As silly and as inflammatory as the title is, this isn’t that kind of post. And it might come off a bit crazy, but if you’re still this blog then you’re all used to my crazy ass. 😛

I think we all need to be a little honest with… how people, particularly gamers over the internet, act out and react to certain things that may or may not be comfortable for them to hear. The vast majority of internet gamers tend to be social outcasts. These guys/gals grew up without a lot of friends. And as a social people, we want to be included in something. It could be a gang, a church gathering, or what may have you. We need that sense of belonging as it gives us some psychological validation to our existence. A purpose.

For those who were unfortunate to fall out of favor with society, cartoons, movies, videogames…. these become their friends. On the outside, they are the bottom of society. But in game land, they are appreciated by virtual characters. They become heroes, worshipped and admired by a digital populace. This is the escapism that gamers are all too eager to parrot in defense or praise of their favorite pasttime. To retreat from unpleasant realities through diversion… or fantasy. In this case, the reality of being insignificant or verbally tormented in the real world. To escape is to get away from pain in the most general sense.

I’ve said oftentimes that videogames didn’t become this niche activity for the “dregs” of society up until the early-mid 90’s. As I was only born in 88, im not aware of what the attitude towards games were before then, but as far as I can remember, it was just another social gathering. Friends, family, everyone would join in if they wanted. You never heard things like “Video games are the devil” emanating from people’s mouths. Of course, Mortal Kombat (Maybe Doom as well) changed that mentality. Video games were sick depravity, responsible for the downfall of society, responsible for every school tragedy known to mankind. As a result, games became less social and more introverted. The gaming environment, however, found a new audience…. in the dregs of society. As the ahem….casual” folks started looking at games as a harmful activity, the outcasts found it to be a safe haven of escapism

Ofcourse this didn’t give a better image to themselves or videogames altogether, and people started attaching a stigma that games were for freaks and losers… mainly because games were targeting them specifically. The outcasts, however, didn’t start feeling emboldened or empowered by their position in society…. until the internet went public. You see, people don’t feel any real sense of empowerment without some form of external validation. They need to feel justified in what they do from other people. If not, one of two things may happen. Ideally, they may take it upon themselves to stop their current path and try to improve their lives, trying to be of benefit to society, or go through self-improvement for their own benefit. On the other hand, they may enter severe depression which could lead to suicide. And social outcasts are already emotionally fragile people, so suicides are almost inevitable. This is why cyber bullying is fucking dangerous.

However, if the outcasts find other like-minded outcasts, then the 2 scenarios rarely ever occur. Instead, the outcast becomes comfortable. Because now they have found someone like them to take solice in. They can talk to them, confide in them, etc etc.

Think about how a typical geek would enter a cafeteria as he sees tables lined up with jocks. But sees one empty table and darts for it because he doesn’t feel secure sitting with other jocks. But a table with geeks already is the only option. A peer group creates a sort of…. safety net. Not so much as protection from physical threats but more so emotional devastation. Like say if you suffer an ass whoopin alone, that’s also a blow to your own pride. You feel real shitty and sore! But if you suffer the same fate with other people, the pain is shared, and you won’t feel as crummy. Hell you might even laugh about it with the other guys. A shared pain is dulled as it is spread out more evenly.

This is the kind of security the internet provided.

The internet became a literal safe haven for outcasts. They can find all of their peer groups at the click of a button, and they don’t have to leave the comfort of their houses. Within the group, people feel secure in expressing themselves more openly as there is less risk for confrontation or ridicule. As such, the internet had become a tool of empowerment for the outcasts. They become more confident in themselves, at least online, and not live in fear of scorn.

This is usually…. ok for certain groups. But… when you get to those whose lives revolve around entertainment, you start getting some bad results. Especially with gamers. Lets talk Football for a quick sec.

Football is considered by all to be a healthy interest/hobby as it promotes physical fitness and scholarships even though it contributes absolutely to society beyond entertainment for regular joes. But lets talk about the regular joes. These guys usually pick a favorite team… and they get into these all-for-fun… full of laughter debates about which team is going to devastate other teams and go to the super bowl. These joes are always joking and having a good time, however. They may talk about certain teams being better than others, but there is a surprising amount of civility amongst the joes (unless they’re rednecks who start riots over this shit, mind you. Or if it’s hockey). I believe it’s due to the fact that… as a whole, Football is accepted and celebrated by society. People like football, thus it is considered normal for people to enjoy it. To revel in it. To bask in it. So the joes who talk about football feel no shame in it. No guilt. So there is nothing to get… defensive over. Football fans are psychologically secure in being football fans.

