With hundreds of thousands of players online at any given moment, how can a gamer ever feel truly alone? Commenter Salari tells us in today's very special episode of Speak Up on Kotaku.
Hello, my name's Salari, and I am a lonely gamer.
Now before I continue, just to clarify, this isn't a cry for help or anything, but just something that I've noticed about the way I play games.
I've been playing video games for a good 20 years now, so I've had the good fortune of growing up alongside some major developments in the industry, one of those being multiplayer gaming. Whilst I can openly admit I do prefer playing games single player, mainly because that's what I grew up with, and still believe in most instances it can offer a richer experience than multiplayer can, I do still enjoy the multiplayer experience - a lot. But there's one problem I've always had when it comes to online and local multiplayer:
I have no one to play with.
In the past I've been in clans for games like Battlefield 2, Team Fortress Classic, Counter Strike and Bad Company 2, but always with people you can't really call "friends"; just people I've happened to encounter online when I was looking for a clan. I'm aware there are a lot of people who enjoy being in tight-knit gaming groups both online and in person, but I've never really had that. It's not because I have no actual friends, quite on the contrary; but the ones who play games either aren't into the games I play, or dedicate themselves to purely playing Call of Duty games online, or... are intolerable to play with. One particular friend who insists on playing with me over Xbox Live is - to put it bluntly - an asshole. I remember the first time we played Halo: Reach online, we went on co-op on the first mission, and within moments he was melee attacking me over and over again, to the point where I simply had to drop out of the game. Another time I played Dead Rising 2 in co-op with the same person, and he kept on at me over the mic about skipping cut-scenes because he hadn't seen them yet, but nor had I. We also entered a boss battle against the maniacal chef, and rather than helping he just ran away to do... well, nothing.
I admit, he's probably the worst of a bad bunch, but even with local games like Super Street Fighter IV or Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 no one I know plays those games, so it's always a one-sided fight.
It may partly be me and my refusal to play what everyone else is playing (i.e. Call of Duty), or it might be a geographical thing, in that I live somewhere that people don't tend to game as much as I do, but it can get rather lonely. Playing online has become like that old adage where you're surrounded by people but feel alone. I have one or two people I enjoy playing online with (you know who you are), but still, even playing with others can be a lonely affair.
Has anyone else felt this way before about playing with others?