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Can you be a fan of a game you've never played?

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Sal Manella
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I remember a long time ago I saw a comment of someone saying that the Kirby series was their favorite franchise, even though they've never played the games before, they just watch playthroughs of the games on YouTube. My immediate reaction was "bro what?" It didn't make sense to me to be a fan of something you've never played, like how would you know if you even liked it if you haven't? Watching a playthrough and actually playing a game are two different experiences. But there are some people that hold to being a fan of a game or series even if they only just watched stuff about it online. Thinking about it, even I did so back when I was younger and couldn't afford certain games.
But what do you think? Does this make sense to you or do you believe it's only possible to be a fan of something you played?

As a quick add on question: Do you think it makes sense for someone to say they love a game that they've never beaten?
 

Spirit

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I've thought about this too...

I do believe that not playing a game and merely watching playthroughs is half the experience. You don't get the same intimate connection that the interactive nature of the medium provides if you don't actually play the thing.

But then you have games like Overwatch.

Overwatch is a game I have played but suck royal at. However I do like the style, the world, the characters and do think the story is intriguing.

However, background of the characters, the story, the history of the world, motivations etc aren't in Overwatch the game. They're in supplemental materials like encyclopedias and comic books and animated movies.

It would be very easy for one to be an OW nerd and have not ever played the game. In fact, playing the game would perhaps be the least productive way in learning about the lore, world and characters.

But digesting all of that information from all of those various sources wouldn't make you a fan of the game itself.

It'd make you a fan of the story and lore and characters, but not the competitive, online squad based FPS that OW fundamentally is.

So, I don't think you could be a fan of the 'game' without playing it in an objective sense.

Same with Kirby, which has less obvious lore in game unless you're looking, reading the pause screens and applying it to other games in the series etc. So watching a walkthrough wouldn't yield much, just like OW.

You can be a fan of the created world and lore of these games without playing them but I don't think you'd be able to call yourself a fan of the 'game' itself.


Bonus question: I also think it is important to beat a game before you can make a decision on whether or not you're a fan because many an ending can slap you hard in the face. Remember Mass Effect 3?
 
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I remember a long time ago I saw a comment of someone saying that the Kirby series was their favorite franchise, even though they've never played the games before, they just watch playthroughs of the games on YouTube. My immediate reaction was "bro what?" It didn't make sense to me to be a fan of something you've never played, like how would you know if you even liked it if you haven't? Watching a playthrough and actually playing a game are two different experiences. But there are some people that hold to being a fan of a game or series even if they only just watched stuff about it online.
That's pretty dumb. I've seen plenty of games that looked awesome in videos, but played like ass. I've even watched videos that made Sonic '06 look good for pity's sake. A video doesn't necessarily tell you how well it controls, or how polished it is, for instance.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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You can could a fan of aspects of it, especially visuals ones, but no, I'd say that you can't be a fan of a game without having played it.
 

NintendoCN

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Yeah of course. my brother loves the Persona series despite playing any of them. He likes to watch me play them more than to play them himself.
 

the8thark

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Can you be a fan of a game you've never played?
Of cause. You can be a fan of anything.
However being a fan of a game you've never played does mean you like it for a whole different set of reasons than those fans who have actually played the game.

One could ask: "Can you be a fan of a movie without ever having acted in it or helped to make it?"
Same principle. You like something just be watching it, withouth having any part in it's creation at all.

In a video game sence it's very possible to be a fan of certain games being speedrun but never having played that game yourself or you suck so hard at the game that you don't like actually playing it.

@Spirit
I'd say for the most part yes. Most games don't pull dick moves like Mass Effect 3. The few that do just destroy the support/respect you have for the game. You know respect, takes agesto build up and only a moment to destroy.
 

Sheikah_Witch

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I adored Aya Brea from Parasite Eve when I was a kid, but for the longest time I never actually played the game. I only saw promo art and read reviews, but I still thought she was so cool and badass and I so desperately wanted to play the game, and didn't get the chance until much later. I felt more of an attachment to that game than I do today with games I've actually played. So my answer to the question would be yes.
 

Azure Sage

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I think so, yes. You can be a fan of the ideas and the visuals. Even if you play it later and don't end up liking how it feels to play it, you can still like it for other reasons. For example, I enjoy the gameplay of Dragon's Dogma but I think the story is dumb as hell and the visuals are kind of bland, meanwhile I enjoy the worldbuilding and the character situations you can craft in Miitopia, but the gameplay is really underwhelming. I still like both games, but for different reasons. And it can be the same for games I haven't played yet. You can be a fan of something due to your knowledge of it, and this fact exists independently of whether or not your future experience changes or enhances your feelings toward it.
 

Spiritual Mask Salesman

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I agree with the commom viewpoint so far, you can be a fan of the lore by studying the game and you can like certain things like the art style, the music, etc... But ultimately the core of a game should be gameplay, if you haven't experienced it yourself you can't properly weigh in on the game, you're just knowledgable in the supplementals is all.
 

Lydia

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I don't see why not, I'd consider myself somewhat a fan of both Fire Emblem and Persona to an extent, because I enjoy what I've seen of the characters, the art style and the music from each game (and my like for them mostly came from them being represented in smash bros).

Anyway, I'm pretty sure most people here would call themselves 'fans' of BotW2 (myself included), despite only seeing one trailer.
 

the8thark

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  • Can an art critic be a fan of art without painting anything himself?
  • Can a food critic be a fan of food without spending 3-4 years in chef school?
  • Can a movie critic be a fan of movies without ever having acted or produced a movie?
  • Can a sports buff be a fan of sport without ever having playing the sport?

Is that any different to a video game fan being a fan without having played or developed the game?
 

~Kilza~

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I think you can be to a degree. Nothing stops you from being able to enjoy a game simply by watching somebody else play it or by reading about it (story/lore and what have you) or so forth. Of course, that said, the experience you get from that game will be vastly different from having actually played it yourself.
 

Hero of Pizza Time

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People are obsessed with games they have never played all the time. I mean, back in 2016 (bleh...) before Overwatch even came out, there was already porn and stuff of it so........

Personally, I have never played a Zelda game all the way through prior to 2014, but then I heard all about how good they were so I decided I would give one of them a shot, but before I got it I kept reading all about the history of the series and the story and everything.
 

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