Stir: Single Or Multi-Player

Chris Forbis | MensaDad | ProfileTwitter |

Nearly every game review I read expresses some distain if the game being reviewed does not support multi-player.  I myself like the ten foot pole version of multi-player – where I can compete against my friends on leader boards, etc. and we go back and forth trying to best one another (Such as my Platform Nation rivals in Pinball FX 2).  I don’t particularly care for most multi-player games for several reasons.

I have found that most multi-player online frag-fests are just an exercise in tolerance and frustration.  The only exceptions to this have been racing games (Blur, Split Second, Burnout Paradise) and a couple organized Platform Nation events where everyone was cooperating in Red Dead Redemption.  Aside from these few examples I prefer to take heed of the wisdom put forth by the philosopher Thorogood who said “When I drink alone, I prefer to be by myself .”

It’s not that I am completely anti-social.  I used to love playing Diablo II with a full group of people hacking and slashing side by side – for hours on end.  Multi-player games nowadays are different and my gaming experience can be completely disrupted by another player in the game.  I’d much rather have an in game companion (Fallout 3 / New Vegas) whose only purpose is to assist me rather than some twelve year old who is trying out being an adult by cursing and talking up his (or her) latest sexual exploits.

Split screen multi-player is great.  I play games with my kids all the time like this and it works very well for us – and I enjoy it.  Maybe it’s not the multi-player experience that I dislike; maybe it’s just the bad apples that I seem to get into games with.  Maybe it’s the gamers that have changed.

I guess for the most part that it’s the obnoxious gamers that have lead me to be monogamous when it comes to gaming – just me and the game – with the exception of racing games and Diablo III when it is released.

So pondering my lack of passion for online multi-player games in contrast to the high value put on the multi-player experience by game reviewers led me to ask the Platform Nation writers if they were single player gamers or multi-player gamers.


Jose Adrovet | Gui J | Profile |

Often I find myself to be a solitary gamer as I enjoy the art of a game.  Like a good book I often want to get entangled into the story and become part of the world.  Red Dead Redemption was a good example of this and more recently I found Dead Space 2 to be an exciting experience.  As a parent I often find that whenever I have been doing any multi-player it has been to play with my sons.  I have to mention that since I both attend school and work full time, the single player thing works well for me.  I feel no need to always be in the mix just so I can compete (That’s you CODBLOPS).  With a single player experience I can enjoy it in smaller bits.

Cooper Bibaud | Thirsty Robot | ProfileTwitter |

I feel like we’re in a time where the gears are shifting toward having people play together, whether online or in your living room. Slowly, the “sad loser who lives in the dark basement of his/her parents” image is fading from the association with videogames. I for one would like to keep that image alive and well.

I’m finding it harder and harder for myself to seek out and find truly gripping single player experiences. I find multi-player grows old extremely fast for me. I’m the type of gamer who needs variety. I don’t even necessarily need an amazing story line, just something good enough to glue together a solid single player campaign. A great example of this was last year’s hidden gem, Vanquish.

It’s not that I’m even actively against multi-player, I’ve made so many attempts at getting sucked into one, or to find that special game where I’ll be hooked in online death matches day in and day out and I just can’t find it. I usually play for a week or two and after awhile it becomes a chore. To me, multi-player is the same old thing, every time, in every game. The worst part is that I’m seeing more and more games that are intentionally meant for single player experiences, being docked points in review scores for not including multi-player which results in us getting games like Bioshock and Uncharted, randomly throwing it in there.  For more on this, I wrote an article last year; give it a read if you love or hate my opinion by clicking here.

If it isn’t multi-player, it’s “sandbox” style games ruining my single player experiences.  Sometimes, I don’t want choices.  Sometimes I don’t want to have to ‘create’ my own fun.  Sometimes I want to sit down, and enjoy a fun filled narrative linear game.

Zac Campbell |

I play both single player and multiplayer both with great joy but I enjoy multiplayer more in a way just because I can play it much longer, it is more challenging, it can be more rewarding and you can have a great time with friends. Single player is something that I normally only go through once and takes up a lot less time than the multiplayer. 

Scott diMonda | WCC5723 | ProfileTwitter |

Story Mode is all me.  I am a sucker for a good story even though a game may have some quirks if the story keeps me interested I will continue to play it.  But it is always good to hook up with some multiplayer with friends and just have a good time, but story mode is my favorite.

Bobby Gonzalez |

Between single player and online multiplayer I like single player more.  While fragging people online is always fun, playing a well crafted single player game connects with me more.  Playing through Bioshock showed me how amazing video games can be.  Scenes in MGS4 floored me while I was playing.  I love RPGs of all varieties (Japanese, Western, Action, Strategy).  I never want online multiplayer to go away (and it never will) though because it is so unique to video games compared to other mediums.  I will say I love local multiplayer.  Donkey Kong Country Returns, Dead Nation, Left 4 Dead, Borderlands, BlazBlue and more have all been extremely fun with someone next to me on the couch.  Playing Super Smash Brothers with friends is about as fun as you can get playing video games. 

