Nathan Macintosh

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Multi-player in video games. What happened?


Video games are one of the greatest things that have ever been created. Multi-player video games? Even more so. Playing a game with human beings that you know? Amazing. This used to be the only way to do it. Then what happened? On-line took over, and way too many games decided to go that route and, in most cases, get rid of the sit-with-someone-and-play option. I am truly not a fan of this.

It used to be that you and a friend could go through a two-player game together. Now? Some games that clearly should be two-player are one-player, and you can only play two-player online. I understand that now with technology we can play with people from all over the world, but why get rid of the 'playing-with-people-beside-you' option!? Why not have the online option as well as a 'play-beside-a-living-breathing-human-being-on-a-couch-with-fun' option? Why!? The latest Ghostbusters is a one-player game unless you are online. Ghostbusters! There are clearly four Ghostbusters that work as a team together, but you have to go through it alone unless you are online? How is that!? The Ghostbusters worked together!
"Egon! Slimer is loose again. We have to go capture him."
"All right, but not together."
"What? What are you talking about? We're a team!"
"I know, I know. But let's try something different. You take this picture of me, go on ahead, and I'll talk to you through this Walkie Talkie."
"How the hell is that going to work? Going as a group always worked so well before."
"Get off the damn group thing, all right?! It's a new day! That was the 80s! Today it's every Ghostbuster for himself."

Look at the back of most video games now and they will say, "One-player, thirty-two players online." Thirty-two online, but only one at home? You can have thirty-two people playing this at the same time from all over the WORLD but can't make it possible for one more to play at home? Why would 'multiplayer-with-humans-at-home' be taken away from us? Do we not want friends over anymore? Is that what it is? We are so tired of our friends that we want to meet new ones online.
"My friends are stupid, boring, arrogant, and loud. Not to mention that they stink! I need to find better friends. More levelheaded, thoughtful, caring, 'put-others-first' type people. And I know just the place to find them. The internet! Won't be wearing your shoes on my new rug anymore, Dennis. From now on, it's all virtual shoes!"

Designers go out of their way to make sure a game feels realistic. They try their hardest to make it feel like when you are playing a war game, you feel like you are at war. How the guns fire, the sound of bullets flying past you, the chaotic feeling. Then, for some ridiculous reason, they decide to take out the actual army part. Where as if you were in an army in real life, YOU WOULD HAVE HUMAN BEINGS BESIDE YOU, the designers decide to get rid of that completely. There is no one beside you. You can't turn and coordinate something with someone in your battalion. Your army is online.
"Sarge, I'm pinned down here! You have to send backup!"
"I'd love to, but I just got word that three of our men had to stop being in the war and go do their homework – also, six others had to leave because their girlfriends came over."
"What? That's ridiculous! This is war! Can we pause this thing?"
"No, no. Only the person who started this war can do that. And he doesn't care about your ranking. Fight on, soldi– mom! I told you I'd be down in a minute! I'm storming the beach right now!"

People used to love to play video games in the same room, and we used to go out of our way to do it. I remember the only way to play Command & Conquer with two players, was to have two systems and two TVs in the same room, AND have two copies of the game. What did we do? We put two systems and two TVs in the same room, AND got two copies of the game! It was a huge mission. It was like when people in movies have to turn their keys at the same time to stop an explosion.
"All right, you ready? Turn your PlayStation on in 3...2..."
"Nick! Where the hell is my TV?!"
"Abort, abort! We've been compromised!"
"If you dragged that TV into your room to watch Bleu Nuit on a bigger screen, I swear to Christ!"

Playing multiplayer online is absolutely terrible. I don't want to play with people who are not in the same room as me. That is not 'co-op'. That is not playing with others. That is sitting alone in a room, pretending that there are others with you. Playing online and saying you are playing with others is the same as listening to your iPod and saying that the band is in your house.
"How was my day? Great! Jay-Z rode the train with me! Isn't that nuts?! And not only that, he did every song from Reasonable Doubt! It was incredible. Then just as I was getting off, Aerosmith showed up and I said, "I'd love to stay, Aerosmith, but I have to go to work." Man, pushy old Aerosmith."
Playing online is not playing with people. You need people to play with other people. People! To play with other people!

