Has Online Ruined Video Game Consoles?
Memoir of an old gamer.
Let me take you back to the eighties...
Home consoles were becoming more and more popular and were considered the next big thing in home gaming.
My brother and I wanted one, but our single Mom could not afford to get us one at the time of it's release.
We had gotten our gaming bug from playing arcade games at a 7-11 before school and by watching our Grandpa and oldest brother play Atari and Intellivison games.
One day our Mom was given a used Atari by our Bowling League Instructor. We were thrilled! If we were not outside playing or watching our cartoons, we were playing the heck out of that thing. Eventually we grew bored of the limited amount of games we had for it, and since newer and better consoles were out, it was becoming more difficult to find games for it.
I believe it was sometime in 1988/1989 that our Mom surprised us with our new console. My brother and I were about 6 and 8, or something like that. We never did get a lot of games for it, but we had plenty of fun playing the ones we had. A lot of the time our Mom would let us rent games on the weekend at a local video store. Those were the days...
After that, my brother and I had owned just about every video game console and handheld system there was. Either by our Mom getting it for us as a Birthday or Christmas present, buying it used from a garage sale, or buying it ourselves with our paper route money.
We were officially vidiots.
Now skip to about 13 years later.
It was the end of 2001 and the next generation of consoles were flooding out.
I was content with my recently purchased PS2, which I bought with my own hard earned money. We had no interest in the other real interest in that Green thing at the time. We suspected it could be another bomb like other consoles that had come and gone. Well, it was not...
Finally sometime around 2002, my brother and I got to play it. A friend brought his system over and we played all night. It was one of the best times we had played in a long time. It was better than staying up all night playing 1 on 1 "Doom" over our computers several years prior. Once my brother got his - the LAN parties began.
On a good night we had 3-4 systems in our house. PS2 and other consoles were present. We would have 4 friends on 4 TV's & consoles.
On a slow night we usually just had 2 systems with 8 players total. Either way, we still had fun. We would play until the sun came up. Literally.
And this just wasn't on weekends, oh no, this would even happen on weeknights. I worked nights, so I usually stayed up all night and slept until I had work at 5pm the next night. Our Mom and Grandma didn't like it as much, but we would try to be as quiet as possible after they went to bed.
At the time I didn't know it, and I may have taken it for granted... but looking back, this was one of the best times I ever had playing a video game with friends. Nowadays, online gaming has just not recreated the same feeling having those LAN parties all night with 13-16 friends in the same house gave me...
Enter the online console boom.
Sure, my brother put a lot of hours online and I dipped online a bit for "Fight Night" on my PS2. Even though PlayStation 2 and other consoles were offering online gaming, it did not sky-rocket to popularity until later. ... but, it was just not as exciting as playing with a group of friends in-person. I remember playing split-screen online with my brother for the first time. Less than an hour into it I told him "This just doesn't have the same feel."
It was sad that eventually hanging out with friends would end sooner than later. I first had this realization when a couple of friends went with me to buy "Warhawk."
After the three of us bought our copies, grabbed lunch, and got out to the parking lot. They immediatly were ready to leave and go "hop online."
That close-knit gaming experience with buddies was now... dead.
Fast forward to TODAY.
Just about any game you pick up has Multiplayer. Even games that started out as Single Player games have started to introduce Online Multiplayer into their franchise. "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" and "Dead Space 2", just to give a few examples.
It now seems like it is a silent requirement that all games have to have some sort of online support. For example, the game "Eight Days" (a PS3 launch title) was canceled supposedly due to not having any kind of online or multiplayer feature.
Granted, some games sneak by and succeed without the use of a multiplayer. "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune", "Dead Space", "Heavy Rain", "Fallout 3/New Vegas", "L.A. Noire," "God of War 3," and most currently, "Sorcery." Which I'm happy about. I understand that online gives the game more replay value, but if the game has a great story first and has plenty of in-game collectibles, it will keep me entertained for hours, weeks, months!
