Sun. May 31st, 2020

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

What we can learn from fandoms in times of polarization

3 min read

Animal Crossing and Doom fandoms join forces as they await the release of new games. (Bethesda | Nintendo)

By RILEY DOHERTY

Staff Writer

In today’s society, there are very few things that people can actually agree on. It seems like in every sphere be it political, social, economic, or otherwise, people are just looking for excuses to disagree. If there’s one sphere where this is the most absurd it is the entertainment sphere. Anyone who has made the horrible mistake of expressing what piece of media they enjoy on the internet has dealt with people coming out of the woodwork with a 12-page MLA cited paper on how that film, show, book or what-have-you is no more creative than garbage, and by extension so is anyone who enjoys it.

One of the things that people often forget is what people find entertaining is subjective. For example, some people enjoy horror movies while others like comedies. If entertainment wasn’t subjective then we would live in some weird dystopia with only one genre of movie, one type of game, one type of book, and one type of food. Also, the idea of berating someone because they like a different form of media is ridiculous. As long as what you find entertaining isn’t illegal then who cares?

Unfortunately, despite how ridiculous it sounds there are few debates, other than political debates at least, that get more heated than those over entertainment mediums. One of the earliest examples of people hating forms of entertainment, and by association those who liked that form of entertainment, was the early 1980’s anti-disco movement. A movement where people would destroy disco records by the hundreds in bonfires and harass disco DJs because, in the words of the movement’s slogan, ‘Disco Sucks’.

For a more contemporary example, one needs to look no further than the constant civil war happening in the Star Wars fanbase. These constant debates happen in the video game community as well– there are battles on subjects of what difficulty games should be played on, which gaming system is the best, which company makes the best games, and anything else under the sun. It seems that in every entertainment sphere people are fated to fight each other via their keyboards for all of eternity, but the situation surrounding Nintendo’s Animal Crossing New Horizons and Bethesda’s Doom Eternal flies in the face of this repetitive trend.

These games are releasing on the same day, March 20, and they couldn’t be more different. Animal Crossing is a series where your character spends their days catching bugs, fishing, designing clothing, decorating their home, and forming relationships with a colorful cast of adorable chibi animals. In Doom, you play as the Doomguy, a silent but deadly warrior who uses a vast array of guns and testosterone to murder the legions of hell in a spectacularly brutal fashion. With these two communities being so wildly different and their games releasing on the exact same day one would expect them to constantly be at each other’s throats, each side ranting about how their game is superior. Instead, something pleasantly surprising happened. Instead of fighting each other in yet another battle of internet supremacy both sides embraced each other because of their differences.

Across the internet there has been an explosion of wholesome memes depicting Doomguy and Isabelle, a fan favorite Animal Crossing character, fighting demons together, picking fruit, or just relaxing in each other’s company. In addition, individual members of the Doom and Animal Crossing communities will often travel to each other’s discussion boards and Reddit pages to express how excited they are for each other’s games.

Both in the entertainment sphere and life, in general, we should be more like the Doom and Animal Crossing communities, accepting and celebrating our differences, not tearing each other apart for our creative differences.

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