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The Game Effect Editorial

Top 5 Recent Fanboy Arguments

Can't we all just get along?

By Daniel Jones on 3/9/2012
Gamers are a proud bunch. We rally around games and products like they are a part of our identity, because in a way, they are. People attach themselves to games because they put so much effort and time into completing them and immersing themselves in the fiction. Halo fans don't just play Halo for instance. They read the books, watch the anime, read the comic and buy the action figures. They devour the fiction and take pride in their fandom.

This kind of fandom is normal, however sometimes it can venture too far into the realm of fanboyism. That's when things get ugly...and sometimes entertaining for the rest of us. Fanboys will defend their favorite games, products or companies to the point where all reason becomes lost and the arguments eventually degrade into a schoolyard shouting match held over an internet forum.

As said before, these arguments can be pretty darn entertaining for those of us sitting on the sidelines. So for your entertainment, The Game Effect presents the top five fanboy arguments of this generation.

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 Zelda Fans vs Everyone

Last year saw the release of two games in the Legend of Zelda franchise. Ocarina of Time 3D was a big boost to the struggling 3DS when it released and Skyward Sword was the swan song that Wii owners had been waiting for. While Ocarina of Time 3D was a fine update to a seminal classic, it was Skyward Sword that would prove to be the most contentious game of the duo.

Skyward Sword received respectable review scores all around from most outlets, however the consensus seemed to be that while it was a solid entry in the Zelda franchise, the game still possessed many flaws. Critics praised the cinematic presentation but were confounded by the lack of any voice acting whatsoever. They often complained that dungeons were repetitive, that the overworld was dull and that the characters were unlikable.

So when it came time to vote for end of the year awards, critics were hesitant to give Skyward Sword top honors. However, Zelda fans came out in droves at the end of 2011 to support their favorite sword waggling, green tunic wearing elf boy. Zelda fans didn't seem to care about the flaws in Skyward Sword. They seem happy to play Zelda in their own little bubble and never see it evolve past the basic framework laid by Ocarina of Time.

What Nintendo doesn't seem to understand is that fanboys are fickle. They will evolve if their favorite franchises evolve. They will fight the change at first, but it won't take long for them to realize that sometimes, change is a very good thing.

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Fans vs Valve

Three words: Half. Life. 3. Fans have been clamoring to find out the fate of Gordon Freeman since Episode 2 concluded on a huge cliffhanger in 2007. That was five years ago. Half-Life 2 released in 2004. That was eight years ago, for those of you keeping count. It may be painfully obvious what side of the fence I'm on and I may not be the most unbiased reporter for this argument, but seriously, if you aren't anxious to play Half-Life 3 then you are clearly living under a rock.

Valve has been so tight lipped about Half-Life 3 that fans have begun to protest the developer's silence in various, amusing ways. A pair of bored, most likely, stoned fans took matters into their own hands in 2011 and camped out in front of Valve's Redwood, WA offices to protest Valve's silence. Gabe Newell eventually brought them into the office and gave them pizza. I think those guys know something the rest of us don't, but they're not talking.

Fans have made their displeasure known on Steam forums and other internet sites, but it's not just fans who have been doing the trolling. Valve has dropped several hints about Half-Life 3 including the infamous photo of the Valve employee in the Half-Life 3 t-shirt as well as what some perceived as a hint in Wheatley's speech at the Spike TV VGA's. I think Valve is just having fun with expectations at this point, and eventually, when they're ready, we will hear about the next installment in the beloved franchise. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

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Mobile vs Handheld

2011 marked a transition for dedicated handhelds with the release of the Nintendo 3DS in the spring and the lead-up to the Playstation Vita launch this year. Yet despite the hype behind these two handheld marvels, the market has been split down the middle with the rise of the cheaper, more accessible alternatives that mobile gaming offers.

In a lot of ways this argument is a microcosm of the larger hardcore vs casual argument that has been waged throughout this generation. For some hardcore gamers, mobile gaming is an affront to their favorite pastime. To this group of fans, no amount of disgruntled aviaries or joyriding rocketeers could match the wonder and excitement of a full retail experience like Uncharted or Mario.

On the other side of the coin, proponents of iOS and Android gaming argue that this new business model is a refreshing change of pace for the industry that welcomes in new groups of people who may never have otherwise picked up a game in their lives. Heck, my game-averse Dad even played Angry Birds for an hour the other day after my brother introduced it to him. Maybe there's room in the video game market for both types of gamers and both types of games. I am willing to bet that by the end of 2012 we will know the answer to that question.

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Dark Souls vs Skyrim

This was the David vs Goliath battle of last year. From Software's Dark Souls was highly anticipated by the masochistic fans of Demon Souls and those fans were not disappointed. The intense, punishing fantasy RPG provided all the rewarding challenge that fans wanted.

A lot of those fans scoffed at the sight of Bethesda's graphically polished, hand-holding, western-slanted The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimSkyrim sold like dragon horns at a Riverwood market and Dark Souls sold respectably for such a niche game. Even though Dark Souls didn't sell as well, that fan base still has a deep love for the game that Skyrim doesn't even seem to possess especially after the PS3 bugs and performance debacle that game suffered from.

Skyrim fans are still immersed in Bethesda's deep fantasy world, and Dark Souls fans tend to play those games until something equally challenging and rewarding comes along which is usually just whatever From Software does next. There is some overlap between the two groups but for some Dark Souls fans, Skyrim is and will always be a big joke.

