Are contrarians the new fanboys?

It seems to me like the contrarian has taken the place of the fanboy from last generation. While we still get fanboys, I see many more people who seem to hate things because it seems like so many more like them. If I had never played a game before and decided to jump headfirst into it, and I came online, trying to use review scores and user reviews as a baises of what to buy (not sales numbers), I would think reviewers are crazy. I mean look at these metacritic scores 
 
MW2: Critics: 94 out of 100 Users: 60 out of 100 
 
GTA 4: Critics: 98 out of 100 Users: 70 out of 100 
 
Halo Reach: Critics: 92 out of 100 Users: 72 out of 100 
 
Halo 3: Critics: 94 out of 100 Users: 75 out of 100 

 
But look at these, this is where is gets real weird 
 
R.U.S.E: Critics: 77 out of 100 Users: 84 out of 100 
 
The Saboteur: Critics: 73 out of 100 Users: 86 out of 100 
 
Army of Two: Critics: 72 out of 100 Users: 83 out of 100 
 
 
 
I know metacritic is not the end all be all of ratings, and really, these numbers are based on a number of different factors, but they are still interesting. R.U.S.E. better than GTA: 4? Army of Two better than Halo 3? The Saboteur better than MW2? On top of that, we have the contrarian critics. In film these type of critics (like Armond White) are considered a joke. This generation, it seems as if we celebrate game critics like this (take Yahtzee or Jim Sterling for example). Other critics are guilty of this too. How many podcasts have you listened to or blog posts have you read where a reviewer sounded as if he didn't like a game he gave a good review to? 
  
I do not want to come off like I am trying to discourage people from having their own opinions, and I do understand that, well, haters gotta hate, but I am starting to believe that some people are annoyed by all things popular and that unfortunately affects peoples opinions the same way envy affected the fanboy culture of last generation.     

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Posted by greennoodles

It seems to me like the contrarian has taken the place of the fanboy from last generation. While we still get fanboys, I see many more people who seem to hate things because it seems like so many more like them. If I had never played a game before and decided to jump headfirst into it, and I came online, trying to use review scores and user reviews as a baises of what to buy (not sales numbers), I would think reviewers are crazy. I mean look at these metacritic scores 
 
MW2: Critics: 94 out of 100 Users: 60 out of 100 
 
GTA 4: Critics: 98 out of 100 Users: 70 out of 100 
 
Halo Reach: Critics: 92 out of 100 Users: 72 out of 100 
 
Halo 3: Critics: 94 out of 100 Users: 75 out of 100 

 
But look at these, this is where is gets real weird 
 
R.U.S.E: Critics: 77 out of 100 Users: 84 out of 100 
 
The Saboteur: Critics: 73 out of 100 Users: 86 out of 100 
 
Army of Two: Critics: 72 out of 100 Users: 83 out of 100 
 
 
 
I know metacritic is not the end all be all of ratings, and really, these numbers are based on a number of different factors, but they are still interesting. R.U.S.E. better than GTA: 4? Army of Two better than Halo 3? The Saboteur better than MW2? On top of that, we have the contrarian critics. In film these type of critics (like Armond White) are considered a joke. This generation, it seems as if we celebrate game critics like this (take Yahtzee or Jim Sterling for example). Other critics are guilty of this too. How many podcasts have you listened to or blog posts have you read where a reviewer sounded as if he didn't like a game he gave a good review to? 
  
I do not want to come off like I am trying to discourage people from having their own opinions, and I do understand that, well, haters gotta hate, but I am starting to believe that some people are annoyed by all things popular and that unfortunately affects peoples opinions the same way envy affected the fanboy culture of last generation.     

Posted by zombie2011

I watched that episode of Family Guy too.

