Editorial: The Anti-Fanboy

I made a comment recently on Oliver’s “I Want Another Zelda” editorial, and I made a point I never had before and it made me realize a few things.

Let me start at the beginning: I had often been shown the Zero Punctuation videos by friends and they usually expected me to love them. Granted, I have not seen close to all of them, but I have seen a number, and each time I come off feeling lukewarm. This always confused me, and I never had a good argument when asked why I didn’t love them. The confusion made sense too; the guy is clever, accurate, funny, and has a great sense of timing. But it hit me tonight: it was hard for me to enjoy the videos when I only ever heard negative things. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Just like a fanboy will emotionally defend a game or platform and only ever have positive things to say, the anti-fanboy will make sure to poke every hole possible in every single good thing somebody has to say. Now, Zero Punctuation is not a perfect example of this since, as I mentioned, he often (though not always) points out entirely accurate and reasonable flaws in a game. The videos are also supposed to be funny and not necessarily representative of the guy’s opinion on every game.

Ever happened to you?
Ever happened to you?

I do believe the anti-fanboy exists however, they are just less obvious than their loathed fanboy counterparts. If you read carefully, you will notice that they rely on rhetoric hatred and not supported hatred. While a fanboy will pointlessly argue “it’s just amazing”, you may notice the anti-fanboy counter with the equally unhelpful, “it just sucks”. 
Now while most of us are guilty of being at least a bit of a fanboy on occasion, the same goes for being an anti-fanboy. A negative opinion shouldn’t automatically be considered more correct because it is criticism just like a positive opinion shouldn’t automatically be considered a fanboy comment just because it has some good things to say.

Now while this post stemmed from a reply to MasterChief, I hardly consider him to be an example of the anti-fanboy as I’ve heard him argue for and against all sorts of games with as much of a level head as the best of us, but do any of you agree with me? Is there a less obvious anti-fanboy for every fanboy? Perhaps the ratio isn’t quite that high, but do you get annoyed at rampant negativity? Shouldn’t fans of games show the fact that they are fans of games? Let me know in the comment section below.


  1. You’re such a sensitive boy Ethos :). What you can anti-fanboyism others would just call legitimate game criticism. I’m sure Lusipurr and myself would qualify under your definition of the anti-fanboy and Mastercheif shore as shit is the anti-fanboy patented achetype. We all have good things to say about games though, its just that the game has to earn the priviledge of receiving our high regard, if it falls short I’m going to cut it down because I have no time for mediocrity. If you’re this sensitive to any negative sentiment then it is little wonder that you see anti-fanboys at every turn, I don’t really notice it that much though since I’m of a similar temprement(though on occaision the irrational kneejerk hate is out there). So yeah anti-fanboyism is out there, but I would wager that most of what encounter just rubs you the wrong way an it emboddies an oposing gaming philosophy that your own.

  2. Haha I just messed up the last sentence pretty bad, here’s how it was supposed to read:

    ….but I would wager that most of what *you* encounter just rubs you the wrong way *because* it emboddies an opposing gameing philosophy *than* your own.

  3. @SiliconNoob: “We all have good things to say about games though, its just that the game has to earn the priviledge of receiving our high regard, if it falls short I’m going to cut it down because I have no time for mediocrity.”

    Pretty much. I didn’t have a very high expectation of MadWorld when it was coming out, but then I tried it and… Well, look at my review.

    Also, the reason I call Ethos a fanboy is that, no matter what is said, he rushes to defend Nintendo (and the Zelda series) with a Crusader-like fervor that betrays all reason. Oliver’s concerns in his Zelda thread are quite valid: Nintendo has been on a dumbing down spree lately, and taking out overworld exploration from Zelda only makes that much more obvious. If I wanted to play a game without exploration, I’d play one of the old side-scrolling Mario games. Or maybe Metroid, I hear those are pretty light on exploration.

    Seriously though, I don’t have enough money, and I certainly don’t have enough time, to try to will a company to be good again. Nintendo has to earn my confidence this time, because they’ve effectively pissed it away.

  4. @SN – I clearly stated that I didn’t think MC was an anti-fanboy. Nor do I think you are. And Lusi would be last on my list of candidates, to be honest. He is always raving about games. I think valid negative criticism is essential, yes, I actually dish it out quite often, but I also think positive outlooks are often pissed upon for no good reason.

    @MC – Oliver’s concerns are valid, yes, especially with the DS franchise, but I my defense was hardly fanboyism, and I hardly rush to Nintendo’s side. I give credit where credit is due. I know that Nintendo has stepped on the balls of hardcore gamers everywhere and is laughing because of it, I’m just not going to dwell on that fact. I DID used to be an insane Nintendo fanboy and now I’m actually one of their biggest critics, I’m just not going to let my criticism spread onto my generally positive outlook or when a game is actually really good. I don’t think you’re an anti-fanboy, MC, but I DO think you throw out the term “fanboy” far too quickly.

