What is a "fan" in the 21st century

This is a truly off topic post, but there’s some thoughtful people on here that I wouldn’t mind hearing from. One of the trends that I’ve noticed - and maybe it’s always been this way and I haven’t been paying attention - is that increasingly “fans” are people who are constantly upset by the movies, games, comic books etc. that they are supposed to be fans of. I was always under the impression that a prerequisite for being a fan was that you had to like something.

There was a Zombieland TV series a year or two ago and it got canned quickly, with the developers blaming the “fans” of the movie for being hyper critical and slagging the series. They (the writers - who were also the writers of the movie) were pretty upset, and I can certainly understand it. But it seems like part of a larger trend to me. I know comic book nerds are famously angry about everything, but it’s pretty clear that it’s only comic book fans that hate comic book movies. And, although much can be said about the Star Wars prequels, it’s always “Star Wars fans” that seem to hate them the most…

I bring this up for obvious reasons. We have a lot of people disappointed about the 3 stage announcement (that I don’t want to go into here - so please don’t derail the thread) who are not just unhappy. They are slagging the ■■■■ out of the game, the developers, the funders and the future of the game. Claiming that they are fans and have been betrayed.

What’s the point of this ramble? I think we can all agree that you don’t have to unconditionally love everything about a franchise to call yourself a fan. I’m a Star Wars fan and I’m not super fond of the prequels. But how much hate can you drop on something and still be a fan? Where do we draw the line? If you are actively working against the success of something, can you really call yourself a fan?

One of the things that I think these incidents have in common is the illusion that “fans” have that they are owners of a franchise. How many Star Wars fans hate George Lucas? Why do comic book fans think that they, rather than the writers who actually write the books, should get to say what should happen to those characters? Somehow, many of these people have the (mistaken, in my opinion) idea that they have just as much invested in these characters/movies/games as the people making them. That their contribution, just by being a fan, is equal to or greater than the people actually creating them, and therefore they should get an equal say.

Maybe this bothers only me, but I thought I would throw it out there.


I totally agree with you.
It’s the interner era, where everybody with a connection is a better programmer/designer/manager/etc. than the true programmer/designer/manager/etc. behind the game/movie/work/etc. of which he’s fan…and can’t wait to let the entire world know.

I could not agree more with the last paragraph! I dont understand why people think that if something doesnt go their way they hate and criticize and demand it be changed. I just got in an argument of this same exact issue over on the MK X thread. My thoughts have always been the same… games are artwork just like painting and music. The artist created these songs, games ect… with their vision and artistry. then people were like wow! This is great! you should sale your paintings or make a cd!

The artist then sells his paintings or makes a cd, game ect… he is now giving the public an opportunity to listen to his CD or own one of his paintings. The artist doesn’t have to do this, he can keep his paintings all to himself.

We pay money so we can listen and play these works of art, but we have no say in how they should turn out. If you dont like it, you dont like it…you should move on. If you want Fujin in an MKX game, well, go become a designer and maybe you can be hired by NRS and make your case… but doubtful.

I take every game i get and just like to be thankful I even have a game made by these amazing talented artists. But you know, I was called SHEEPLE for thinking like this. That I just take whatever the industry gives me with no say so in what I spend my money on.

LOL, it doesnt work like that…really with anything. I just dont get it Andy, most people are so spoiled they just expect to get what ever they want with out putting any work into the product.

NEWS FLASH - CONSUMERS are just that, CONSUMERS, they are not PRODUCERS of said product…therefor they have no say unless asked for there ideas…which rarely happens.


One interesting thing about this phenomenon seems to be that the more feedback the producers are willing to listen to, the angrier the “fans” become if they don’t get what they want.

