Console war can do awful things to a man. In the spring of 2005, I returned from the frontlines of the Playstation 2 Massacre as a decorated Nintendo hero, but the badges I’d drawn onto the jacket I designed in MS Paint were nothing on the badges on my Gamecube memory card.
I saw some awful things on the internet battlefield.
Grown men reduced to babbling idiots over Halo 2. Nintendo fans brutally eviscerated by the Sony militia after the Capcom RE4 double-cross. Supposedly neutral territories littered with the bodies of Sega fanboys – and mere boys, many of them were – their copies of Jet Set Radio permanently grasped in their rigor mortised hands.
I suspect I was under investigation by my own people – now that the war is over, I can admit to harbouring a fugitive Xbox and games, purchased one sorry Christmas when Double Dash simply didn’t deliver the decisive victory we had all been hoping for. Because of it’s failure in Japan, the very home of Nintendo, we didn’t see it as the main enemy anyway.
Yet still I had to bear this cross for the entire war, as much as I enjoyed Burnout 3. It was a secret I kept from the troops I adopted under my command – miyaMoTofan, pikminachu, lgndofzelda04, smash___brothaa and sofine69, each of them good, albeit simple men. Our mission was simple: we dropped into gaming forums all over the internet to fight the good fight for the Great Purple Hope.
Nintendo hadn’t given us much to fight with: the Gamecube’s sales figures were terrible, that handle at the back left us wide open to ‘lunchbox’ insult attacks and for some reason the idea of offering decent storage or any sort of online gameplay seemed to baffle our superiors.
Furthermore, for strategic reasons they refused to adopt us as official company mascots. But dammit, we put on a show for those Sony-loving bastards.
By repeatedly posting lists of games we enjoyed, meticulously copying examples from magazines of how Gamecube ports were excelling over PS2 versions, calling our opponents ‘faggots’ at every turn and filling our signatures with oversized images stating our dominance, it’s fair to say that we caused quite a few Sony fans to literally die of embarrassment for owning a PS2 in the early years of the war.
Sure, things didn’t always go as planned. One particular encounter still haunts my dreams some nights. My men had spent an entire night spamming the word ‘ZELDA!’ over and over again onto Tom Wilson’s Videogame Fan Page Forums. Of the other sixteen forum members, only one was able to see the posts before the site’s admins sprung a sneak attack on us.
The banning from Tom Wilson didn’t injure my men, but it sure as hell demoralized them. smash_brothaa even changed his screen name from ‘harrison- gamecube 4eva dudez!’ to ‘harrison wats the point anymore i dont even get it’. Even I ballooned in weight following the banning – it wasn’t until months later that I worked my way back down to a slender 145kg. But nothing could keep us down for too long.
Wherever we went, other forum members knew us as ‘the basterds’ (or ‘bastards’, on the forums with higher spelling standards). It was a name we carried with pride, one that came to symbolise how much we were shaking up our enemies. Whenever there was a slight spike in Gamecube sales, an exclusive that scored over 90 on IGN or a vague announcement that some new games might come out or be announced, eventually, we knew that we were somehow a part of it.
In one of our proudest victories, a young man by the name of admiral__butthead told us, on what was primarily a PC forum, that he would ‘buy a gamecube as long as we all shut up’. Pikminachu even took it upon himself to make a solo mission into Sony-occupied France (on a forum called Playstation Amore) and, using Babelfish, questioned the size of each and every member’s penis.
The sheer devastation of his assault cannot be denied. A rough translation of the thread revealed some amazing replies, including, incredibly, an offer to provide us with a cream capable of extending the length of our own penises (which we all agreed we wouldn’t be needing until after the war was over, by which stage, we’re sad to say, the forum had burnt down to the ground).
But it would be a lie to say that things ended cleanly for the Basterds. In November 2004, our troupe was still reeling from the announcement of Capcom’s deception. Although a mere year later we would be celebrating over the Playstation 2′s inferior version of Resident Evil 4, we found ourselves willing to take desperate action against our oppressors.
On reflection it was a dumb plan, and I shouldn’t have led my men in there – several of them were well under the site’s required age of 12 – but we had balls of pure steel, and hearts made from some other metal that was even harder than steel.
And so, I led my men onto Sony Europe’s forums. And there, we saw the true horrors of the Console Wars.
Stay tuned for Chapter 2 of Joipadless Basterds. Eventually.