Fan Service: Don’t Hate Those Late to the Party

All about the newbie fans and why I believe that they shouldn’t be hated on so hard.

By Mel Turnquist. Posted 07/24/2012 10:00 6 Comments     ShareThis

Fan Service Masthead Column 2 Pokémon

Hello boys and girls and welcome to yet another edition of Fan Service, where the best of fandom gets its props and the worst of fandom gets their knocks. In today’s installment, we will be focusing on one of the big hot button issues of all fandom in general– attitudes towards the newbie fans and why I believe that sometimes the bad attitudes are unjustified. So make sure you have that bottle of chill pills on hand because what I’m about to say is probably going to cause some ruckus in these parts.

I actually don’t hate newbie fans.

A lot of people seem to have a lot of disdain for fans who just joined in fandom by whatever avenue they may happen to. It doesn’t matter how, it always seems to be the same old attitude towards them. People tend to act condescending to them because they didn’t live through the dark ages like everybody else does or if they’re just going with it because it’s the cool thing to do. While these attitudes are somewhat understandable, it doesn’t mean that you are completely justified in trying to tear them down and look down on them just because they don’t know a lot or were the Johnny-Come-Lately.

Before I go full blast into this, let’s take a look at reasons why these attitudes may exist and why they are understandable. Well, for one thing, imagine that you are a big time fan of, let’s say, the Mother series. Earthbound was a game that nobody really seemed to care about for the longest time, mostly due to the terrible ad campaign in the US and the lack of exports for the other two in the series. Suddenly, Super Smash Brothers renewed an interest in the series for those who haven’t even heard of it beforehand and that’s where we get this newfound fandom. Now imagine you were one of the original fans and suddenly other fans were talking about it and yet didn’t even know of it and probably never even played it. That has got to be pretty annoying. And the ignorance of these fans can really cause a lot of headaches for the diehards. This is justifiable and there’s at least some rhyme to the reason.

Unwittingly igniting fan wars the world over.

This also exists because, well, let’s take a look at the whole recent popularization of gaming as an example. This was once a small and concentrated group of people who had their own games and their own way of life. This was theirs and theirs alone. People as a society like to be a part of something but also like to be different at the same time. It’s a constant complexity that tends to run rampant in humanity. This was THEIR thing and suddenly there’s this influx of people who are getting into gaming and didn’t go through what they had to go through. I’d explain more but I believe that this VG Cats comic strip explains it far better and more efficiently (and humorously) than I ever could put into words.

Now that we’ve got some kind of understanding, let me talk about why I actually don’t mind most newbie fans and why I believe that the sour attitude towards them is kind of unfair.

As I’ve noticed a lot in different fandoms, usually people who become fans of the games/team/show in general is because they discovered it through someone else. Just because it took them a while to get into something doesn’t mean that they should be branded as any less of a fan. I didn’t get into Metroid until a lot later in life mostly due to my own stubbornness towards most sci-fi related games (I know, I know) but I played it in high school and fell in love with it immediately afterwards. I was kicking myself in the head for waiting so long to discover it, but I’m glad I did. Usually, it can take a while. Hell, one could argue that the reason that the Mother series became popular was through discovering it a lot later on than most.

And for another thing, most of the times the newer fans just want to learn more about it and they want to be able to hold their own in a conversation and discuss it. There are those that are ignorant and try to act like they know everything and blast any of the older stuff, but those are a lot fewer than we all think. Newbie fans usually want to be taught and want to learn about whatever it is they are currently getting into. Don’t shut out those who are thirsty for knowledge, regardless of how annoying it may seem. After all, deep down, we all want to share the things that we are into so why not embrace that and teach them a few things and give them some kind of lessons on the game. I know I wouldn’t have been able to get into Pokemon if it wasn’t for my friend teaching me about the game strategies a couple months before I bought it. He was patient with me and didn’t act like a jerk.

Don’t be “that guy”…

Probably the biggest reason why I think the treatment for newbies is pretty unfair is because of the sheer hypocrisy of it. We were all that newbie fan once. If it wasn’t for one thing, it was at least for another. We all found ourselves jumping into a new fandom not knowing really much other than what we looked up on Wikipedia or read on forums. When I first started to get into The Legend of Zelda (I wasn’t necessarily late to the party, but I wasn’t as well-versed), I did my research and I did look things up. But I still was intimidated by the older fans, but that didn’t really stop me. Actually, most of the fans were very helpful and not jerks at all. So if I was to be a jerk to someone who only heard of Skyward Sword or only started off with that game or Twilight Princess, that would be very hypocritical of me. I know that 13-year-old me would be ashamed of how I was acting towards the newbie fan who didn’t know much. In any fandom, this is what bothers me the most. How could you be a jerk to someone who was late to the party? Sure, they may not be punctual, but at least they showed up, doesn’t that count for something?

Now this doesn’t excuse newbie fans completely. In fact, there are some things I think newbie fans should do as they’re getting into a fandom. For one thing, read up on it, whether it be through forums or by Googling. Many video games have Wikia pages. Those are a good start. For another, don’t act like a jerk about it and don’t act like you know everything. After all, older fans and diehards will see right through you and they do not like that kind of attitude. If you find yourself ogling one of the chicks or dudes in the series more than usual, try to keep it to a bare minimum. You want to be taken seriously as a fan, not as another stupid fanboy/fangirl. And remember to not take fandom so seriously in general. Some of the diehards sometimes forget about this memo, but don’t let their attitudes shape yours. Just enjoy it for what it is and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

This has been yet another edition of Fan Service. Until next time, happy fandoming!

