Fanboys: The Ugly Side of Gaming

January 17th, 2011 at 9:00 am · 27 Comments

Video games have truly grown as a medium over the years. Although many out there still see it as a sign of immaturity, a large portion of society now recognizes gaming for the interactive art that it is.  It’s so large now it has its own (crappy) televised award show, tens of thousands flock to gaming conventions, and nowadays you can actually talk about games in public without hiding your face (though some of you still need to wear a mask).

But with its growing popularity comes something very dreadful, something that has always been a part of the gaming world, but it seems to surface more often and does impact what society thinks of us gamers.

They are the fanboys: the elitist gamers who participate in e-peen glorification and want to bring anyone down that thinks differently than them.  You know, because society thinks with one mind and has one collective thought. So gamers should too.

Once a badge of pride, the word “fanboy” now carries a negative connotation.  There are 2 arguments I’ve seen fanboys be the most vocal about and here I am to complain about them because I have nothing better to do too.

Hardcore vs. Casual Gamers

When I go to the movies to enjoy the latest hit film that everyone won’t shut up about, I don’t get confronted by people asking me, “What are you, a movie buff, or just enjoy movies?” Nor do I get approached at Barnes and Nobles, “are you a book nerd or just like to read?” as a means to bump heads.

The gaming world works differently, as it does in almost every other aspect compared to other mediums.  When it comes down to the answer of, “what are you, a hardcore or casual gamer?,” it can cause a bit of commotion.

Now, I understand where the initial motivation for this argument comes from. We like feeling a level of distinction from the market flowing in thanks to the Wii and now the PS Move and Kinect. I have friends that didn’t even know what an Xbox was, but are now flocking to Best Buy to pick up the newest gadget in interactive fun called “Connect!” – I’m sorry, I meant Kinect; this is just what my boss called it.  So, of course, we like representing our “senior status” over the fresh meat coming in.

Very fresh meat... This doesn't relate to anything but it says video in the background?

But what I’m bothered with is not the matter of wanting to flaunt, but what we require to flaunt said label. Whether you listen to podcasts, troll N4G articles, or follow your favorite writers on their websites or social media pages, it won’t be long before you come across this argument.  I’ve seen plenty of people tell others (even me at times), “Your argument is invalid because you’re not a hardcore gamer.”

Well, what are the requirements for a hardcore gamer?

  • Is it how many consoles and handhelds we own?
  • Is it owning/playing every game that releases?
  • Is it only playing the top games?
  • Is it knowing every little detail about every franchise? Game developers? Artists?
  • Is it owning every peripheral?
  • Is it NOT buying Kinect and Move?
  • Is there a certain amount of hours needed to play a game?
  • Is it if you’re great at games (mastery)? Always playing on prestige/elite/god mode?
  • Is it how high your gamerscore is/how many trophies or platinums you have?
  • Is it how long you’ve been playing games (childhood to adulthood)?
  • Am I boring you yet? RHETORICAL! Sad thing is I can go on and on and on…

Hell, even Wikipedia doesn’t know: “Hardcore gamer is a widely used term applied to describe a type of video game player. There is currently no unanimously agreed upon definition for the term.”  And we all know Wikipedia is the grand center for information.

So, let’s look at the opposite side, what exactly makes a casual gamer?

  • If they own a Wii, Kinect, or Move?
  • If they only play party games?
  • If they don’t know about games coming out every month?
  • If they don’t know anything about who the game developers are?
  • If they only play one certain type of game? This can stem from those that only play Mario games to those that only pick up the new Halo or Call of Duty.

See, it just gets ridiculous, or it may just be me blabbering on and making it seem ridiculous. In either case, there is no agreement on the definition, but fanboys will fight nonstop to devalue your “gaming status” to make your arguments invalid.  “Shut up, you’re not even a real gamer!”

Well, I’d like to propose another “definition” for a hardcore or real gamer, which can maybe help subdue some of this unnecessary trolling. How about passion? Simply having an actual passion for what games are, appreciating their merit in our lives, is what I think a “hardcore gamer” should mean.

I’m a hardcore gamer because I care enough about games to constantly play them, discuss them, buy them, etc. Although I have all consoles, been gaming since I was 10 (and I’m still the same height, hooray), am up-to-date on gaming news, etc… I don’t see those as the things that qualify me as a “hardcore gamer.”

This article qualifies me as a hardcore gamer. Because I’m writing about something I actually care strongly about, and that’s all you need. Casual gamers do care about games, if they didn’t they wouldn’t play them in the first place. They’d be lumped in with those people that still think video games are the cause of all evil. Yet at the same time they see video games simply as a past time. Considering our infatuation with this, I think it’s safe to say we see it as more than just a past time. It’s something that defines us, we use to make friends, we use to stay in touch with people, we use it to get away from the real world or just know more about ourselves. Sounds pretty hardcore right?

