It's cool to believe in something, to have an undying passion for your hobby. When it comes to gaming, we'll defend our views to the bitter end. But sometimes we all go a little too far, skating a fine line between fan and fanboy. How close are you? Read on...
Step 1 - Swear that system X has no good games. At all.
The self-proclaimed "hardcore" may read up on every game, discuss every game and spout what we try to pass off as authoritative opinions on every game... but none of us actually get to play every game. And one of the biggest reasons for this is that - despite all our big talk - most of us can't afford to buy every system the games come out on. At some point, each of us has to choose one console over another. Then live with that decision for the rest of our lives... or at least the next five years.
So what do we do? In a subconscious trick straight out of an introductory psych textbook, true snobs convince themselves - retroactively, of course - that all the hardware they passed on is complete rubbish anyway. As is the software released for it. They're not really missing out on anything.
Above: Sonic or Mario? Back in the day, you hated whichever one you couldn't have
Decided against Nintendo this time around? Suddenly, Wii Sports is looking more and more like a tech demo. And didn't someone say Zelda had wonky controls... that one time? Yeah, Nintendo's worthless. That Wii doesn't have any good games at all.
Couldn't spring for a 360? Well, Gears of War is just Resident Evil 4 without the zombies, and what else is there? Nothing, unless you want to pay $50 a year for Uno. 360 hasn't got a single game worth buying. Or even stealing.
The truth is that every system has some gems. Even the "bad" ones, like the Atari Jaguar or the 3DO. Hell, even the Virtual Boy has a couple decent games, even if we did get a headache if we tried to play them for more than 20 minutes. But if we don't own it, we'll never admit it. That's the hardcore way.