Saturday, 12 October 2013

We are all Brand Loyalists, Like it or Not.

I saw a Youtube video the other day, which talked extensively about the concept of fanboy-ism amongst gamers. This got me thinking, because as a reviewer of all games that are considered retro, I am compelled to put across a totally unbiased and equal view on the subject matter. But, do I really do this? Am I being fair, objective and open-minded? For general articles I think I have this down to a tee, no worries there, but in social conversation and discussion, I'm not so sure. I have come to conclusion that, no matter what kind of gamer you are, no matter what era you hail from or what generation you belong too, we all have our favourite consoles but more potently, concealed within the depths of our id, I suspect we have an unexplained draw to a specified manufacturer at any given period. And there is little we can do about this.

Casting aside my usual thought-processes of fair play, I can admit what brands I'm drawn too. In my childhood, Amstrad was the manufacturer that imprisoned my young gaming mind. I would defend the CPC with all the over-inflated facts or blatant untruths I could. The three way argument of the Commodore, Amstrad and of course the Spectrum fans would be the start of many schoolyard scraps. Normally, the Speccy guys would be overrun by the brags of graphical power the other two had, so it became a straight fight between C64 and 464. Our young minds not able to fully grasp the concept of 'Gameplay'. Ironically, if the Speccy guy had played this card, a win may have been very possible. Anyway, needless to say I was Alan Sugar's metaphorical bitch during this time, and even when I had the chance delve into the delights of the Amiga or Megadrive, all I craved for was Amstrad's latest machine. Yes, that was the ill-fated GX4000.... (Yes, I know now!)

Machinehead! A few generations of my favourite manufacturers...

After Amstrad abandoned the computer market, and the 16-bit era taking a foothold, I found myself strangely drawn to Nintendo. I believe this was a combination of liking the newest console available at the time, and the illogical hatred I had developed for SEGA; the Megadrive unceremoniously killing the GX4000 was a bitter pill to swallow. I now know the Megadrive was, and is a great machine, but I could not accept this at the time. So, I became a Nintendo-head. After getting the SNES, I backtracked to the Gameboy and NES, and again found myself fighting their corner whenever the situation arose. I am still an avid Nintendo fan, but due to the peer pressure and the cost of the N64 at the time, I fell in love with Sony and their Playstation. As I have grown older, learning to see the merits of the systems I forgo'd, I still find myself getting riled at people slagging off Amstrad, Nintendo or, to a lesser extent, Sony, and will still defend there failings to the letter. It's ridiculous I know, but this is the silly emotional attachment that I believe all gamers have with their chosen brand. Speccy fans behave in this manner, as do Amiga ilk and so on. In current times, it's been a plain straight battle between Sony and Microsoft, PS v Xbox, the latter being another brand I cannot get along with. Maybe it's because Microsoft's history are littered with problems for the consumer, their apparent greed doesn't help either, and this plays on my mind. I mean, why did they ruin a perfectly good OS (Win95) by saying Vista was the dog's ballbags? It was more dog shit then dogs balls, and now it seems they are doing it again. Windows 7... Good enough. Windows 8? Ugh! 

The difference now is that I can appreciate and respect that people have views of their own, correct ones at that, because I am exactly the same with my brands. But, take one moment to look at your personal gaming history, and I'll bet you will find yourself siding with a certain console or manufacturer. It maybe to do with the games, the looks, the technical prowess, who knows. But a die-hard Amiga fan will never accept an Atari-ST, an Xbox man will always curse a Playstation even thought they can still give an approving nod to the merits of each system. In short, we are all fanboys. It's the way of the world, and a brighter, more entertaining and diverse place for it. My next console? A WiiU, obviously. 

The Pixel Empire 

Retro and racing have been the subject of choice recently on The Pixel Empire. Not only did we finish off our retro month with a Amstrad/Speccy showdown, with classic Manic Miner and the awesome Batman getting full coverage, but we have a long exciting starting grid of racing titles lined up. Ferrari's get some tough love in Crazy Cars 2 and Ferrari Grand Prix challenge, and Shane dishes the dirt in Xbox title DiRT: Showdown. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter profile for the upcoming reviews on V-Rally, Penny Racers, Lotus Turbo Challenge and Street Racer.

Right that's me all talked out for now, will have another blog up when I can be bothered to rant about something again. Maybe something more mundane, like how can a cup of tea be made so differently by family members. Or something...

Sayonara...Bug' Out!


  1. I know what you mean.. I was never really affiliated with or favoured any particular machine until I got to play a NES.. I was in love with this console which grew with the release of the SNES.. When the N64 came out I moved heaven and earth to get one (which was later sold to clear a debt ;'( ).. I then picked up an original Playstation and found a new love (I never forgot my old love which was renewed on a trip to Ireland).. Been in a solid relationship with Playstation ever since, with the odd fling with the Wii.. But my heart is desperately awaiting it's new arrival.. The Ultimate PS4.. :)

  2. An excellent piece Chris and completely agree. It seems a console and all that it offers instils a lot of brand loyalty, thanks to the unique journey and experiences we derive from each. Being able to try games from formats I missed as a youth has introduced me to a lot, and there's plenty of healthy competition to look forward to in the future. Hope you enjoy your WiiU and have some reviews for us come the new year! I think a VITA is my next port of call, now they're almost as cheap as 3DSs and I've about 25 free games already from the PS Plus, it's a gift horse I can no longer look in the mouth lol :P :D