Experienced Points: A Fanboy’s Guide to Fanboying

By Shamus
on Sep 17, 2010
Filed under:
Column

Contrary to the promise made earlier this week, my column isn’t the word “Chime” over and over again for three pages. Sorry. Instead, it’s simply a modest proposal for the fanboys of the internet on how to do their job.

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  1. rofltehcat says:

    The second link doesn’t point to the article but to the Escapist comments.

    Wait… did I miss the satire? Still gotta read the article.

    Or is it some sort of warning? I still don’t get it. You clearly shouldn’t review games, you don’t make your point clear enough :P

  2. Mari says:

    You suck and are stupid and shouldn’t be allowed to review games.

    OK, done being a rabid fangirl. Seriously, excellent points all. As I read it I found myself thinking about the XKCD that turned out to be posted in the comments at the Escapist. Of course, I’ve personally grown rather fond of arguing on the internet. Only with the outrageously stupid, of course, and I’m not talking about the stupid people who disagree with me but about the stupid people who disagree with me and can’t put together a coherent English sentence to support their stupidity. In certain forums and blogs it’s become a game unto itself to toy with the moronic. Games runs a surprisingly close second to politics as preferred topics in such places. Ideally if you really want to troll you tie games TO politics like pointing out that Historically Inaccurate WWII Recreation 7 is actually a stinging indictment of [political hot topic Q] and people who hate HIWWIIR7 are all [persecuted minority]-hating [political party affiliation]. Bonus points are, of course, issued for successfully calling someone a “Jack Thompson” in subsequent inflamed postings.

  3. bit says:

    I like how the catch line on The Escapist homepage is;

    “Follow these few simple rules to avoid the wrath of the fanboy.”

    Susan, you trolling?

  4. Joe says:

    I can’t be the only one that enjoyed that the entire first page of comments on the Escapist thread were people agreeing with one point or another you made, the sarcasm screaming past their heads in a blaze of glory.

    • swimon says:

      I read that page and I only saw 1 person that didn’t seem to get it so I’m not entirely sure what you read. Then again sarcasm on the internet is difficult since person A, lets call her Astor, could take it straight and answer without getting that it’s sarcasm. While person B lets call her Taylor could answer in an infinite polynomial of sarcasm, like sarcastically answering straight or sarcastically being sarcastic and so on till the nth degree. So while the original article was obviously sarcastic in nature trying to understand whether commenters or forum goers are being sincere or not is a job beyond my mind.

      Also I try not to judge hastily and all that but, how could people not get that it was sarcasm? My only conclusion is that they have the mental capabilities of raw quartz REALLY wasn’t paying attention or have no understanding of english… So my conclusion is that they’re 90% of the commenters on basically any given site, ground breaking!

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    How dare u atack teh rewiew game?!U just suck it unlike the l33t reviewesr out there & cant stand ur sucky suckiness!U just reach for sarcasm like a n00b u r!FAG!!!

    EDIT:Fxed speling.

  6. Jarenth says:

    Shamus: You say “You’re not allowed to criticize a game unless you’ve played the entire series.“, but don’t forget that other important rule: You’re not allowed to criticize a game by comparing it to other entries in the series.

    For instance: Who cares that Fallout 3 was completely different from Fallout 1 and 2, and that people who were hoping for more of the latter were disappointed! You should judge that game on its *own* merits, not by criticizing the fact that it’s taking advantage of a brand name it’s not living up to in any way!

    No need to thank me, just doing my part for the community.

  7. Josh R says:

    Between this and your pun comic, it would seem you’ve forgotten the average IQ of an internetter

    • Ramsus says:

      Probably because it’s not a number at all. I’m pretty sure the average IQ of people on the internet is something like the top half of the letter wq.

      • Abnaxis says:

        I actually think the IQ of the internet is a rather complex number. As in, i. As in, imaginary.

        OK, I fail at nerd jokes.

        • Mari says:

          The problem with nerd jokes is that they only work when you don’t have to explain them so they can only be successfully told in a group of other nerds with similar interests (in this case math nerds). Sadly, even with the nerd proliferation that’s been going for the past decade it’s difficult to round up a receptive group for a specialty nerd joke.

          • eri says:

            Thanks to the falling standards of education in the United States, highbrow humour has been devalued and deposed by slapstick nonsense and dick jokes!

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              *farts*Hehe,did you guys hear that?Now that was funny hehehe

              • Bret says:

                You see, it’s funny because it’s about bodily functions!

                (Which reminds me of what Lewis and Chesterton had to say on the subject of dirty jokes as a major insight into the human condition. We’re animals who find the fact we’re animals odd, an unusual little quirk to say the least. Makes dirty jokes a deeper insight than even clever geek jokes. Funny old world.)

  8. wtrmute says:

    Let’s keep a running count of how many people completely miss the satire.

    You, sir, are a Troll. :-D

  9. pkt-zer0 says:

    “If someone dosen’t like a good game, it means they’re stupid or that they suck, and that you need to let them know about that.”

    A hilariously inappropriately placed typo, or just further trolling?

