Thursday, 18 March 2010

Single Player = Unsocial? Hang on a sec...

A lot of people would probably accuse me of being an unsocial gamer because the majority of games I play are single player, but is this really the case? I have an active social life and I play the odd multiplayer game when I’m in the mood for it (TF2 beta comes to mind, 4+ hours a day for about a month) so what is it about playing titles such as Mass Effect 2 that suddenly brand me, and is it me or is “social” gaming not quite as social as people like to make out?

Let’s start with a little exercise, think of five solely single player games with brilliant storylines, easy right? Now, do the same for heavily multiplayer games... A bit more difficult isn’t it? Sometimes I’m in the mood for playing a game that has an engaging story and multiplayer games seldom, if ever achieve that. If I want to play a game with a good story how does that make me any less social than if I were to watch a film or read a book?

As of late it seems like there’s been a torrent of multiplayer games, with releases like Left 4 Dead and its sequel, Borderlands and MAG and they seem to be having a strong influence on previously solely single player titles such as Resident Evil 5 (which was almost compulsory to use given the abysmal AI), Bioshock 2 and the upcoming Dead Space 2.

Dead Space was one of my favourite games of this generation and never once during the three times I played through it (more if you include the several attempts at the rather accurately named impossible mode) did I ever think “wow this game would be really great if it had multiplayer”. Not every game needs to have a multiplayer option; it just adds more development time or takes time away from what could be spent on the main article which in most cases is what I’m buying the game for. Also, after playing a single player game I discuss it with people, its good points, its bad points, its story, et cetera; did I not get the memo announcing talking to people is no longer a social activity?

It seems that single player games are often frowned upon by reviewers and the gaming community alike; presumably, to these people no gaming experience is complete without having some 12 year old calling you a n00b, rather ironically, because you are beating him.

Furthermore, on the odd occasion where I do play a multiplayer game and join a random game sever no-one ever talks unless it’s to accuse someone of hacking or having a small penis. What pray tell is the point in “social” gaming if no-one is going to be social about it, or even to go as far as being anti-social? Somehow, through some rather twisted logic, because I don’t verbally abuse people over the internet I’m the unsocial one. I would have an almost identical experience fighting against bots and that would be sans the maltreatment of both myself and the English language.

Then what really annoys me is a lot of games seem to be removing same-console multiplayer, do gamers not have real life friends anymore? I bought Quantum of Solace hoping it would be a similar experience to the multiplayer in Nightfire which was immensely enjoyable; only to find out the only multiplayer option is taking it online.

Let’s for a second assume that you invite a few of friends round for drinks, pizza and games, one of you suggests a game of Quantum of Solace. Now, in order to play this your friends would need to go home, boot up their consoles and meet you back online. Doesn’t sound quite so social when you have to kick people out of you house to do it now does it? There’s always the Wii, but the Wii is fun when drunk, not whilst getting drunk. Are we supposed to just sit round and talk about the weather until we’re drunk enough to find the masturbatory motions hilarious again?

Don’t get me wrong, I like multiplayer games but I feel they have a time and a place, that place should be your living room with your friends. Not in a darkened cellar with your console hooked up to a CAT5e and a pile of empty cans of Red Bull. Granted this doesn’t work for PC games unless you have a LAN Party but as for console games there is really no excuse to exclude same console multiplayer. I’m not an unsocial gamer or an unsocial person, it’s just my idea of a good time isn’t having complete strangers threatening to cut me because they can’t tell the difference between camping and tactical positioning.

To clarify I do not have a small penis nor am I a "camper n00b", I have however been threatened to be cut. This was several years back, I'm still knife free.

1 comment:

A Friendly Octopus said...

You should come around and play Bioshock 2 with me somet- Oh wait, we can't for no good reason because it's multiplayer is online only. I guess my extra controllers will just gain dust. I don't even remember why I bought them, something to do with cracking a screen or something...