Fanboys, Hipsters, and the Evolution of the Party Game

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FANBOYISM

Fanboyism is somethng that bothers me. For the past few months, anyone who has had anything positive to say about the PSVita on the Gamespot/GameFAQs forums has been declared a fanboy- no doubt by 3DS-hugging Nintendo fans. I bought the 3DS on launch day for 250 dollars, making me an Ambassador (meaning Nintendo regards me very highly.... ahem...)I love my 3DS, although I feel like a year after its launch, it is still lacking games, but I still enjoy the system. So why all of the hate on those of us who like the Vita? I feel like part of it is a sort of subconcious buyer's remorse, or perhaps these people feel as though they need to defend their decision to purchase a 3DS by attacking those who have bought a Vita. I really dont know but it is very annoying. I own both. Have I broken some sacred rule? Is my very existence in question as I cannot be described as a Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft fanboy?

HIPSTERS

I attend an arts college, so naturally, I encounter hipsters quite often, but what is a hipster, exactly? They share many of the same interests as me, so why do they make me want to go postal? I will use a recent experience I had as an example. It was critique day in my Color Theory cla$$ (I'm not allowed to use the c-word on here), so we all hanged our designs on the wall and took a few moments to look them over. It wasn't long (and it never is) before the first hipster chimed in: "I'm not going to lie, when I first saw this design, all I could think of was the water temple from Legend of Zelda" Nice name-drop. The Water Temple? Surely he must be a huge Legend of Zelda fan to be familiar with the infamous Water Temple. "OH MY GOD" The next hipster chimes in, almost spilling her (NOT STARBUCKS) Coffee. "I was thinking the EXACT same thing. Legend of Zelda is the best game EVER!" Notice the ambiguity: "Legend of Zelda". I wonder if they even know which game the Water Temple is in, or if they just heard about it on Reddit.

This lead to a very long and entirely empty discussion between a large group of hipsters about how great "Legend of Zelda" is and they even started to veer off and talk about "Final Fantasy" (they didn't ever say WHICH Final Fantasy, and it never seemed that any of them was sure which game they were talking about) before one of the hipster girls interrupted by asking "Who's design is this?" I raised my hand and smiled politely, fully aware that I could never show this design again in my cla$$ without inspiring a violent series of Legend of Zelda trivia discussions. "Oh! cool beans", she said. Cool beans, how quirky. I started playing the Legend of Zelda series with "A Link to the Past" when I was very young, and then moved on to play Ocarina of Time, Majoras Mask, the original Legend of Zelda, then Link's Awakening, and finally Windwaker. I was a pretty big fan of the series when I was younger, so I still know my stuff, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that those hipsters carrying on in their long Legend of Zelda discussion had no clue what they were taling about. They were talking about Legend of Zelda because they need to strive to be different. Because being different has become the new way to conform. It puzzles me how all hipsters can think they are so quirky and different when they act exactly like every other hipster.

Party Games

The year was 1999, I was 8 years old and at a sleepover with some friends. We had a seemingly infinite supply of Capri Sun and Go-Gurt, so what better way to celebrate than some Nintendo 64? My experience with party games at the time was minimal- usually my friends and I would play Goldeneye or Tony Hawk, but this was a new group of friends, so it was a new game. I had played Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong, even Mario Kart, but this day marked the introduction of a new game: Super Smash Bros. Here was a game that was just as entertaining to watch as it was to play. I was instantly drawn to it; to it's colors, to it's playfulness; the louder it was, the more fun it seemed. It wasn't just a party-game, it was a party in game form.

Fast-forward 13 years (wow) and what do we have? What does a party game look like? Yes we still have Super Smash Bros, but its nothing like it used to be, and that's not just becasue I have grown up. These days, Modern Warfare 3 is the real party game. A bunch of sweaty jocks break out the brews and connect to the server. They sit screaming into their microphones and a party of 11 year-olds 150 miles away sit screaming back. Sure Modern Warfare can be fun... kind of, but does it capture the magic of the Party games of old? No, and sadly, neither do the new Super Smash Bros. games. Call of Duty is not a franchise that will ever admit to being for casual gamers, but that is exactly what it is. Even the gamers who play mostly Call of Duty often fancy themselves hard-core gamers, but they rarely have any real taste in games. Often they find Metal Gear Solid and Uncharted to be boring, PC gaming to be stupid, the Vita to be a PSP. I haven't enjoyed gaming with a large group of people in a very long time. Perhaps it is because I have grown up, or because I am brutally judgemental, or maybe I am just an ass, but I think there is a distinct possibility that party games themselves have evolved for the worse.

Let me know what you think of all of this with comments, or not... should I make more blogs?