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To be called a 'fanboy' is one of the worst insults in gaming. It suggests a misguided person characterised by an irrational devotion to a piece of software or soulless mega-corporation. A person incapable of intelligent thought. A person that is a despised twat.
But wait. Let's cut them some slack for a moment and think what purpose fanboys actually serve (beyond being a dumping ground for derision). We fancied a bit of a challenge, so we decided to come up with 10 reasons why fanboys deserve a little respect. As it turns out, we could only manage eight reasons, but still...
You may think raging fanboys exhibit behaviour associated more with borderline mental cases, but when we're living in a couldn't-care-less climate of whatever, some genuine from-the-soul fire and fight is something to be respected and admired. Fanboys are true patriots - irrationally prejudiced warriors challenging the creeping culture of apathy by fighting without falter for something that they truly believe in.
Fanboys and passion are inextricable entities. Use excessive physical force to cleanse gaming of fanboys and, by consequence, the passion is removed also, effectively castrating gaming's dangling virility. Without fanboys, gamers would all be 'getting along' and 'agreeing to disagree'. And that kind of liberal-minded pleasantness should be strictly reserved for yoghurt-weaving hippies.
We've all enjoyed taking up the position of amused spectator as a once peaceful, polite and courteous comment thread is infiltrated by myopic fanboy hatred and rapidly backs up with more unsavoury shit than a blocked sewage pipe. Characterised by an economical use of literacy and common sense, watching a violated comment thread devolve in real time is a worthy diversion from any mundane task. To paraphrase Maximus: "Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are looking at the flamewar in the comments thread?"
The chart above illustrates without any doubt that the number of fanboys is directly proportional to how entertaining the internet is.
It's the duty of fanboys to highlight the flaws and weaknesses of their sworn enemies. It may seem like nothing more than petty-minded bickering, but it keeps real issues in the spotlight and at the forefront of discussion. For example, when you're browsing the internet on a regular basis it's impossible - thanks to fanboy flaming - to forget that Xbox 360 has a piss poor failure rate. Or that the PSN interface could do with being a helluva lot more user-friendly. Or that Nintendo seems to have abandoned gamers in favour of the geriatric party crowd.
Fanboys are all over this shit on a daily basis. And rightly so. These are all important topics that need addressing and it's fanboys that won't let them die. If it was left to the rest of us, we'd make a fuss about it for a couple of days before losing interest and moving on to the next talking point of the day.
Like the brotherly bond between drug-smoking gangster thugs, fanboy loyalty is 4 life. Believe that shit. And just because a console has gone extinct doesn't mean a fanboy is going to suddenly shift their affections to some new, superior machine that is relevant and up-to-date and actually available in shops. No. They're like dogs that refuse to leave the corpse of a dead master. They continue to evangelise their chosen machine, tirelessly spreading the good word, fighting its corner and making sure gamers never, ever forget.
Without the staunch efforts of never-say-die fanboys, the memory of yesteryear's deceased devices - such as Virtual Boy, Neo Geo, Commodore 64, Dreamcast etc - would have vanished along with the machines themselves. As it is, the legacy of fallen consoles are kept alive in the gamer consciousness thanks to their devoted, donkey-stubborn resolve.
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