>>> Fringe Benefits
By staff writer J.M. Lucci

October 10, 2007

From the Prophet Jamal's Letter to Public Housing Municipal Manager Randall Shirkwood, Paragraph 5, Lines 5-7

“Listen here, agent of the White Man, for my chronic purchasing of video games is not the issue; the issue is my lack of money to pay the rent. Let you not dally in issues with which you have no obvious experience.”

Not one dedication to the unseen of the college campus, the gamers? Aside from some pithy references, not one writer on PIC has done a bit about the various types of gamers? A shame, for sure.

Well, good thing Yours Truly is taking time off from playing Def Jam: Fight for New York (best brawler game out there) so he can educate you on some primary sects of the gaming community that somehow remain a small facet of the college experience.

I thought I’d start off the list with newer, more common gamer cliques across America’s campuses: the Halo Fanatic, the Classics-Only Guy, and the Madden Zealot.

Halo Fanatic

“Madden Zealots are an odd bunch akin to the Halo Fanatic: normal by day, insane by night.”

I totally rock with the assault rifle. And one time I flogged the dolphin to Cortana porn. Only once, though.

What Counter-Strike is for the PC, Halo is for the Xbox. Originally slated as a space opera more suited for science fiction buffs and fans of early Bungie games, Halo somehow seized on tight to the faces of college gamers across America and stealth-jerked a smash-hit multiplayer game into everyone’s eyes.

In high school, I honestly believed only 15 other people played as religiously as I; the others being the remaining guests of local LAN parties. College, and Halo 2, changed all that. Microsoft switched marketing gears and suddenly every prick with an Xbox and two thumbs was pistol-sniping over the LAN. Good for getting into back-to-back games with little downtime, bad for overall quality. As I am a gamer adjusted to following a certain credo of gaming ethics, it became annoying to see 80 billion fucknuts, all named variations of “Rick James Bitch,” suicide-bombing my base.

Back on track though, and more to the point, this game is an excuse for grown men to metaphysically beat the ever-living shit out of each other. Multiple theories point to this factor alone as the contributing cause for the successes of Halo and its sequel. Men love violence; Halo delivered. Enter the Fanatic.

The Fanatic is unique among gamers as the Halo series remains their priority source of entertainment even after years on the market. Sure, they purchased a few other shooter titles along the way, possibly picking up a racing game or sports title as gifts, but those faded with time. Halo, conversely, burns bright in a Fanatic’s heart.

Fanatics have no defining physical or mental characteristics aside from normal, masculine qualities, making their kind tough to pick out in a crowd. They come in all shapes and sizes, morphing from average student into spittle-spewing-psychopaths during Xbox Live and LAN games, and typically they are harmless unless provoked (i.e. getting their asses served to them in a match). With the advent of the third installment fast approaching, expect more of these to resurface from hibernation.

“Classics-Only” Guy

No one can step to my dual Klobbs. Bitch.

Self-referenced as a “retro” gamer, the “COG” doesn’t play video games in any linear fashion or original form. Instead, COGs use older, simpler games as proving grounds for competition. COGs tend to gravitate towards each other; gangs of these archaic purveyors huddle together in dorm rooms repeating the same level of Goldeneye over and over to break that 20-second level-completion record set by some Korean exchange student from Yugoslavia.

COGs are a relatively new form of gamer. The advent of next-gen consoles and, as they claim, the bastardization of gameplay for the sake of sales has caused these once prominent gamers to revert back to the N64, the Dreamcast, and even older systems for shitty graphics glory.

Madden Zealot

I just completed a 60-yard touchdown pass on a blitz with three-man coverage on the receiver. I think I just felt my dick shift.

During the heyday of arcades, sports games meant Patrick Ewing bouncing 30 feet into the air, doing a double somersault, freezing momentarily in mid-air (for the cameras, of course), and then effortlessly slamming a fiery orange sphere into the basket for two points—all while Marv Albert screamed, “BOOOOOM SHAKALAKA!” In football, you could pick up the wide receiver over your shoulders and slam his uppity ass onto the Astroturf to end a play (or after the play, your choice). Sports were a fantastical retreat from reality, exploring the possibilities of the imagination as if gravity and fair-play rules didn’t exist.

Then Madden came out and suddenly people screamed for more realism in their favorite sports. Once-wild titles started to emulate real-life situations, playbooks, and laws of gravity. Coupled with people’s self-reassurance that purchasing annual re-releases of the same game with minor upgrades to controls, graphics, and stats was truly a swell idea, the Madden Zealot was born among college gamers.

Madden Zealots are an odd bunch among campus gamers akin to the Halo Fanatic: normal by day, insane by night. They are hard to identify, as sports register in the hearts of many a man and simply perusing a gamer’s collection hardly qualifies as testament. Best bet to identify a Zealot is to ask about fantasy football. It’s a religion to those people, and Madden games are their equivalent to church services.

Stay tuned next time when my ode extends to three more college gamer cliques.