It seems I can’t go near any gaming websites these days without feeling like I’m wading into a full-on firefight. Fanboyism is unfortunately something of a recurring problem in the gaming consumer population, seemingly driven by those who for whatever reason are either willing or able to buy only one console, and once they’ve done that, feel they have to shore up their own purchase by pissing over everyone elses. They’re egged on by corporate marketing departments of course, who are somewhat economical with the truth most of the time, but at least they have an excuse - talking trash earns their company money. The fanboys gain nothing but a bilious taste in the mouth and some miguided sense of helping their ‘tribe’ by discrediting the ‘enemy’. It’s ludicrous - I just can’t fathom how a box of plastic and electronics can instill such unswerving, borderline murderous loyalty in some people. It would make sense just to put them all in a cage match and watch them beat each other senseless - at least we could sell tickets for that. I happen to own a 360 right now, but I would hardly consider it a ‘life choice’, or something I should have emblazoned on a pennant that I carry proudly into battle against the evils of the Sony empire. For a start, my TV is made by Sony, so my gaming is always a twisted congress between the two companies. Secondly, I don’t exactly love Microsoft, the 360 just had more games I wanted to play. In fact, I can’t say I really like any of the 3 console companies (even Nintendo who are ‘doing a Switzerland’ and staying out of it while making a ton of money), and certainly none have my allegiance. They’re just boxes, dudes, you shouldn’t be going all patriotic over them.
The release of GTAIV is perhaps what has brought it to a head, as each company fights to be considered ‘the’ platform for the game, with people, game sites and companies going to extraordinary lengths to differentiate the basically undifferentiatable. Slightly higher resolution, softer post processing, marginally different frame rates, small popping differences - but who cares if they both feel the same in practical terms, as everyone seems to be saying? Stop talking about it already! Key single-platform titles also poke the hornets nest pretty regularly - Halo 3 did it, MGS4 and Gears2 are doing it right now, and no doubt we’ll see more before the year is out - the result being a fairly equal balance of ‘this game sux!!1!’ and ‘best game EVAR!11!’. It’s all very tiresome, and it seems to me to be getting worse.
Why can’t these people just be happy with what they bought, enjoy their games, and not pour cold water on everyone else? And if you’re insecure about the console you bought, then shut up or go buy the other one, it’s not like you’ll burst into flames if you touch a different console. Just for once I’d like to be able to read about game news, read some balanced opinion, and move on happy instead of having to wade knee-deep in gamer bile. It’s the one area where print magazines still win - at least editorial on the letters pages means the signal to noise ratio is much higher.