We've all seen fanboys before. Ranting and raving, upsetting themselves by pretending that other people are trying to upset them, feeling persecuted while happily persecuting others. Wait, did I just describe fanboys or religious fundamentalists? It's so hard to tell the difference sometimes.
In fact, the two groups are similar enough to be considered identical. The more I think about it, the more I feel that "fanboy" is not quite strong enough a word to describe the hardcore insanity of the average Sony obsessive, Microsoft loyalist or Nintendo worshiper. No, these people treat videogame consoles like some sort of twisted religion, and follow that religion with the blind devotion of a cultist.
I hereby decree that console fanboyism should be considered a religion in and of itself, and those who subscribe to it? Why, they're religious fandamentalists. Read on as I explain why this decision should be written into American history. Oh, if you're the type of person who gets upset over religious criticism, no matter how tongue-in-cheek, I'll warn you now that you should just skip this article entirely.
They pass off mere beliefs and theories as facts:
There is no such thing as a belief, opinion or theory for a fanboy. Everything is black and white, where statements are either completely true or completely false. In very much the same way as a hardcore Christian or Muslim would pass off their belief system as unwavering truth, so too will PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 fanboys claim that their console is undeniably the greatest.
The burden of proof is not on these people, and that's mostly because there is no evidence to ever back up their claims. Their reason for believing is merely "because I decided this is real," and that apparently makes it real somehow. Rather than try to prove these facts of theirs, they will simply shout very loudly in the hopes that you'll be distracted or irritated enough to not press the issue and actually demand some evidence.
There is no real reason for console fanboys to choose one inane concept of superiority over another. It's simply a case of "this is the system I bought first, therefore it's the best," in very much the same way as someone might say, "I was born a Catholic, therefore Catholicism is totally correct."
They have a creepy love fetish for something that doesn't show love back:
If you fall in love with somebody you've never met or interacted with in any way, most people would call you a crazy stalker and lock you up. However, if the somebody in question is called God, it magically isn't creepy anymore and you're allowed to continue having an imagined relationship with somebody whom you haven't even spoken to on Gtalk. This is, of course, very similar to people who have a demented fetish for consoles.
Fanboys are clearly in love with their system of choice. They respond to criticism in the same way a man would respond to an attack on his girlfriend. The amount of time they spend talking about their preferred system, it's very clear that they have fallen in love and they want everybody to love it the same way they do. They jump to its defense in a heartbeat, regardless of the fact that it would never do the same thing for them. Same with a corporation like Sony or Microsoft, a company that doesn't give two shits about them, yet the fandamentalists will happily do PR work for them as if they somehow owe them such fealty.
Being in love with an inanimate object is vaguely terrifying, and a clear sign of fandamentalism.
They respond to criticism with nothing but attacks:
Have you ever seen a religious debate with a fanatic? It's not pretty, let me assure you. Religious fundies don't like criticism, and since it's always far easier to attack than to defend one's belief system (mostly because, again, there's no evidence in existence to defend with), they will go on the warpath, wielding straw men like swords in an attempt to deflect any and all critique and turn it into an attack on the belief system of the critic.
Just look what happened when I merely suggested that Sony wasn't doing everything perfectly with the PlayStation Network. You'll notice that barely anybody who takes umbrage at my suggestion defends Sony's decision properly. Instead, the fandamentalists use personal attacks and insults in a pathetic attempt to get their point across. It's this unrelenting, absolutely unyielding refusal to accept any kind of criticism, however light, that is truly worrying. In very much the same way as religious extremists, fanboys are so insecure in their beliefs that they'll lash out at anything that threatens their fragile sense of righteousness.
It's my personal theory that anybody so willing to lash out at the slightest, most polite criticism is insecure in their faith. If you can't accept or at least tolerate a bit of critique, then your beliefs can't be as strong as you think they are. It's that "what if I am wrong? NO I CAN'T BE" mentality that fanboys subscribe to. They are terrified of being incorrect, and that terror is what drives them to bite and snarl like cornered dogs.
They have a persecution complex:
It's amusing to think that some Christians, by far the most numerous demographic in the most powerful nation on Earth, feel victimized. Just look at Bill O'Reilly, who claims that there is an "attack" on the wholesome Christian festival of Christmas just because some people say "Happy Holidays." Just look at groups like God Hates Fags, who love to say outrageously evil things about homosexuals yet somehow act like they're the ones being bullied. Take the Christians who have told me personally that they're sick of being the victims all the time, even though atheists are the minority group and American surveys claim that atheists are the least trusted people in the country.