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Modern Warfare 3 vs Battlefield 3

This is the big one. Everyone who plays console games knows about this fight. EA manufactured a war between themselves and Activision in hopes of getting fans to defect from Infinity Ward's side to DICE's side. And all this time I thought Sweden was neutral. (That's a joke. DICE is based out of Sweden)

It started with EA declaring war on Activision with their early media campaigns and ended with EA claiming victory after Battlefield 3 sold much better than anyone expected (even though it still didn't sell nearly as well as Modern Warfare 3). In between, verbal punching matches were waged back and forth between DICE and Infinity Ward. Even the CEO's of both publishers, EA and Activision traded harsh words back and forth. Then the fans got into it. Countless blogs were written pledging allegiance to one game or the other (before anyone had even had a chance to play either of the games). Battlefield fans down-voted YouTube videos of Modern Warfare 3 and vice versa. The two camps could not have been more vocal about their allegiances.

Then the games released, and it seemed like nobody wanted to put their money where their mouth was. Both games sold incredibly well, with Modern Warfare 3 breaking sales records again. Steam forums dedicated to boycotting Modern Warfare 3 were filled with people playing the very game they pledged against. Battlefield 3 also sold much better than expected, proving that the Call of Duty audience still had room in their consoles for the larger, more team based combat of Battlefield. In the end, after the bullets and bombs, the two sides would eventually realize that there's a middle ground and that both games can live alongside one another, proving once and for all that peace is possible.

The Middle Ground

Fanboys will never go away. As long as there is entertainment and immature teenagers in this world, there will be fanboys. The one thing we should all take away from this list, however, is that there's always a middle ground. If we can all just learn to get along, whether it's fan vs publisher, publisher vs publisher, fan vs fan or whatever, we're all just in it for the love of gaming.

Then again, the internet wouldn't be half as entertaining without these fanboys spouting their silliness all over the web. So go ahead fanboys, keep on arguing. I'll see you at the end of 2012 to do this all over again!
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WarMasterDegan on January 18, 2014
i didn't know there were disputes involving Dark Souls and Skyrim. Aside of the rpg elements they are too completely different games. DS focuses on survival and overcoming the odds while Skyrim is a traditional rpg epic that has to have the difficulty jacked up to have any challenge.
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moocowproduction on March 11, 2012
@Zelda is the shit, I hope Nintendo makes a new console because Wii wasn't my favorite and I need more @Zelda! :D
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Fenriff on March 11, 2012
This article really speaks the truth that so many fanboys refuse to accept. There are so many great games out there but just because a game is great doesn't mean that every game made from that point should be the same. Final Fantasy games are a perfect example. I have played FF since IV (known as FFII at the time) on SNES and have, if not loved, had respect for every FF game that has been put out. I can respect Square for constantly trying new things, the problem is that the type of fanboys that you talk about refuse to give something a chance if its not the same as what they liked. I'm one of the people that loved FFXIII. Yes it was really straightforward but I don't see that as a terrible thing, just different. Not every game has to give you the opportunity to run around and waste your time. In fact, most FF games have only given you the illusion of an open world because in reality if you actually tried to explore everything you'd just run into something too high level and get killed. I don't think that every FF game should be like XIII because I think that moving on will leave a mark on XIII that will have it standing out over the years to come but I respect what they did with it.The point is that change is good and developers should always take risks to try and put out different and fun things. I have a hard time having much respect for developers who just put out the same thing with a new coat of paint over and over because they're afraid of these fanboys.  I've been able to deal with it for Zelda but that is growing thin because as much as I love the tried and true formula I think its time to take a chance. It's also the reason I have yet to even touch MW3, because again it's just a shinier MW2 that costs $60.
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Entropic on March 11, 2012
Very well said Fenriff!  I couldn't agree more about the Modern Warfare series (personally), and actually liked FFXIII (though I do tend to enjoy more linear games).  Either way, great comment!
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cjf582 on March 18, 2012
Very well said indeed! 
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NSchneider on March 10, 2012
And here I thought the top argument of the year was over PSN and XBL. One went down for a couple of months and the other stayed chugging. Great Article by the way. I want to say Dr. Jones, but the Doctor part would be a lie.
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OSMenace on March 10, 2012
First, Link isn't a sword waggling hero.  @Ocarina of Time was a waggle fest, but @Skyward Sword is anything but. Second, this is probably the very first article I've seen on Skyward Sword since it came out.  I can't complain though, I've been 'writing' an review about it since I finished it 5 days after release.Sorry @Merfyz
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Entropic on March 10, 2012
Hey OSMenace... First, we're glad to see in an article as well :)  We just don't have a lot of Wii owners/gamers on our staff at the moment.

Also, it doesn't look like your game/user mentions are working... In order for them to work properly they need to show up in the auto-complete box that appears below the comment box.  If you're not seeing that when you press '@' please let us know.  You may have to click the comment area twice before it will show up (small bug we're working on).  Sorry for the trouble!
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OSMenace on March 10, 2012
Its fine, I  was wondering about that as I was doing it, since there was a box with something related to the auto-reference as I was typing, but I was unsure of what to do, so I just assumed that it was working. So if I just type it in... The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.  I think I've got the hang of it now, thank you!