People love playing online now. Even people who remember how we used to play together want to play that way. "Add me on PlayStation network. We can play online."
Come to my house! You're twenty-six. What is wrong with you? I know you! Why wouldn't we play in the same room?
"Hey, roommate. You want to play NHL?"
"Sure, man."
"Sweet. I'll take my system across the street and get a hotel room. I'll call you when I'm set up."
"Done! Oh, man. We're gonna destroy these LA Kings."
"You're damn right we will! Hey, you want me to trash the room when we win?"
"You decide. It's your birthday."

Another reason I don't like playing online is because when you’re playing online and wearing a headset, you have to hear commentary by people you play with. Good commentary? Commentary such as, "Whoa! I love this game! I love earth! I love you guys! Where can I donate money to help those in need?" 
Nope. Not at all. Every time I have played online I've listened to people spew racism, telling everyone how terrible black people are. Every single time. Online play should just be called 'racially-charged-multiplayer'.
"Have you ever wanted to play a video game with a friend AND speak your mind about 'the chosen people' but were afraid to do so? Try our 'racially-charged-multiplayer'! Every racist comment you make gives you ten points!"
"Whoa! Thanks, 'racially-charged-multiplayer'!"
"That's not all! If you make two homophobic comments every five minutes of gameplay, the game designers will come to your house and salute you!"
"WOW!"
"Yeah! So tell your 'all men are created equal' believing friends to go to hell because if they don't believe what you believe, they’re going anyway!"

How is this allowed to be? Why are these online servers not shut down when they see that people are talking the way people do in the woods in the south?
"Guys, you're not gonna believe this. But people aren't just playing these games. People are making the most ignorant, racist comments ever."
"...Are they putting down the controller to do so?"
"...We...no, no, they are playing AND making the most ignorant comments ever, but..."
"So they are multitasking?"
"Well... I guess so, but it's no–"
"Multitasking! Put that in the features of the game. This game allows you to multitask."

If you spoke this way constantly in an arcade you'd be arrested.
"Why the hell can't I get drunk and call Pac-Man a Chinaman? He's yellow, god dammit! This is a free country! At least let me bring my beer!"
But online, where people can record everything you say, hate gets thrown. If a website for buying cars eroded into a thirteen year old’s beliefs as to what's wrong with the Jews, that website would be taken down.
"Hector! An eighth-grader called this 2001 Ford Taurus a 'Jew mobile'."
"A new mobile? Well, that's nice of him. It does drive like new."
"No, JEW mobile. He called it a Jew mobile."
"Oh… well, Jews can drive it. He's not THAT misguided. Could you also add that it's a blacks-and-Hispanics mobile as well? Look, I don't care who buys it. Just get it out of here!"

Playing video games online is like playing videogames in a Klan rally.
"First order of business, as it is at all of our meetings, is that every other race of people is inferi... inferi... they just less than us, damn it! Second order of business is that I, Imperial Wizard Chuck, think you guys are working too hard. You need a bit of a break. So I've decided to get everyone their own PlayStation 3 and headset."
"Hot damn! That's great news!"
"Yes, yes. But remember. When you go online, you still have to represent the Klan. You can't just be going on there being nice to people. Keep the hate going!"
"Ah, man. We even have to hate when we relax? Being an Apple genius wasn't this hard. This Klan is kicking my ass."
I've seen game rooms that have titles like "No Blacks Allowed". No blacks allowed! Anytime you put a headset on and play a video game, you will be called a faggot, or you’ll have to listen to someone tell you how all Armenians steal and should be executed on site.
"I just don't trust them! How the hell are they that color and still leave their house? I mean, do they have mirrors? I just got the enemy’s flag! These goddamn Egyptians, too. With their pyramids and their "we used to pray to cats" attitude. Just a bunch of... all right! I got back to base! We can get out of here now! In your face, social norms!"

When I play videogames with actual people, the n-word never gets dropped – and magically, I don't know how, the game is still fun!
"God, I don't know. I had a good time playing this wrestling game with you guys, but something was missing."
"Ya know, I was thinking the same thing? I can't quite put my finger on it. We have chips, drinks, friends, ... a wrestling game. I mean, that last one alone is enough for a great time."
"Yea, yea. We have all of that... wait! Did you mention hate?"
"Hate! Ah, man. How the hell could we forget about the hate?"
"I don't know. But let's head down to the children’s hospital and unleash on them the hate we didn't unleash here."
"Yeah! I've been waiting to tell those kids the truth. Should we bring our white hoods?"
"Wow. Too far, man. These kids are really sick."

It was more fun to play with people in the same room and much less hateful. Let's fight racism by not giving anyone an Xbox live account ever again. Anyone.
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