Plus the word Sheeple is not a thing and should be stricken from the universe…

You’re 100000000000% right! I was upset about KI 3 stages because Tusk won’t get his own stage. But I’m accept about S3 had three stages, but characters is more important than stages. If they put Tusk’s stage without Tusk playable, that would very weird… I’d rather choose more characters than stages! You know NRS reveal Kombat Pack 2 for few months ago. I was so hype about Alien and Tri-Borg! But I notice hardcore fans hate KP2 because :arrow_right: guests :arrow_left:. You know hardcore MK fans hate guests and they want NRS remove them. I know they really want MK characters like Fujin, Baraka and etc. But They still complains about guests for 2 month!?! Everytime when I see comments in Ed Boon’s tweets and it make me cringe because there comments like “When’s MKXL coming out?” “WE WANT SAREENA DLC!!!” “Sc-rew Ed” “I hate guests! They are f@g!” “NRS ruined Mortal Kombat!” “Good bye to MKX. I play Street Fighter V!” So much stupid… Serious, why not they accept about guests in MKX? There Soul Caliber fans didn’t complains and hate guests in SC franchise… That’s why I like guests because I’m SC fan dude! NRS want to put guests for fun. Not seriously. You know there many MK characters than guests in MKX? There only four guests in MKX! Four is low number. I’m really tired of Bruskpoeted because his tweets about guests. “If you like guests, then you are fake fan” Really??? Serious??? I was kid and play Mortal Kombat 2 arcade at pizza restaurant with my big brothers. I’m not real MK fan? OH COME ON! I just notice no one complains about Kratos in MK9! That don’t make a sense…


Sheeple is actually a friend of mines band. And it is basically all about political brainwashing type content. lol I actually used that word in the thread where the accuser just called us all SHEEP.

LOL…oh that was funny. I totally agree man. But I don’t think you have to worry about Tusk…I’m fairly confident he will have his own stage and is the 3rd and final stage. but could you imagine if he doesn’t? LOL OMG the world will freaking end here on the forums. I kind of wish it would happen just to see how stupid people act and call them on it.

I think a “fan” is just someone who is passionate about something and gets upset or happy about said product. A lot of people just complain just to complaining…I honestly think it some sort of psychiatric ordeal that’s hard to explain…I do it some times…but why? why do we complain about things so much? Its actually very strange and thought provoking if you really think about the essence of complaining over spilled milk.

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At first, I was very worry about Tusk’s stage. I always want to see Cave stage for Tusk! But now, I’m disappointed and accept about that! :smiley:

I could imagine Tusk without stage. But… I can’t imagine If there only Tusk’s stage without Tusk playable… Or Vampire’s stage without Vampire playable! I feel like it’s very weird… lol

Why do you think tusk isnt getting a stage? Its pretty obvious its him.

Well… There’s rumors about Rash will get stage… Don’t ask me, I have no idea! But hey, I still believe Tusk will get his own stage! : )

A fan is something of a varying degree. I can be a fan of X-Men comics, but not like the movies. I can be a fan of Batman from the Arkham series, but not like him in the comics or in other movies. I can be a fan of chocolate, but prefer those with nuts in it and hate those with liqourice or chili in it.

Just because I am a fan of something does not mean I have to like EVERYTHING that has the name or face of what I like, because as it were, I am a person with the ability to think for myself. I can have my own opinion, I can be critical of something, not necessarily all positive, yet still like something.

As Seraph and I discussed in the MKX thread, there are people who are fans of Mortal Kombat, but doesn’t like a certain aspect of something and does not wish for that to be part of it. However, being critical of something does not necessarily mean to be negative or hate something. It just means that you as a person, as a fan, want something to be a certain way, for the product to be at its best - however, what is considered “best” differs from person to person.

Let’s take the chocolate analogy for example…

I like chocolate with nuts in it. So of course that is what I want. But instead I am given chocolate with liqourice in it, and I don’t like liqourice, or maybe I’m even allergic to it, so of course I do NOT want that. So I tell the chocolate-maker that I don’t want liqourice in it, but would want the sort with nuts in it.