  10. Meredith says:

    The Escapist dedicated a week to D&D and you didn’t write your article about that? I’m a bit surprised.

    Oh well, this was enjoyable and exactly what I’ve come to expect from your writing. Now I have to go read the comments at The Escapist and see if they’re as entertaining as people think. :)

  11. Old_Geek says:

    The opposite of this is those who have the audacity to admit liking a game that all “right minded” people know is worthless crap.

    Example…try going on to certain RPG websites and suggest that TES: Oblivion was a pretty good game that you sort of enjoyed playing. You can see the hate from space.

    (seriously, am I alone in this? I mean I wouldn’t put Oblivion in a time capsule as the classic example of everything an RPG should be, but it was a fun way to waste a summer…)

    • guy says:

      The scaling level mechanic is painful and the graphics engine was apparently never bug-tested. I got it this year for my Crysis-capable space computer from space, and it had every glitch Shamus mentioned way back when until I installed Oldblivion.

      Of course, I personally also hate Daggerfall because the first dungeon is murderous and includes enemies who can only be harmed by magic you may not have.

    • Swimon says:

      I thought it was entertaining enough it was just such a disappointment following on Morrowind which I think is one of the best RPGs ever (I know, I’m still in therapy ^^). The reason you get such steaming hate for it on fringe sites (I think) is because of hype aversion. If you partly disliked something or just thought it was mediocre that indifference can quickly turn to hate if enough people tell you that it was amazing. And seeing how Oblivion got really popular and have appeared on a lot of top 10 lists (I guess that depends on what lists you have come upon but it seems like a lot to me) it’s understandable that a lot of people hate it more than it warrants.

      Hype aversion probably affects us all. It’s probably the reason why I think Romeo and Juliet is one of the worst stories ever and I know it affects my perception of Planescape: Torment. That game is one of the best games I know but it annoys me greatly that everyone loves it to the point where it’s sacrilege to point out the bad parts (warning: hyperbole). It’s gamings Lord of the Rings, it’s good but nowhere near as good as it’s made out to be (ooh edgy!^^).

      Ok that turned into a rant quickly, I’m pretty sleep deprived so I’m sorry if that made no sense.

      • Deoxy says:

        The thing that I love about Lord of the Rings isn’t that it’s perfect (the whole “no man can kill me” thing makes a bit of a hash of way Weathertop turned out, for just one painfully awful example), it’s that it’s so very deep. It feels like you could go to any house in any village in the whole world (or at least the lands described) and find clothes in the closets and food in the cupboard.

        Not to mention that the Lord of the Rings changed western culture more than Star Wars. It’s really a big deal.

        So, yes, if you only attribute the hype to the story itself, yeah – meh. It’s not that good. There are other reasons why it’s hyped (though some people STILL manage to overdo it, frighteningly enough).

        Funny vaguely related story: When the Peter Jackson Fellowship of the Ring came out, some kid at a local comic store complained about all the hype, saying it was “just a Willow knockoff”. Needless to say, his nerd cred was set to a very large negative number…

  12. guy says:

    You know, the thing that really put me off Sword of the Stars, aside from my rampant incompetence at strategy games, was the way the developers pulled the last argument, when their graphics really weren’t… that… good. I suppose I’m bitter because the internet believes I can run Crysis, but the developers blamed my long load times on my bad graphics card. Then the problem mysteriously vanished in a patch that didn’t lower graphical quality at all.

  13. Yar Kramer says:

    Ehhh. This is just me, and I’m probably the only poster at the site wo feels this way, but “the whole joke is, people are being idiots, jerks, and/or idiotic jerks” really doesn’t do anything for me (this is the same reason I’ve never been able to get into DM of the Rings, let alone through it). I kept expecting (read: hoping) it would break into something … well, uh, in earnest. I dunno.

  14. To be fair about one of your satirical suggestions – specifically, “Don’t Review Games You Know You Will Hate” – it is kind of important to come to a game with something of an open mind. While expecting or wanting to hate a game isn’t good, being a rabid fanboy isn’t good either – which was your point.

    Anyway, I bring all that up because of a review I remember reading for the PC Port of Silent Hill 2 (I think it was 2, it might have been the first game) in PC Gamer. Now, PC ports of console games tend to be dire to begin with, so I was expecting a negative review because of the reasons these games normally fall down to begin with: Console controls don’t map well to mouse and keyboard necessarily, etc.

    Instead, the review focused on how PC Ports of console games are crap (okay), Console games in general are crap (Well, you’re writing for a PC magazine…), especially survival horror games (What about Alone in the…), and Silent Hill in particular (steady on…) and especially its story (WTF?)

    At the time, I’d come to the decision that I’d grown tired of the PC/Console Holy Wars, as I liked games on both, and thus both sides – and the very Holy War itself – were equally imbecilic, and I refused to even humor these guys by paying money to witness the wars being perpetuated. I skimmed a couple subsequent issues of PC Gamer on the news-stand, to see if the offending material in the Silent Hill review was an isolated incident (it wasn’t), and decided to just leave PC Gamer alone for a while, and maybe in a few years it would mellow out.

