If you’re reading this and you’re a new follower or never saw my first post about needless rage, you can check that out here.
After writing that article about Undertale, I decided to play the game for myself to see what it was all about. I loved the game, and as I often do with games I enjoy, I began to watch some Let’s Plays of the game on Youtube.
In case you’re not familiar with the idea of a Let’s Play, here’s an explanation. A Let’s Play is a video of another person playing a video game and providing commentary. There are three main reasons (in my view) why one would watch a Let’s Play. Reason One: the player is particularly skilled and their video could serve as a walkthrough. Reason Two: the player is particularly funny and their commentary makes you laugh. And Reason Three: you don’t own the game or the console for the game and you still want to experience it in some way. If you can’t imagine yourself watching another person play a video game, that’s cool – just don’t pull a Jimmy Kimmel and insult an entire generation of kids and young adults (and the parents who raised them) on national television.
So anyway, here I am, a fan of Undertale looking for other people who are playing Undertale in order to see the game from their perspective. And what do I find? That’s right – a fandom pouring out pointless anger onto everyone who has ever played the game on the internet.
If you ever want to lose your faith in humanity, read comments. Comments on Facebook memes, comments on blog articles about any subject of significance (parenting, religion, politics, feminism, etc), comments on Youtube videos – it’s like there’s a universal agreement that only the most backward human beings in the world are allowed to make comments on things.
Now Undertale is a game that can be played in many different ways – you can be nice to everyone, you can murder everyone, you can do something in between, you can find secrets, you can just rush through the story – and even the order that you do all that stuff in actually matters. Because of that, everyone has an opinion about the best way to play the game. And they express those opinions. Rudely.
Some fans get angry if the player is nice to everyone. Some get angry if he or she is mean to everyone. Others get angry because the player dies sometimes, or because the player can’t figure out the puzzles. But no matter what the Youtuber does, there’ll be a vocal minority of angry people who type a string of obscenities at the bottom of every video.
Particularly frustrating is the fact that in some cases, the player is making videos of the game specifically because of requests from fans. It’s like asking someone for a favor and then criticizing their approach instead of being thankful they did it for you. Who does that? Jerks, that’s who.
Now please don’t think that I am criticizing the Undertale fandom exclusively. Pretty much every fandom in the world does this in some way or other. I mean, have you ever met a sports fan? I once heard a story from a high school teacher of her experience at another school; her first day she brought in a mug for her favorite sports team, which was apparently a rival to the team preferred by many of her coworkers. Later that week, she opened her school mailbox to find the mug smashed into pieces. Because that’s the mature way for educators to react to someone with a different opinion.
There’s nothing wrong with being a fan. Having an opinion is not wrong. However, there are very destructive ways to express opinions, and people tend to be so passionate about their fandoms that they’re willing to emotionally wound anyone who doesn’t agree with them. After all, the word fan is just shorthand for fanatic, a word with a lot of negative connotations.
I’m choosing to believe that you adventurers are not like these fanatics. You’ve been nothing but nice to me, after all. There’s no way you folks make angry profanity-filled Youtube comments or smash your coworkers’ mugs. So what can nice people like us do to stop the needless anger and to change the perception of fans?
First of all, DON’T GET DEFENSIVE. This is so important. I earlier joked about Jimmy Kimmel and his untoward comments about people who watch Let’s Plays. Well naturally, some fanatics got angry and made angry comments on social media and Youtube, and guess what happened? This guy used those comments to make more videos and get more views by making fun of the fanatics some more. I understand that when someone has a different opinion and they express their opinion in an offensive way, it’s tempting to become defensive. But being defensive is really just being offensive right back. It always makes things worse.
Second of all, BE ENCOURAGING. They say that it takes 100 nice statements to undo 1 mean statement (or something like that), so put those nice words out into the world! If you’re watching a Youtuber and you really enjoy the content, comment with how much you love their material. Send someone you admire a fan letter. Sometimes a simple smile or a thank-you makes all the difference, and it works wonders when trying to cancel out all that unnecessary anger.
Third of all, DON”T KNOCK IT TIL YOU TRY IT. One thing I know that many fanatics are guilty of (my teenage self was particularly bad for this) is hating something that they feel goes against their fandom without ever actually experiencing that something for themselves. Often, this is a reaction to the fanatics and not to the actual thing they are fanatical for. “Ugh, Supernatural fans are so crazy. What a stupid show.” Have you actually watched Supernatural? Do you know anything at all about it? Maybe you should check it out and see for yourself if the show or movie or game or book or whatever is enjoyable before you run your mouth about it. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that you like the thing in spite of the behavior of the fanatics that support it. And if you’re not willing to check it out, then don’t trash-talk it. It won’t take long at all for people to realize that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and then you’ll look just as silly as the fanatics.
I hope that these ideas help you to deal with fanatics a little better. Fans can be really frustrating, but just know that for every crazy fanatic, there’s a perfectly healthy fan who won’t tear your head off for daring to express a different opinion. Let’s work together as adventurers to change the perception of fans and to put a little more positivity into the world!
Today is the first day of Multiplayer Week, so if you enjoyed this post be sure to share it on social media so your friends can see it too! Remember, if we get seven new followers by the end of Multiplayer Week, we’ll be having a special multiplayer event where I battle some adventurers and then fictionalize the experience as bonus content for the blog. The more you share, the more likely we are to gain some new friends here on Adventure Rules!