A lone man stands on a broken, old highway, with the wind blowing in his hair. In front of him he has miles of destroyed and dilapidated Washington D.C to explore. But a big part of this for him is how alone he is. All around him, only threats loom in all directions. Mutants who want to tear him apart. Bandits who wants to rob and kill him, leaving his body to rot in the dust like carrion. SUDDENLY, three of his friends “drop in” the game and start obliterating everything around him. All sense of dread, loneliness, and solemnity are gone, and he strides forth with his three friends, decimating all that stand in their way. As you can see from the following statement, Fallout 3 would have been ruined by multiplayer. I wrote that specifically to make a point. I live for single player game experiences. I am a loner, Dottie, a rebel. Yet the forthcoming landscape of games seem to hint that this is going to be a thing of the past. All games are trying to cram multiplayer into their game (and even build entire games around it), and I will now tell you why that has put the single player game on the soon-to-be-extinct list, and why that kills the entire purpose of video games (for me, at least).
God bless Nintendo for almost everything they have ever done for the industry. Please note I said almost.
Believe it or not, outside of some Nintendo system games over time (and ultimately, the Wii), video games were the perfect loner hobbie. Much like a book, you would escape into a videogame with the hopes of losing yourself in that world. I used Fallout 3 as an example because 1) it was awesome, and 2) the world lends itself to fiction, big time. I know people want to bring up how awesome the multiplayer was in Borderlands and point out that it had the same kind of Fallout vibe, but while it worked well as a multiplayer, I would argue that. I don’t think the humor and cartoonishness of the (undeniable awesome) Borderlands series can be compared to what Fallout feels like. Fallout feels like a world you are in alone. Same thing with Bioshock. Same thing with Last of Us. The very best single player games take players out of the seat in their living room and put them into a world they would otherwise never experience. The problem is, these types of games are becoming less and less common. I, as a solo gamer, am just not okay with this.
The truth is, gaming is great for people who hate people. I wont go so far as to say I hate people, because I get along quite well with everyone. But I will say, I really like my alone time. Gaming is one of the things I do when I get a pocket of alone time. A polygonal escape from the doldrums of real life. I also have to say something right now that will land me in some hot water with some of you. I just don’t get multiplayer. To me, multiplayer games like Titanfall and COD seem like “cock size” contests to me. Dudes just running around, f*cking each other up and then talking shit over the mic. There is, literally, nothing fun about that to me. I don’t need to shoot a bunch of kids located around the world to feel better about my own self. I also don’t need someone “helping” me through a game. I can tell you the one time multiplayer really worked for me. That was the game Journey. Why did it work in Journey? Because it is not a f*cking contest. It is two people, experiencing a quite, lonely world (but doing so together, without any real communication) and there was something incredibly moving and intense about that. But outside of that, they are the teenage version of a cock contest in my opinion.
” Hey, look. I just Pwned you or something. My pee-pee is bigger than yours. Oh, and I had sexual intercourse with your Mom.”
Also, I know what some of you are thinking. Remy, how can anyone compare a game like Titanfall to a game like Bioshock? It is apples and oranges. My point here is no, it’s not. It is all one fruit. The fruit of gaming. Yet you walk away from one feeling like you were just taken on a ride and emotionally manipulated (in the best ways possible), while in the other, you frantically kill or try not to be killed. There is no shift in thinking afterwards. There was never that moment of feeling alone against the world in Titanfall. Isn’t that what drew us gamers in in the first place? Being alone against the world? Quiet little nerds who would go to our rooms and Zelda out because our real world wasn’t as fun as Hyrule?
But as you all have seen from the recent game announcements, it is quite clear the well-written, single-player experience is being eschewed for fast and furious multiplayer games of some sort. Now, sad to say, all the single-player games with amazing narratives and life changing moments are being delegated to downloadable titles. Games like Gone Home, for example, or the haunting and unforgettable Limbo. Game developers are being “encouraged” to make games that focus on multiplayer, or even worse, are forced to jam a multiplayer mode into their game (even if it clearly doesn’t need one). But what about gamers like me? Gamers who don’t want to be called a “fag” over X-Box live by some prepubescent kid because I can’t keep his kill count high enough? Why are single player games for loners being made the minority, when it is the sole reason games exist? Us quiet, meek nerds built this industry, and the irony is, we built it on the very foundation of being anti-social. Now, in the most ironic twist of all time, those same developers we made rich are forcing us to be social. Am I the only one who seriously sees something wrong in this?
Can you imagine a world without games like this? Well, you may have to if trends continue.
Another huge problem is, we are losing games with stories. Games like The Last of Us, which can honestly change your perception of life and make you appreciate it a little more by showing a different version of it and forcing you to live in that ugly, lonely world from time to time. We are losing narratives like Bioshock, that show you how we have become sheep in our lives who just do what we are told. We are losing games like Shadow of the Colossus, so they can make a game where you have to meet up with sixty other players and try to take down similar sized enemies for three hours. To me, that is killing the very point of gaming.
So I wrote this to implore all the game developers out there right now, both big and small, to keep making awesome, single player games. Remember who you were when YOU fell in love with games. Remember all the sick, single player games out there that changed your life and brought you down the road you are now on. Please, please, keep making games for people like us. People like me. Hell, people like who you once were, too. Keep in mind, this is meant in no way to disrespect people who love multiplayer. I will buy Destiny just like everyone else. I just want to ensure I can keep being a loner when it comes to videogames, and keep having my mind blown by them. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
The Angry Video Game Nerd gets it.