That is how it is to be a fan of whatever franchise or product is all about, whether they are comicbook characters, videogames, movies, literature etc etc.

Then theres those who just accept everything thrown their way without being critical about it just seem to have a sort of sheep-mentality I can’t fathom. As long it has “BATMAN” plastered on it, they’re happy with whatever they get. Well… good on them, but they let other people think for them and make their opinions for them instead of thinking for themselves and make their own opinions about a product. And then they get upset, because someone else has a different opinion about the product they like, because everyone should either just like it or just shut up about it… That’s NOT okay! That’s called being an overzealous fanboy which gives the entire fandom a bad reputation!

There are of course people in the other end of the spectrum who only likes one part of something, and then thinks everything else that isn’t exactly like that is just utter crap. That is just as bad as those who just gobble up anything handed to them, because neither of them offer any sort of constructive criticism to the fandom. Maybe that’s the key word here: CONSTRUCTIVE.

As long you remain constructive in your criticism, then you are helping the makers of the product of making it better. And that makes you as a fan become actually useful to the fandom. Stay critical, but constructive.

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This is a good point. I think it also needs to be said that “you should have done it my way because then I would like it better” is not constructive.

No one would suggest that to be a true fan you have to love everything about a franchise. Certainly sports fans don’t love every trade or draft pick their team makes. But if you start to root against your team winning because you hate that they traded the QB you like, then I would say you aren’t a fan anymore.

If you are actively undermining the success of the franchise - calling for boycotts, telling people not to buy it, accusing the creators of ruining it - then I don’t think you can call yourself a fan anymore. The irony is that these negative people will always claim to be the one true arbiter (see what I did there?) of fandom. Anyone who disagrees with them in their rage is not a real fan.

I also think people have unrealistic ideas. Like if they kill this version of the game/movie/show then the makers will go back, realize the error of their ways and produce something the hater fan likes. But 99.9% of the time they just kill the franchise dead. No one is going to take a second run at something that fandom has trashed.


Exactly what I meant, yes. <3

@anon39655210, very good description! I was going to state something along the lines of how the term “fan” is not really very definitive in a sense, but is more like an “umbrella” term covering a wide variety of appreciations that people may have.

Generally though, I find that people have a tendency to attach themselves to things - it’s a part of human nature. However, once they do, over time they also become comfortable with it; or even complacent. So, when the very thing they like starts changing or adapting to the times we live in, some people resist that change rather than embrace it. While it’s unfortunate for them, it’s those very changes that may actually help the thing they like adapt and survive in today’s world.

For example, when a remake is made of a video game or movie, it helps renew interest in that product. So although it may alienate some fans, it also helps bring in a whole lot more new fans to kind of kickstart a whole new generation.

As fans of things, we also often wax and wane like the moon. As things change, our own perceptions change and adapt (hopefully) to them. So, even though we may be a fan of something, that can and will obviously change over time - sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. We might grow to like something more or start to like it less. Some may become obsessive over it while others may stop caring about it entirely and move on to something else.

It’s just a part of life. We form attachments and we often break the bonds of those attachments as well.

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People are so entitled, that they think everything should go their way, everyone as their own interpolation, but for me, a fan h doesn’t have to have the following
-arcade cabinet of the original.
-life size of insert-character- from a movie

you get it.

what also grinds my gears is that people think they are superior to other fans and they decide who is a fan and who isn’t like the time when I disagreed with one individual and they said I don’t count as a fan, who are they to judge? who made them god?

Well the term fan did derive form word “fanatic” if you think about it.

I don’t know if anyone is familiar with the anime series from 1996 Neon Genesis Evangelion.

This series was ground-breaking, highly in-depth and covered several aspects of the human psyche, social interaction and spirituality.

The conclusion of the series hit a nerve with the fans which resulted in a stream of death threats to the writers with such overwhelming number that they rewrote the ending and released a feature length ending that satisfied the fans, to some degree.

