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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Multiplayer is Dead and We Killed It

Alright, so this title may be a bit embellished but I think we need to have a discussion about this.
Over Christmas break my brother and I were unwinding the holiday nightmare. Stressing about presents, driving far distances to get to our families, the family drama. Its always a hassle. We both sit down and unwind buy playing some games. A while ago, Xbox made it so you could now play some of your old Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One. Very nice of them, great present to have. As my brother and I were getting our asses handed to us at Alien Hominid, we both had a similar revelation that at the time was just a simple one off discussion. "Man, there really aren't that many local multiplayer games anymore." This simply realization got us talking about some other games. The latest Halo game completely cut out both local multiplayer and the local co-op. When we were younger, we both played Halo 2 quite a bit. Every so often, we would compromise to let the other person play along with us as we only had the one console and rather than get into a fight and then get grounded, we begrudgingly allowed the other person to tag along, and we loved it. Though we always fought, playing Halo 2 we could find some common ground. The epic story, killing aliens and watching each other's backs. It was the ultimate bond of sibling bonding we ever had.
At that moment I had a slow realization. I started to think about the last game we played together and I came up blank. Sure, we are both older now. We've got jobs and both of our choices in games vary. I prefer RPGs and scifi while he likes shooters and a few RPGs. The last game we both bought together and have enjoyed was Fallout 4. While I'm not saying Fallout 4 should have multiplayer, its an RPG and we do need some great single player games, neither of us ever remember when we bought a new game and could play together. I understand that at some point in time the internet became a thing and distance was no longer an issue for both communication and video games, but what happened to the closeness? Why can't my girlfriend and I sit on the same couch, use the same console and play a game together? Why is it that I have to go to Nintendo to get those on the couch multiplayer games I used to enjoy as a kid.
This isn't a nostalgia rip. I enjoy the newer games as well as, if not more than, the other games I used to have as a kid. There will always be a place for me and my friend to play games despite the twenty mile gap between us online and that's great. It gives me a chance to spend time with people in spite of the length between us. But when did we come to a point where we decided that the further gap was more important than just sitting next to someone? Link cables are a thing of the past, and with good reason but there will always be that great connection between me and my friend. I have a Pokemon they want and I'm willing to trade it or I need something evolved via a trade and she's trustworthy enough to give it back.
When did we just let video game companies cut out a piece of our games that we used to have without any flack? What about when I have kids? Am I going to have to buy a separate console just so I can give them the joy and experience of playing games that I took for granted as a kid? Not every game needs this, sure, but why can't we put it in more games? I think there's a certain point where we have to pull the reigns back on innovation. If we forget where it came from to begin with then we can't learn from past mistakes and glories. We'll forget what it was like to be able to plug in another controller and bond with someone without words. To find out who a person really is by their actions in a video game, learning that our friend is a selfless hero who'd sacrifice themselves so you could press on. Or maybe the teacher, holding hands with the new player and showing them the amazing world you've discovered.
I really think there will always be a place in my heart where this type of gaming will live. Where I can show someone how great I think something is and walk side by side with them as we explore something together.

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