Posted by FancySoapsMan
@zombie2011 said:
" I watched that episode of Family Guy too. "
Posted by greennoodles
@zombie2011 said:
" I watched that episode of Family Guy too. "
Huh? Sorry, can't stand Family Guy.
Posted by zombie2011
@greennoodles said:
" @zombie2011 said:
" I watched that episode of Family Guy too. "
Huh? Sorry, can't stand Family Guy. "
Really? Because the new episode of Family Guy had Louis saying this exact thing to the dog Brian, can't be a coincidence.
Posted by greennoodles
@zombie2011 said:
" @greennoodles said:
" @zombie2011 said:
" I watched that episode of Family Guy too. "
Huh? Sorry, can't stand Family Guy. "
Really? Because the new episode of Family Guy had Louis saying this exact thing to the dog Brian, can't be a coincidence. "
Wow, that is crazy, dead serious I haven't watched Family Guy in about two years, lol, my friends accuse me of being a contrarian because I don't like it but I just don't find it funny, maybe I should watch it.
Posted by ArbitraryWater

People want to pretend they have better taste than they really do. Thus, if something is popular or well regarded then it is automatically for the rabble and only the niche or underappreciated will suffice. That's how it is.

Posted by NTM

I'm just glad I fall under none of these. People aren't that independant with their own opinions. Sad.
Posted by jorbear

Hmm. It's an interesting point you bring up, as well as an interesting theory. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was true. 

Edited by Deathpooky

I'd say its more the fanboy corollary.  Fanboys have strong feelings about their own game/system, and so go out of their way to trash any competitors or other games.
 
Sample review (0/10) from metacritic of Reach: 
 
"Halo Reach is so short of a campaign its so sad it definitely wasn't worth 60.00 dollars. Multiplayer is pretty much the same has Halo 3. I would rather play Modern Warfare any day of the week and when Black Ops comes out watch out Halo. The Call of Duty franchise will REIGN once more."
 
For little known or appreciated titles, it's more that the only people who care enough to rate a game are those that loved the game.

Posted by HandsomeDead

Maybe you can go onto Screened and ask Contrarion yourself.

Posted by Gaff
@greennoodles: I honestly can't believe that anyone would take Yahtzee and Jim Sterling seriously. 
 
Also, hardcore gamers say they don't like sequels. Probably the one thing they hate more is Activision ("They milked Infinity Ward dry :("). Or Microsoft ("They milked Bungie dry :( Also, Windows!"). Or EA ("They're milking Sports games :("). 
 
Also, hardcore gamers are extremely hard to please the longer a franchise wears on: No dedicated servers? Boycott. Not enough innovation? Boycott. Too bright colours? Boycott. Porting it to another system? Boycott. Change of character? Boycott. 
 
IT RUBS THE LOTION ON ITS SKIN OR ELSE IT GETS THE HOSE! 
 
For people who say they love the industry, they sure treat some people like trash.
Online
Posted by ch13696

I don't hate popular games, I just hate how they are over-hyped. Let's take MW2 for example. The game has a really good single player campaign, but forget multiplayer. Do to the fact that it's over-hyped, we have annoying and cheating people on there. Now, head over to BC2. The game doesn't have us much attention than MW2. Therefore not as much cheaters and not as much annoying little kids. 
 
So in the end. You'll catch me playing single player on these over-hyped games, but don't expect to see me online.

Posted by President_Barackbar

You cant really accuse people of being a contrarian unless they give a nonexistent reason for hating something. The best example is MW2. There's a lot of people (myself included) that have legitimate problems with the game. I don't just not like it to be different.

Posted by greennoodles
@President_Barackbar said:
" You cant really accuse people of being a contrarian unless they give a nonexistent reason for hating something. The best example is MW2. There's a lot of people (myself included) that have legitimate problems with the game. I don't just not like it to be different. "
I get that, but most the time when someone says that, they say "MW2 is OVERRATED!" or "GTA4 sux!" if you have legit reasons that is fine, I am not saying you can not dislike a game, but there are some that just happen to not like any game that sells well. That is who this was aimed at.
Posted by Hashbrowns
@greennoodles said:
" @zombie2011 said:
" I watched that episode of Family Guy too. "
Huh? Sorry, can't stand Family Guy. "
 
That is incredibly refreshing to hear.  Seriously.

@ch13696:
The catch-22 of popularity.  A game has to be popular enough to ensure enough people are playing to make multiplayer viable, but since human nature is twisted, vicious and petty, that means you're more likely to encounter people you don't want to interact with. 
 
