Friday, 15 July 2011

My game is better than your game, Hurr Durr.

You know what really pisses me off? Fanboyism. The aggravating habit of unwavering loyalty to your favourite movie, sport, clothing brand, etcetera. You can find fanboys, with the odd fangirl (or is it the other way around?) in almost any area of life that caters to consumers, and leisure time is no exception. In today's active and sometimes confusing world of the Internet and online gaming, people have come to expect more and more from their video games and gaming experiences as technology has advanced. We now have video game producers hiring professional voice actors, utilising motion capture and developing graphics technology that makes your jaw drop, among other things.

One genre in which the above and more is exceedingly evident nowadays is First Person Shooters. Before I continue, let it be known that I am not a regular player of FPSs. I am a sim racer at the core, and I get more out of hustling a virtual race car around a virtual race track than I would with anything else concerning gaming. Aside from the atmospheric single-player adventures such as the brilliant Halo and Half-Life series, and quick deathmatches with friends at a LAN party, I really don't care much for games in which you hold a virtual gun and spray bullets everywhere. This does not mean that I don't respect the popularity of this type of game - the ilk of Call of Duty and Battlefield are among the biggest-selling games of all time, and have by far the biggest following (bar MMOs such as World of Warcraft).

Unfortunately, the huge following of FPSs means that there is bound to be a higher percentage of stupid people that happen to be more vocal than the intelligent ones. These are what we refer to as “Fanboys”; those who swear alliegance to their chosen game, and who verbally crush those who dare to oppose it. One only needs to look at the official Facebook page for the upcoming Battlefield 3 to see a prime example of what I am talking about. Heck, I don't even need to scroll down very far to see some truly sad individuals. One person (who shall remain nameless) has written a post compelling his fellow BF fans to “[...] Spread the word of Battlefield 3 and all of Battlefield's games!!!” He continues by saying, “Together we can all take down Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Black Ops!!!!!” and finishes by saying “Long Live Battlefield!!!”

I mean, really?

You could be forgiven for thinking that I'm getting worked up over nothing here, but doesn't this annoy you in the slightest? I am aware of the fact that Call of Duty fans are just as bad, but therein lies the problem. It's not just online servers, it's the Internet itself that is the battlefield. Everywhere I go, I see people spraying vitriol at each other over which game is better or worse. I see enough of it in the sim racing community I am a part of (despite it being my hobby which I love dearly, I believe there is no community more ridden with elitism and snobbery than that of sim racing) – there is no escape from the wars of words that plague discussion forums, YouTube comment threads and Facebook groups.

And now it's leeching out into real life as well. The reason I was inspired to write this column is because a certain person I know very well has recently taken to charging into my room and venting to me about how CoD sucks and how CoD players also suck – not to mention the obligatory utterance that Battlefield is better. Whenever I have tried to apply logic and balance to the situation, using the tried and trusted “each to their own” philosophy, I have suddenly become the bad guy by suggesting that one is not superior to the other.
I suppose, as human beings, we just can't handle the fact that others have different tastes to us. “It's my way or the highway,” as they say. It's also a very real, and sad, fact that the most biased, negative and vitriolic of us are often the most vocal. As such, I don't feel a solution is at hand, or if such a solution will ever come about, so unique is the problem here. Still doesn't change my opinion – I don't know about you, but I'm getting sick and tired of this my-game-versus-your-game crap.

Then again, the Internet is where tolerance and common sense go to die. Is there no hope for people like me, who just want to enjoy whatever they do in peace?

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