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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

So much silliness...

Jordan Thomas of 2K Marin (the developers of Bioshock 2 which was released today and will be reviewed here later this week) has called it like he sees it and decried the pointless “my console is better than yours” juvenility present since time immemorial. He is quoted by Destructoid as saying: “There's a cognitive effect known as confirmation bias which leads people to latch onto conclusions that support their preferences and ignore data which doesn't... This leads to wild, unreasoning loyalty to a chosen platform, sports team, or brand of soda.” I don’t know about you, but those people who go on and on about their favourite soft drink do my head in. But partisan video gamers come in a close second. Whether they play for team Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony, they are all their fair share of annoying.

Now, I’m not against people pointing out differences between platform specific versions of a game, (as done in great detail by such sites as IQGamer). Those sorts of comments are only right and fair. But I am really tired of arbitrary bias affecting any reasonable conversation you may want to have about a game or a console, especially as it’s hard enough to have a serious conversation about video games at the best of times. But a brand-loyal gamer just won’t hear you speaking if you insist on talking well of an enemy clan. They may as well be making “la la la” noises and holding their palms against their ears. This is illogical for many reasons, but my favourite reason is this: the companies themselves don’t care if you live or die. This loyalty is a one-way street. In fact I’m not sure the head of Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo wouldn’t bludgeon you to death like so many baby seals with his raw and bloodied fists if it would make the corporation a few dollars richer. OK, maybe he’s actually a smashing bloke... but you get my point.

So why do these machines command such loyalty? I suppose it is understandable for people to defend the one they have bought: to justify the money they have spent. Nobody wants to have bought the “wrong” one, so you naturally might not want the rival machine to have better games than the one you chose to purchase. I know I relished each and every bad review of the PS2 launch title, when I was a Dreamcast groupie. But people shouldn’t pretend it’s for any grand moral or cultural reason that they have aligned themselves with one of these massive companies and are prepared to sacrifice their integrity by becoming some sort of volunteer spokesperson in their free time. Especially seeing as how the 360 and PS3 are the same, but one plays Blu-ray discs and the other has a superior set of online options. They both have fairly bad reliability records and they both run games that look approximately the same, so long as the developers have done their job right. Otherwise some look better on one and some look better on the other. One is more expensive, but includes built-in features which you must pay for as extras on the other, balancing the whole cost thing out in the end. Ok they have the odd exclusive title to harp on about, but exclusives are becoming less and less frequent by the year.

So that’s it. Case closed. And if you don’t agree with me I’ll get some biggers kids come and beat you up.

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