Console Wars
What’s this article about again? Oh right, something about peen and elitism. Now that we got the meaning of hardcore out of the way, let’s take a look at the division on its own. When you think of gamer flame wars, the first thing that should come to mind is the constant debate of which console is better: the Xbox 360 or PS3 (I have never seen anyone really debate for the Wii). People will list exclusive games, sales, who has the better motion control (ahem, Godfree vs. HipHopGamer) and all this other crap that really comes down to… nothing.

Honestly, think about it.  What do you win from this “console war”? If Microsoft prevails, do you get free XBLA games? Are gas prices going down (they sure have to!)? Do we get a live broadcast of Chuck Norris punching out the CEO of the losing company? If one console ends up dying out from these “wars” fans keep igniting the flames for, how do you benefit from one console ruling the gaming world? Traits such as innovation, graphics, quality, and prices will suffer.  The last one is most important, especially for consumers, whom we all are.

If you’re part of this imaginative war, you jump at the chance of putting down the opposing console. The “fanboyism” comes out and it’s nothing but unsupported drivel and unnecessary name calling. Can’t we all just get along? No, an Xbot will say, not until you admit Microsoft is supreme and all knowing! Shut up, says the PS3 fanboy, Sony rules all and commits no errors!


It’s okay to have preferences, but when you begin to blindly defend a company or product and resort to hate bashing, the fanboyism needs to stop.  You’re giving gamers a bad name amongst our own community and those that look at us already with judgmental eyes.  There is such a thing as intellectual debates and civility in the gaming world, I’ve seen it! It’s just rare these gaming days.

Personally, I will rag on all and enjoy them all because in the grand scheme of things, each console brings a different experience.  If I find something I don’t like, I’ll comment on it. If I find something I do like, I’ll praise it. I feel privileged to be able to experience it all because as gamers in this day and age, we are truly fortunate when it comes to great tech and games. If the Xbox dies off, people won’t be able to play games like Gears and Forza. If PlayStation disappears, there goes Drake and the lovable Sackboy.  These companies’ competing amongst one another is our gain, why can’t people see that? It’s okay to spit a few words back and forth when it comes to an actual conversation, but if it resorts to name calling and bringing in someone’s mother because Xbox WILL FOREVER RULE YOUR FACE OFF, grow up.

- – - -

There’s something fanboys don’t seem to understand.  In the eyes of the world who idolizes Jersey Shore (Snooki wrote a book by the way; literature as we know it is in peril) and still thinks 2012 is our demise (NASA has something to say about that), we’re all considered “nerds” anyway. Regardless of which console you like more or if you think you’re one of the few real gamers out there, you’re still a “nerd” by society’s standards. So we technically only have each other… let’s play nice!

Related Posts:
  • Learn the Definition of Fanboy
  • Top 100 – #34 Stupid Fanboy Wars on Metacritic
  • Why the world would be better without Fanboys & Anti-Fanboys
  • Fanboys Fight To The Death!
  • Top 100 – #89 Haze Sucked.
  • Tags: · · · · · ·
    Categories: Editorial · News · PlayStation 3 · Wii · Xbox 360

    27 responses so far ↓

    • People says:

      I think hardcore casual is because most people who play party games likely dont see games as a proper medium and hardckre gamers see them as the people who ridiculed then like jocks slagging nerds who play games but they themselves play games and they slag them back for not being leet

      • Esmeralda says:

        That was bearable legible… The fact that someone goes out and actually buys a system and games for said hardware means they definitely see games as a proper medium (since it’s not cheap). Hardcore gamers just have a stronger devotion and passion for the medium and follow it thoroughly.

        And I don’t know what you’ve gone through in your high school days, but hardcore gamers are not people who were ridiculed by jocks…

    • MattJC1337 says:

      I thought hardcore gamers were the ones that played games 6-8 hours a day or something and played in tournaments, i guess i dunno shit :/

    • The Jack Of Hearts SG says:

      That was an interesting article to read Esme. Fanboyism is too widespread and frequent on the interwebz. Though at times these fictitious “console wars” lead the way to some hilarious comments from users here at SG, IGN, N4G, etc.

      By the end of the day each of us have a set of opinions of what games, consoles, etc we all like. Who really cares if someone 100% a game or how many trophies/achievements one has? As long as your playing the games you like none of that other stuff matters.

    • Another Someone Else says:

      Well written article.
      Well said The Jack of Hearts SG.

      I agree on everything. I own all three consoles, even though I am moving towards my PS3, but always find some way to make use of all of them. Super Mario Galaxy, Little Big Planet, and Reach all rock my world equally.