But on the other hand, videogames are damn near a social taboo. With all the controversies and stigmas attached to them, it’s a wonder that the industry even exists. Gamers are outcasts to the degree that they are mocked in the media. An ostracized people will often see their environment as a threat. Because their hobby is seen as a taboo. In their case, gaming is a guilty pleasure. They feel some level of shame in their hobby. And combined with the grief from society, this all culminates in a person that is hostile to what he or she perceives as an outside threat. This threat doesn’t necessarily come from outside of the peer group, this can come within as well. Football fans exist in the same group, but there are the subdivisions, IE the fans of different teams. A Redskin fan might beef with a Cowboy’s fan, but it rarely gets serious. Because to them, it’s all clean fun. Gamers on the hand, being outcasts, are already bitter due to being shunned by society, so in any debate, they can get easily heated, and all that baggage, all that bitterness just explodes. Why? Because again, an outcast seeks validation.

Naturally, under normal conditions, the outcast would be introverted. Wouldn’t say a word in his defense. Because there is no one around that would even consider taking his side on an issue. But with a peer group, the outcast is empowered. Strength in numbers! The outcast is emboldened to defend his position because he at least has people wiling to back him up. But…. when you find someone that has a difference in opinion…. battle lines are drawn. What this outcast sees is a challenge to his stance. They may see it as a simple disagreement, but on a deeper psychological level, they feel the same way they do in the real world. This difference in opinion… is no different than being shunned by society! They see that same rejection, they feel the same level of invalidation, they feel the same level of disrespect. But after feeling validated by their peers, the outcast lashes out against this difference in opinion under the pretense that this is a threat. A threat to his continued validation by his peers. It becomes something of a drug. When you’ve tasted a modicum of respect, you have no intent of losing it. But this also includes dealing with people who mean no harm in stating a different perspective, it is still considered a threat to the mental security of the peer group. IE the emotional fragility of the group, the emotional fragility of the outcast. And when you consider the endless amount of peer groups (fan communities) that exist on the internet, you have all these conflicting views (hehe) and an endless backdraft of flamewars.

This is internet gamer culture. The constant and never-ending quest for validation from other people as a result of social circumstances. This kind of quest leads to degenerative behaviors of tribalism and irrationality. And… this finally leads me to… the Nintard. Yes, I know it took me this damn long to get to the point.

i’ve often been criticized fot using Nintard as a label for Nintendo fanboys. On the outside, it’s a juvenile term. But when you stop to think about it, it’s more fitting than you’d believe. What is a retard? The textbook answer is a person of subnormal intelligence (which could also be fitting), though in a broader sense, it’s just a slow person. Not necessarily slow as in not getting things in a millisecond…. just in the case of basic social and mental development. 

Sometimes a gamer will find a peer group and never leave ….that group. The reason would be obvious as the group gives that sense of belonging, pride, acceptance, validation in one’s existence… you the deal. On an emotional level, this is beneficial as the group gives a sort of stability. But on a developmental level, i’d say it’s detrimental. On a social level, you need to interact with different people. You need to explore different perspectives just to know how to deal with them. Learn how people think, different social cues, take advice, gain insight on different things. It’s especially important because you won’t have a lot of experiences in life, so interacting with different people who can relay those experiences with you is extremely beneficial so that you can learn something from them. Bounce offf different ideas from different people if you’re a sort of writer or so. It’s also important if you plan to run a business to understand the behavior of people so that you can sell your products. For better or worse, you rely on others to do anything anyway, you eventually have to learn to deal with them. You need to learn empathy, tis what I’m saying.

But the outcast is already disadvantaged in this case. They already have that fear of the pain of rejection and/or verbal abuse from society, so they develop social aversion. They don’t want to be around people. They become misanthropic, if you will. They’ve become so mal-adjusted that their internet peer group is the only form of interaction they have. So they surround themselves with al these like-minded people and what happens is that they become zombies. You don’t get different perspectives, ideas, experiences, you don’t get shit. As a result, their development as people stagnates. They’re not evolving because they have this comfort zone with people who share a hivemind. The group won’t evolve beyond there current mindset. The outcasts are so obsessed with their own validation, they don’t care about having empathy for others. After all, theyve been mistreated, so to hell with the world!