    Fast forward to a few years ago, just before the PS3 came out. I decided to give PC Gamer another try. I subscribed to the podcast, and bought a few issues off of the news-stand. I liked what I was hearing, and was about to subscribe to the magazine.

    Then they did a really freaking dumb stunt. I’m talking Drivetime Radio levels of stupid, but without the liability risks. The staff of PC Gamer took a really good PC, UGM level, to the PS3 launch, and said that they would give it to anyone who would agree, in writing, to never own a PS3.

    I don’t know if anyone took them up on it, because my headdesking paused the video when my head hit, and then broke, my keyboard (which wasn’t much of a loss because I wanted to get an ergonomic one anyway). Unsubscribed from podcast and canceled my plans to subscribe. That money actually went to EGM, a magazine which I respected considerably more, and I subscribed to until the end, and then subscribed in advance once it was revived.

    So, to my point. Fan-boyism is dumb. It’s dumber when people are doing it professionally, and while I reserve the right to mock fan-boys in general, I can’t in good conscience hate on them as long as there are obnoxious fan-boys who get paid to write for magazines that appear on newsstands.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      A free computer just for a statement that is already true for me?Damn,why dont magazines in my country do crazy stunts like that?

    • Mari says:

      I dunno, I have mixed feelings on the whole “Don’t play/watch it if you expect to hate it” argument. My true confession: I expected to hate the new Star Trek reboot movie so much that after watching the first trailer released to the internet I ignored all subsequent publicity and intended to never watch it. Until this past week when my husband announced that he was watching it via Netflix and begged me to watch with him. The first two scenes of the movie were so atrocious to me that I was prepared to walk out on the next scene. But I didn’t. And in the end I watched the whole movie before announcing, “It really felt like a work of love and honor for the original.”

      Don’t get me wrong, it had (huge) issues, but in the end I liked it, despite my best intentions to hate it. Every once in a while that’s the sort of thing that happens when you try something you expect to hate.

      • krellen says:

        That happened to me, too. I went into the theatre expecting to hate it and watched it actively trying to hate it, but in the end, I couldn’t. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared.

        • Don’t get me wrong, I love the “I came into the theater/installed the game/put in the disk expecting to hate this but…” review, because that is a really good way of getting across that you really like something – which is important if you’re doing a print review because of page space limitations.

          On the other hand, the “I came into this expecting to hate it because I hate #genre, and lo and behold, I did” tells me nothing. It doesn’t help people who like the genre and were looking forward to it, because any valid complaints about the game are masked by complaints over how this dog doesn’t meow.

          I’m not going to fault PC Gamer’s staff for not liking Console games – a saying I’m trying to turn into a trend on the net is Case’s Corollary to Sturgeon’s Law.

          Sturgeon’s Law, for those who are unfamiliar, is “90% of everything is crap.”
          Case’s Corollary is “As taste is individual, while your 90% and my 90% may overlap, our 10% may have nothing in common. This alone doesn’t devalue what either person places in their 10% or in their 90%.”

          So, Console games fell then, and still fall into their 90%. That’s fine, and I have no problem with that. What I do object to are approaching PC ports of Console games without any intent of actually giving the game a fair shake – that’s just bad reviewer/critic etiquette, and trolling – not for the lulz, but to make more money. Now, I don’t like trolling in general, but if you’re doing it gets you more money, either from other trolls, or people who agree with what you’re saying, or what have you, that puts you on my IRL ignore list, and if you come up in conversation, I’ll explain why and ask others to put you on their ignore list.

          However, I’m now getting into a tangent, and one that should probably be saved for someplace else.

        • Mari says:

          You’re the kind of person I don’t understand. You actually SPEND MONEY on something you intend to hate. LOL My internet connection is unmetered so I’m paying the same whether I watch a movie or not. The movie itself was streamed via Netflix so I paid the same whether I watched or not. The only thing I expended on it all was the time, which I have in enough abundance that I don’t feel the need to be miserly. I can’t imagine actually paying movie theater prices to see a movie that I expect anything less than total devotion to. Which is probably the reason that the last time I went to a movie theater was to see “The Return of the King.” No, I take it back. I took the kid to see the Percy Jackson movie on half-price night. Boy was I ticked at spending a whole $2.50 to see that pile o’ poo.

          • krellen says:

            I’m a Trekkie from a family of Trekkies (and when I say we’re Trekkies, I mean my father was part of the march on NBC when the original series was cancelled), and went to see it with my parents when my parents were in town. It was a familial necessity.

            • Mari says:

              Wow. I stand in awe, sir. I don’t even know if anyone else in my family knows what “Star Trek” is. I’m the black sheep with all my sci-fi and fantasy and such. The rest of the family are history and English nerds.

              I was just some runty kid who stayed home sick from school a lot and discovered this awesome show every weekday morning at 10 AM on the local network that eventually became a Fox affiliate. Later the same year this whole new show came on late night called “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and guess who started staying up late to watch it with the volume turned down so low I had to sit three feet from the set to hear it? ;-) From there I discovered the movies at the rental store and I never looked back.

