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GameFAQs, with thousands upon thousands of FAQs, walkthroughs, codes, tips, information, and discussion forums on just about every video game ever made, is one of the largest such sites. Merged with GameSpot back in 2004, much to the annoyance of some users. As of 2012, this has changed and GameFAQs is one site again.This site is home to pretty much every type of online persona known to man, and many other fan-based tropes such as Fan Dumb, and Unpleasable Fanbase. In addition to this, they also named the tropes Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action (after a meme on the Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire board), and 8.8 (a reaction to a GameSpot review of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess).In the dark and listless times before the Internet, game designers were able to hide the Infinity+1 Sword in such a way that it took years to find. They could keep you from the end of the game in any arbitrary way they liked, or they could be just plain mean. And if you wanted to scoop all the last bits of juicy goodness out of your games, you needed the Official Guide (at the low, low price of $14.99).Thankfully, all that's changed now. Websites have sprung up where dedicated gamers can get together and pore over every screen for the smallest clues, fight every fight a thousand times, try any combination of items, discover as much Min-Maxing methods as possible, and share the resulting knowledge with the world at large. The website in particular is the definitive destination for any game help. If GameFAQs doesn't have anything on a game, the game doesn't exist.
The message boardsOne notable fact about the site is how basic the message boards are compared to others, although there are plugins for browsers which support them which give improved functionality. Rather than the BB code favored by many more recent forums, it still uses HTML (italics and bold text, though in 2012, the ability to quote and place spoiler tags were added), users can preview their message before posting (they have the option of spellchecking it at the same time), and there are no avatars. Most GameFAQs users prefer it that way. Topics automatically get locked if they reach 500 posts, and creating a 500 post topic is considered an achievement of some sorts; indeed, there is a "instant 500 post topic!" meme which is mentioned when a particularly controversial topic is brought up. To make up for this, every game and system announced has its own board, plus there are a ton of social boards, regional boards, topical boards, and private boards. The unused boards for relatively obscure old games are often located by "board hunters" and turned into unofficial social boards as well. Some of the more well known social boards include the following:
Special interest boards
Dead game boards
Account suicidesMembers who are bored or wanting to leave with a bang will try to either break every rule as much as possible until they are stopped by the moderators, or break the more serious rules like posting links to porn. Often, both will be attempted simultaneously. People may also openly joke that they are under the age of 13, which results in an instant ban since there is a federal law saying you have to be at least 13 in order to register on the forums. In fact, the whole rule of being underaged is such Serious Business by the moderators that even jokingly saying you're still a fetus will get you banned very quickly (although this was changed recently). Most members usually pay no mind to someone attempting to account suicide, but there have been a few that posted in such a way that people encouraged the behavior before the user met the banhammer. In these cases, the phrase "suicide is your only option" is commonly used, in reference to a time when account suicide was, in fact, the only way to get your account deactivated (the ability to have an account closed rather than banned has since been restored). When LUE was at its height, account suicides were very prevalent and came to be known as LUEicide. When LUE was sealed off, the LUEicide phenomenon trailed off because getting a LUE-access account banned meant that you could never go back to LUE under any circumstances.
ReviewsFinally, reviews. Anyone with an account in good standing can submit a review as long as it meets the word count requirement (and for more detailed review types, discusses enough facets of the game). The word count requirements and inability to rate without a written review weeds out most of the obvious "this sucks: 1/10" and "this is awesome: 10/10" and Single-Issue Wonk reviews, though a few infamous "troll" reviews have been accepted (such as a PSP review consisting purely of the word "crap" repeated enough to meet the word count requirement, or one for Mafia 2 with blatant fake "typos" such as Graphics>Gravy), though are generally removed the next weekday after the boards have had their laugh at the administrator's mistake(s).
GameFAQs vs. GameSpotCNet (home of GameSpot) purchased GameFAQs in the early 2000s and merged the two game sites' message boards. It was possible to access the same boards from either website, but the GameSpot version of the GUI is more advanced, allowing for in-thread pictures and avatars. The merger spawned a Fandom Rivalry that continues to this day, with the stereotype being that GameSpot users are the How Do I Shot Web? clueless newbies, and the GameFAQs users being the "Stop Having Fun" Guys of the boards. It died down, however, with the overwhelming majority still being GameFAQs users, and as of 2012, the two sites are no longer merged.Has its own Fan Wiki here (some boards have Wikis as well!).