The Round Table: 06/13/2010

[The Round Table is designed for gamers to come together to debate the real issues. No silly format wars here. Bring your best debating equipment, set up camp and let the discussion fireworks fly. Let’s make progress, let’s come to a consensus on the biggest issues since our realization that games can be something more. We won’t be debating ‘games iz art’ as that’s now pretty much a ‘yes’; we’re going steps beyond and into harm’s way. This is very touchy territory. There are now real rules to debating in The Round Table, other than one – be nice.]

This week’s Round Table will more than perfectly feed into the essay that I’m currently writing. If you’ve been following my work you’ll know I hinted at what’s next, in the latest Games That Nobody Plays Anymore. Well, this Round Table question practically gives everything away, but I think I need some juicy quotebites to stuff into my new piece. It’s one of the hardest questions I’ve had to ask myself, and it seems like a straight forward answer.

Hypothetically speaking; what if every single publisher enforced a policy (due to money or whatever) of either no single-player or no multiplayer? Would you be happy, and if so, which one would you let go?

Straight forward, but perhaps consider it for a moment. I’ll give my opinion in a minute, but I do want you to think about this before giving a response. Think about the purpose of both components and even what ‘multiplayer’ means. Social gaming? Connectivity? Co-operative? It can mean endless things and perhaps… some other component is lacking.

Here’s my take: I don’t know. It’s absolutely hard to tell whether the industry would benefit, financially, if we all threw up our arms and let the sea of multiplayer take us. It can possibly argue that multiplayer allows for more emergent gameplay, and generally just more interesting, sparks of gameplay innovation. My three most treasured games; Bioshock, Portal and Shadow of the Colossus, could (technically) fit into a multiplayer universe. Shadow could fit into a co-operative style, and I don’t see how that would get in the way of any of the ‘artsy’ things it does. Bioshock could be an interesting set-up, maybe on a scale of a giant ‘Versus’ match with two players fighting for resources. Over the span of the 12 hour experience, they go through respective opposite stages. So, technically, player two would start at the end of the game and make his way to meet the first player, while gearing up on the way. I don’t know why that reminds me of Demon’s Souls. Portal is kind of obvious, it’s multiplayer component is getting fleshed it in Portal 2.

If the books are right, a secured social experience within games would guaranty massive profits. It probably will never happen (technical limits, not everyone has the internet), but it can happen.

Think differently? Want to call ME out? Get the discussion flowing in the comments section below.

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  • StylelessKnave

    I believe that I would prefer a multiplayer component. There most definitely sooo many
    games that are beautiful and perfect as single player, but aside from Mass Effect and Fallout, most of my favorite games have a multiplayer component. When I look for a new game to play outside of my favorite franhises, or a single player game that I havent researched, the big thing I look for is multiplayer. Can I play it locally with friends? Can I play it online? Maybe the replay value is higher with mp. Imagine playing through the Wasteland and taking on a nest of Raiders with other players, or infiltrating a Geth station with two other customized players across the globe would be a damn awesome game if you ask me. I think me personally being a sociable person, I would prefer multiplayer components over single player IF I had to choose.

  • Gemini ace

    I would take single player. There are only a select fee titles that I play multi in. Otherwise I like to go solo.

  • If forced to pick, I’d have to say Single Player would have to stay, since if there was only Multiplayer it would eventually turn into an all MMO world, and I promised my wife I’d not play any more MMOs – so for our marriage’s sake, pray for Single Player 😉

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