I’m a multiplayer game skeptic. The idea of playing against another human both online and in real life usually doesn’t appeal to me at all. Overwatch, Splatoon 2 and Pyre are making me come around on this, kinda.
My reactions to these games are all wildly different. I’ve started to categorize it like a game of Fuck, Marry, Kill. Here’s the breakdown:
The other day I had a weird day at work and my friend hit me up to play some Overwatch in the evening. I said yes. We had an okay time. It’s not an unwelcoming game, I’m an okay D.va, and we don’t run into much toxicity. We chat over Discord and usually do Quick Play rather than more competitive modes. Every time I play Overwatch, I am very aware that this is a competitive game where you are expected to play a lot and practice to get good. No thanks! I don’t have time for that, I just want to shoot people. It is a good conduit to gab with your friends, however, and I look forward to more beers and Overwatch in my future.
This game tricked me. Splatoon lured me in with it’s cute music and exciting fashion, and before I knew it, I was playing every day. Unlike Overwatch, the game doesn’t assault you with its competitive nature. Splatoon wants you to get to know its wacky undersea creatures, to make cute drawings, and to express your strong opinions on condiments. As an added bonus, you don’t have to talk to anyone, which is basically my dream. Over time, I noticed a change in myself: I now have opinions on how Splatoon should be played, and I get mad when other players aren’t meeting my expectations. Not inking your spawn? You’re on my shitlist. I don’t know if I like being that person, however, and I’ve been thinking about giving the game a break. Sorry, Pearl and Marina!
I think local co-op might be the secret sauce for me. Since Pyre came out, I’ve been itching to ruin someone’s day. I think about it constantly—about practicing plays, what Masteries and Talismans are best for my playstyle, about trying new team layouts so I can have an answer to every single character. This is the hardest game for me to play with other people, since I can’t just log on and meet a new challenger. But I prefer it that way. With Splatoon and Overwatch, I’m constantly confronted with how not great I am at those games. For Pyre, hypothetically, I am the best player in New York City. As an added benefit, if I can only play local multiplayer, I can look directly into my opponent’s eyes and watch as the hope leaves them. I will crush you.
While Splatoon has created a bait and switch scenario with its friendly squids, the appeal of local multiplayer in Pyre is really what drives me to play it most often. For a while I thought I wasn’t that competitive, but I think I’m actually a little bit too competitive. Come over to my house and let me beat you at Pyre.