Fan Service: Lighten Up, It’s Only Fandom!

Mel writes out a reality check for the raging fan boys of Videogameland.

By Mel Turnquist. Posted 03/30/2012 10:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

Mel Turnquist's Fan Service masthead column

Hey boys and girls and welcome back to another edition of Fan Service where the best of fandom gets their props and the worst of fandom get their knocks. In today’s edition, I will be basically doing a public service announcement for those who are in fandom.

Now before I say anything, let me just ask a few questions inspired by the categories of Fan Dumb in TV Tropes.

  • Do you find yourself getting into arguments with friends over shipping? Have you ever ended friendships because you happened to believe that Fox and Falco was a much better ship than Fox and Krystal (though I’ve never met anybody who did this)
  • Do you get bent out of shape and whiny when the Nintendo canon changes even the slightest? Whether it’s cel-shaded Link, yarn!Kirby, or a more steam punk setting in Final Fantasy; do you whine about how things are ruined forever?
  • Do you obsess about the fandom to a point where it’s the most important thing in your life? Would you find yourself rather dedicating yourself to fandom than keeping a job, going to school, or being a productive member of society?
  • Do you act snobbish towards newer fans and claim that you like games before they were considered cool? Do you find yourself condescending to younger fans and claiming that you played Earthbound when it was first out on the SNES unlike others?
  • Do you get into yelling matches with friends over which game was better? Or maybe you got into a fistfight with someone because they thought that Super Smash Brothers Brawl was better that Super Smash Brothers Melee and what not.
  • And most importantly, while this is a Nintendo-oriented fandom here, do you act snobbish towards other consoles and handhelds because you find them inferior? Do act like your preferred company is the greatest ever and refuse to give any other systems a chance?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this column is for you. If you didn’t, then still read on for entertainment purposes.

Time and time again, I’ve seen fandoms tear themselves apart over the stupidest of things. I see something that is supposed to bring people together to have a shared common interest completely implode upon itself and fracture itself just because they disagree on some issues. Instead of respecting the opinions of those who don’t agree and focus on the things that they do agree on (like say, liking the games!). I see those who have been in the fandom longer look down upon the new folks because they *gasp* just got into the fandom. Granted, some newer folks can be idiots, but the job of the older fans is to help teach them of the ways and to help them get into the fandom even more. They should be the gatekeepers, but they don’t keep everybody out just because they only just heard of it. And most of all, I’ve seen friendships end over stupid fandom disagreements. They may like the same thing, but one slight disagreement suddenly throws everything they had built friendship-wise to the wayside over one stupid stupid issue.

This is my call to the Nintendo fandoms (and all fandoms in general) to just take a look in the mirror and see what they are. See how ridiculous they’re acting and for once, just Chill. The. Fridge. Out.

Link sailing in the King of Red Lions boat, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Did the cel-shaded art design of Wind Waker make you feel as if Nintendo had ruined the Zelda franchise and destroyed everything you held precious in the world? In retrospect, does that not seem just a little bit silly?

Look at yourselves. Look how ridiculous you’re acting. Is it really that big of a deal if someone has a different opinion from you?! Are you seriously going to stop buying the games just because there was one stinker?! Is that one slight change really going to ruin things forever.  And honestly, while the other consoles may bully on Nintendo for being to “casual”, there’s no need to fire back at them for being too “hardcore” or too “boring” because that’s all an opinion-based matter. While I may be a Nintendo loyalist at heart, I’m not going to knock any Playstation or XBox games….ditto with PC Games. There’s some real gems in those systems that I wouldn’t mind playing and while I may not be a big fan of certain genres, I do respect them.

I mean think about it — you’re basically arguing with people over something as mundane as whether a made up character should end up with another made up character all because of the chemistry that the writer may or may not have thrown in there intentionally. Or you’re complaining about  a slight change in controls or an art-shift that may not look very realistic or not look cartoonish enough. I mean these are things that are just very silly to complain about. Just enjoy the goddamn fandom and have fun with it. Sure friendly rivalries are okay, but don’t have these huge evil wars over things. It’s ridiculous.

Lighten up, folks. Don’t be afraid to not take things so seriously. It’s okay to joke about video games. Feel free to snark about the terrible CDi Zelda and Mario games. It’s totally fine to joke-ship pairings the make no sense. And it’s more than OK if you agree with most of the fandom. It’s supposed to be fun and the problem is that fandom sometimes takes things way too seriously to a point where its no longer fun. And that’s a shame.

It’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to bring joy and some kind of satisfaction into one’s lives. Otherwise, why are you watching or caring? At the heart of every fan in any fandom is a legitimate love of the game, pairing, character, console, whatever else is being fandom’d here. How about we all explore that love a little more and leave beside the fundamental differences? Or at least not make it the reason that we’re not talking to each other.

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