|Posted on August 23, 2009 at 4:40 PM|
There is a slight sense of ambiguity in the title regarding the word "fanboy." I was going to post a definition of what a fanboy is to begin this rather jumbled melange of ramblings I call a blog, but after going through the likes of Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia, I found that most, really, are completely wrong and, sadly,written by assholes who have no understanding of the term and, instead,put up definitions that have about as much of a point as Glen Beck did when he claimed Barack Obama was a racist. In fact, I would probably say the mindset is the same, but the term asshole is more fitting for all of the above: Glen Beck, a given, morons who post on the internet and, strangely enough, fanboys.
n. Vulgar Slang
1. The anus.
2. A thoroughly contemptible, detestable person.
3. The most miserable or undesirable place in a particular area.
Anyways, that'll have to do. On to the subject at hand. For those unfamiliar with the term, "fanboy" often describes a die-hard fan of something (usually a comic/game/team/brand etc...). They're often incredulous of anything outside their self-contained circle and at the same time have a vast knowledge of whatever it is they so greatly love, defend, and die for which often causes a false sense of superiority. Whatever faults something might have is oblivious to them, and any attack on whatever they are a fan of is taken as a personal attack on themselves.They're emotional, often irrational, and rarely are able to be intelligent in their defense or critiques of others due to their obliviousness and ignorance. The internet has caused this group to explode into astronomical proportions.
But it didn't arrive with the internet. In fact, many of what is or is not a "fanboy" can be traced back to comics and comic books. However, I feel that to go over the entire history of "fanboyism" is a little much, so I decided to concentrate on the fanboy mentality that is so prominent in videogames and why being a fanboy has turned from a praised title into an insult.
Back in the early 1990s there was this lovely time known as the "console wars." It came down to Nintendo and Sega and their Super Nintendo and Genesis system respectively. Most people, often kids and teenagers at the time and the adult gamer still rather rare, only owned one videogame system. Aline was drawn at schools and people soon became fans of, and identified with, hunks of plastic. It was what they had, what they bought, and if anyone talked bad about it, they were wrong. Most didn't have both, making their choice that much more important when they either saved up for one or their parents bought it for them.
That playground mentality followed videogames and consoles for the following generations leading all the way up to today. The "wars" got particularly bad with the release of the Playstation, taking much of the thunder from Sega, somewhat alienating their fanbase, and opening the doors to the "casual gamer" (non die-hard gamers that play occasionally and make up most of the market today) game market through smart advertising, affordable gaming and a "cool" factor that suckered in the 1990s teen crowd.
Now those kids are adult,which is why the gamer demographic has become older, but their playground antics are no different than when they were 11 or 12. Once the internet hit, the term "fanboy" became the norm to describe those that so vehemently took side?all over little pixels and pieces of plastic. They're often elitist, feel superior than anyone and try their best to showcase their love and superiority of the system of their choice (and thus the company of their choice which they also defend,making brand recognition far more important than it really should be considering the subject being defended).
Before we continue, note that in the comic book world "fanboy" is not nearly as degrading, usually because die-hard comic fans, while dorkish, yes, at least don't do what we're about to show videogame fans do - be completely ignorant and insulting. "Fanboy" also isn't nearly as degrading in the movie circles either, such as with the most well-known circle of fanboys known as "Trekkers" who's biggest rival, Star Wars,is probably something they also love. They merely prefer Star Trek and rarely, if ever, look to insult Star Wars and its fans (and vice-versa).
It likely has to do with the whole "geekdom" of it all. Geeks are, after all, rather passive creatures and get along well with each other. In their natural environment, all they need to sustain themselves are costumes,memorabilia, big smiles and lots of soda. In the world of videogames,though, you have a much more eclectic and varying demographic and because it's no longer niche and selective has allowed for the growing videogame fanboy to fester in its lack of values. In Part II, we?ll betaking a look at the specific problems videogame "fanboys" cause and why "fanboy" has turned into something so disparaging than something that, at one time, was celebrated?not to mention why "asshole" is a far better label for these groups of people.
Part II coming soon...