As I explained in my "PS3 fanboys are the worst" article, there is a similar persecution complex among fanboys. Although it is indeed worse among PS3 Fandamentalists, it can apply to other console cults as well. This is most evident by the use of the word "bias," a term that has almost lost all meaning thanks to the people who have overused it to the point of irrelevance. Whenever a writer criticizes a console, an exclusive game, or a company, they are accused of "bias." Fandamentalists live in a twisted fantasy realm where everybody who is not them is an enemy with a compulsive desire to victimize them and destroy their way of life.
Fanboys and fundies like to believe that sane, rational people are just as obsessed with consoles or religions as they are. Truth is, we don't really care and are just calling it how we see it, but the arrogance of fandamentalists is such that they want to make everything about them. Anything you write is just an excuse to "bash" them and their precious beliefs. Never mind the fact that they act like bullies themselves -- everybody is biased and has a personal vendetta against them and the corporation that they are in love with.
They impose their will on other people:
Be it gay marriage or abortion, fundamentalists love to impose their will on others who may not necessarily believe the same things they do. If THEY don't approve of gay marriage, then they'll do their best to make sure NOBODY can practice it. Again, it comes down to terror -- a fear that somebody who is not them will get their own way, and that if they do, it will somehow threaten their own sense of validity and security.
Review scores tend to be the gay marriage of fanboys. My favorite example, of course, is the Killzone 2 debacle, where anybody who dared give the game less than a 9 was thoroughly eviscerated by those who felt the game deserved better and therefore stomped down on anybody who disagreed. Despite the fact that they're not the only people in the world, these fandamentalists want everybody to bow down to them and how they think things should be run.
They follow their leaders without question:
You can rape a kid, but if you're wearing a big red hat, you'll get forgiven. That's what I've come to learn. I've also come to learn that you can release a billion firmware upgrades for the PSP and that's perfectly acceptable. Both fanboys and religious extremists have demonstrated that their respective leaders and say or do anything, no matter how retarded, and they will still command the loyalty of hundreds, who are more than prepared to justify, validate or otherwise absolve the leaders in question.
Just as many organized religions work to eradicate people who think for themselves and dare to question the sense of their actions, so too does fandamentalism turn its victims into mindless drones who impulsively defend any and all decisions their chosen company makes. It's amazing how some of these fanboys will defend the indefensible. From Red Rings to poor network infrastructures, there is always some excuse that threatens to break the laws of logic. Truly a religious experience.
They hate other religious extremists:
Just like most "mainstream" religions laugh at Scientology even though its backstory is just as insane as any other religion's origin, so too do fanboys have a contempt for other fanboys. PS3 loyalists think Xbox loyalists are ridiculous, and vice versa. They sidestep talk of their own ludicrous behavior in order to shit on someone else who, to be honest, is acting the exact same way that they are.
Perhaps it's an advanced form of self-loathing, where they know deep down how stupid they're being, so they find a near-perfect replica and call that stupid instead. In any case, many religions actively hate or distrust each other in the same way that various denominations of console fandamentalists hate or distrust each other. Can't we all just get along?
No. No we can't.
They make normal people look bad:
And here, I think, we come to the most important and salient point. Fact is, if you want to like your PS3 better than any other console, that's fine. If you want to believe in God, that's fine as well. It's an old cliché to say it, but if you don't bother anybody else with your business, then go do whatever you want. However, it's the extremists that make the rest of the crowd look bad. Christian fundamentalists make regular, nice Christians look like censorship-hungry, sixteen-kid-having hypocrites. Muslim fundamentalists make regular, decent Muslims look like terrorists who enjoy living in countries that they claim to despise.
Similarly, PS3 fanboys make all PS3 fans look like whining, crying teenagers who sign petitions over multiplatform games. Xbox 360 fanboys make regular 360 lovers look like Halo-obsessed frat boys who regularly bend over to accept a royal shafting from Microsoft. Both religious extremists and the newly crowned fandamentalists tar everything with the same brush.
And that's why it's important to label them like cattle. Fandamentalists are what they are, and fandamentalists are what they'll remain. It also sounds pretty cool, don't you think?
[About Jim Sterling: Jim Sterling is Destructoid's reviews editor and writes a wide variety of articles, including editorials such as this. He does not consider himself a journalist. His work can be humorous or serious, but it's up to you to decide which articles are which. The opinions expressed -- be they satirical or sincere -- are entirely his own and don't reflect the opinions of Destructoid's staff as a whole. He might annoy you sometimes, but his aim is never genuine offense. Try and take him for what he is -- one guy having fun on the Internet and talking about videogames.]