Unwavering devotion to a console-maker, franchise, or developer against all logic is a foreign concept to me, yet the fanboys are out there in droves lauding their favorite things even when it doesn't make sense. That's not to say that there's anything inherently evil about, say, wanting EA Black Box to greenlight another Skate game despite many, many shark-jumping overtures (including one moment in Skate 3 where you literally jump over a shark) or hoping Valve releases Half-Life 3 this decade. That kind of passion is not only generally healthy but also a good indication the developer has done a good job.
The problems begin when that passion transmogrifies into blind advocacy without any justifiable reason as to why. Take the Nintendo Defense Force as an example. In the late summer of 2010 when reviews of Metroid: Other M decried the odd storytelling devices surrounding Samus' character development, fans of the franchise lashed out at reviewers, in some cases calling for physical violence.
What could possibly possess a person to support a game to the level of using violence to defend it? How does that make sense? Was Samus your personal role model? Did she help you with your homework, read you bedtime stories, teach you to ride a bike? Help me understand.
Another example of mass hysteria can be seen following the release of Gran Turismo 5 when reviewers refused to see that it was perfect in every possible way imaginable. Poor souls. Never mind the fact that the game wasn't actually finished. Reviewers were obviously blind and patently biased.
And don't even get me started on Limbo's almost universal praise and the supposed disconnect between journalists and "real" gamers.
Where do all these zealots come from? It's as if taking the middle ground, praising a game or franchise for what it does right while lamenting its faults, is no longer a legitimately defendable position. These days, you're either a fanboy or you're not in the game, it seems.
Aside from the very trivial effects this has on message boards around the internet, there are some other very consequential economic reverberations this can have. When an army of fanboys come to the defense of a sub-par product based on "principle" (read: "credulity"; "nothing" is also a good substitute) there's no reason for the developer, publisher, or console-maker to put forth any more effort, especially if they have the sales numbers to back up their mediocre product. In fact, many games are purely meant to cash in on blindly loyal fan bases. Do you really want to defend these arrogant cash grabs?
So here's my solution: cut it out. Like, for real. I'm not saying that you have to like what everyone else likes, or that your purchasing habits need to change. All that really needs to change is the way you view your favorite players in the industry. They aren't infallible. Sometimes their games suck. Occasionally their competitors might even make a better game. The people that disagree with you might not have been dropped as children or exposed to high doses of radiation at a young age. And, yes, your favorite developers, publishers, and console-makers will attempt to use your loyalty to make a quick buck. Be just as passionate but with a generous helping of sense.
Just stop being a fanboy. In the long run, it only makes our games worse and fills our forums with mindless blather that no one reads anyway.
By Patriel Manning
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*