We’ve all been called one. Maybe we even did the finger pointing ourselves. No matter the circumstance, at one point in our gaming careers, we have been called a “Fanboy”. I personally have lost count of how many times I was accused of pledging allegiance to only one brand. Whether I was defending the PS3, or condemning Microsoft’s greedy tactics, I have been donning the Fanboy cap everywhere I go. We all know that everything has it’s fans. From sports and music, to cars and cell phones. Fanboys, though, are a completely different beast. Normally I wouldn’t even pay attention to what a Mountain Dew fueled preteen thought of my gaming preferences, but calling me a fanboy is an insult I take very seriously, because fanboys are not real gamers, and it is time everyone admitted that to themselves.
I am not sure exactly when the whole concept of a fanboy leaked into the gaming world. I have tried to ask around, but most of the answers I get seem more like personal vendettas than real observations. I was told it truly began when the PS2 released and ruined the “awesome awesomeness” that was the Sega Dreamcast. One particularly disgruntled gamer told me it was when home consoles became the leading platform of choice for most gamers, and split the gaming world into two. And let’s not get into WHY fanboys are the way they are, since my innocent questions only received an onslaught of hatred for the competing console. Whatever the case may be, being a fanboy is not being “loyal”, nor is it something to be proud of. Fanboys give real gamers a bad name, and it needs to stop.
How is it fair to to call fanboys “gamers” when other gamers who do not purposely limit themselves because of a juvenile bias are forced to share that same name? Do you call both the movie watcher and the filmmaker “directors”? Of course you don’t, because only one of them truly directs. It is absurd on so many levels, yet all the fanboys seem content with how things are. Take gamer A): He owns all the Big 3 consoles. However, he prefers his Xbox 360 to the PS3 and the Wii. He’s played and enjoyed Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2, but will buy most of the multi-platform releases on his 360. Then Gamer B) He only own the PS3, and will deliberately go out of his way to bash any exclusive games on competing consoles and refuses to play anything that isn’t made for or by Sony.
I ask again, how is it fair that both those examples have to share the same name of “Gamer”? Maybe someone innocently prefers one console over another. Maybe someone simply can not afford to purchase all consoles. Maybe someone just doesn’t want a PS3 or a 360 because they feel they get all their gaming needs from whatever system they currently own. Are they fanboys? No. To be a fanboy you must willingly and knowingly refuse to partake in gaming on competing systems. This doesn’t mean that to be a real gamer you must play everything on all systems, we all have our preferences in the genres that we like to play. As long as you are open to new gaming experiences, regardless of what console they appear on, you can proudly pat yourself on the back. You are a Gamer, and no one can take that away from you.
Currently, I see no way to get through to fanboys. We want to accept them with open arms into the gaming world. Can you imagine a person who refuses to play a game like Mass Effect or Uncharted 2 simply because of a pathetic feud with anything that isn’t on his or her system of choice? The amazing experiences that await them are astounding. If only someone was able to get though to them and show them that being a gamer isn’t about whose console has the best exclusives. It’s about the community, and discovering new experiences. You can’t appreciate that when you only allow yourself one true love.
Plus, I hear the 360 gives awesome headshots.