You know, I just realized something: I'm not a very good fan at all.
I've been gaming since the Atari days and I think I'll always be playing games in some capacity, even when I'm old and gray. I will defend certain titles and franchises until I'm blue in the face. But when it comes to doing quintessential "fan" things, I just so fail the litmus test.
I've never gone to a midnight launch in my entire life, nor do I have any desire to, even if it was for Final Fantasy VII-2 . Not that I have anything against them at all, but people who dress up as their favorite video game (or movie) characters just sort of make me…uncomfortable. I'm sorry, but it creeps me out, and I think I'll run into them at midnight launches. At the same time, I look at them and go, "See now, those are fans!" I just can't conceive of any reason to do it, though, so I think that sort of disqualifies me for the upper level of "fandom."
I don't shell out big bucks for any Collectors or Limited Editions or whatever. Again, only Final Fantasy might still prompt me to do this, but I'd have to be pretty damn excited (and I might not be for something like FFXIII-3). I have a cool game collection but it's not gigantic because I'm extremely selective and picky about which titles make it in. So I don't have like an entire room or basement full of shelves and racks of games, although I do admit to keeping what I do have in alphabetical order.
I don't have any little collectible doodads or other quirky little items associated with video games, like figurines, stuffed animals, art books, etc. Anything I have I got from publishers or as gifts; I never seek them out. I don't get every piece of downloadable content available for games I like; in fact, I think I've downloaded a grand total of two pieces of DLC this entire generation. I don't play online hardly ever; I find the experience annoying and depressing (the maturity level is…disgusting).
I don't read books based on video games. I don't follow absolutely everything in the industry that doesn't involve work for this site, so no, I'm not familiar with the OnLive snafu. Sometimes, I'll go back and play some old-school games on my SNES or PS1 but it's rare, and I never play them longer than an hour or two. Speaking of length of time, my game sessions never surpass the three-hour mark anymore, which may be a good thing, but it doesn't sound like a "fan," does it? I'm just a terrible, terrible fan.
Lastly, I have to say I'm not overly enthusiastic about the next generation. I really just have a "meh" attitude about the whole thing. This all being said, I can't wait for certain games, and I feel like I wasted a week if I didn't at least play something . Games aren't going to disappear from my life and a part of me still thinks I'm a "fan," but I have a feeling the hardcore out there wouldn't agree, would they?