          • Lanthanide says:

            Try Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I wasn’t expecting anything in particular, but it was probably the most fun I’ve had going to the theatre in a long time.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I can relate,but with both fallout and star wars kotor.I preferred fantasy over cyber punk for a long time,but fallout made me rethink it,and now I enjoy it very much.As for star wars,I never really liked the original trilogy that much,and hated the hype about all the various star wars games.But then I tried kotor after a long time of avoiding it,and Ive loved it.

        However,if you dont like the genre,than you probably wont like the game either.I would never tell someone what kind of game a sports game is because I simply am not the target audience.I pick up a controller from time to time when at friends house,and can be a competent opponent for some casual players,but I still dont like these games.

    • Lanthanide says:

      This is simply self-selecting validation at work.

      In general, people will only expose themselves to opinions they agree with, which is particularly evident with politics. They only go to blog sites they agree with, only read newspaper articles (or more broadly, newspapers as a whole) they agree with. They only watch TV shows/channels they agree with (Fox News anyone? Michael Moore is also popular).

      People reading PC magazines are highly likely to be on the PC side of the holy war, and especially people who are putting down money to read those sorts of articles. It’s generally highly unlikely that printing such an article would lead to a loss of subscriptions, and could easily lead to an uptick in subscriptions as they give people what they want – the self-satisfaction of identifying themselves with a specific group.

  15. Nathan says:

    Honestly, this almost reeks a bit too much of “people who disagree with me are just raving internet fanboys, and my own feelings on a game are impeccable and absolute”. Writing off the opinions of others as “fanboyism” is more logically flawed, detrimental to a conversation, and generally mean-spirited than any of the criticisms that Shamus is putting into the mouths of the so-called fanboys.

    A lot of those criticisms that Shamus is trying to mock and parody can be quite valid, depending on the game. It is flat wrong to say that someone is being an “internet fanboy” just because they make such remarks. A review really can be miserably bad because of a major oversight of the reviewer (such as people writing reviews of a deliberately and thoroughly multiplayer game like Lost Planet 2 without actually playing the multiplayer mode).

    • Shamus says:

      As someone who reviews a lot of stuff and takes a lot of gruff, I’ve seen quite a bit of the irrational irate fanboy demographic. I can’t spar with all of the angry ankle-biters, but once in a while I like to hold up a mirror and see if any of them recognize their own reflection. If you look at the rules, you’ll notice they’re grouped, and taken as a whole they form the only real rule of the fanboy.

      Liking a game doesn’t make you a fanboy. Disagreeing with a review doesn’t make you a fanboy. Getting ANGRY and indignant and denouncing an opinion as invalid is what makes you a fanboy.

      Lost Planet 2? I had no idea until your post that it was multiplayer-focused. (Never played the series before.) Is it somehow invalid to review the game for the benefit of people who are shopping for a single-player experience? (I mean, it seems to have a single-player campaign.) Why are we angry at the reviewer for telling us that part of the game sucks instead of being mad at the developer who made it suck in the first place? Why is it forbidden to review the parts of a game that interest you?

      • eri says:

        You’d think that writing for some semi-obscure blog would let you cull your audience a bit. I suppose that’s the price of popularity – you open yourself ever-increasingly to the “drooling moron” demographic (otherwise known as “mass audiences”).

  16. thebigJ_A says:

    NO U!!!!!!1!!!!!!

  17. Sumanai says:

    “If that means that your character regenerates health when yodeling…”

    I was hoping they’d implement other spell/ability animations for minstrels in Lotro, but I didn’t expect yodeling.

  18. Maldeus says:

    Some of these points do make a bit of sense, but to me they seemed to be grouped in order of absurdity, with semi-reasonable ones at the front and blatant contradictions being confined entirely to the second page.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      I’d say it’s done to get the fanboys hooked – incite them to pour righteous rage over Shamus’s head after reading the first two, thus missing the sarcasm.

      Edit: See? No bee puns.

  19. MrKite says:

    And now for a little cultural diversity : the French fanboy !!

    Or… to be more accurate, the French habits when posting a comment about someone’s entry in a blog…

    There’s this sentence that doesn’t seem to have its equivalent in english : “À mon humble avis..” (roughly) translated :”To my humble opinion…”

    Someone who begins his sentence with “À mon humble avis” is going to be the less humble person you’ve ever read (on the other hand he’s French so… I guess that gives him an excuse) and will call you a motherless prick… He also will quote every bit of your entry and desmonstrate to you the mistake of your way and how his logic is way more valid… But that’s just because he’s feeling humble…

    • guy says:

      The english equivalent is “in my humble opinion”, usually seen as IMHO.

      • MrKite says:

        Oh so it does exist ?

        My bad then.

        • Mari says:

          But “IMHO” doesn’t seem to be the strong indicator of rabid fanboyism in English that “a mon humble avis” is in French. I’ve seen (a few) people actually use IMHO and proceed to have an actual discussion instead of a frothing rabid rant.

          For the record, though, French fanboys are very entertaining to me. My French is quite rough (having taken a handful of conversational French courses and a boatload of Latin) so I often have to look up unfamiliar words but I’m constantly amused when I read long French diatribes on how the (English) article is sadly misguided. They usually seem more civil on the surface (no rabid all-caps, long ranty slurs, etc.) but they’re really quite scathing and usually put together for maximum impact.

