Gamers are often associated with the stigma of being pale, anti-social creatures dwelling alone in Mountain Dew lairs on Cheeto-stained furniture. But while we may love ruining our arteries and our sleep schedules, we love it even more with company - and many of us are actually quite tan.
Gaming like most things is only improved when shared in by others. I grew up kicking friends' butts in Burnout and Super Smash Bros., and clearing dungeons with them in Diablo and Champions of Norrath. So in this modern age of gaming I'm left to wonder, where has all the multiplayer gone?
I purchased my shining idol of a Playstation 3 in early 2009 and got down to brass tacks with GTA IV and Burnout Paradise. But while both provided easily accessible and admittedly fun online multiplayer, I couldn't help but miss the in-person gloat factor that makes victory all the sweeter.
Of course, the Playstation library these days isn't quite built for multiplayer - what with titles like Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid filling the shelves. But in my opinion there are some gleaming opportunities that have been missed.
On PS2 Free Radical Design brilliantly implemented co-op multiplayer in their TimeSplitters series (particularly Future Perfect). No matter the level a second player could always jump in as someone from the period to assist the protagonist. This option never hurt the experience by being a necessity or an annoyance, and it was well-explained unlike the "Two Chuck Greenes" phenomenon in Dead Rising 2.
I'm not saying that every game needs multiplayer. Infamous probably wouldn't be much fun for the friend that gets stuck pushing Zeke's fat, winded arse around Empire, or drowning themselves as John Marston's horse. But who's to say Uncharted wouldn't be more fun with someone controlling Sully (or Elena or Chloe), or Killzone improved with some playing as Rico or Natko or Narville. Hell, even L.A. Noire might've been improved with the partner on your couch being your partner on the case.
It's hard to think of many games that *wouldn't* be more fun with a friend by your side, so why don't more developers make that a reality? Maybe there aren't enough gamers crying out for it. Or maybe - but hopefully not - developers and their publishers are more concerned with the promised profit of consistency than with the fun and satisfaction of breaking the mold. Time will tell if a change will be made, but until then we're left refreshing the community levels in LBP2.
LOOK WHO CAME: