For the office Christmas party last year we went to the dog racing track. It was a first for me. I'm not a dog racing fan per se. Or any kind of racing fan. Or even a gambling fan. In fact, truth be told, I'm not even sure why I went. Free wine, perhaps. Regardless, I went, and before I drank too much sambuca and performed an altogether embarrassing rendition of Delilah by Tom Jones on Karaoke, I noticed something peculiar.
Being someone who doesn't understand nor wish to understand gambling, I was stood observing while others threw their hard earned money at "sure bets" and "dead certs". One particular dog caught my eye because after one of the guys had put £10 (sterling!) on it coming in first place, it walked to the traps with a pronounced limp. Now, there's varying degrees of limp. There's a slight limp someone might have after stubbing a toe, and there's a serious limp someone might have if they'd been stabbed in the knee. This limp was like the poor mutt had had a leg chopped off and replaced by an umbrella.
What was strange about this revelation was that while we were all laughing (oh how we laughed) the guy who put money on the dog went into a strange denial. "They do that to throw the other competitors off" he said, apparently an expert on the little known field of canine racing psychology. "It'll be fine once it starts running". And predictably, it came in last place, hobbling across the finishing line like Tiny Tim after a particularly strenuous morning at boot camp.
We could all see what was going on. We all knew the score. And deep down I think even our £10 poorer friend knew too. But he held the line right until the end. He kept talking about game plans and second winds even as his dog fell mid-way round the track. For some reason, he just couldn't accept he'd backed the wrong dog.
Being a person who reads Kotaku and other video game news outlets on a daily basis, I think it's very easy to draw a parallel between our gambler friend in denial and many of the commenters we see posting on the articles we read. I saw one just today that inspired me to write this. And I won't embarrass the fellow by naming names here, that's not what it's about. This is more a question of why?
What is it about buying a video game console that inspires such denial and self-justification in so many people? The more sensible among us recognise that we're buying a console for games, and we pick the one that suits us best based on a number of criteria. My personal criteria are, a) what exclusives does the system have, b) how much does it cost, and c) which system do most of my friends have? Currently, the system that tickles my fancy is the PS4, but that doesn't mean that once I've decided on my purchase, everything Sony do from here on out is heroic, and everything Microsoft do is villainous.
What do you think it is that compels people to defend their choice of console against almost irrefutably bad news? What inspires people to spin negatives into positives? Is it all just to try and justify their decision to themselves, or is it part of some sort of larger, underhanded scheme to try and turn public opinion in favour of the console of their choice? Seriously, what's wrong with these people?
I want to hear about any wacky fanboys you've come across that have had absurd arguments regarding either their console of choice or their competition. I want to hear about ridiculous points of view and eye-brow raising logic. Kinect watches you masturbate, the Playstation 4 is funding Al-Qaeda, the Wii U is actually a worth while purchase - tell me about all the crazy things you've heard fanboys use as justification for their console being best.
We're heading into a new console war, and we'll be witness to a whole new set of fanboys, denial and self-justification. Let's get prepared.