This might get ugly
Basketball. Brackets. Rivalries. Mascots. Weird head signs. March Madness is upon us, so were participating the best way we know how. Theres no Duke versus North Carolina or The Ohio State University versus Michigan here--just franchise versus franchise, genre against genre, and company against company. Because we gamers have no shortage of stuff to argue about, and we love to get angry at each other for liking different things, just like sports fans like to yell at each other for liking different teams.
To commemorate this most, uh, competitive of occasions, weve put together a list of our top seven favorite rivalries in gaming--in other words, some of our favorite things to argue about. Youll find it useful next time youre looking to start a disagreement.
7. Dragon Quest vs. Final Fantasy
Before Squaresoft and Enix joined forces to become Square Enix, they were rivals in the grand sport of JRPG (which we'll get to later). Their animosity stretched back to 1987, when Final Fantasy came out a year after Dragon Quest. Both games blew people's minds with their sheer enormity, but RPG fans of old still quickly picked a side, stuck with their choice, and tried to prove its superiority.
Youd think the merger would have killed this debate--theyre on the same team!--but it rages on. Dragon Quest faithful will always be able to argue that their series of choice came first--a solid point--but Final Fantasy fans have leverage because of their series massive popularity and sophisticated-slash-ridiculous storytelling. Where Dragon Quest fans love the series old-school charm, Final Fantasy players gravitate toward bombastic visuals and settings that are immediately impressive. Then again, Final Fantasy has also veered nearly into self-parody, with the latest two main entries receiving mixed reactions, while Dragon Quest continues to prosper, providing innovative takes on the series mainstays with each new game.
6. Call of Duty vs. Battlefield
The finer points of a fragfest mean a lot to hardcore FPSheads--look no further than the argument between Call of Duty and Battlefield fans. Calls of Duty folks crave those tight corridors, those choice camp spots, and those frantic parts where you slam down the R3 button and run like hell for cover. They like maps you can get across in a minute or two, with copious amounts of intense, centralized action.
In other words, they hate everything that Battlefield games are about. Battlefield fanatics want a series that zooms the focus out from a single locale to a whole, er, battlefield. They savor the games slow, grand pace, and appreciate the less frequent combat as well as the inclusion of player-controlled vehicles. Battlefield players prefer mashing R3 to get across a field without a tank running them over. Theyre same type of game, but they could barely be much different--and when their fans can manage to put down the controllers, they make for one of gamings most heated rivalries.
5. Nintendo vs. Sony vs. Microsoft vs. Sega
Years from now, when gaming finally has a single platform that streams games straight from a moon base into our brains, were going to sit our grandchildren down. I survived, well say, fireplace light flickering on our face, our progenys faces wide with awe, the console wars.
Because seriously, this stuff is crazy. At one time, all four companies were at each others throats, pushing hardware and engaging in an arms race for exclusive titles. Poor Sega couldnt even handle it and now they just make Sonic spin-off games! Thats what the console wars did to them! Theyre broken! And the fans are rabid supporters of their brand, with no hesitation in slandering the competition. Nothing is off limits, from fair criticisms like online support, controller ergonomics, and game libraries, to more brutal things like how weird Reggie is, how evil Microsoft is, or how your credit card information is basically written on your forehead when you choose Sony. When these arguments are gone, well probably miss them. Just not as much as all the limbs we lost in post-E3 fallouts over the years.
4. JRPGs vs. WRPGs
Whats better, gigantic swords or crazy-complicated conversation systems? Do you prefer to play as an amnesiac or a kid leaving home for the first time? These are the questions that fans of the two main RPG genres like to argue about. Japanese RPG fans swear by their charming, oft-complicated stories and fine-tuned turn-based combat systems. They want their hair colors weird, their armor impractical, and their antagonists androgynous. Western RPG fans demand open worlds and branching paths, love Tolkien-worship, and want nothing more than to spend a few hours in the character creator.
Recently, its become lop-sided. JRPGs are more niche than ever, with most quality titles coming out on Nintendo handhelds, while WRPGs have thrived by refining their combat. But dont count the JRPG out. Developers have begun to innovate within the genre, with titles like Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Final Fantasy XIII resulting in some of the eras most unique games. Maybe the next generation will see the return of the blockbuster JRPG?
3. World of Warcraft vs. the newest MMO
Horde and Alliance agree on one thing: World of Warcraft is the greatest MMORPG ever. The only issue is that every new MMORPG that gets announced is also slated to be the greatest MMORPG ever, and that games fans believe it with great conviction. There cant be two greatest MMORPG ever. Thus, we argue.
Maybe marketing people should be more humble and stop calling things WoW-killers. Maybe World of Warcraft fans should admit the flaws in their game and compliment the things other games do well or could improve upon. Regardless, with WoW being such a landmark game, its an easy target for upcoming games trying to generate hype, so it takes a lot of abuse. Its easy to see why its loyal denizens get defensive. Not to mention, everyone wants the game they absolutely cannot wait to play to be fantastic and crush all its opposition. Its a potent recipe for conflict, and its given many a forum moderator gray hair. Relatively, the Battlegrounds are looking pretty tame.
2. Mario vs. Sonic
If you didnt get into a playground scuffle over this one, were taking your True Nerd Card. Just kidding... kind of. This is the rivalry that would define an entire generation, from your choice in patterned, branded pajamas to the highly-visible marketing wars between Sega and Nintendo.
If youre a Mario fan, youre probably saying that Sonic is too fast, and that with the world flying by at such a high speed, you dont see anything or need to have any skill--Its just running! you most likely just yelled at your monitor. Its alright. Legions of Sonic fans are wiping nerdrage spittle off their monitor too. Theyre screaming Mario is boring, slow and floaty--like riding a tricycle when you could be on a motorcycle. Theyre saying that the mustachioed plumber doesnt have any swagger. Now theyre screaming about a need for speed, and how Marios stately pace and emphasis on precision doesnt fulfill it. Did someone just scream that Sonics a rodent? This is getting ugly. Lets move on.
1. PC Gaming vs. Console Gaming
Its Friday night, and youre tryna game. Where are you and your armament of snacks sitting down? In front of a TV, on the couch, with no worries about hardware and configuration--but only limited options as far as customization? Or is it in front of a PC monitor, in a comfy chair, with the power to tweak your game however you want--but facing the constant threat of hardware and configuration issues?
This is the part where PC gamers mention Steam and those ridiculous prices. Oh, and heres the part where console gamers start cackling about always-on DRM. Jesus, DONT start the keyboard-and-mouse versus controller debate. It all comes down to this: PC gaming is more flexible; console gaming is simpler. But with more and more PC games supporting controllers--and the popularity of HDMI cables leading to a big-screen TV--its looking like the two sides are going to become even more similar soon. Dont worry, theres still going to be plenty to argue about. If you decide to bring up mods, just remember the no face punches rule.
Calm down. Then weigh in just be nice
We have to imagine that by now, your blood is boiling. Before you plunge into the comments section, maybe go for a walk. Have some green tea. Punch an inanimate, non-essential object. Feel better? Good. You were looking pretty angry there.
Its unlikely that these arguments are ever going to be resolved, but youre welcome to try. Head into the comments section and let us know how much you freakin hate Final Fantasy, how Nintendo makes the only good games, that PC gaming is for nerds, and exactly how youve come to the conclusion that Sonic is the spawn of Satan. And if there are any debates we missed, feel free to kindle them yourselves! Do try and be polite, though.
And if you're looking for more, check out the best brotherly rivalries and what would happen in Mario died? which, truth be told, has little to do with this, but if you're a Sonic fan you'll want to read it anyway.