    • Deoxy says:

      Someone who begins his sentence with “À mon humble avis” is going to be the less humble person you’ve ever read (on the other hand he’s French so… I guess that gives him an excuse)

      Heh. That’s funny. Here, try this (it’s relevant):

      Go to Google.
      Type in “French military victories”
      Hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button
      Enjoy the result, but also make sure you actually follow that link.

      He’s French – he has REASON to be proud!

  20. eri says:

    I’d just like to say that I am utterly unaroused by this article. I see what you’re trying to do, but it’s the sort of thing I’ve read about a thousand times over already. I would much rather have preferred, say, a close analysis of the place of fanboys within the games world, both upsides and downsides.

    But then again I’m not sure I expect to see intelligent things on the site that hosts such glorious fecal matter as GAME DAWGZ and this idiot.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      So you read Shamus’ articles to be aroused? That can’t be right…

    • Stacy says:

      And here we have a classic example of an internet hate-monger, a creature far more toxic and destructive than any fanboy. A hate-monger revels in criticizing games and people he feels are below his exacting standards, and anyone who finds enjoyment in these things is part of the ignorant masses and a rampant “fanboy”. A hate-monger likes nothing more than telling people their idiots for liking the things that they like and will gripe about it in whatever forum they can find.

      Unfortunately, Shamus and his work has been moving into this direction for a while now. He seems to be spending more and more time grieving games and gamers and less and less time celebrating gaming culture.

      • krellen says:

        Like me, Shamus is getting along towards middle age and is part of the “old guard” of gamers – those of us with 20 to 30 years of gaming experience, who mostly all owned an Atari 2600 at some point in time and remember that video games existed before Nintendo (not that Nintendo was not awesome). And like most old guards, it’s hard not to contrast our own experience with what we’re seeing now, and comment on how much better our experience was than what others doing now.

        This is partly nostalgia, but it’s also partly a reaction to changes that take something we love (video gaming, in this case) away from the aspects of it that made us love it in the first place.

        I actually have it worse than Shamus, because he likes shooters way more than I do, so he’s still got more of his base around. But things are different, and there’s aspects of it that should be commented upon.

        But I’ll admit a lot of this boils down largely to a “get off my lawn, you darn kids” reaction.

        • SnowballinHell says:

          I’m approaching middle age myself, and would gladly except the title of old guard :)
          owned an Atari and an Apple (played a “Neverending Story” rpg on it…REALLY bad, but loved “Reader Rabbit”)
          got my first Nintendo when I had pneumonia and was bed ridden for 2 weeks
          Shamus’s blog is THE ONLY blog I read, because I feel his views of entertainment are close to my own and he is a rational logical person
          But I feel I can say that I have you both whipped in terms of the “get off my lawn” attitude
          I own a 360, with only 10 games since it was originally released, my PC is my main system and I’m still playing Deus Ex and Thief
          I refuse to pay $50-$60 for ANY game
          I refuse to play multi-player games on console
          I refuse to play Shooters on console
          I played Batman Arkham Asylum and only enjoyed the Riddler puzzles
          I am the personification of the old curmudgeon on the end of the block who sits in his rocking chair with a shotgun waiting for the commies to come and take my Coka Cola
          I have a sad, boring, lonely existence

          So I warn all of you:
          DON’T BE LIKE ME !! RUN FOR YOU LIVES !! PLAY CHIME AND KOTOR UNTIL YOUR BRAINS TURN TO MUSH
          because trust me, I’m living the alternative, and it ain’t fun

          P.S. my views are my own and are not endorsed by this site nor any of
          it’s parent operators, any similarities to persons living or dead is purely coincidence

          • Deoxy says:

            In some ways, I have to agree with you… but, you can still find some of what you like! Or at least, I’ve found several things that match up well with what I’ve liked over the years…

            Battle for Wesnoth is pretty good (and free)

            Dwarf Fortress makes those old Nintendo untranslated Japanese war sims look simple by comparison.

            Etc. Most of what I have loved about videogames isn’t gone, it’s just “indie only” now.

      • guy says:

        Okay, seriously, the second big thing on this site was Shamus mocking stereotypical D&D players. This is not a new thing.

      • eri says:

        Wait, me or Shamus? I’m not hate-mongering, as far as I can tell. I love Shamus and Friends (as they are coming to be known), but I didn’t think this article was really up to his usual standards.

        Eh, whatever, deadlines can be hard to meet sometimes, and I guess not everyone has the liberty of just writing as inspiration comes.

        Of course, if you mean Shamus being a hate-monger, then… no, not really. Generally you’d have to be an idiot to disagree with most of the things he says, not because of some strange fanboy groupthink mentality, but just because he is a person capable of rational and critical thought, who like-minded individuals can identify with. The biggest differences I could forsee having with him would be with regards to politics and ideology, which is thankfully outside the domain of this site.

      • Shamus says:

        …which is why I just posted a 4-part, 5,000 word essay on a character I love. Because I’m such a hate monger.