You could say it’s a selfish mindset like this that gave rise to the short-lived “Hardcore/Casual” war of 07-11, yadda yadda. At the end of the day, this desire to remain with the peer group out of safety and validation is cause for the retardation of one’s development. This also extends to different tastes, whether it be food, cars, or even videogames. You always have folks telling you to “try new things”. Food in particular because you’re always gonna need to adjust your diet for the future. Getting used to different foods makes those transitions less… abrasive(?). 

But most Nintendo fans won’t try new games outright. They have found a decent comfort within Nintendo brand games alone. This isn’t bad in and of itself, everyone has the same tendency towards preferences, but to go and suggest that Nintendo games alone are superior to the rest is proof positive of an inexperienced mind. He who has not traveled far thinks his mother is the best cook.

As a result of all of this, you have this group who, thanks to a growing level of pride backed by a support group of like-minded folks, and a significant level of bitterness towards outsiders of the group, and a lack of empathy for those outside of the group, feels emboldened and justified in lashing out at people who express a different viewpoint. They get angry! This anger is triggered by the invalidation of the outsiders just by merely having a different perspective. Remaining exclusively within that peer group creates this illusion that everyone shares your views and lifestyle. That’s why many gamers can’t understand how a “critically acclaimed game” on the internet could be irrelevant in the real world. That whole “living in fantasy lands distorts your perception of reality” gig. So that is what they expect from others, complete homogeneity of ideals, IE validation of their ego. Anything otherwise is a threat.

Now… you have all these ingredients for a mal-adjusted person or group… but what if such a peer group became outcasts on the doggone internet? This became the Nintendo fans during the gamecube era. Because PlayStation was the hottest thing going around, Sega basically dissappeared, and Nintendo was on the chopping block. These goddamn Console wars, man. With all these mal-adjusted groups sitting around with no empathy towards each other… collide. And I mean collide, they devolve into tribalism.  That is all a console war is, just unempathetic people beefing on the internet. And the gaming industry feeds into this nonsense to increase the sense of loyalty that these gamers have to these products…. you see, with all the bull about these outcasts being a part of the group, they tend to develop a sense of identity and loyalty to the group, like some perverse form of gratitude to the group, they develop certain ideas. Like say if the company responsible for creating what you enjoy just up and dissapeared, they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. They’ve elevated a product, nay, a corporation to that of their own identity. So they tend to say outrageous things such as everyone having this obligation to… “support” a video game company regardless of whether or not you may like the game. I remember reading some comments about Tekken Tag 2 not selling well, and some responses were that fans should feel “ashamed” for not supporting the game when it was first released. That is insanity. But that game series is the corner stone of their identity. To support (buy) the game is to validate their existence. And that’s not clever writing, that mal-adjusted identity could not be without the existence of that game series. So low sales is infact a threat to their very existence. They cannot function without this series. So then they lash out at other people for not buying the game. Because those disinterested customers represent the society that rejected them. This is all a subconscious nightmare. 

Going back to the Nintendo fans, they have such fierce loyalty to Nintendo mainly because Nintendo has a past history of success, and these guys take that history and supplement it for their own heritage. So they have pride and an inflated sense of worth in this regard. And yet… the Nintendo fan becomes an outcast online. The success of the PlayStation brand grew where as Nintendo fell out of favor with the general public. the fandom would become defensive and try to justify their purchase and brand loyalty. They held steadfast to the mantra of “Gameplay matters first” as their philosophy of quality and success, all of which was to save face and protect that precious identity of theirs. For the last 3 years, they wrestled with the idea that perhaps no one wants Nintendo games anymore, but would remain loyal to Nintendo regardless. As they became the laughing stock of the World Wide Web, the Nintendo fandom became equally as hostile. The same feeling they had toward the derision they received from those in the real world, within the confines of the peer group online, explodes in a fit of rage because now they can’t escape from the pain in reality or fantasy. And those fits of rage always make for irrational/disproportionate responses. 

 Hell, if I were to put up my last post on a Nintendo forum, I’m willing to bet that everyone would bitch about the one or 2 lines about Wind Waker than anything else I touched upon. Wind Waker has become the single most damning example of both their philosophy and their identity coming under fire by the larger majority of people. Gameplay first was the philosophy they conned themselves into believing, but constant criticism of things other than gameplay drives them up the walls. They can’t stand when Wind Waker gets heat. Why is that? Because it is a perfect representation of themselves! The outcast. Believing that deep down, you are a unique and creative person who, regardless of your appearance, is still of some sort of benefit to society. But the criticism of the game is a harsh reminder of the reality they themselves try to escape on a daily basis. And they can’t handle it, so they lash out in anger.  These people will go so far as to tell you that you are not allowed to have STANDARDS! IE when they complain about those who hate the art style. 

