Keeping up with the Joneses: Can we be a fan without being a fanboy?
I ponder this question quite often when I read forums for any type of electronics or video game systems. People always trying to justify the money they spend on anything, overhyping its features as if their job and life depended on it. When in reality, they are just things that we enjoy. So why can't we enjoy them without preaching our preferences to others? Is it built into human existence and emotion? A part of our DNA that forces us to justify our likes to others?
Keeping up with and bettering ourselves over our neighbors seems to be what modern society does to justify their existence. Where others likes and desires cannot coexist with our own. Almost robot-like in intention: you must like what I like, if you don't... you're wrong.
Maybe it was me looking through the eyes of the child I once was, but I don't remember this being so prominent until the 2000s. When technology took over human existence and became a part of the blood that flows through our veins. Lately, I've tried to step away from technology and just enjoy life through the eyes of those who lived before it's existence. Step back into the 17 and 1800s, when lincoln logs and wood carved trucks and trains were the rave. Having to make up your own backstory, using your imagination, as to what you were doing with your toys at the time. Not that I have totally turned my back on technology, but I'm trying to step away from it so I can enjoy the simple things in life and prove that I can live without it.
You see, it wasn't that long ago where I caught myself online 8 to 10 hours a day or more. Technology had turned from a hobby to an addiction. I spent most of my time either thinking about technology or using it in one form or the other. Whether I was at home, on a bus or simply walking down a nature trail. Attached to me like a parasite, sucking the life from my bloodlines. Then I started opening my eyes and seeing those around me, doing the exact same thing, except worse. A girl on a roller coaster at Universal Studios in Florida beside me, texting while we are riding a high-speed roller coaster before, during and after departure.
It was at that point I realized just how much it had taken over my life and what I needed to do to step away from it, so as not to have it be such an integral part of my day. Then opened up my eyes to those who will argue till they're blue in the face to try to get people to see things their way on these very forums. Xbox versus PlayStation versus Wii. And the PC guys have to ring in to show their technological superiority over the human race. Acting as if you don't own a PC, you don't own a gaming system. Trying to preach to anyone who will listen, to justify the thousands of dollars they have spent to play the exact same games that console owners play in nothing more than a higher resolution and maybe a higher frame rate. Condemning those who don't think the exact same way.
Why does it matter so much what other people think, if you are enjoying what you are enjoying without them? Does it matter how many bytes are used or pixels are on screen, if you are having fun? There was a great article just the other day of a man who watched his children play games and point out the positive aspects of what they were seeing, while all he could do was point out the negative aspects of what he wasn't. It was the difference between the child gamer and the adult gamer. The adult gamer seems to be spoiled and expect developers to develop games around their wants and needs, child gamers enjoy what they are playing and don't care what developers implement, just as long as they are having fun.
What changes when we get older? Is it because we now have our own money to spend and feel entitled to perfection? Or does it come back with keeping up with the Joneses, and it isn't the games we are enjoying, as much as bragging about the systems we are playing them on? Arguing with others who don't share our opinions. It always makes me happiest when those around me are enjoying what they're doing. I like to ramp up excitement, to share in and spread that excitement to others. Especially when it comes to games and systems.
I will admit, I generally am a one console person per generation. For one reason or the other I will choose one companies console over the other, with no real loyalty to brand, just playing better games... But will always look at peoples choices to choose a different brand over mine and see the positives in that. I frown on those who try to bring others excitement level down for their system of choice. Wondering why it matters so much to someone else. So much so, that they would make another human being mad or sad over it. Aren't the systems put on this earth for our enjoyment? So why does it matter so much which one each person chooses, as long as they are enjoying themselves? Or does it really affect another human being that deeply that someone would choose something different then their brand?
As human beings we have a choice to be nice to each other, or not. When it comes to gaming, we all have a common denominator that we enjoy, so much so that we will talk to total strangers about it online. A hobby that has a passion like no other. So I'm begging of those who read this article, be a fan of your system without being a fanboy. We are all in this gaming thing together. No matter what brand we choose, it should be all about the games and the enjoyment we get from them. Instead of keeping up with the Joneses, why don't we befriend them and all enjoy this hobby together...