The Duck’s Personal Trials and Joys of Multiplayer Gaming

I am a solitary gamer.  I hardly ever do any multiplayer, and I have never done any online multiplayer gaming (except PC gaming once playing “Runescape” on an old computer that froze every two seconds).  Just never wanted to, plus no way am I paying to use XBox Live.  You raise the price of each game by $10, then, expect me to pay for multiplayer?  I think not!  Good day, sir!  I said good day!  But, I have done the old-fashioned multiplayer on occasion, and I did enjoy it the times I wasn’t humiliated by my opponent.  And there are times when I prefer playing against people over playing against the computer.  And so this post shall compare the duck’s positive and negative experiences with playing alone and with others.

The Case for Playing Alone

As I said, I prefer to play alone.  Gaming is relaxing to me, and I can’t relax as much if someone else is there, not only simply being there (probably even looking at me on occasion), but touching my things, no doubt.  That is unacceptable.  Only my bacteria-ridden paws may touch my stuff.  I can’t expect anyone else to respect the sanctity of my stuff as much as me.  Plus, I have conversations with characters, which may be a little weird with others watching.  “Did you just trash talk the final boss?”  “No, of course I…  No.”

Video games are also a personal experience to me.  I get involved with the characters and the story, and once again, I can’t with other people around.  I can’t cry or laugh along with the characters so much with people around.  Something about having real live human beings in my vicinity keeps me from feeling like the game is real.

Plus, most games I play are only played alone.  As far as I know, I can’t play “Zelda” with others or “Final Fantasy”, either.  I often don’t play such games that work with multiplayer.  I have various “Super Smash Bros.” and a “Mario Party” game, but very few are like that.  And I think I’d be too scared playing against real people in “Halo”.  I’d scream and cry and hide having my friends chase me around with guns.  That’s not my idea of a good time.  It’s only fun when aliens chase me around with guns.

I also feel more proud to get through games alone.  I feel like I really accomplished something when I do it myself.  When I get help, it doesn’t feel, you know, official.

I don’t like to take turns.  I’m impatient.  I’ve played “Donkey Kong Country” with others, and I have fun when it’s my turn, but when it’s theirs, I’m thinking, “Come on and die already so I can play again!”  I know it’s a bad attitude to have, but what can I say, I’m not a social gamer.  It’s like getting mad at a zombie for eating your brains.  It’s not like they can help it.

Playing with others reminds me how bad I am at games.  Because I obviously suck.  When I play “Super Smash Bros.”, my friends always destroy me.  They grind me to powder.  I don’t know why I’m so bad.  I can beat all kinds of difficult things alone in my games, and then they just use Samus to snap Link like a little twig wearing a silly hat.  No fair, Samus has a full suit of armor, and all I have is this silly tunic!  Then, I just spend all my time squealing and hopping about and avoiding them.  I’m serious, after being destroyed so many times, I finally just started fleeing constantly, stopping only to toss projectiles at them or shoot arrows or whatever else I could do from a safe distance.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like being humiliated.  When I play alone, I can pretend I’m actually good at what I do.  Let me be happy in my dream world!

The Case for Playing With Others

On the other hand, computers are mean.  Ever played “Mario Party”?  Mean.  They are absolutely vicious in that game.  I don’t know about the others, but I have “Mario Party 3”, and the computers hunt you relentlessly like a horse hunting a carrot.  Every time they get a chance to cause someone trouble, they target me.  Without fail.  Whenever they can steal coins or stars, they target me.  I could be in last place, with almost nothing, and everyone else has tons of coins and stars, and they steal the last little scraps I have while I try my hardest to hold onto it with my poor, raw fingers!  I’m living in poverty here!  I’m even wearing those gloves now with the fingers cut off!  Have mercy!  MERCY!!  At least you can try to bargain with human players.  If your friends have some decency in their cold, dark little souls.  If not, they’re bad friends anyway.

And the competition is fun.  While I am no better than an armless octopus playing against others in “Super Smash Bros.”, I kick butt in old-school “Donkey Kong Country”.  I kick hairy ape butt all over.  I’ve also beaten the second and third games a couple times 100%.  So I may look like a total jerkface, and I certainly am, but I can’t say I don’t love when someone is struggling through the game, and I pass them up, beat the game, return to levels for every coin, then beat the secret world, all before they even reach the end of world four.  I’m terrible, but it’s fun.  And I need that after being gutted like a fish in “SSB”.

I also once heard this rumor that sharing was nice.

And I end with a story of my best experience playing multiplayer games.  Sometimes I went to my friend’s house, and we would take turns playing one-player games like “Vexx” and “Star Fox Adventures”.  Then, one day, he had “Hunter: The Reckoning” (my first M-rated game, too).  In this game, you could play with up to four people, and you would go through these creepy levels fighting zombies and vampires and the like with hunters that had various abilities, including guns, melee weapons, and some kind of magic.  Often, he would have this other friend over, too, and the three of us would face the undead together.  (My kind of multiplayer.  Where my friends aren’t trying to murder me.)

Once we got used to the game and decided on our favorite characters, we had a great time playing.  Usually, they played as the two women characters (the Martyr and the Defender), and I was the Judge because of his awesome Word of Power ability (no one seemed to like the chunky Avenger guy much).  We would work together fighting off evil, with me to occasionally go forth and release some hardcore hurt upon our enemies with Word of Power when the need arose.  We also had fun, the first friend and I, mocking the other one, as he would constantly wander off.  Everyone had to stay on the screen, and he would keep going off somewhere, leaving us trapped on the opposite end of the screen, as his large proximity to us kept us from proceeding any further into zombie-infested territory.  Finally we’d harass him into coming back so we could continue on.  Ah, good times.