        And why I heaped praise on Chime. And all those games we enthusiastically previewed at PAX.

        Honestly, if you really think that I’m “creature far more toxic and destructive than any fanboy.”, then why are you reading my site? Because you want to hate on it? But wouldn’t that make you…?

        • X2-Eliah says:

          Consider it as that you did not post 5000-word essays on all other characters in Mass Effect 2 (and we won’t even mention ME1). Yep, sounds like hate to me. Totally.

          And you also did not post positive swooning comments on most non-chime games. You horrible, horrible man.

          Ahem.
          On a serious note, I wouldn’t mind to be acknowledged as a toxic and destructive creature purely on the impact of my opinions. Because they’d have to be quite influential. So take heart when there is the chance.

        • Maldeus says:

          For some reason I’m waiting for someone to shout “OBJECTION!”

    • Cezar says:

      I enjoyed that article…

        • Kell says:

          My gods, man, that’s a gratifyingly intolerant smackdown of a terrible piece of writing. That article is one of the most truly nauseating bits of psudeo-intellectual tripe I’ve ever come across. I was sorely tempted ( not for the first time ) to create an account at The Escapist just to rip the guts out of it, but I just can’t bring myself to flatter the place even that much. Thanks for doing it for me :)

          I see from your blog you have a lot ot say on the subject of games/art. I’m going to get myself a cup of tea then work my way through your archives.

  21. acronix says:

    “Above all, to be a fanboy (or girl, we’re elitist not sexist) you must remember that everyone should have the exact same interests and personal tastes as you. “

    This line makes me think that fanboys want all of humanity to become a gestalt-like entity shaped like them. Which would, ironically, solve all of our problems…so they are acutally trying to fix the world!
    Too bad they can´t agree with each other.

  22. Friend of Dragons says:

    Huh… my browser (chrome) is now warning me away from the link to the escapist… is my computer just trolling me again or has the site been hacked or something?

  23. Will says:

    Oh damn… GoG is shutting down?

  24. ghost4 says:

    “You’re not allowed to judge games by their stories.”

    Yes, this is satire, but you are still quite correct. The story is largely unimportant in most video games (even the developers agree, seeing as how they refuse to hire professionals to do the writing).

    • Shamus says:

      Most of my favorite games have great stories as their backbone. System Shock, KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout.

      Certainly there are great games that have little or no story, but saying you are not “allowed” to judge a game by its story is preposterous. It’s like saying you’re not allowed to like good stories.

      • ghost4 says:

        It just so happens that three of the games you mentioned — or maybe all four — belong in the RPG genre, where the story usually is quite important.

        I wouldn’t judge a game by its story unless the story is important. Usually it isn’t.

        • Shamus says:

          Now you’re speaking in tautologies. Of course the story isn’t important unless it’s important. But the article said, “You are not allowed…”, which is absurd.

          It’s cool if you don’t care about stories, but it’s still perfectly valid to hammer a game for having a terrible story.

          • ghost4 says:

            I didn’t say I don’t care, I said I won’t care too much if the story isn’t important to the game.

            • Kell says:

              But the point Shamus is making is that if the designers decided to put story in their game, for whatever reason and to whatever degree it is important to the rest of the experience, it is fair game for criticism because it is now part of the experience.

              I sympathise to some extent with the attitude “if you want story, go read a book”, but not because I think no-one should concern themselves with the story in a game. It’s because I think a big problem with modern games is that there is too much story in a medium that can never be primarily a storytelling medium. Some of the games recently criticised on this blog – Mirror’s Edge, Fallout 3 – suffer not because they have badly written stories, but because they have stories at all.

              I also understand that what many ‘fanboys’ mean when they say a particular game “isn’t about the story” is that if the gameplay is good, critics shouldn’t get distracted from that with what is perhaps tangential to the main experience.
              Nonetheless, if a game contains story, that story is a valid target for criticism, and attempting to block that criticism by erecting false constraints is feeble bullshit.
              If a game “isn’t about the story” then why did the designers incorporate a story at all? That itself is worthy of criticism.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                The problem here is not that there is too much story,but that the story is badly delivered.While books and movies(and songs,paintings,etc)deliver a story simply by telling you the events,games need to immerse the player in it and weave it around them.Too much exposition is a bad thing.Discovering stuff on your own is much better.And if you want to present some very important piece of a story you need to put it in some obvious place,or give some obvious clues if it is supposed to be a hidden thing.If you just give the player some part of narrative via some npc,or book,or similar,youre doing it wrong.

                • Kell says:

                  Letting people ‘discover stuff’ is not storytelling.

                  “Interactive plot” is as much a contradiction in terms as “interactive joke.”

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Depends how.If you do it well,people will never see the railing that guides them towards the next plot element and will have the illusion that they have found it themselves.Its not contradictory,its different.

                  And I know of quite a few jokes specifically constructed to trap the listener to answer/act in a certain way,so those exist as well.

                • krellen says:

                  There’s an entire sub genre of joke specifically designed to be interactive – the “knock knock joke”. Two particularly famous ones – the banana/orange one and the interrupting cow one – actually play on the tropes of the interactive joke to get their punchline.

