Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Have the Halcyon days passed?

I have posted before that I have been a gamer for a LONG time. I fully expect to be a gamer for an even longer amount of time. There is a period of time about 8 or 10 years ago that is one of the most memorable in my gaming life. Back then I was managing an Electronics Boutique and I had quite a few people to play and talk about games with. Multiplayer was just starting to kick off as a phenomenon. When a new game came in one of the first questions we asked was: "does it have multiplayer?" We are talking about modem gaming here folks, not the low latency high speed internet stuff we have today. It felt almost as if we were completing some sort of arcane ritual punctuated by the death of an innocent. I remember rollicking games of Age of Empires, Outlaws and Warcraft II (the best in the series in my opinion). The point is that back then we were all on the same page in terms of what game we were into. It was usually the latest game that offered fun, workable multiplayer.

Fast forward to now and the ease of multiplayer makes this sort of gaming easy (except if you are using a Wii). The problem is that there are all too many options for people. I guess this is a good problem to have, but I am rarely on the same page with my friends when it comes to what we are currently playing. It started out with MMOs. Yeah, we played the same game, but we were usually vastly different levels and the game offered no mechanic to allow us to group together without one of the parties suffering. I have tried going on to Xbox Live and getting random online games. It isn't pretty. Nine times out of ten the experience is ruined by a bunch of assholes being either elitist, racist or just plain stupid. I actually played a session of COD 4 where everyone on the server punctuated every sentence or expression with the word "yo". As in, "take out that sniper, yo" or "Call in a helicopter strike, yo" or "dude is a pussy, yo." You get my point.

I guess I have come full circle. In the early days gaming it was a solitary experience with little to no access to multiplayer. Now the option to multiplay is in Nintendo DS games for Chrissake. Yet most nights I sit there and play solo. I guess I miss the old days and my friends who shared the great experiences we had. Things are looking up a bit. I found a great site called Gamers with Jobs. They have matchmaking forums for specific games and the community seems on the whole to be very fun and mature. I'll report back after I have had more experience. In the mean time if you aren't a dick send a friend invite to Flying Norseman on Xbox Live.

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