And then I moved away, and you know what I found out?  “Hunter: The Reckoning” is not really that great of a game.  I had such a good time playing it with friends, but that game is just not as good playing it alone.  Most games I’d rather play by myself, but with that one, it just doesn’t work.  Getting cornered by zombies is no fun when no one’s got your back and can come rescue you, you know.  And who can complement me on my awesomeness now when I use Word of Power to smite my foes?  Just me.  Um, great job, Duck, couldn’t have done it without you.  …Shut up!  Just shut up!

Ahem.  I can see the merits both in playing with others and alone.  It depends on what kind of game it is and what type of person you are.  I like to play alone because it helps me relax and allows me to really get involved in the game, plus I am actually good at single-player games.  But, some games are better with others, and video games are games, after all.  You gotta have competition sometimes.  Either way, games are great that they allow you to enjoy it by yourself or with friends.  Which do you prefer?

Multiducks

11 Comments Add yours

  1. I have a preference for single player games also. My aversion to multiplayer was caused by my constantly being pwned by my friends in ‘Goldeneye’. Totally killed the fun of the game.

    Indeed there have been many a ‘Profane Bird-Giving Dance of Victory’ by me when a boss is defeated. Quadraxis and Dark Samus in Metroid Prime: Echoes were epitomes of this for me =)

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Yes, it is not fun when our friends beat us constantly. I know just what that’s like. I don’t know if I ever won against them in “SSB”. And I don’t plan to ever play against them again, either. I’ll only play against small children now, and they’ll still likely manage to win.

      And I, too, do some things I don’t want others seeing when I beat stuff in games. It’s best no one sees that side of me. If you want to see someone being rather obnoxious, watch me after I win a race in “Jak X”. Except don’t really because it’s embaressing, and I would immediately stop if someone entered the room.

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  2. I agree with you; when playing a campaign I would rather go it alone because the feeling of defeating the enemy; clocking the levels and ultimately completing the game is done by my hands, not with the assistance of others which is basically a cheat. On the other hand, I disagree with your personal views on multiplayer mayhem. Playing against human opponents I believe to be incredibly fun as the human opponents are not limited like A.I sometimes is and the challenge is well worth it. Multiplayer these days often comes with additional benefits (such as points, upgrades, awards, etc) which promote the continued playing of such content and make it more fun. There’s also something about playing a game with the human opponents in the room rather than over LIVE which is so much more entertaining; I think it’s the ability to see the look of humiliation on their faces to find at the end that you have a score of 600 and they only managed a 275. Classic!

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Yes, games are more satisfying completed alone. Then, all the glory is mine. And multiplayer would be fun if I could actually win, but they always beat me. I would get a lot more out of my games if I did multiplayer, though. I play the “Halo 4” campaign for a week, and then I’m done. I’d have much more to do if I played the multiplayer stuff. And my PS3 and 360 games keep mocking me with trophies and stuff I can’t get without doing multiplayer. Darn them. I can’t even unlock the original “Phantasy Star” in “Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection” without beating part of a game with two players, so that’s why I have yet to get it. I’m considering just holding two controllers and going at it alone….

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  3. cary says:

    I know that online multiplayer is the thing to do these days, but I, too, would much rather play games by myself. And it’s for all the reasons that you mentioned. There’s a very small handful (like, 1/8th of a teaspoon-sized handful) of people I feel comfortable playing multiplayer (local or online) with; but even then, I have a hard time really enjoying myself without being too self-conscious of my perceived lack of skills. With some exceptions, I always skip multiplayer. Sure, I can’t get some achievements, but I don’t find it that bothersome. I play games to immerse and relax. Like being in a hottub. Which I also hate sharing with other people (not to mention that it’s kinda gross).

    (Your post has also inspired one of my own. So do I *really* agree? Just wait and see…!)

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Video games are simply not as relaxing with others around. Not to mention when goofy things happen in games, it’s fine when you’re alone, but it can be a little embaressing when someone walks into the room wondering what in the world you’re watching. And after writing this post, I have started noticing I talk to the game a lot more than I realized. I was talking all throughout my two hours of “FFXIII-2” this morning, while getting quite cocky during a boss fight.

      It only bothers me a little that I can’t get some achievements/trophies without doing multiplayer. They really push it in some games. I scroll through the list of things I’ve missed, and I find a whole bunch I can’t and won’t do. Gosh, quit telling me what to do, game!

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  4. Hatm0nster says:

    Traditionally I’ve always been a solo player, I too never really wanted to play with other people, or have others in the room when I played. I enjoyed playing Mario Party/Kart and Smash Bros, and liked changing it up every so often by playing switch-off with friends, but I was mostly a loner. That’s how I played for the first 13 years of my gaming life.

    Then I went to college. Everything became social in college. I got into Halo and found that I enjoyed pitting myself against others in a test of skill, luck, and cunning, I wasn’t great at it but it was fun all the same. Then my single player gaming life became more social ( hard to avoid when there’s always people around). At first I tolerated it, then enjoyed it, and now after graduating 4.5 years later I find it difficult to just sit down and play by my lonesome, it feels like something’s missing when I do. In fact, now the only times I really enjoy playing by myself are when I’m working through the first playthrough of a game, or when I’m playing Mass Effect.

    5 years ago I would have said single-player all the way, but now…now I would choose multiplayer (or social single-player).

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Now that I think about it, I think I was a bit opposite from you. I was actually pretty social when I was young, as I originally enjoyed watching my parents play, and when I started playing, I always wanted them to watch me or play with me, but they rarely did. Finally, I became the antisocial gamer I am now. I wonder if I’ll ever change back at all? At the least, I would enjoy playing “Hunter: The Reckoning” with someone again.

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