These days, when one registers for a new gaming forum, meets up with fellow gamers at an event of some sort, or converses with a number of their friends, one tends to notice a trend. An overwhelming majority of the gaming populace is aligned with one (or two) of the three current-gen contenders. Often, if your views do not match theirs, you are cast out or singled out as an imbecile who must not know what they are talking about since (insert system here) is obviously the console of choice. Speaking with these individuals is nigh impossible, as many of them are stalwart supporters of their company and will back them 110%. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re going to do it in mature or healthy ways.
These are the people in chats and forums everywhere waiting for the errant remark about the Gaystation3 or how Final Fantasy 16 is never going to come to X system for X reasons. The very same souls will eat up anything their favorite system has to offer, even if it is less than stellar. They have to, or else it will make them less of a fan. At least, that’s how they see it. These are men and women who are missing out on spectacular releases all across the board, just because they can’t bring themselves to align with a different developer.
I’m talking about the fanboys and fangirls of gaming. There are so many different options for gamers of different types that, for some consumers, it can definitely boggle the mind. Which current-gen system do you choose? Do you want a PSP or a Nintendo DS, and why? What kind of PC do you want to get? Will it run Crysis? All these questions are standard fare for the employees who sell said items, because for those who are not knowledgeable about the gaming industry, it can become a very difficult choice to make. Unfortunately, you cannot approach just anyone with your questions and concerns about what is right for you, because extreme fanboys and girls are everywhere.
They’re lurking behind the counter at GameStop, ready to sell you a PS3 because that’s what they want you to have. "Of course it will play ALL of your old PS2 games," they’ll claim, to make Sony sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread. "Oh no, the RRoD is gone. Microsoft fixed it. Definitely." The 360 fans will, of course, deny that anything could possibly go wrong. And the Wii guys? "Nintendo is working on tons of awesome games!" I suppose that statement speaks for itself.
Fanboyism is causing one of the most tremendous rifts I’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing, and frankly, it’s a reprehensible mentality that needs to be taken care of, on the quick. The days where you could sit down and have a casual, quick chat about gaming without receiving death threats for mentioning you own an Xbox 360 seem to be fading away, and fast. Some might argue that their forums have no such activity going on, or that they don’t associate with those types of people. That’s well and good for them, but the fact remains that it has become a chore to have any semblance of real gaming conversation with strangers these days. Who really wants to try to talk about how great their last gaming session was when all your partner in conversation has to say is how much your Playstation 3 sucks? Not me.
Not only are these rabid supporters making obnoxious spectacles of themselves, but they are missing out on hordes of great games because they simply refuse to go outside of their boxes. For instance, Metal Gear Solid 4, while not everyone’s cup of tea, was a solid effort from Kojima, and some 360 loyalists will vehemently refuse to play it unless it gets ported to their favorite system. In all seriousness, these kinds of people will give no other reason other than the fact that they just don’t like Sony.
It’s a fact of life that favorites are going to be chosen. Let’s just face it: it really does come down to personal choice. With that said, in choosing, which console is actually the best? It’s impossible to decide. Unless you want to go by specs and features, you absolutely cannot come out and proclaim the Wii to be the overall champ of the current-gen consoles. It’s such an infantile way of thinking to declare that one system is somehow the winner of the console wars that gamers have been waging for years now. Yet, for some reason, it’s prevalent amongst gaming society as we know it.
Gaming consoles are a lot like food. There are a ton of different varieties that come in different styles, shapes, and sizes. There are different "flavors," if you will. It’s okay to choose one that you like to eat often, but are you really going to live off a steady diet of chocolate cake and macaroni and cheese for the rest of your life? It wouldn’t hurt you to try some exotic foods every now and then.
There is an astronomical amount of games out there. Why limit yourself to just one type, or just one way to play them? More importantly, why would you bash others just because they enjoy playing something different than you? One of the most cherished ideals about being a gamer, for me, is the fact that no matter what we play or how good we are at it, we all should feel like a family. We all share this passion, so why not support each other in doing so? I suppose that due to the nature of the gamer to be competitive, this is a rut that we will dig ourselves out of over time, but only with patience and understanding.
For now, I will be content with the cessation of threats of violence when publicizing the fact that I enjoy all of my consoles equally, and do not back one company over the other. You know why? They’re just games. Let’s all remember that, and get along, for goodness’ sake.