As written by Vlado on 18th December 2007. Linked posts (which purged soon after) were replaced by the respective quotes.
As Board 8's resident journalist and one of the not-so-many capable of objectively analyzing them, I'm gonna present my thoughts on the recent events and the shocking outcome of this year's GameFAQs contest that has had a great impact on this board, the whole site, and a large portion of the internet.
First, I have to make it clear, I didn't vote for L-Block a single time throughout the contest (save for today's joke match), but I am really happy about its win. The absolute uproar it caused on the board made me spend the most time on this board since like last year. I'm quite sure I spent more time here reading interesting stuff yesterday than I had in the last month as a whole. That's how amazing it was.
Now, onto the main issue, L-Block's victory. It wasn't expected until the very end, even on the last day before the final most thought Link would still take it. Boy, were they wrong! L-Block's win came as a combined effort by a really diverse group - people from all over the site, liking all kinds of games supported the cause, rallying many outsiders from other sites (like VoteForTheWorst.com and Digg.com), who helped this delicious crushing actually take place...
L-Block's win represented ultimate collective effort. Once united, these people formed an formidable force. A force so strong that neither the hardcore Nintendo, nor the hardcore Square fans could do anything to stop. Now, while the latter group had been constantly weakening since 2003, the former one just kept getting stronger and stronger... To the point where we thought no-one could ever beat Link. But the L-Block force made them look like an utter joke, never letting L-Block's lead fall under 5700 votes in a 4-way poll!
L-Block's victory represented Tetris, and through it, gaming. That's right, gaming itself, gaming in its purest form! While Tetris made the GameBoy so huge, which is why a lot of people considered L-Block more or less a Nintendo representative, Tetris or Tetris variations have been released on pretty much every game system that's ever existed! Everyone has played Tetris! That's why that major force chose to support it and not another contender. Tetris is a simple, yet addictive puzzle game, which has proven to be a timeless classic. Many people would argue that Mario should be considered the ultimate representation of gaming instead, but we know Mario is Nintendo, one of the two greatly supported "sides" on this site. There was hardly a better representation for gaming as a whole in this contest than L-Block.
L-Block's victory represented people being tired with stereotypical characters. The L-Block people knew that neither Cloud, much less Link were anywhere near their image of a good character, which is why they wanted to prevent one of them from winning yet again. They voted L-Block for all the Agent 47s, Citan Uzukis and J.C. Dentons that either lost really early in the contest or didn't even make it in the bracket. To them, a Tetris block was better than a stereotypical silent protagonist or a stereotypical spiky-haired JRPG hero with a troubled past. Because they were damn tired of such characters.
L-Block's win represented people's resentment towards blind fanboyism. Another really major reason for its success. A whole lot of people were getting tired of these character battles being so damn predictable, with the Nintendo and Square fanboys always getting the same characters to the top due to their advantage in sheer numbers. They felt they had to make a strong statement that would have a considerable impact on the site and would be remembered for years to come. They had to slap the fanboys in the face. And damn, was that slap hard! This was also one of the factors that made the board very interesting for reading. Naturally, the fanboys (especially Link ones) were outraged at L-Block's win. So outraged that they made tens of topics complaining on the board, and today they are angrily voting for "? block", telling themselves that it's some kind of revenge while the L-Block supporters are laughing and enjoying the joke poll.
L-Block's win represented people's apathy towards the contest. A user named AlX05, one of the L-Block supporters, said it best. Just look at this poll:
Nearly a third of the GameFAQs visitors are damn tired of the yearly contests and seeing the same crap over and over again - especially since the contests were so damn predictable. Now... What was L-Block's percentage yesterday? That's right, a third as well.
L-Block's victory represented people's maturity. That's right, I said it. An "inanimate object" winning the contest represented its supporters' maturity. I'm sure many of them used to rejoice Link or Cloud's victories back in 2002-2003... But now, several years later, they've grown up! They've become wiser. They've seen what these contests stand for now, to quote one of them, they had become "fanboy wankfests". To them, the fanboys would hold onto their beloved characters no matter what, they were completely biased and immature. And boy, did all the whining topics on the board prove them right! I am very glad that maturity prevailed this time around.
Last, but not least, L-Block's win represented people's realization that the internet is, in fact, not serious business. To many of its supporters L-Block winning and causing such an upset was utterly hilarious. And who could blame them, the site was in utter shock! They knew a lot of people thought that these contests actually proved something, they knew how so many people on this board dedicated a lot of time to studying these contests and it had become like a small scientific field of sorts to them. And they proceeded to ridicule them in the best way possible - by having the Tetris piece vanquish all of the heavy favourites, crushing all of the "experts"' brackets. Sure, the contest was also for actual prizes, but seeing as the awesome SAMIAM7779, who had a serious entry with L-Block winning, is gonna actually donate the money to Child's Play, I'd say it all turned out for the best!
I really have to say, this outcome restored our site's credibility in the eyes of the rest of the internet to a great extent. Elsewhere, GameFAQs had always been looked down upon, with people ridiculing the rampant fanboyism of most of its visitors. Our boards were considered among the worst game boards, with some of the least intelligent users anywhere. The contest results so far had only confirmed this image. But, after yesterday, things are different. People now know that GameFAQs is changing, that there is hope for it. Sure, a lot of L-Block's votes came from outside, but it can't be denied that it was GameFAQs users themselves that made the big difference. They shook off the horrible image and proved that GameFAQs now has a sense of tact, a sense of humour, and knows when enough is enough and when the immature have to be taught a lesson.
But, enough on L-Block's victory itself, I'll share a few thoughts on the impact it's had on this board. I already said how awesome and interesting the board was yesterday thanks to all the L-Block supporters posting here (my active message post count is now over 300 for the first time in months). It was absolutely magnificent to watch the uproar. A lot of the L-Block supporters confirmed my thoughts about them - they were indeed intelligent, considerably more intelligent than a lot of the "regulars" on this board. They were here for just a day, but they sure made that day worth it.
It was a lot of fun to watch the whining - from the fanboys (and some board regulars like Biolizard, Inviso and Dark Young Link) about Link losing, and from the board regulars who were absolutely ridiculous in their complaints about the L-Block supporters "ruining" the board by rejoicing its victory (MoogleKupo, Mr Lasastryke, XIII is cool and many others). They claimed that the L-Block supporters were just as immature as the Link whiners. Sure, there were many "bandwagonners" who weren't much more mature than the angry Nintendo fans, but most of the L-Block supporters truly shined in the best way possible. Many of them proved to be well above most regulars' level, and here are just a few awesome posts by them to support my claim (I'm sure there are plenty more).
Please, take your time to read at least some of them. You'll know what I'm talking about. I won't post examples of board regulars or Link fanboys making asses of themselves and getting owned by the L-Block people, as I don't wanna embarrass anyone further. But they're all over the place and you can see them yourselves (some of the topics those posts I linked to are in also contain such examples).
Time to finish this, I guess. It took me over two hours, I hope you enjoy it. As a conclusion, I'll once again speak to the L-Block supporters (regulars or not)... Good show. And thank you for the great time.
Correction: Despite what this may claim, MoogleKupo141 never complained about L-Block supporters ruining the board by rejoicing the victory of L-Block. He was an equal opportunity complainer... not about anyone rejoicing, but about how bloody stupid everyone was. On both sides, not just L-Block's. MoogleKupo141 did vote L-Block in the final.