11/19/06

Fanboy Complex

One day, two days before the game [The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess] released, it was reviewed by a man named Jeff Gerstmann on Gamespot, who gave the game a score of 8.8 out of 10. Not content with the game getting a good score, fanboys across the internet erupted in anger at how 'low' of a score the game had gotten, despite never having played it.

Something dawned on me today: Opinions don't matter anymore. . . .

You see, hearing dissent to their finely crafted opinions being posted on a major website is not only insulting to their opinions, but to their egos. According to them, this dissent is equal to somebody having the nerve (the nerve!) to call them wrong. This phenomenon, which I like to refer to as "Fanboy Complex" is hardly exclusive to the gaming community, as it pops up in just about every type of topic which can result in an internet discussion, ranging from favorite music to politics and much more.
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I would like to talk today about what has been described above as "Fanboy Complex." Not just because it's an appropriately demeaning term for a dangerously arrogant subsection of fan, but because such a phenomenon is rampant throughout all organizations, all products, all religions.

I'll admit it, I'm a Google fanboy. I have good reason to be. Since the advent of GMail I'd been fascinated with what Google would come up with next. And without fail it would come up with something else and then another thing and then Google Calendar and then Google Maps and then Google Spreadsheets and then Blogger Beta. My experience with Google has been one of discovery after discovery after discovery and not only have these things been new, but they have been incredibly functional and user-driven. "Don't be evil" is their motto, but it seems like "wouldn't it be nice/cool if . . ." is their mantra.

But what about Yahoo? Well . . . I used to use Yahoo. I haven't used Yahoo since Google Personalized Homepage came up and I realized its superiority to My Yahoo. Honestly, I don't have any recent experience by which to base my preference of Google over Yahoo. In fact, by the time I quit using Yahoo Mail they had been making many great updates to their interface (none, obviously, that convinced me to stay . . .). Does this mean I'll give Yahoo another chance? Not by a long shot. I'm a Google fanboy and, to me, the mere questioning of Google's dominance is akin to blasphemy.

Does this make me ignorant? Does this make me arrogant? Does this make me a moron? My reasons for preferring Google are completely acceptable, but does that mean that if Yahoo steps up a bit that I won't give the better choice a second chance? Probably.

The Fanboy Complex has a religious equivalent. Not sure if it has a particular name, but the mindset exists. The question is whether or not this is a good thing. On one hand, it helps to anchor us down to a set of clear truths. But on the other hand it fuels the perception that we are closed-minded, bigoted idiots who wouldn't dare think to entertain the notion of a dissenting opinion. There are plenty Jesus Fanboys out there that threaten to defame the name of the One they adore simply because they adore Him so singularly. But you can say this about them: they know what they believe and they have a passion for others to believe the same thing.

But being a Jesus Fanboy is far from the best way to go about spreading the word. I spread the word about Google by sending people invites to GMail or introducing them to Google Maps Mobile. The best way to spread the word about Christ is to lay it all out there and let people make their own decisions. Invariably, this is what they'll do anyway. God draws them as we tell them, but the decision is their own and we can't get all red-faced and hot-collared if they decide against our opinion. Introduce people to the coolest aspects about a relationship with Christ - tell them about the fact that they don't have to work to get to Heaven - tell them their own personal style doesn't need to be affected in anyway - tell them that Jesus accepts them as they are and if they still don't "get it," the blood is not on your hands.

In the end it's their decision and yelling at them like a twelve-year-old Fanboy in a Zelda forum isn't going to help your case.