  5. @Ethos- I mention MasterChief, Lusipurr and myself because if hypothetically you were unfamiliar with one of us and happened to come accross something we had posted saying how thoughoughly disgusted we were with what Nintendo’s doing with their franchises, I think that to you we would be indistinguishable from what you call the anti-fanboy.

  6. I think my issue is Ethos’ insane optimism, even in the face of having no reason to be confident. Nintendo’s not not a damn thing in the year and change since SSBB came out to suggest that they’re willing to do more than token gestures to appease the mainstream gamer. People who enjoy games aren’t their audience anymore. We know it, Nintendo knows it, but it’s like Ethos hasn’t gotten the memo yet. What exactly makes anyone think that Spirit Tracks will be any better than any of the other cinnamon-dusted prison slop Nintendo’s put out since SSBB and Mario Kart?

  7. Without getting involved with the inter-site politics here (a feat I’m in no way well-enough equipt to handle yet), I can definitely say that these anti-fanboys exist, and my girlfriend is one of them. In particular, she’s an anti-Apple fanboy (or fangirl), and will bash anything Apple produces almost by reflex at this point. I’m by no means an Apple lover or anything, the only Apple products I’ve ever owned are iPods, but her behaviors in this regard are pretty much identical to any fanboy rant you’ve ever heard, just the opposite.

    In either case, the predominant aspect of a fanboy/anti-fanboy in my mind isn’t their love/loathing of a particular product, it’s their desire to make everybody else think like they do. I think the internet would be a much friendlier place if everybody didn’t feel it was their sacred crusade to convince the world of the validity of their opinions. I say think whatever you want, just don’t expect others to think the same :F.

    Oh, and “cinnamon-dusted prison slop” would be a great name for a rock band.

  8. @MC: I have bought every Zelda game released so far without reservation (even the abominable Majora’s Mask); but even I have absolutely no interest in Zelda: Train Conductor.

    Nintendo, please release the original Smash Bros. on Virtual Console, instead. I’d get more fun out of that old, outdated game, than I would out of the latest in your long line of gimmick-gaming.

  9. @MC – I understand that my optimism is a little strange, and always a little naive. However, I’m only supporting the Mario and Zelda main franchises which don’t come yearly, ever. I am in full agreement in every other aspect of your stance on Nintendo, and I’m very skeptical of Spirit Tracks.

  10. @SN – I do suppose that’s possible, but I’d like to think I wouldn’t judge one way or the other off the bat, but that’s the sort of thing you can never tell for sure!

  11. You article has some good points, but frankly, I think these “anti-fanboys” you speak of are simply fanboys.

    People who dismiss all Nintendo products as default do so out of xbox and/or Playstation fanboyism.

    People who dismiss all Apple products as a result do so out of Microsoft fanboyism.

    And these same people will continuously praise Nintendo and Microsoft.

    I’m not jumping on the “ETHOS SUX ASS” bandwagon that seems to be dominating this thread, but I’m unsure that “anti-fanboys” really exist.

  12. I dismiss all Nintendo products as default because over the past few years they have given me no reason not to do so.

  13. @Oliver: I think you’re dead wrong. There are plenty of haters out there who are not motivated by some desire to raise something else up whilst they tear their intended target down. There are fanboys, like you say, who act from an ulterior motive; but the case Ethos gives is also true.

  14. @SN – While I can understand why you have that dismissive attitude (being slighted, to say the least, by Nintendo), I still think that outlook can make genuinely fantastic games under appreciated which is just too bad.

  15. Fantastic games like what? I like to think that I only despise bad games (which unfortunately is most of them). IMO you just see a lot more good in things than I do.

  16. @SN – That’s possible, although I’m more critical of games than you may imagine. Most of you would be pretty shocked if you asked my real life friends about my opinion of video games. They’d probably tell you I was critical and pessimistic.
    I just find the internet SO FULL of that kind of opinion, that I break out my optimism.