                  Riddles are also interactive jokes.

                • Kell says:

                  Oh come on. Those are not examples of interactive jokes; the listener has no input to the structure or outcome of the joke.

                  Riddles are a type of puzzle, not joke, and they too have only one correct outcome.

                  They are not ‘interactive’ in the sense we use to differentiate games as a medium from cinema, prose, etc. You’re either grasping at straws, or just clueless.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  There are riddles that are jokes at the same time.And they are interactive in the same way a linear game is interactive.

                • krellen says:

                  Riddles are a type of puzzle, not joke, and they too have only one correct outcome.

                  Okay. “How is a Raven like a Writing Desk?” What’s the “one correct outcome” to that?

                • Jarenth says:

                  “They’re both combustible.”

                  That’s the one correct answer to that riddle. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But you cant harm a bird.There are easier ways to test this.For example,writing desks are flammable because they are made out of wood.But wood also floats.So if ravens float,they are flammable.

                • krellen says:

                  Blog comment threads: also interactive jokes!

                • Jarenth says:

                  And thus, ‘interactive joke’ is proven to exist, by virtue of us.

                  Also, I’m fairly certain PETA will not be happy with that episode.

                • SolkaTruesilver says:

                  Next Episode on MythBuster: Are the Animals really the friends of PETA? Let’s find out by locking up Ingrid Newkirk with a Bengal Tiger!

                  If it doesn’t work, Adam will step in dressed as a gorilla with some male hormone we collected in order to spray all participants.

                  Also this week, the MythTerns will go to the Next Frontier to discover if intelligent life can develop in the harshest conditions, stay tune for their visit in Nebraska!

              • ghost4 says:

                Condemning the whole game because the story sucks is stupid if the story isn’t at all important.

                • acronix says:

                  But it´s part of the overall experience. If the story is not important…why the heck is it here tainting my awesome gameplay?

                  Addendum: I don´t mean that story is all that matters, but if it´s there, then you should weight it with everything else, no matter great everything is. Of course: good gameplay will probably make you shrug against a horrid story, but my initial question still stands.

              • Jarenth says:

                Blast, this should have been one comment thread up.

                Disregard this message, my glasses need cleaning.

              • SolkaTruesilver says:

                I blame Jarenth for making me repeat his mistake

              • Jarenth says:

                I regret nothing.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Half life.It also has a well told story,even though it is mostly cliches,and it definitely is not rpg.Then there is braid that can be judged by story and by gameplay separately.Then theres homeworld where story adds quite a bit of points.And theres starcraft that also has a very nice story,and very well developed characters,even though their only interaction comes from cinematics and scripted dialogue.Then there is assassin creed,which still hase a nice story,despite all its faults.Thief and prince of persia sands of time as well.

          Besides,rpgs dont have to have epic stories,thats not what defines them.You can play fallout 1 and 2 without ever getting the main story by playing a dumb brute that goes around punching things and speaking in grunts.So you basically save the world by just milling around.

          • ghost4 says:

            I never said stories don’t exist in video games or that RPGs are the only games that have stories. I also never said every RPG must have an “epic story.” You are making things up.

            • acronix says:

              How dare you critizice that comment for the “besides”? It´s clear that it is not important for the comment! The important thing are the examples. Review the examples, not the “besides”!

            • SolkaTruesilver says:

              Or simply, a story is simply another part on which you can evaluate a game or not. Like awesome graphics, storyline is something that you appreciate when it’s there. Something that you don’t care about when it’s missing. Something that irritates you when it’s simply badly done.

              A game with no pretention of having a good story, and it doesn’t actually try to make me interested, I can understand (ex: Titan Quest). It’s the simpliest of plot: “Monsters attack, please help us!”. You can play everything without paying much attention to the people blabbling around. I won’t judge it based on the story.

              Resident Evil V? That’s insulting. With QTE, they force us to go through the stupidly insulting plot, force us to pay attention to a badly written plot designed over a bar mat. I am so going to grade it down for the story, because it’s impossible to ignore.

              Half-Life 2? That’s a good story. Not interactive, but what’s the point? I get involved, there is a nice villain, there is a nice plot twist at the end. I get out of it enjoyed, and I want to know what happens to my favourite character in the next game.

              Same can be said about graphics. A game that won’t try to have that nice graphics can be funny and still utterly enjoyable (point in case: World of Warcraft haven’t really tried to go for the ultimate realist awesome uber-graphics. On the opposite, it’s almost cartoonish in it’s simple design. Is it that worse of a game? No)

              Crysis, on the other hand, has a somewhat repetitive storyline, but cutting edge graphic. Is it a better game because of the graphics? Yes. Because it cared, and it delivered.

              Oblivion tried to have nice graphics, but failed. Is it worse of a game because of it? Yes. They should have done a lot more to make their graphics better, and they have a lesser enjoyable game because of it. I mean, a fan-made mod solve their graphical problem for them!

    • Irridium says:

      So? Isn’t a game much better when it has a good story? Don’t you enjoy it more when it means something? Aren’t parties more fun when your actually celebrating something? No, not every game needs a great story, but a great story makes a good game absolutely fantastic.