      Also thanks for pointing out that it’d be very bad if one console ruled them all. No really, that would be awful, I can’t even begin to imagine paying more that $299.99 for a console and more than $59.99 for a game.

      • ManuOtaku says:

        Well take for instance the 600$ price tag for the ps3 in 2006, heck and they had to compete with the wii and 360, i dont want to think what will be the price if we have only one console manufacturer.

    • karbaasi92 says:

      Another well-written article. :)
      I always feel that I’ve accomplished something when I manage to read the huge wall of text (+pics).
      I have 7/11 of the HC requirements, which means I’m HARDCORE!

    • SinnerDelGore says:

      Great article. I think what also has allowed this “war” to go on is accountability, or lack of it. You know, back in the day (oh oh, enemy has targeted my position), what you said had consequences because you were right in someone face having that debate. Nowadays, you can sit on the bus, couch or bar, create a totally fictional identity (or 12) and rag, complain, cry or attack anyone’s view you don’t share because that “consequence” is not there. Banhammer, who cares! I’ll just add another number to my handle and off I go. So this plus some individuals not being able to make a dent in society feel, by bragging, attacking and making up stuff, they will gain attention and leave a mark via the Internet.

      This only makes the majority cringe since the ones mentioned above, to accomplish their goal, has to have the biggest voice shouting the most retarded (bad retarded not that PC stuff) comments, just to get attention.

      Sad, really.

      • Esmeralda says:

        Dead on :) Lack of accountability is a problem and what makes the worst of people come out of the woodwork.
        Society: Just sit back down…
        Thanks for reading!

        • SinnerDelGore says:

          Thanks for the reply and after reading my post, I wonder if others think I took time from playing my Colecovision to power up the old Windows 3.0 to type that message. I agree that passion = desire to know more, experience more and be the best at whatever you enjoy. Be it games, movies, boobs (and buns) or sports, passion drives thought towards a goal. However, with any moron (nothing personal,but if you can’t take the time to spell check or I don’t know, read the darn article you are bashing) being able to get online and spew nonsense drops our collective IQs down a ton of points. Which hurts more than you calling me or anyone in our community gay.

    • Honestly, your bullet points DO pretty much sum up the two sides. If most of the points for hardcore apply to you…you’re a hardcore. If most of the casual points apply, you’re a casual lamer. I’d throw in stuff like buying games just because they have a nice cover and playing/buying stuff (games with sub-50 scores on Metacritic for example) anyone who follows gaming knows is terrible to the casual points though. /half serious

      Also, casual gamers are not people; they’re just the fodder the rest of us use to warm up. Zing!

      You’re so right – the war is good because it keeps the competition high. Nobody wants their to only be one console or platform, that would suck! As long as we have multiple platforms fighting for top spot, and the fans feeding them, we hopefully get the best products and games. We are talking about an industry more connected to its fanbase than any other on the planet.
      Great article Esme!

      • Esmeralda says:

        Well if you take a closer look at the bullet points, you’ll realize some of them contradict each other…
        The reason I listed them was to point out how we have all these different requirements for a “hardcore” or “casual” gamer that in reality not everyone that truly loves video games meets anyway BUT they still consider themselves “real gamers.” I know I for one don’t meet the “mastery of every game” part but I think I’m still “hardcore.” ;) So I stick with my last paragraphs on the subject: Hardcore gamer is when you have a strong passion for the medium.

        And I agreed with your last paragraph up until “fans feeding them” because that’s a tricky one. As long as fans continue to support whatever console they prefer, that’s fine, but having these constant debates online with each other when it results in name bashing is not productive and just makes everyone look bad. Feel free to argue intelligently, but leave the “your momma” jokes at the playground.

        Thanks :)

        • I hear yo mamma is hardcore! Zing! /swidt?

          Still, meeting the majority of the points gives a pretty damn good indication.

          Besides it’s simple human nature to be elitists dbags to each other. This is just how it takes shape when it comes to video games.

          There are big differences between the two. Big ones. The largest of which is simple information. Anyone hardcore into their hobby is simply more knowledgeable about said hobby. Which is why the hardcores hate the casuals so much.

          This relates to movie buffs, book buffs, hardcore gamers, street racers…damn near anything that has multiple levels of involvement.

          It’s great that everyone is reading for example. Just don’t expect some pat on the back because you read some low brow trash like Twilight from the crew that reads I Am Legend.

          By the same extension, it’s great that more people are playing games. That does not mean the are equally informed or have equal insight or skill.

          When it comes to forums and other places of discourse, your not going to see a lot of hardcores taking some random Farmville guru seriously when they talk about gaming. The same way nobody into tricking out their car is going to listen to someone give their opinion on racing just because they own a ’98 Sunfire.

          It’s easy…a hardcore gamer has made gaming culture a central point of their life. Casuals have not.

