Adult Fanboys: The Enigma


In the earliest days of AOL, I was a fanboy. Despite heavy allegiance to Nintendo throughout my childhood, I was swayed by the message of PlayStation. N64? Pfft.

I would have been around 14, maybe 15 when I snagged a PlayStation. It was time for war.

Looking back, it was similar in grade school too. Only one kid in my private school class owned anything other than Nintendo’s vaunted NES; he was a TurboGrafx owner. I hated it, and why wouldn’t I? NEC pushed games I would never play. My parents would never buy – let alone be able to afford – multiple consoles. That situation fuels fanboyism.

I understand rampant fanboyism from children. What you own has to be the best. You make the most of your decision, and derived from jealously, you take up a sword to defend your cause. It’s childish behavior. Why adults do it I’ll never understand.

Is it a have/have not scenario still into adulthood? Consoles remain extravagant items, and owning only one can spawn fierce loyalty. Yet, it’s also absurdest behavior. While children pass over marketing factors or brands – they defend only what they know – adults should be smarter.

Here in 2013, decades removed from infantile AOL message boards, inflammatory console baiting remains core conversation. Embroiled war between Sony and Microsoft, on a scale unseen since the 16-bit melee of Sega and Nintendo, has sparkedresurgence in blind idiocy.

Since systems have leveled off at a consumer level, retorts have been imbued with technological debate over RAM. Reportedly, PlayStation 4 dips into RAM heavily for the console OS, leading some to shout inferiority.

Because, yes, PlayStation will prove wholly incapable against a powerhouse Xbox One with its additional 1GB (or so) of available RAM. Switch sarcasm detectors to, “off.”

Enthusiast media doesn’t help. Stories such as Sony‘s OS RAM-eating are delicious for traffic. Comments balloon and debate rages (rarely sensibly) as both sides spew uninformed technicalities. I’m often stunned how often hardware engineers jump into conversations… or it is pretend based on Wikipedia articles?

Nintendo’s N64 and Sony‘s PlayStation became a war of numbers. Sixty four! Sixty four bits! My own personal teenage stupidity spawned vitriol against AOL member ForceDB708. It’s been over 20 years, and I still recall the username I chose to sling insults toward. N64? More like “Blur64!” I wasn’t a particularly articulate or creative teen.

Experience has changed me. So has history and maturity. I no longer pursue fanboy rants so much as personal preferences on wider issues, i.e., consumer rights. I cannot deny my preferences: I have, for two generations, preferred Microsoft’s hardware for a variety of reasons, and staunchly believe physical media superior to digital. I would never down Sony‘s gargantuan franchise base, or Nintendo’s polished first-party affairs, much like I wouldn’t stand proud as a Xbox 360 loyalist.

Unfortunately, not all have followed this path. Adults show themselves online as baffling bandwidth specters waiting to pounce about hardware they have never played. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 followers are defending pre-orders of all things. It is a communal blight, one that has no defense short of hoping these people are well written teenagers. I sadly have to doubt such a situation.

I often wonder how powerful marketing is to turn otherwise rational adults into flippant fanboys with deep seeded blinders. Attitudes range from personable to flagrantly defiant, yet always contain identical corporate loyalty.

Do other industries suffer from such a wide base of moronic behavior? Are fashion fanatics so delirious about specific brands they set browsers to war mode when someone chides their preference? Are vehicle brands debated at such inflamed levels as to remove any perspective?

Anyone willing to drop all reason has, certainly, failed to gain perspective. When you resist crossing boundaries because a corporation has you indirectly in their profitable grip, everything is seen with skewered lenses. Uncharted‘s brilliance is lost to Microsoft followers, and Halo‘s grand warscapes are faded to Sony‘s dedicated. Somehow, pure level design within Mario titles is now despicable.

And PC gamers? They no longer receive a free pass, yet may in fact be the worst of all, standing alongside Steam and platform specs more than any other.

There is no solution, short of a better gene pool or finding intelligent conversation centers on the internet. But, some pressure can be alleviated, certainly by questioning vicious media headlines and better development which makes multi-platform releases equal. High-end, AAA exclusives shape consoles (or PC) long term, not blurry graphics or menial RAM debates, which become background elements in historical text.

There has never been a console not worth defending in some creative capacity, but to swear it as a holy inanimate object only shows your naivety.