  25. Jeysie says:

    While I agree with most of your satire, I feel like I need to take issue with part of the first point a little.

    Namely, I feel people actually shouldn’t be allowed to review games they hate, in the sense of not being able to review game genres they hate.

    Or, at least, if they are allowed to review such a game, they should be required to actually judge the game in terms of how good or bad a member of its genre is, rather than bitching about how the game sucks because it has mechanics they hate that are a standard part of the genre.

    It’s kind of a button for me, because I had a dime for every time I’ve seen a pro review of an adventure game where the reviewer spends the whole time kvetching about having to walk around exploring and solving puzzles and concluding the game is bad because it revolves around those mechanics, even though that’s the whole freakin’ point of that game genre, I’d have enough money to pay them to go write about a genre they actually like and leave the adventure games to someone who accepts the point of the genre.

    I mean, could understand if they were complaining that the puzzles were illogical or the exploration was awkward or something that actually has to do with how good of an adventure game the game is, but no, often they just complain about the base genre gameplay itself, thus making it a completely useless review for those of us who like adventure games, and thus have no issues with walking around exploring and solving puzzles.

    I mean, to turn it around for sake of example, personally I suck at action games, to the point where I consider running around shooting stuff to be extremely difficult and thus unfun, but I don’t sit there and review Half-Life or something and spend the whole time complaining that you have to run around and shoot things. Dur. And yet, people who can’t apply this sort of logic complain about the inevitable bad results in reviews too often for my tastes.

    • SolkaTruesilver says:

      On that note, Civilization 5 is atrocious. I mean, really.

      The gameplay is soooo slow and lame. You don’t start with any basic gun, you have to first wait 15 minutes before you get to shoot other people. And then, you can’t search plane and guns at the same time. I mean, who designed this game?

      The PoV is WAY too high to go personnal against the other guy’s army. You can’t simply take a tank and have fun shooting stuff. Off course, when you see your soldiers fighting, they don’t have any personnal shields, which is kinda lame.

      Finally, the multiplayer is atrocious. You have to wait for your opponent to wake up of his boringness and make his move. What’s the point of multiplayer if you can’t abuse another player’s slowness?!

      • Jeysie says:

        *sneeeeerk*

        Although you’d be surprised (or, I don’t know, maybe you wouldn’t be surprised) at how many times I’ve read a review that had the exact same structure/tone, yet was meant in complete earnestness.

    • eri says:

      Reminds me of a time where some IGN intern’s 2.0ish review for Football Manager 2010 got taken down because he thought it was meant to be like FIFA instead of a management title…

    • Jep jep says:

      I think it’s one of the worst things any official publication reviewer can make. It’s not that they can’t have their opinion, it just hardly does anybody any service reading it when we’re talking about people who might base their buying decision on it. Especially if it’s just them venting their frustrations when they can’t enjoy it, instead of at least pretending to be objective about the game and about themselves. If they had any sense of decency, they’d at least let people know why they think the way they do.

      You still have to remember however that on the other side of the coin you have the hypers whose writings can be equally as bad.

  26. Neil Polenske says:

    YO DAWG! I herd u liek Fanboyz! So we put a fanboy in ur fanboy so u can troll while u troll!

    http://cdn0.knowyourmeme.com/i/1122/original/xzibit-happy.jpg

  27. Joey Palzewicz says:

    This article already has a hundred comments, so I’m not sure if you’ll read this. But I’ll try anyways.

    I am sorry, Mr. Young. I have been behaving exactly like the fanboys you were mocking in this entry.

    You see, when you were recently ripping Mass Effect 2 and 3 a new one, I reacted less than adult-like. I thought you were biased. I thought you just wanted to sow misery. I thought you were saying bad things just to get attention.

    I was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.

    You were expressing an honest opinion about your concern for an amazing video game franchise; I was getting all pissy about the fact that you were “bashing” it. You were giving an in-depth and reasonable analysis about the flaws of this series; I stuck my fingers in my ear and went “LALALALA HATERS GONNA HATE LALALALALALA!”

    I wasn’t especially vocal about it; aside from a few comments, I mostly just stewed over it. What I did was just “boycott” you; I didn’t read anything you put here, I didn’t read anything you put on The Escapist, and I didn’t watch a single one of your videos.

    After a while, I realized that I missed you. I missed your insight on the industry. I missed your dry, sarcastic humor. And although I disagreed with most of what you said about things I loved, I missed how you look beyond things and see things the lowest common denominator would skip over.

    Because although I don’t agree with your comments about Mass Effect, you have no idea just how awesome you are. Your Stolen pixels comics are really funny. Your column is extremely insightful. I’ve even purchased Jade Empire and Oblivion based on how much you’ve gushed praise about them.

    I still love Mass Effect 2 to pieces, and I eagerly anticipate Mass Effect 3. That will not change. However, I will try to be more of an adult in regards to your opinions, and no matter how much I may disagree with them, I will try to disagree agreeably.

    TL;DR. What I’m saying is that I’m sorry, let’s disagree agreeably, and that you’re still awesome. Can you forgive me?

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