If you were to ask your nan what she though a person who played video games looks like, what would her answer be? Mine would suggest either a child, likely a boy, or some fat dude covered in crisps and pizza who didn’t know what the sun was, let alone friends.
The internet and media probably don’t help alleviate this image (Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons immediately springs to mind) but every advert for consoles or new games out there shows the whole family flinging their controllers around like loons, or a living room jam-packed with 20-somethings leaning dangerously far forward and smiling manically at the out of shot TV.
Maybe this is your experience of the video game world: a party at your house every night, booze flowing, and hilarity ensuing at every moment. Maybe you could invite me over once in a while to experience this whole new world. However, the video game world is a far more sedate affair in my household.
The question of Co-op vs. single player leaves me a little confused and even a little tense. As much as I love video games, being good at them isn’t a prerequisite to enjoyment. There are many games that I’ve really wanted to get involved with, titles such as Battlefront, Call Of Duty, and Halo. However, I am left with a sense of dread that I will have to share my gaming space with others, namely those who have likely been playing the game far longer than I have and have zero time for a noob like me. With every misstep I take, I wait for the coming backlash of anonymous fury and abuse from someone with a ridiculous name like BoomTing657. Naturally, a lot of the time this abuse never comes, but when I look at my dismal KD spread at the end of any bout I wonder what those other players must be thinking.
A part of me knows that this is a ridiculous way to think. I don’t know these people. Why should their opinions matter? But I cannot help but think that if it’s a team game I should inevitably have something to bring to that team. Unfortunately, there is no way to get good in PVP situations without practise. After all, everybody has got to start somewhere…
In the end, I generally can’t deal with the imaginary pressure and will choose to play a game where I can make as many mistakes as I want and only have to deal with my own fury and abuse.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to game with others, but when I say others, it has to be others I know, others who aren’t likely to call me every name under the sun. In fact, playing with a group of friends is an exceptionally rewarding experience. Or playing with one person in co-op campaign mode is a great way to bond with someone. But somehow I feel as though I’m missing out on the thrills of playing with strangers. The game lobby that can give you different kinds of gaming experience with every bout depending on who you’re paired with.
I’m definitely pro co-op and the idea of many people coming together and enjoying a pastime together seems idyllic. But for me, I think gaming will always be a single-player venture first and foremost. Maybe this is largely to do with the genres that I prefer, namely RPGs and sandbox games. But I think you really can’t beat getting lost in a game for hours on end, problem-solving and wandering wherever your controller takes you. This leads me to believe that if I gave it a chance, doing this with others surely should increase my enjoyment? Maybe I just need to widen my gaming horizons and worry less about the opinions of strangers.