Am I saying fans are people who prove their conviction to the product by forcing the creators to do the job right?

No. What I’m saying is fans are people who voice their opinion when they are unhappy about a product they have poured their loyalty, money and feedback into. When a product deviates from its original path, a fan can either shrug their shoulders and accept, voice their concern and await an adjustment, or they can pull the plug and stop supporting the product.

Sometimes it’s because the product becomes too expensive, the recipe changes, the company is exposed for crimes against human rights, or members of the company change hands, but the result is the same. Too great a deviation can have reproductions, it happens all the time.

This however leads to the argument of who is a “true” fan. Some would say it’s the one who follows regardless, others say it’s the one who was there from the start, while some say it’s when they adjusted to this particular tuning.

I’m a fan because I am a customer, that’s all that matters to them. Whether I voice my opinion or not, I am still a fan because I sign a contract for their wares.

We are just a number people.

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Interesting question. I guess my definition of “fan” would be someone who appreciates a product enough to be invested in it. This investment can take a fairly active form (I am a fan of KI, therefore I post in the forums and go to tournaments), or be a simple passing attachment (I am a fan of Star Wars, so I will go see the movies once even if I never buy anything else from it and didn’t like the last one). There is a pretty wide spectrum of fandom, and at its “lowest” level it becomes being a simple consumer. I might eat Thai food every once in a while because it is convenient, but have no particular affinity or attachment to it. Disclaimer: This is an example. Thai food is amazing :+1:

As it relates to franchises, I think being a fan typically denotes at least enough emotional attachment to a work to continually partake in it and perhaps seek out others to discuss said work. This discussion can run the gamut from overly critical to excessively praiseworthy, and I would actually say both are important to a healthy fan community. Perspectives vary quite widely in any population, and if the fandom is excessively one way or the other in total commentary it is quite likely that you haven’t hit a representative slice of it. I actually liked the Star Wars prequels for the most part. They are not great movies on the whole (except perhaps ROTS), but I still enjoyed them. I think Force Awakens was a good movie, but that it missed on a lot of levels and went in directions that I personally do no like. Fan opinions can vary quite widely.

I will take issue with the idea that fans are primarily responsible for “killing” a work though. Much as I am annoyed by a lot of the “sky is falling” mindsets or the high-minded “if you’re a true fan you’ll want X” comments on the forum, the fact of the matter is that those vociferous complainers generally have supported the work, and have attributed to whatever current success the work has obtained. That doesn’t mean they get to talk to the devs however they want, or that they cannot be toxic if they take it too far, but in general the biggest service they can provide (and have already provided) is that they pitch in and buy the work they are criticizing. The people who “kill” a franchise are the people who don’t buy it, who don’t watch it, who pass it by without a second thought. A toxic fandom can somewhat up the barrier of entry to a work, but I think it would be hard pressed to meaningfully contribute to a work’s “death”. Whole swathes of people ■■■■ on Michael Bay movies all the time - but it makes no difference to his success, because Michael Bay movies still reach enough people to be commercial mega-hits.

I think the “general” negativity you see from fans is just the proven rule that negative reactions spur action far more consistently than positive reactions. In short, if I’m pissed about something, I am far more likely to take the time to tell someone I’m pissed off about it than I would be if were okay with it. I actually joined the Mass Effect 3 community largely because I was furious at the ending for that game. I went and found an ME3 message board that night and prepared to light it into its God-awful ending, only to find that the entire front page was filled with similar rants :laughing:. Long story short, I met people I wound up playing the game with for years afterward, but it all started because I as a fan was supremely unhappy with the direction the game took. Had I liked the way the game ended, it probably would’ve taken me much longer to find that community.

And sometimes the complaining has merit. ME3 wound up with a pretty good ending DLC, Omen got a new mask, and TJ got a better and less Patrick Ewing looking face. Unfortunately, he also got disgustingly large arms. :unamused: So it’s not always good, but we have to take the good with the bad.