Brian Heitzenrater | FrehleyzComet | ProfileTwitter |

I’m a bit of both. Sometimes I’m in the mood to shake it up online and other times I just feel like playing alone. Lately, I’ve been playing the heck out of Two Worlds II online. The Adventure mode is Off the Hook! The single player mode is fun as well. I’ve also been heavy into Battlefield Bad Company 2 (Vietnam). It’s the best online FPS in my opinion. Halo Reach is a close second. I can’t wait till Killzone 3 comes out. That’s going to suck a butt load of my gaming time. Most times though, I just like to play by myself. Get sucked into a massive world I can explore (Fallout New Vegas).

Sarah Howard | FFXPrincess | ProfileTwitter |

I personally am a fan of both types of games, depending on the circumstances. If I have a friend over then yes, I always prefer games with multiple players avaliable. If it’s just me? I’d rather a single player. I don’t need to be online with a bunch of other people to have a good time (though it is fun, I’ll give you that), I’m more into playing the game the way I want to play it.

Tym Kaywork | vttym | ProfileTwitter |

I’m split down the middle on this topic, since the games can be excellent in either variety.  Some games excel as multiplayer (CoD, Borderlands), while others are perfect as single player (Oblivion, Fallout).  I enjoy them all equally, so I guess I’m going to give a cop-out answer of “Both.”

Justin Kiplinger |

I guess I don’t really fit either description, though the closest would be multi-player.  Ever since I had my first access to high speed internet I have been into playing first person shooters online.

I love competing with other players and trying out all the different kinds of guns the game has to offer.  If I had to pick a favorite play style it would have to be sniping, not quick scoping, but old fashioned hard scoping. Best example of this today would be Bad Company 2, I don’t really count the rifles in the last 2 Call of Duty games as “sniping” regardless of how your using them.

While multi-player is one of my favorite aspects of gaming, it has recently turned from a drive to a form of addiction to online play and I have had to force myself to cut back to allow time for other games. Nevertheless, I think its safe to say that I will be partial to MP gaming in general.

Stewart Loosemore | Stigweird85 | ProfileTwitter |

For me a game has to have a single player component. The story, the characters and the dialogue that’s what keeps me playing. Playing with/against friends is fun but you can’t always do this.

If a game doesn’t have a good story I’ll probably not see it to the end and usually if a game has a heavy drive on multi-player I’ll avoid it like the plague as stories are usually tacked on as an afterthought.

Brandon Minton |

I like to treat gaming like most people treat reading a story, and that is curled up on the couch with the lights down low, the surround sound up and get “all immersed up in” the experience that is being provided. It is more of an ‘escape’ for me than anything. I prefer a single player experience over a multi-player, for the simple fact that it allows me to interpret what is happening without any interference from another player. When playing alone, I feel that I am getting *exactly* what was intended by the developer when I am delving deep into a single player game. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally down for some intense multi-player shootouts in Black Ops, or some white knuckle action in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, but nothing really grabs me quite like a good story being presented in a single player environment.

Mike Murphy | Chibi_Mike | Profile |

I gotta be honest- I really don’t care about multiplayer. Like, at all. I have fun going split-screen in Left 4 Dead when company is over, but other than that, the idea of multiplayer just does nothing for me. So much so that I don’t have a gold account on my 360- aside from Netflix (which I can use for free on my computer five feet away from the tv), I’d never use it.

I prefer progressing through a story, and working towards an ending. I’ve always seen multi-player as just running around, doing the same 4-5 things over and over again. And that’s great, if that’s what you’re into, but not for me.

So yeah, single player all the way.

Ross Phillips |

Its multiplayer for me.  The reason is I know I will beat the single player so why bother?  I don’t have a lot of time to game so why waste it on something ultimately predictable?  I’m sure I miss out on some good set pieces and such but for me I’ll always play multi.

Of the last few FPS I’ve owned, (in story mode) I did one level of Killzone 2, none so far of BadCompany 2 and only 4 or 5 on World at War on the Wii when my internet was down!

Jordan Silverthorne | Silverthorne | Profile | Twitter |

I take things on a case-by-case basis; as much as I loved Reach’s campaign, I spent most of my time with the game in multiplayer.  Red Dead, on the other hand, was such an in-depth and immersive single-player experience that I never even ventured into the multiplayer menu.  I suppose that I lean toward single-player and co-op campaign experiences first and foremost.  I want to be told a story.  Nevertheless, when a great multiplayer online game comes along, I will dive right into it for weeks on end.