6 Responses to “Fan Service: Don’t Hate Those Late to the Party”

  • 1244 points
    lukas85 says...

    the bad thing with sharing your knowledge with other people is that in time, they speak with such authority about the things that YOU teached them and don’t recognize that you where the one who teached them. that is really anoying.. it happens to me a lot, specially with music and artists.

    • 3 points
      ninesix says...

      But is it your knowledge to begin with? Did you discover it yourself far before anyone else has? Did you find something that no one else could have found? Were you, specifically, an intricate part of this knowledge?

      Sharing information and teaching knowledge is not about pride of knowing the details given to you – but a desire to spread the information and knowledge to others, because the information and knowledge SHOULD BE known by others.

      It’s like sharing a lesser-known game: You want it to be known because it deserves sales and is an awesome experience – NOT because you want to be known as the person who played the game before all others.

      It is frustrating that people act like they knew everything beforehand: I’ve grown quite frustrated at a few people who claim Tactics Ogre facts like they figured it out themselves, when they were one of the people who used to shout that Tactics Ogre copied from Final Fantasy Tactics (a horrid, horrid confusion of information)… but that’s not a problem with newbies: That’s a problem with jerks and hypocritical people.
      You shouldn’t treat all others as if they’ll betray you or the information down the line – you should simply do what you seek to do. Pride shouldn’t be your goal, but simply a small side-benefit.

      A master doesn’t teach their inner knowledge so that they become world-known for it, they teach it to pass on their style to benefit a new generation in their troubles with life and philosophy. If they just wanted notoriety, they would’ve just bragged.

      • 1244 points
        lukas85 says...

        you are right, but thats not the point. i don’t have trouble to share my knowledge, ( because It is MY knowledge) -adquired from my own investigation or experience in life-. My problem is the people that go on telling everybody how THEY discovered or learned something, when it was YOU who teached them. I always give credit to the person who thought me something, that is the correct thing to do. And a master should always be recognized.

  • 576 points
    MegabusterLegends3 says...

    Newbie fans are an important part of any fandom! I mean, if Game Dev Story has taught me anything, its that fanbases get old and die, or at least lose interest. Now that the first generation of gamers that played Atari and NES are starting to disappear, the torch must be passed to other fans who are younger and may have started their fandom with the N64 and the ‘Cube. Even gamers who were around when that awesome underappreciated TurboGrafx game came out might not have been old enough to see its potential, or if they somehow DID take interest, they probably wouldn’t have had sufficient funds at the time when it wasn’t a 800$ collectors item. Though I wasn’t born until a year before the launch of the N64, I still love the thrill of discovering a new NES game like Metal Storm or a more obscure SNES classic like Earthbound.
    Take car fanatics, for example. How often does a motorhead shun a younger guy (or girl) just because they weren’t around to buy a ’69 Shelby hot off the assembly line? Or because they couldn’t afford to import a sweet Japanese car? If anything, they enthusiastically welcome any new blood because they want to make sure that there will still be someone who appreciates and knows about older cars after their generation is gone.
    So if you are an older fan, don’t assume that any younger gamer is going to scoff at anything that isn’t High Definition. 1up’s Retronauts is the embodiment of embracing the newbie fan. A good 75% of the obscure nerd facts I know have probably come from this podcast. They’ve been going for 6 years and they have probably have an episode about nearly everything. There’s a Mother episode, a Turbografx episode, a Tomb Raider episode, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

    *plug over*

    And don’t just share info. Share experiences, if you can! If you have an old Virtual Boy, dust it off and let a younger person give it a shake. If you’ve got an extra copy of Pokemon Yellow lying around, sacrifice the save file and let a youngster try it out, old school. At the very least, gift a good Virtual Console game to someone who might like it. Some of my coolest gaming moments have come from these sorts of experiences.

  • 156 points
    Bradly Halestorm says...

    As Mel pointed out, and as annoying as it may be at times to deal with newbie fans, they’re an integral part of the big picture. If we just kept a product all to ourselves, and shunned anyone who tried to enter our coveted circle of what we consider “true, hardcore fans,” then the thing we like may simply cease to exist. That is to say, whether we’re talking about games, movies, tv shows, or whatever, their existance comes down to money. If the team behind the project we adore does not pull in a profit, then we can’t be treated to more of whatever it is we like so much. So in essence, all we’re doing, by shutting out newbies, is hurting ourselves. It’s sort of like the phrase: cutting off your nose to spite your face – it just doesn’t make any rational sense.

  • 0 points

    Actually, what Bradly speaks about here is still looking at the problem in a rather short-term sense.

    What ultimately will happen with lack of communication – lack of telling your friends on what games are available – lack of telling everybody everything you know – is that you yourself will start to miss out on the games that are available, and knowing many of the going-ons within the space itself.

    The attitude you show unto others is no doubt the attitude that you will be treated with. Cutting off others is the best way to really just isolate yourself.

    One day somebody will let you in on a secret, and you’ll wonder how it was that you didn’t know about this first. Communication is key to keeping any industry healthy and viable.

    As magical as the early NES/SNES days were, when it really felt as if it was just you who knew of these magical worlds and realms, it was conversations and a feeling of hidden community that, surprisingly, kept the scene as healthy as it was.

    The minute we try to keep anyone from the medium, is the minute we just keep ourselves from it. One day, you’ll wonder what all those young kids are doing, and you’ll find out they’re playing the next biggest thing – that you never found out about.

    Hey, what can I say. Sharing is caring.

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