At this point, however, you would expect them to give up this false loyalty and move on. now the PSP would be coming out and that would be it for Nintendo fanboyism. Everyone predicted that Sony would conquer the handheld market and completely engulf all of Nintendo’s markets. That Nintendo would be finished. 

Of course, we now know the exact opposite happened. Nintendo maintained their handheld market and stole back their console shares from Sony and Microsoft. The Nintendo fans rejoiced and felt empowered by Nintendo’s success. Remember, they elevated Nintendo to their identity, so in their minds, they’re saying “Were winning, were winning,  Were winning!” And now, as a result of having finally beaten Sony on 2 equal fronts, they assume there is zero reason to criticize Nintendo for anything! Because they have found success! And success is the ultimate shield against criticism. After all, what’s the problem if what I’m doing is working out fine?

The Wii U came and failed miserably, but that honestly goes ignored in the Nintendo fandom. It’s not good for their identity or their collective egos to admit it had faults. Infact, when the 3DS was going through it’s blunders (even significant profit loses), they would deflect criticism by pointing out how much worse the Vita was doing. Comparative analysis at it’s worst.

The Nintendo fandom developed this habit of ignoring the vices of Nintendo but parrot their successes at every opportunity. Breath of the Wild is now a gold mine despite the fact that the Switch has nothing else of worth on the system atm (the Halo launch factor). Mario Odyssey is automatically amazing even though it hasn’t been released yet. The fandom is so preoccupied with these rare successes that they ignore any evidence to support any notion that Nintendo does anything wrong. It’s not convenient to  their collective identity. No one who is obsessed with their own image is going to point out their flaws or failings in life. These kinds of people can’t take criticism because, again, they are emotionally fragile people.

Nintendo, however, seems to have this effect on gamers that promotes this cultish loyalty for years on end, and true to their nature, it’s because many of these fans played Nintendo games when they were children. Regardless of your experiences in adulthood, your childhood will have the most influential impact on your life. Your childhood environment determines your behavior. Your childhood tastes determine your desires. Your childhood work determines your priorities. From the moment you know what a tree is, you become a sponge, and overtime you filter out things you don’t care about. Your childhood pain…. determines your sense of security. Nintendo targets children specifically, and is the aspect of one’s childhood that people don’t simply outgrow. They had fond memories of Nintendo games, especially those that started out with N64/NGC, these the main ones that be online. And one’s childhood experience is so precious that we become nostalgic and refuse to see anything wrong with our history as a result. They’ll become even more aggressive as a result. 

So you have that childhood, combined with the  Nintendo fantasy, combined with the social aversion, combined with the internet, combined with the peer group, combined with the single-minded thought process, combined with the unified identity, combined with the hostility toward criticism, combined with success, combined with the lack of empathy, combined with a lack experiences or refined tastes… and you get the modern Nintard. A gamer who is psychologically dependent upon his identity as a Nintendo fan as a shield for his insecurities. And because the Nintard has his pride, he will refuse to go outside of his comfort zone, meaning his identity as a Nintendo fan supercedes his own tastes. All because it’s a convenient shield. 

An identity is more than just a label. It defines your history, your culture, your behavior, your tastes, your status, etc. An identity gives you mental security that you have some sort of purpose or worth to this world. It generates self-esteem. It gives people different perspectives of life which, ideally, could influence others and change their perspectives in life to better themselves. An identity gives you definition to yourself and the world at large, promoting a particular value system. An identity is a powerful thing! So if your identity is under attack or seems inconvenient for you, you may either dump it for a new one to remain mentally secure, or have the pride to defend that identity regardless of the opposition. 

However, an identity that is adopted out of mal-adjustment is ultimately harmful. It is nothing more than a hollow shield to protect a person from the pain of social derision. It is dependent upon a fantasy that dooms people to a level of retardation that prevents them from functioning in the real world. And the Nintard is an extreme case of this. They’ve erected all these walls in place out of fear and pride. Their fantasy of Nintendo being #1 is so precious to them, any attempt to reach out and educate them… is met with heavy opposition. Their minds are effectively closed off. There is no reaching them.

….I haven’t played a good Zelda game in a while… 😛