          Would Navy SEALs take advice from the National Guard? I think not.

        • Esmeralda says:

          “Besides it’s simple human nature to be elitists dbags to each other. This is just how it takes shape when it comes to video games.”

          But we SHOULDN’T let it come to this. Just because it’s easier to be an elitist dbag doesn’t mean we should resort to it. It just gets people angry and goes nowhere. We disregard what an elitist dbag says because they’re coming off as one, even if what they’re saying MAY be right. Go ahead and argue, hell I’ll even join in, but have some form of respect (Not directed at you PacMan, you’re one of the cool kids). To the fanboys: Just because you’re an anonymous name on the internet, you’re still a person. Don’t forget those you talk to online are people too.

          Besides that statement above ;) What you said is totally true, but I believe it still comes back to my original argument about passion. It’s passion that drives a hardcore gamer to know all they know (information-wise and experience-wise). If you had no passion for said medium, you wouldn’t be knowledgeable: You wouldn’t read gaming news, learn more of the developers, seek more games to play, explore the gaming waters of infinite game innovation and fun, etc.
          “A hardcore gamer has made gaming culture a central point of their life. Casuals have not.” Still sounds like passion to me :) So we agree to agree, because…

          Oreos <- I win.

    • Theone bro says:

      all these people only commented because of your boobs

    • ManuOtaku says:

      You know what is funny about “hardcore” and “casual” that almost all of the hardcore gamers start like casual gamers, for sheer curiosity, or for the coolness aspect, or very different reasons, but they start this way, then when they evolve, like humans do in every aspect, they became more passionate about it and became “hardcore”, so in the end we are only damaging ourselfs separating our kind this stupid way, but thats what we as humans do,what i cannot understand why a gamer cannot play party games with his family or friends without any feelings of being judge, i enjoy playing games liks, gears of war, god of war, or super mario galaxy, the same as dance central or guitar hero with all my family or friends.
      Regarding the war issue yes you are right, thats the reason everytime i hear that some people of this business state the unify console as a possible and viable future i start to worry, no nintendo, sony, microsoft or sega ( i wish for a comeback the more the merrier), with only one console manufacturer,god forbid this come true, heck i will dare to say this will be our 2012 for sure, the mayas and hopis were right at least in the videogame industry.

    • Whatuonabout says:

      Of course there is competition. Why try to better others on online leaderboards? Why play two player with your friends and then smash the pad up if you lose?

      It’s called competition.

      If only one console existed and everyone played it and got along then gaming would go stale. We need the competition to keep things interesting. We need a hierachy in terms of hardcore-casual gamers. Hardcore gamers play betas and give opinions that help shape games. Casual gamers do not and just take what is put in front of them to play on a Sunday before they mow the lawn.

    • lame3190 says:

      I think hardcore means you are life long. I think you can get into games later in life but does this actually happen? Anyone I know who is into games has always been into games. Im old enough to remember when space invaders and donkey kong arcade were new and I have been hooked ever since. Relationships have not broken down because of it (hmmm, yet although black ops is testing it) but Ive always had atari/nintendo/ps/gameboy/game & watch/colecovision/snes/xbox through my life. Am I the best at every game I play – hell no, do I play “casual games” – yep, do I play especially after beers – tournaments, no. My connection with games however has been for my whole life and I think will continue until Im 70 or not able to react fast enough to keep up. Is that hardcore? Dunno, but it does seperate me from a casual gamer for sure.

      • Esmeralda says:

        I liked your comment :) But what about those that haven’t been gaming their whole lives but are now devoting the rest of theirs to it? I have a few friends that didn’t discover the potential of games until just recently when a friend or girl/boyfriend showed them a good game they really got into. After said game, they were hooked, and started following the fandom like the rest of us. Does that make them a casual gamer because they didn’t start loving games since they were a child? Nope, because not everyone is exposed to the same things in life :)

    • Lame3190 says:

      Fair call, I havent come across many people who got into gaming later. Plus, since Im enthusiastic but generally a crap player, I need to feel some sense of superiority over other gamer noobs. Oh yeah, nice boobs. :)

    • Lukas Heinzel says:

      What where is the fun in watching the comments from fanboys?

      I think you are a little bit naive,this all sounds like : can’t we all be happy and like each other just like we are-Stuff, sorry but we are humans and will always hate each other.

      Just like the Pink Show :-) Just fun, but Lono alone is better than the Pink Show!

      • Esmeralda says:

        There is fun in those comments, but then they get ridiculous and offensive. And I’m not being naive, I’m just pointing out that that’s how fanboys are making us all look. Which is something I don’t like being associated with. But your whole comment is invalid, because if you think Lono is better than us 3 on the Pink show, your likes are questionable :) /UnnecessaryBashingBackAtYou

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