I had the misfortune of finding a System Wars thread through a google search.  I couldn't believe the vitriol and apparent obsessive NEED to be contrarian.  One guy had a (I assume) custom signature proclaiming that the X360's lineup this year was abysmal across the board, and his avatar was a PS3 wearing a gold crown.  I mean, who does that?  He literally spent time creating a graphic about something he claims to not be interested in.  Who are these people?  And tell me they aren't reproducing.
Edited by Doctorchimp

When the fuck did Jim Sterling become a contrarian??? 
  
Also I think it just comes down to people who really like the game, people who don't care, and then people who actively hate because it's popular. 
 
The people who actively hate are the loudest, so ergo you see the numbers. This isn't new...it's been like this forever...

Posted by punkxblaze

I think you're mistaking contrarians for Trolls, who don't deserve such a fancy name.

Posted by Vinny_Says

MW2 SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by greennoodles
@Doctorchimp said:
" When the fuck did Jim Sterling become a contrarian???   Also I think it just comes down to people who really like the game, people who don't care, and then people who actively hate because it's popular.  The people who actively hate are the loudest, so ergo you see the numbers. This isn't new...it's been like this forever... "
I don't think there were as many. I mean how much hate did you see for GTA 3 or Vice City? Or for Halo? MGS? I have only recently heard people really badmouthing Kingdom Hearts. How many people said "Man, Link to the Past sucks!"?
Posted by Claude

I really don't care, but you did remind me that I want to play The Saboteur. I can get it on the cheap now and users are never wrong.

Posted by Ramone
@President_Barackbar said:
" You cant really accuse people of being a contrarian unless they give a nonexistent reason for hating something. The best example is MW2. There's a lot of people (myself included) that have legitimate problems with the game. I don't just not like it to be different. "
This. I'm not going to get into it here (you can read my MW2 review if you like) but just because a game is critically acclaimed it doesn't mean not liking it is just a way of being an arse. People are indpendent and they like to voice their opinions, I say let them do it even if I'm not listening.
Posted by Diamond
@Deathpooky said:
I'd say its more the fanboy corollary.  Fanboys have strong feelings about their own game/system, and so go out of their way to trash any competitors or other games.
That is exactly what's happening in the vast majority of these cases.
Posted by Doctorchimp
@greennoodles: You just don't remember them during their time. 
 
Even so you brought up Link to the Past...how many online forums that you could access from your cell phone did you visit when Link to the Past came out? 
 
People are people...always have been...
Edited by Atlas

The difference between fanboys and contrarians, who often are one and the same, is that fanboys disparage games that are in the same genre as their preferred game (Call of Duty fans hating on Halo) or because of its platform (Halo fans hating on Killzone 2). Contrarians are more dismissive of entire genres as a whole, often due to fundamental differences in taste between them and the rest, applying both to professional criticism and to the popular concensus.
 
I find most other peoples enthusiam to be obnoxious, except when it's something I'm not in favour of. Jeff and Brad's recent Mortal Kombat fanboyism has annoyed the fuck out of me, but if they were cooing about Virtua Fighter my reaction would be completely different. I found people's obsessive love of Persona 4 and the Endurance Run that it made me be less active in the community so I wasn't exposed to it so much because it was driving me up the wall. Does that make me a bad person? Almost certainly, yes. It's a bias, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I also acknowledge that I am the most uncool person ever to walk this earth, and when I hate on something, it's not to get others to like me or pay attention to me or anything retarded like that.
 
Really what it comes down to is a philosophical difference between me and the masses. I just physically cannot enjoy any game that is heavily focused on multiplayer, which obviously is the foundation of the Call of Duty and Halo series as well as the MMO market. The masses love them and obviously most reviewers don't have the same anti-multiplayer bias that I do, so while critics and enthusiasts gush over the likes of StarCraft II, Street Fighter IV and pretty much any FPS series that doesn't begin with Bio or Half, I feel completely indifferent, but because of bombardment by coverage it becomes a vice and indifference turns to disgust. It's my problem and no one elses, and it will always be a barrier between me and the wider audience. GTAIV is an anomaly; I just really didn't care for the game's tone or it's characters, whereas Red Dead Redemption was entertaining as all hell. Also, it's incredibly easy to mock games like Halo and Call of Duty especially due to the extremely vocal and extremely fucking annoying sector of players who have no interest in having a reasonable social gaming experience with other people. StarCraft II on the other hand, I have much respect for the people who play that game competitively and play it well, but I have absolutely zero interest in becoming one of those people, and the same applies to SFIV, because that would require me to have contact with other human beings.

