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LONG BLOG

In response to Ryu89's blog about the pathology of fanboys...

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On the other end of it, some people who only buy console per generation and go on to "fight" to prove that their console is the "best", do so out of genuine investment in the evolution of videogames. These are the "fanboys" who take their stance in "the console wars" to be more like a democrat of a republican takes on an election. If they go about their self appointed tasks properly, they don't completely ignore the strengths of the other party, but ultimately, they still want their philosophy to win.

That's because with videogames, these "wins" matter. The kind of game that becomes dominant in the market right now may continue to be dominant for a long time, or at least, that's what the opinionated fan sometimes believes. As someone that loved 2D games (and still do), I admit that I was quite the raving "fanboy" in the mid 90's, when 2D games started to die out and polygon based graphics started to take over. I didn't want my favorite types of games to become extinct, and sadly, they did anyway. All my letters to DieHard Gamefan about how Street Fighter Alpha looked better than Tekken 2 did nothing to stop the tides of gaming's development. Yes, I was a sad, angry panda at that time, thought I've since learned to shut up and just love 3D fighters for what they're worth.

Anyway, that kind of near-complete extinction of an entire genre is still possible with videogames, because videogames are the only form of entertainment that is still really, truly evolving. All genres of film, music, books, even fine art have all pretty much established themselves by now. The same kinds of movies made big money in the 70's still make money now. The same types of books that people wrote in the 60's are the same that people write in today. Styles change over the years, but the at their roots, the genres of romance, drama, horror, and comedy are still the same, and still all have a place in entertainment.

Videogames aren't like that. There has been a constant evolution in videogames since the start, and certain genres have more or less died out over the course of that evolution. When games first got big, it was games like Pac-Manthat sold, then Super Mario Bros, then Street Fighter II, then Final Fantasy VII, then Metal Gear Solid, then GTA, and now Wii Fit; all them totally different types of games, all steps forward in the evolving face of videogames. With that level of variance in the "dominant" gaming genres over the past 20 years, fans are going to see the medium as a malleable, dangerously fragile thing; one that could change into something they don't like at all any time.

That's why I initially didn't like the 360. I saw it as a representation of everything I didn't want gaming to become; overpriced consoles focused on online, monthly pay-service games with "realistic" graphics and inflated "blockbuster" budgets. Since then, I've come to really like the 360 and what it represents, but that's because it now costs $199 and has games like 'Splosion Man, Geometry Wars, Castle Crashers and Braid.

That said, I don't think anyone, from the niche' genre fans to the online FPS fans to the "blockbuster game" fans to the old-school platforming fan has anything to worry about these days.

We're all "winners" now.

Just about every genre of game can become a hit these days. That's why I think this is really the golden age of gaming. To have Uncharted 2 and Critter Crunch both get great reviews and sell very well (by early reports anyway), and both on the PS3, and both come out in the same month shows me that today, every type of game has a chance in today's market.

So on one hand, I understand why some people get heated about their favorite kind of game and the chance that it will eventually becoming extinct, but I also think that that kind of thinking just isn't necessary anymore.

I think it will probably be a few years before "fanboys" figure that out though.
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About Jonathan Holmesone of us since 4:12 PM on 12.04.2007

"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1

"The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Just like in a Gameboy game... a nice tight little world... and all its inhabitants... made out of little building blocks... Why can't these little pixels be the building blocks for love..? For loss... for understanding"- James Kochalka, Reinventing Everything part 1

"I wonder if James Kolchalka has played Mother 3 yet?" Jonathan Holmes



Wild Holmes pic by Cadtalfryn



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