I'm going to propose that you all keep on bickering because your intense quarreling is bringing about some amazing products.  

Since the days of the Atari and Intellivision, individuals have been claiming to possess the best technology or most powerful system. Interestingly enough, during the 1970's these intense claims came mostly from the companies themselves. Each system was supposedly packed with more capabilities and a larger quantity of bits. Ah yes the all powerful bit. What started as simply a way to conceptualize data stored turned into a marketing machine gun well into the age of Nintendo and Sega. Only the most hardcore of gamers took these marketing tools as messages to defend the honor of the company and system itself.

If you observe the timeline of video games from their birth to today, no one is more to blame for the creation of the fanboy than the companies themselves. Everyone who has ever owned a console knows the dramatic difference of emotions that wells up inside them when they see an advertisement for either their console or the competitions model. These feelings aren't crafted from our own sense of brand loyalty. They exist because as soon as you give your money to one specific company you are in turn funding the gaming war and choosing a side as far as the company is concerned. Some people take this choice to heart and wear their consumer decisions on their sleeve, literally.   

How is this strange attaching of oneself to a brand or item anything more than a nonsensical battle cry in a war we didn't create? It so happens that competition, while being capable of horrible things as well, is responsible for some amazing creations. The most prominent of these being when Nintendo and Sega decided to pit their consoles against each other with games alongside their slogans of personal aggrandizement. Whether or not you would die for Nintendo or Sega, probably not the latter anymore, one cannot argue that the original Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog were some of the most fun you've ever had with a videogame. Their simplistic awesomeness was matched in scale only by their loyal connection to their respective consoles. While it would have been great to have one main console to play both of these legendary games, these games and the characters they spawned would have never existed without the competition between companies.

The early days of gaming in which companies used every opportunity to pound their chests and claim dominance has given way to a new age of gaming in which, aside from a few pokes and prods between companies, most of these declarations of superiority are done by us the consumers. Every console has their own army of fanboys ready and willing to die for their honor. The irrational devotion to a box of plastic some gamers have is fine by me as long as console exclusive titles like Uncharted, Halo, or Gears of War keep being churned out. Cross-platform titles are great, but when a developer is told that they only have to develop a game for one system it gives them the opportunity to fully optimize every aspect of the game for that hardware. We're at another breakthrough in technological capabilities with the newly released Playstation Move and Xbox Kinect. Just think, if we had one central console there would never be more than one peripheral option to choose from.

I'm not going to sit here and judge you fanboys or tell you the ups and downs of each console. I'll leave all those superficial statements for someone who has the time to care about such trivial things. I just wanted all you fanboys and fangirls to know that I respect your crazy beliefs because without you we may have to deal with some peace in the marketplace. I think we all know how strange it is to see Mario and Sonic playing together. Let's keep arguing over the consoles and games we love and hopefully we won't have to see Master Chief and Solid Snake playing Uno together anytime soon.{jcomments on}

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