Posted by jasondaplock

The character of the users who rate games is important for drawing relevant points out that table--which I thank you wholeheartedly for creating, I was tempted to do something similar recently. 
 
Anyone who hates a popular game is automatically driven to action by standing out in the community; whether they are truly alone or not, the appearance of non-conformity (critic reviews) makes them feel the urge to say their bit. They have "pushed" into the limelight. This is the foundation for the concept of a "vocal minority." 
 
In the case of games like RUSE the critical and user scores actually line up alright and I would assume in these cases that pressure does not exist to rate the game. This means that only people who rate everything and people that either really hated or loved the game will rate it (possibly). 
 
All speculation of course. Haters gonna hate.

Edited by MrKlorox

People who think of things in terms of fanboyism and contrarianism aren't the least biased folks. Such are the true jokes.

Posted by Jimbo

Gamers generally score games entirely subjectively, whereas most reviewers (rightly or wrongly) still try to score them objectively.
 
Don't forget that Metacritic also has an inherent conversion bias which will typically force up the Reviewer average compared to the User average, particularly for the top games you are looking at. (ie. a 5 star review is always erroneously converted as 100% by metacritic, but if that same reviewer were using the 10-point User scale instead then they'd be just as likely to give it a 9 as a 10 - probably more likely to in fact).

Edited by greennoodles
@Doctorchimp: But the culture is now reaching children. When LttP came out, not one kid I was around didn't love that game, yet yesterday my 10 year old nephew told me how much Halo Reach sucked. I asked him if he played it and he said no, he just hears everyone saying it does so he thought it sucked. 
 
@Jonny7892:  Once again I will say that you not liking a popular game is fine, however if you didn't like most popular games then I would wonder. 
 
@Atlas:  THANK YOU for admitting your bias, I think bias is a natural and healthy thing and more critics and journalists should stand up and do what you just did.
Posted by jayjonesjunior

when you think of Call of Duty what comes to your mind? MW2?  
MW2 is a step backwards to everything the CoD series has done(the storyline is still great) and only one of 6 great games, 4 are set in WW2. 
 
i bet most MW2 fanboys never touched the first MW (the 4th game in the series) , its impossible to not hate MW2/IW/Activison for what they have done to the CoD. 
 
All in the name of profits.

Posted by Doctorchimp
@greennoodles: Like I said it's because of the internet it's spreading. 
 
Also your nephew probably heard it from someone who liked Call of Duty, that's another thing that's new competition. How many other good adventure games on the snes did you have other than LttP?   
 
In that case your nephew isn't being a contrarian  just a call of duty fanboy. Exactly the opposite of what your blog is about.
Edited by PassiveKaerenai

To this thread, and all those in it, I say:
 
NO.

Edited by greennoodles
@Doctorchimp: If there are more contrarians because the internet is spreading, then doesn't that mean that there ARE in fact more contrarians? Giving a reason for the spread means that you agree with me. :) 
 
I see your point about fanboys, and you could always find a reason that I am wrong since I am pretty much speaking hypothetically (People that don't like MW2 or Halo just don't like 3rd person shooters, people that don't like gta mw2 or halo just don't like m-rated games so on) but at some point you have to ask the question "Do people just hate this because other people like it?" 
Posted by Video_Game_King

Depends on the game, but I will say that there are a lot of big games that aren't good. Not all of them (that'd be stupid to say), but some just suck. I only know this from experience, so I'm guessing the contrarian is the asshole who posts an MW2 review on day 1 just to tell us how much it sucks.

Posted by Venatio
@FancySoapsMan said:
" @zombie2011 said:
" I watched that episode of Family Guy too. "
"
I thought the exact same thing
Posted by greennoodles
@Video_Game_King:  
Big games that aren't good IMO:  
RE5 
Assassins Creed 1 
Crackdown 2 
CoD: WaW  
DMC 
 
Big games that I don't enjoy, but I see why people do: 
Cod: MW2 
Halo (all of them) 
Madden 
WoW 
Starcraft  
Half-Life (all of them)  
God Of War
Edited by BraveToaster

Believe it or not, but there are people out there that legitimately dislike some games that are considered popular to most people. I wouldn't classify this as hate, this word has been misused quite a but these days. You do have douches with little to no knowledge of games who give their opinions, and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the two.