Ross Wigg | LostPoetB24 | ProfileTwitter |

Truthfully for me both Single Player and Multi-player games have a place in my heart just depending on the mood. Sometimes I feel like just running through a game just to enjoy it by myself but then it loses something once it is complete. Multi-player can give you a different experience depending on the people you play with and a different angle on the game. With most games I will try the story mode first just to enjoy the game but jump into the multi-player just to test out my skills. Some games benefit with single player campaigns while others work better as solely a multi-player game. Could you imagine Mario or lets say a sports game as only a single player game it would get boring quickly. On the same hand adding a multi-player aspect to lets say Metroid could detract from an overall experience. It would be cool to see more games do the add in drop out option so if you wanted you could have people join your game at anytime whether it be by invite or by some kind of system.

Mark Withers | PN Markwithers | ProfileTwitter |

The single player experience beats anything that multiplayer has created since it’s beginnings.  For me multiplayer modes epitomise everything that the non-gaming communities criticise, they are simply a waste of time, something you do when you want to disengage the brain.  It’s mindless to a degree and extremely lazy on developers part.  I cannot get out of the mindset that it is like a tech demo, a sandbox version of the game they created and they simply open the gates to players and let them run around.  Of course, there are game modes that create the illusion of having a point to multiplayer maps but it comes nowhere near the set-piece experience and strong story that a great simple player game brings you.  Ask most gamers to describe their most memorable gaming moment and it will mostly be from a campaign set piece or twist in a story.  Unfortunately if you look at the price of a game one month after release, if there is not a strong multiplayer following then the price of the game is at least 50% less than at release, so multiplayer modes are here to stay even if they feel tacked on to most games. Co-op is a different matter altogether and that is where I see the future of games, to experience the campaign story with friends really adds to the whole experience.

The rules for Stir are simple.

I pick a topic and ask the Platform Nation writers, editors and staff to send me their opinions.  Thanks go out to all the Platform Nation writers who contributed to Stir this week.  They are all part of the best writing team in the industry and I couldn’t do this without them.

Now, drop down into the comment box below and let us know – are you a single or multi-player gamer?

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  • best muti player with fewer campers and dumb asses is rdr. I liked it enough that I have red dead on the ps3 and 360. most music games and racing are fine online. all mmo’s suck

  • Give me fantastic single player experiences like Mass Effect, uncharted, red dead, or bioshock any day. Multiplayer for me is simply an add-on that in many games sometimes I try, sometimes I don’t. Multiplayer game type offerings have become much more diverse over the years but the thing that will always hold it back is the online douchebags. Can’t seem to avoid them. They can ruin an online experience for others and it’s just sad to see and hear most of these morons. Heck, I even enjoyed the single player of games like the first modern warfare and first gears of war much more than their online components. I doubt I would ever pay full retail for a multiplayer only game because so much of that experience depends on the community and not the actual gameplay mechanics, and the community can really suck. All this is why ME2 is my favorite game this gen and it has no multiplayer. I love uncharted as well, but at the end it is an 8 hour game that you play through the single player 2 or 3 times and you’re done with it. The multiplayer for uncharted is good, but again, too many mental midgets, basement dwelling racists, and billy badasses and tommy toughguys who only have online muscles. Mass Effect series on the other hand is a 30-45 hour experience that is highly replayable and infinitely enjoyable. It is the only game from 2010 that I played that I still own and play on occasion and have not traded in. And it is the game I am most looking forward to in 2011, along with uncharted 3, killzone 3, gears of war 3, and batman arkham city. And yes, for those games that have multiplayer I am looking forward more to the single player experience.

  • i’d consider myself a single-player person, but only if there’s quite a bit of replay value, that’s why i lost several hundred hours to oblivion and dozens of hours to new vegas, and why i believe skyrim’s going to kill me.

    multiplayer has it’s merits though, as it’s very spontaneous and is different very time, which is something that a single-player only game can’t match, as it’s programmed for things to happen in a specific order.

    what i really want though, is a good split screen multiplayer mode, in a reminisce to timesplitters, where i could vent my frustration on unsuspecting bots. it’s been too long since there was a good one.

  • Singleplayer for me. I despise online multiplayer games because I dont have the time to play constantly and stay competitive hence its more like a chore than fun.
    I do play bots on Killzone 2 though because I can tailor the difficulty to my level and have actual fun.
    Co-op is great too.
    I do like RDR Freeroam because I can make of it what I want. I can grind hideouts solo or team up and do coop or just pick a target and go gunning for them. If I get hassled I can run away and set up an ambush, fight it out, or leave without letting down my team or losing points.