    But all that aside, if I release all the stigmas attached to Nintendo, I think Super Mario Galaxy is a fantastic game. I think Excite Truck and Excitebots are both excellent. A lot of people really enjoy (and for good reason) Super Paper Mario, although I personally prefer the earlier titles. Twilight Princess was also a really good Gamecube port. A fantastic game, though not one of the better 3D Zelda games. (I entirely disagree with Lusi and think Majora’s Mask is one of the greatest games of all time).
    I would like to defend SSBB, but although I play it ALL the time, it is really just a SSBM re-make. Absolutely moreso than Galaxy and Twilight Princess, since the latter two reuse themes, but have entirely new environments and gameplay elements. But I will admit the two (especially TP) to be recycled.
    Anyway, there’s also Trauma Centre, a DS remake sure, but an excellent one at that.
    Lost Winds is short, but very sweet as well.
    So no, the list isn’t huge, but the fact that Nintendo is fucking so much up for us (oh and they are) should not effect these titles as great games. I think that happens unfairly with Nintendo nowadays.

  17. @Lusipurr: I agree, I think the internet’s big enough to host a plethora of hateasauruses with all manner of motivations (heck, that part of what makes it so much fun). Going back to my girlfriend as an example, she doesn’t have any particular animosity towards Linux and has admited that she just dislikes Apple’s products and the company in general.

    As far as Ethos’s optimism goes, I say let him keep holding out hope for as long as he wants. If the trickle of good games is enough to keep him happy, who are we to day he’s wrong? It’s not like Nintendo is requiring he buy all the crap before they’ll give him his SMG or TP, so they can keep pushing all the tripe they want.

    Personally, I haven’t seen enough on the Wii to make me want ot buy one, but if that changes, I’ll show up cash in hand.

  18. @MC – I agree if you mean gameplay. I absolutely disagree if you mean mood, theme, characters, music, and game world.
    Also, Majora’s Mask DOES have the worst dungeons of any 3D Zelda, and Twilight Princess does have the best, so there’s that too.

  19. I think last night I may have come across the exact opposite of Ethos’ Anti-fanboy, some guy in the Cat Fancy Magna Carter 2 thread who was completely unable to comprehend that anyone could be sceptical about whether or not MC2 would be any good despite all the games in the series being awful.

  20. @Ethos – Well I don’t think highly of any LoZ game – or really, any Nintendo game – when it comes to story. Nintendo’s games were historically all about the gameplay for me, and Twilight Princess delivered on the Cube (No way I’m getting the Wii version of that. Being left handed, I was pissed that they flipped the world over for right-handed people. Great middle finger there, guys).

  21. @MC – Yeah, that sucks about the left-handed thing. Wouldn’t blame you for that. I thought the Wii controls worked well for a right-hander such as myself.
    Twilight Princess DOES have the best gameplay overall, and I agree with you to an extent on story. But only in the sense that I don’t think any PLOT of any Zelda game (or, agreed, Nintendo games) are any good. However I think Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, while having bad to mediocre plots, have incredible stories and tell them very well. I think Twilight Princess fails at having a good plot OR story.

  22. I thought all Zelda games had the same story XD. Fight Gannon, save Zelda the end.

  23. @SN – Bah-ha, that IS the PLOT in every Zelda game. But ten years ago, there were powerful stories behind the shallow plots in Zelda too,

  24. Gannon and Zelda aren’t in Majora’s Mask or Link’s Awakening.

  25. @Ethos- Are you talking about the background mythos to Hyrule or something?

  26. @SN – Not exactly. Take OoT for example. Yes, the plot is shallow, but the game tells a very powerful story of courage, loneliness, and finding’s one place in the world. The player starts off like Link. Separate to the world and not really feeling like they fit in. The Link in Ocarina of Time actually has motivation to leave, I’m sure the Deku Tree’s spewings about destiny or whatever was intriguing, but it was a little bit selfish of Link too. He didn’t fit it, he didn’t feel like he belonged, so he has nothing to lose.
    The game is full of motivation and character like that, even though the actual plot is paper thin.

    Twilight Princess, on the other hand is about nothing thematically. Link is some farm boy who everybody likes and happens to walk into some unfortunate situation. The player doesn’t have that initial gameplay connection to him, and it’s far more difficult to believe that this Link (and every other character) would have motivation to do all the things they do.

  27. You read a lot in to Zelda’s threadbare plotlines, are you sure you’re not just projecting?

  28. Well again, it’s not reading into the plot so much, but I suppose we’re bordering on a semantics argument.
    And you could be right, I might be projecting, that’s something that nobody can really ever tell. But I will argue that theme, story, and character are things I do always look for in a game and therefore I study these games and really (over)think about my opinions before making epic analyzes like I just did.
    No matter the plot, an involved game like Zelda will always have the potential for a deep story in my opinion. It’s a big reason why it has gathered such a rabid fanbase. Nobody would get emotional about a series to the scale the Zelda fans have if they didn’t connect to the games somehow.
    Well…maybe not nobody. These ARE Nintendo fans we’re talking about.
    But still, you get my point.