Posted by greennoodles
@Axxol: True, and some people really do believe that a game being on PS3 make it better than if it is on a 360, however there are some who feel the need to justify a purchase they may secretly regret and badmouth every game that looks good on the other systems. The fact that some may truly dislike something doesn't mean that there aren't those that blindly hate the popular.
Posted by ryanwho

Well you see- 
*notices you're quoting metacritic* 
...nevermind.

Posted by greennoodles
@ryanwho: Lol, I hate metacritic too, but until someone else does it better that doesn't have anything to do with gamespot.... looking at you rotten tomatoes
Posted by Tyashki

Personally its nothing to do with hate, simply that if I'm scoring something I don't give perfect scores. Its a matter of review scale. In the gaming press it seems like anything lower than 7/10 is just a bad game, whereas for me most games would end up around there.

Posted by ryanwho
@greennoodles: The better thing to do is to actually read the 3 reviews out of 25 from sites you trust instead of a weirdly concieved average therein. This thing the OP is talking about happens at imdb, too. You look at any given popular movie with a score of, say, 7.5. When you check the stats, its like a ton of people voting 10 and a bunch of other people voting 1 to circumvent the people voting 10. Bottom line is both sides have way too much spare time to invest.
Posted by greennoodles
@ryanwho: When reading reviews to make my personal buying decisions, that is what I do, but when I need general reviews to show popular opinion in a forum post, there really isn't anywhere else to turn.
Posted by applet0n

Personally I feel that Jim Sterling is just a huge troll and his popularity stems from his contrarian manner. Yahtzee on the other hand just hates everything equally.

Edited by FighterOfFoo

I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned it, but I think the greater significance user reviews have been given in the redesign of Metacritic is fucking ludicrous. I personally couldn't give a shit what xXxTweetMonkeyxXx thinks of Game X, the mope probably hasn't even played it. User reviews should be nothing more than a footnote at the bottom of the page like how it used to be.
 
Even then, there's a lot of crap wrong about Metacritic, but that's for another thread.

Posted by RiotBananas

American Dad > Family Guy.

Posted by Doctorchimp
@greennoodles said:
" @Doctorchimp: If there are more contrarians because the internet is spreading, then doesn't that mean that there ARE in fact more contrarians? Giving a reason for the spread means that you agree with me. :)  I see your point about fanboys, and you could always find a reason that I am wrong since I am pretty much speaking hypothetically (People that don't like MW2 or Halo just don't like 3rd person shooters, people that don't like gta mw2 or halo just don't like m-rated games so on) but at some point you have to ask the question "Do people just hate this because other people like it?"  "
Not at all what I meant. 
 
You are just more aware of the contrarian douchebags who decide to split up gaming between the hardcore genres and the "casual" ones. 
 
I never said contrarians were spreading, just the internet, so you are now more aware of who has something loud and obnoxious to say.
Posted by Deusoma

I've noticed this trend as well, can't say I'm very fond of it.  I don't think Yahtzee is really a reviewer, though, and frequently warn my friends against considering anything he says while determining whether to buy a game. He's strictly going for entertainment value, not genuinely reviewing the games he plays. As for the users, the concept of hating popular things and liking unpopular things has always been around; look at people who bashed Avatar and Transformers simply for being large, pop-culture friendly movies, or those annoying "indie kids" who only listen to bands who have never been published.
 
On a side note, though, at least one of those examples is accurate. In my own personal opinion, based on experience with the game and not just because it's the popular thing to say, Grand Theft Auto IV is not a very good game, especially when compared to the previous games in the series. As an example, apart from the storyline (which is gangsta cliché garbage), Saints Row 2 is better in every way.

Posted by Bloodgraiv3

Its opinions, a lot of super highly rated games shouldn't be rated that high in general. 
Posted by LordAndrew

With user reviews, you can expect a lot more 10 scores as well as a lot more 0 and 1 scores (depending on which score is the lowest possible). Those low scores can really drag down the average score, but for popular games there tend to be enough high scores to at least keep the average above 50, and usually above 60.

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