This week’s Wednesday Rant covers the topic of video game fanboys.

While gaming fanboyism has been around for a long time (think Atari vs Intellivision), it didn’t really start in earnest until the famous “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” campaign.  This ad campaign is what set video game fanboyism as we currently know it in motion, and although the major players have changed, the same arguments are still being made: this system is more powerful than that system, this system has an exclusive series that other system doesn’t, etc.  My only question is…what’s the point?

The reasoning

'Tis a beautiful thing.

Have you ever asked a video game fanboy why they play games only on certain platforms?  Most of the time, they do nothing more than regurgitate a list of talking points over and over again…kind of like politics.  Fanboys, much like those with similar one-sided political philosophies, band together and swap around the same ideas without considering the opposing view.  The video game fanboy circle jerk (just like with politics) can take a rational thinking person and turn them into sheep within moments.  Mob mentality rears its influential head everywhere in the gaming world; the influence could be a friend, or a family member, or an ad campaign…but the cause is irrelevant, as the end result is the same.

Oh, you didn’t get to play that game?

Whether it’s Nintendo vs Sega, Microsoft vs Sony, or PC vs Console, many gamers stick with only one brand or platform, the rest of them be damned.  Now, this is fine if you’re limited by finances or, if you’re younger, by what your parents are willing to purchase for you.  This is also fine if your friends get a certain console, and you want to get the same one so you can play along with them.

That being said, if the reason isn’t money, age, or social circle nuances…what’s the point?  How is artificially limiting the number of games you get to experience a good idea?  You, as a gamer, stand to lose a lot by refusing to play games on a variety of platforms.  One can argue against certain design decisions (the lack of a guaranteed hard drive in the 360, the Wii’s overabundance of waggle, the PS3′s insane software updates, the PC’s endless upgrade cycle), but these design decisions shouldn’t be used as a negative label applied to everything the system has to offer.  Every system (especially this generation) has its awesome titles that make it worth owning.  Yes, that includes the Wii; Muramasa: The Demon Blade alone should be enough to convince you to buy one.

Buy a Wii. Now.

Where the debate gets a little blurry is the one between PC and consoles.  Hardcore PC gamers are mad at the console world for primarily these reasons:

  • Consoles become out of date very quickly (compared to PC hardware), thus artificially limiting the growth of technical complexity in gaming.
  • Many PC games have become nothing more than console ports, which are often shoddily done.
  • Since the console market has quickly outgrown the PC game market, the number of retail PC exclusives that are released has been slowly dropping…which has accelerated in the past five years.

These are valid points, firmly rooted in reality and made by examining facts.  Still, by refusing to own or play consoles, PC gamers miss out on a lot of great console exclusives.  I know there is a sense of purity amongst hardcore PC enthusiasts, but come on, let’s face it…we’re still gamers.  Being challenged and having fun are the main reasons we game; being surly about what platform someone uses to be challenged and have fun is a waste of time.

Conclusions

Our N64 collection.

I have been both a PC and a console gamer for a long time now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that it doesn’t matter what system is the most powerful, which company has the best slogan, or any other argument that fanboys tend to get into.  The only thing that matters is playing as many games as possible.