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Some people think they can just slam out a few hundred words on what they think of a videogame and share their impressions with the world. They are wrong. Reviews – professional or otherwise – exist to be judged by fans of the series, and people must prove their worth to the faithful.

So there you are, surfing the internet and minding your own business when you see somebody has written something criticizing a game you love. Now, you’re a busy fan. You’ve got things to do and you’d probably rather just spend your time enjoying the game than arguing about it, but you have a certain obligation to set things right. Specifically, this person is obviously an idiot and you shouldn’t move on without letting them know.

But where to start? People who refuse to love a game as awesome as yours are staggering morons and nine out of ten thoughts that escape their malfunctioning brains are likely filled with confusion and error. Straightening out someone like that could be a full-time job, so be judicious with your arguments. Try to enforce these simple rules:

You’re not allowed to review games you know you won’t like.

Why review a game if it’s not for you? If you’re not going to like a game, then don’t play it. Leave the reviews to the true fans.

You’re not allowed to have an opinion on a game until you’ve played it.

It’s unfair to judge a game before it comes out, or to decide you don’t want to get a game when you haven’t tried it. For a reviewer, this is incredibly unprofessional. Reviewers that do this are just attention-starved hacks.

Nobody should say anything negative about a game until they’ve played it themselves and have formed an opinion. Until then, they should only be allowed to say nice things.

You’re not allowed to judge games by their stories.

Remember that it’s not a plot hole if you can come up with a justification for it later. If you can, it just means the story is “ambiguous” or “thought provoking”. It also means you’re smarter than the hater. Remind him of this.

Besides, games aren’t about story. Their stories don’t need to be good. If you want story, go read a book. Games are about gameplay.

You’re not allowed to judge games by their single-player gameplay.

When haters complain that the gameplay is poor, all they’re really saying is that they suck at the game. They’re terrible at playing and probably died a thousand times in the tutorial. Maybe they just suck too bad to see how awesome the game is? It’s the job of the player to make the game fun, not the game designer.

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You’re not allowed to judge games by their multiplayer gameplay.

Maybe this game is more about the story and atmosphere. Did they ever think of that? Remind them that the story is a lot better if they would bother to read the book / see the movie.

It’s also not fair to criticize a multiplayer game if the community is horrible. That’s not the game designer’s fault.

You’re not allowed to fault a game for being too realistic.

We’ve grown out of Pac-Man. Some games require you to think and not just shoot everything that moves. So the game is confusing and frustrating. So is life. Deal with it.

You’re not allowed to fault a game for being unrealistic.

Games are about having fun. If that means that your character regenerates health when yodeling and kobolds drop glowing assault rifle ammo, then so be it. If you want the real world so bad then turn off the game and go outside.

You’re not allowed to criticize a game unless you’ve played the entire series.

It’s a simple rule. If you didn’t play the first eight installments going all the way back to 1993, plus the handheld versions, the rail-shooter spinoff, the MMO, and the next-gen remakes, then your opinion is invalid. You’re not allowed to form opinions or discuss the game until you know what you’re talking about.

You’re not allowed to criticize a game because the graphics are too primitive.

Don’t be such a graphics snob. Games are about gameplay, not graphics. If you want good graphics go watch Avatar again.

You’re not allowed to criticize a game because the graphics are too advanced.

This is 100% the fault of the player. Either your PC sucks, or you foolishly got the game for one of the two inferior consoles. It’s not the fault of the game that you were too stupid or poor to get the right machine.

(Remember that it’s okay to make fun of the poor when talking about game consoles. It’s rude to tell people in Mozambique that they should buy a humvee if they hate walking two miles every day to get water, but it’s fine to laugh at someone who is out of work and can’t afford hundreds of dollars of gaming hardware.)

Above all, to be a fanboy (or girl, we’re elitist not sexist) you must remember that everyone should have the exact same interests and personal tastes as you. If someone dosen’t like a good game, it means they’re stupid or that they suck, and that you need to let them know about that. Using the internet. Which is why it was invented in the first place.

Shamus Young is the guy behind Twenty Sided, DM of the Rings, Stolen Pixels, Shamus Plays, and Spoiler Warning. Beat that, fanboy.

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