Multiplayer games are for whoring around

by Ben Salter Featured 10 Comments 35 Votes 4922 Views 26/07/2012 Back to Articles

Multiplayer games are like whores.

Enjoy them for a short while until something better comes along and forget it immediately. Great single-player games, however, are like those sacred few true loves.

I play an abundance of multiplayer games, but never for more than a few months. Hell, if we’re admitting some hard truths, rarely for more than a few weeks. I enjoy viciously murdering a bunch of prepubescent 12-year-olds over Xbox Live, and quickly hitting the mute button to protect my ears from their searing screams of rage/joy (it’s much the same noise at twelve). Then I promptly forget about it when my console pimps out another multiplayer offering, which is more or less the same, but perhaps slightly more pretty. I’m either shooting people, or trying to get a ball somewhere before my opponent. Either way, new is always better.

That’s not the case with single-player games; at least, the few truly great single-player games.

Think about your top five games of all time. I’d daresay they are all single-player offerings. That’s why you remember them. These campaigns are special and memorable, even if you’ve had to leave them behind.

My admiration for Ocarina of Time has waned since playing and owning it on four different platforms. It’s one of the best games ever made, but I would probably hold it in even higher esteem if I had never revisited it after all of my Nintendo 64 controllers decided turning left was no longer a required function. It would be a lost love, but one I remember fondly with memories that cannot be tarnished.

The only multiplayer games that bestow even remotely similar memories are GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, and multiplayer was only part of the package. I remember them affectionately for their campaign and co-op respectively, as well as the intense four-player splitscreen.

Of the more recent offerings, it’s only the single-player masterpieces that standout. Super Mario Galaxy, the Uncharted Trilogy, Metroid Prime 3, Portal, Twilight Princess, Borderlands, Batman, Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption, Skyrim, BioShock and Grand Theft Auto IV.

I probably spent more time collectively in the Call of Duty, Halo and Fifa multiplayers, but I don’t really care for them. I used them, while I awaited the next single-player stroke of genius. The games I really care about.

The death of the traditional single-player game is a recurring theme in developer interviews, but they’re all wrong. I don’t care about social interactions and the campaign connecting the with online multiplayer. Even in the aforementioned games that dabble with some of these new age ideals, I ignored them completely. I talk about them in high repute for their unequivocal solo experience. That was their key intention, and any slap-dash attempt to make it a more “social” experience was lost on me.

I enjoy these games as an isolated experience. Perhaps something I can discuss with like-minded individuals after completion, but not as some sort of depraved contest during the quest. It’s like those idiots who insist going to the movies be restricted to social occasions. It’s discussing the movie and outrageous inflation of popcorn prices afterwards that makes it social; consumption of the film itself is very much an individual experience.

That’s how I most enjoy the best games. Multiplayer exhilaration is good for a quick fix, but it is the amazing solo adventures that I will always cherish.

By Ben Salter - Bio

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Tano
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I guess it comes down to whether or not you enjoy the competitiveness. Some people don't like the aggression, competitive nature of multiplayer games and that's fine. Games certainly didn't start there and I don't think multiplayer is important or integral.

That said, I completely disagree with this statement:

"Enjoy them for a short while until something better comes along and forget it immediately."

Countless better shooters have come along following the release of every CoD game, or Halo game, but I keep returning because it's a comfort thing; you learn to play the game and you become good at it that it eventually becomes therapeutic, a way to escape the world.

I personally think you're failing to acknowledge that multiplayer games can offer just as much satisfaction for the gamer in terms of depth, attachment, enjoyment as a single-player experience can. By making that comment you're suggesting that it's easy to just play and forget because it's "just" multiplayer.

I think that belief leaves out important notions of competitiveness, community, interaction, all of the things that help multiplayer thrive.

EDIT: Also, I am completely in favour of single-player games finding new ways to bring gamers closer together. If I can complete a game on my own but still find ways to interact and share my achievements with others, I welcome that.
Great article man. I agree. All of my top games are single-player offerings (Tales of Symphonia, Star Wars: KOTOR, TES: Oblivion) with the exception of one (Gears of War). The campaigns, storylines, settings are what you remember fondly in the long-run. Multiplayer games these days tend to be annualised things, so you don't develop fond attachment or grand memories of them like single-player offerings because you know the next big thing is on the way in a year.
Could not agree more!
I totes agree, especially the last paragraph, I play team fortress2 if I want a quick game, easy non story shooting, but when I have a good couple of hours for gaming I play a single player game. Cause I want to get really into it.. :)
I play online for the challenge, to test and improve my skills, playing with people who has similar or higher skill level than me but I get bored when I win too easily which is no fun.
I mostly play singleplayer for entertainment and casual fun but my most enjoying experience is playing co-op.
I use multiplayer as a way to kill time if I can't decide what single-player campaign to embark on next. And unless I picked TF2 to waste my time with, I'm playing against bots or someone within slapping distance.
Completely agree. Love when a good single player game comes along. I don't play games to make virtual friends, i've never played a multiplayer game with sound on(other people that is) I dabble in a bit of fifa onlline but only when I get bored of the career mode. I find the likes of COD and BF quite repetitive tbh [MOG]
This is the sad truth now majority of games are based around the multiplayer. where i think it should be based around the single player. This has been one big floor this year why so many games have been boring or very average is due the games are all about multiplayer.
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Ok, that may be so for online multiplayer, but what about local split-screen co-op? The majority of games I play and own are multiplayer. I love sitting down and working through the campaign or storyline with a partner.

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