Cold Dark Heart

Cold Dark Heart
The Fallacy of the Fanboy

Matt Meyers | 3 Aug 2010 13:00
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Gamers are always embroiled in bitter feuds with one another. From the playground to the pregame lobby, we continually divide ourselves into opposing factions and debate our viewpoint. I discuss the merits of consoles over PCs with the same intensity as I use when I argue over Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. Today, finding out if a person is friend or foe is as easy as asking "Horde or Alliance?" We will hurl arguments, statistics, insults, anecdotal evidence, and every fallacy in the book in favor of our opinion. This fury extends to game studios as well; in the end, no one is safe from the righteous indignation of a gamer.

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Yet, all this damned negativity is, at its core, optimistic. We want the community to support the right kinds of games, genres, and studios, and we want studios to create the right kinds of products. We shout, petition, and boycott because we want to send a message about how a game ought to be created. We are argumentative because we are acutely aware, perhaps more than other sub-cultures, that being right is not enough; there must be a mass movement to affect change.

However, fanboys are not part of this productive, healthy debate. A fanboy only criticizes in order to bolster the apparent superiority of his favorite products. He brushes away problems and ignores valid objections. He can be found nearly everywhere and in varied forms. But any normal gamer knows that his opinions are harmful. He can turn any discussion into a caps-locked shoutfest, and any legitimate critique of a game or studio is soon thrown out the window.

A fanboy is a negative weight on the gaming community because he only seeks to maintain; he does not want to investigate and thereby shed his preconceived notions about what is the right direction for the industry. He fashions himself as an elitist who is "in" on some secret truths that other, less informed gamers could never understand. Those who have not taken a sip from the punch simply do not get it.

The dichotomy between fanboys and gamers can apply to gamers and non-gamers as well. Just as fanboys do not care about the community's opinion at-large, gamers tend to disregard the opinions of non-gamers on videogames as uninformed or meaningless. Jack Thompson is, to many, anti-game fanaticism personified. He has led the crusade against videogames through litigation and support of anti-game legislation. Though he was disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court in 2008, a poignant culmination in a distressing saga, the gaming community's reaction against him is still the best example of gamers' general fanboyism.

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