Are you a fanboy? Or a fangirl? I dont discriminate. Personally, I think theres a fanboy or girl in all of us. GamesRadar's recent, rather excellent feature about the psychology of fanboys explains why its very natural, very human to pick sides and defend the things we believe in. Hell, Im a fanboy when it comes to some things. As far as Im concerned, anyone who plays Gran Turismo over Forza is a chump. Prefer the Xbox One pad to the DualShock 4? You're wrong.
So, Ive put together this Top 7 to help you decide whether or not you really are a fanboy or girl. Although youll recognise elements of these slides in yourself, every piece of text is written to be deliberately over the top. Make no mistake: I am definitely trolling you. I want you to rage--to let that inner fanboy/girl out. Get angry.
7. You know more about a game than its developers
Hang on, a minute. If Darko McBadderson founded Evil Henchman Ltd in 1938 and built the Cyber-Nazi in 1941, then why does this collectible notebook that I've just found in Gun Shooter 5: Nazi Revenge, reference a scientist who started work on the Cyber-Nazi project in 1937? Darko McBadderson was still studying Geology at Oxford back then. THIS GAME IS A JOKE!
Naturally, this is no simple typo or oversight. This is a heinous insult from the entire development team, beamed directly at you. Why? Because they hate you and don't care about the franchise as much as you do. Better send the developer an email immediately, and spread the word about this inaccuracy across every forum you can find. Why? Because its a matter of life or death. If the facts about this fiction are wrong, then society has failed. We may as well break all the machines, rip up our clothes, and start eating each other.
6. You walk into shops and hide rival games
Have you ever been so incensed by the existence of a game on a rival format, that you actually walked into a shop and hid that game from view? Did you--in fact--use a game from your preferred console to conceal the offending item? You know, using Uncharted 3 to cover up a copy of Halo 4. Or maybe the sight of Gran Turismo 5 offended you so much that you had to hide it behind a lovely, shiny copy of Forza 4.
The people in the game store see you shuffling their stock. They know what youre doing, and theyre sighing to themselves because they know that--once you've walked out of the door--they need to go and tidy up the display. You dont care though. You've scored a moral victory against your enemy, and maybe you cost them a single sale of a game, as some poor, confused customer leaves the shop having been unable to find what they were looking for. Well done, you. Maybe itll create that butterfly effect that eventually brings down a multi-million dollar company like Sony or Microsoft. Or maybe you've wasted an afternoon.
5. You obsess over specific video game characters
Jigglypuff isnt just a video game animal based on a popular anime series. Jigglypuff is your fucking co-pilot. His picture proudly adorns your profile on every site that you visit, and you always refer to yourself as Lord_JigglyPuff in every comment field or forum worth its salt. Anyone who doesnt like Jigglypuff is probably going to hell forever.
You simply cant maintain an objective view about Jigglypuff. You dont understand why people fail to recognise its pink, spherical majesty. If someone dares to suggest Jigglypuff is in any way inferior to other Pokemon, you write a 500 word comment explaining exactly why theyre wrong, and you dont sleep until the critic has backed down and closed their account with that particular site. Years from now, your neighbours will wonder what that awful smell is coming from next-door. They will eventually break down your door, and discover you slumped at your keyboard, dressed from head-to-toe in a Jigglypuff onesie.
4. Your favourite game hasnt changed in 20 years. Excellent.
Youve been playing Dude Slasher since it first appeared on the NES, and you've followed the series ever since. Dude Slasher: Neo Extreme Unleashed recently appeared on Xbox 360, and despite the fact that every one of those money-taking reviewers gave it 1/10 and called it stale, you love the fact that it hasn't changed one bit. Sure, there was that time back in 2003 when the terrified people at Bumsoft tried to give the lead character a cerulean blue jacket instead of an aquamarine one, and you organised a lynch mob to teach the developers a lesson, but thats all forgotten now.
At least, you assume its forgotten. You hear unsettling rumours that Dude Slasher: Mega Extreme Unleashed, which is coming out next year, might feature a new combat system, where A, B and X are stab, and Y is jump. Thats all wrong. Its ALL WRONG. B, X and Y are stab. A is jump. Are you kidding me? Gary--fire up the burning torches! Were going back to Bumsoft, just like we did in 03!
3. You are THAT guy to your friends
Maybe youre not actually one of the guys above, but youve been in their shoes. No, not literally in their shoes, weirdo. Youve been at the front of a queue at a midnight opening. Youve bored your friends for weeks talking about how long ago you pre-ordered your game / console, and you tell them regularly about how youre going to be the first person ever to buy it.
Youre the reason midnight openings were invented. You sneer at all the "casual fans" in line who plan to do regular human things when they get home, like sleeping or eating. Not you. Youre going to take your prize home, set it up in a frenzy, and play it continually until you bleed from at least three orifices at once. Once you've stemmed the flow, youre going to go online and berate everyone else for having not played as far through the game as you, before collapsing in a sad heap, probably needing hospitalisation.
2. You think everyone else is a fanboy
Biased journalism! you comment on a review for a product you dont own. The writer is obviously a fanboy, you write in another comment because you got so angry that you hit Post Comment before realizing you wanted to write more. You read other comments and find that--shockingly--everyone is wrong. Theyre fanboys, too. When you go to a review of your new favorite game you find that the people there are fanboys too, and suddenly it dawns on you: if everyone disagrees with you, and everyone thinks youre wrong... maybe... just maybe... theyre all fanboys.
Its the only option, right? Every single person that disagrees with you only does so because theyre irrationally biased against whatever you like, and every single commenter that agrees with them is in on it. Its impossible that anyone that has opinions that dont line up with yours is potentially correct because that would mean youre wrong, and that your purchasing decision was flawed. So, obviously, that cant be it--everyone is a fanboy. Everyone but you.
1. The entire Internet is a vessel for your opinion
Whats the ultimate sign that youre a fanboy (or indeed, fangirl)? A total disregard for context. Basically, every piece of blank space on the internet--every open comment box--is a golden opportunity to let everyone know how awful they are for liking other things, and how much more evolved you are as a human being for liking whatever it is that you do.
Example? Youre browsing a feature about bananas on the BBC. Time to head over to the comments to tell everyone what assholes they are unless they play games on PC. Ordering a book about knitting on Amazon? Time to head down to the reviews and proudly proclaim that anyone who prefers Call of Duty over Battlefield is the type of person who enjoys intercourse with animals. Did someone mention playing Chess in the park? Scream at them until they admit that Xbox Live is better than PlayStation Plus. The ultimate fanboy knows that no matter what anyone else says, about anything, theyre basically wrong.
Calm down, dear
Well, there you go. Are you a fanboy or fangirl? Really, it's nothing to be ashamed of. You're part of a tribe, you're passionate about the things you love, and you're just as mad as everyone else on this giant rock. Feel free to call me names in the comments below, or to tell us all that Xbox rules or something. Go on--you can even spell 'rules' with a 'z' if you like.