These are games that want to tell a compelling story. They didn't feel the need to conform to the current idealistic that a video game MUST have multiplayer in order for it to succeed. I applaud them for standing by their original ideas as to what they wanted their game to be.
If there was ONE thing that I had to choose as to why online gaming can be horrible... it would be-
The amount of foul mouths I come across while playing games online is shocking.
Why do some people feel the need to put on some sort of facade while they're playing online?
I dislike when people use the phrase "In real life" (IRL for short) while discussing topics in their personal life over the Internet. This IS REAL LIFE, people. It is just an extension of it. My brother and I would never say anything to somebody over the Internet that we wouldn't say to them in person.
Yet, some people online say or do things that would have gotten their eye slapped, if they said or did them in an arcade. Heck, most of them would NOT say or do the stuff they do if they were standing in front of you..
So has online gaming ruined video game consoles? I would have to answer that with both a "yes" and a "no."
Yes - because newer generations will never know the experiences us older gamers had as a kid or pre-teen, by having "group play" sessions. The closest thing to it now would be the PS Move, considering most of their games are party games. But, it seems like a majority of older gamers like myself buy the Move in order to re-live those moments from our gaming childhood.
No - because if it were not for online gaming, we wouldn't have great online experiences like "Starhawk", "Madden NFL", or online communities like this forum and "PlayStation Home." The success of online for home consoles has helped sales and helped them become more popular today. It offered something that was once only a feature available to computer users. Competitive gamers can test their skills against other gamers from around the world. Plus, it can help give gamers more game for their buck.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not implying nobody has LAN parties anymore or plays video games in groups. When we have the time, I still play games with my brother at his house or he at mine. And now that he recently purchased a PS3, we enjoy playing online together, and we've even been discussing trying to get a LAN party going in the future. But, the truth is -- it's dying. LAN parties are mostly done by hardcore computer gamers. With the convenience to go online and play your friends/family, why hang out and play together at all? Right?
So to sum this up and put it like the ramblings of an old man-
When I was a kid, my "multiplayer" experience was when my brother and I would go to the Arcade and play strangers all night on a roll of quarters.
My "in game chat" was when me and my brother would turn our heads and talk to each other while playing 2 player split-screen.
When my "server was down" it meant my Mom shut off my game until I got chores done or did my homework.
I don`t think online ruined video game consoles, however I do not think every game needs online. I rarly ever play games online. When I buy a game I look for a good story and good gamplay. I don`t ever buy a game based on online.
Most online games do also have offline multiplayer, so you can still have all your friends over and play a bunch of multiplayer games
well being a near 40 gamer and knowing alot of what you are talking about-- i have a diffrent view. Online has ruined gameing for one reason- most new games SUCK. the stories are usually really week- and the games are real short. companies decide now to work on the MP aspect of the game, and forget the campaign/single player mode. games like COD, and even uncharted the new games have a 5 hr single player---thats it!!!the last 3 cod games--- hell i cant tell you which single player is from what game-- they are all the same thing- just a lil change in the story. Uncharted 3 IMHO was an embarrasment to the franchise. i never played the MP - the actual game had me so flustered on how short, boreing and unimaginative it was i traded it in within a week. same goes for assaisns creed revelations--- i was dyeing to play that game--finish the sstory of desmond and figured out what the hell happened at the end of 2--- got about 2 hours into it and realized i could have just as well been playing ac2. didnt even finish the story---traded that 1 in as well. these are 2 franchises that worked so hard on makeing a good MP-- they forgot what made them some of the biggest name games. and that was there single player--- new stories-- awesome graphics--- but for there sequels they let the series grow stale. dont get me wrong though i love a good multiplayer- (BF3 comes to mind - which i have over 300 hours online on / and a whole new set of friends from that) but gameing in a whole is getting stale---AND IM NOT EVEN TOUCHING ON THE FACT OF COMPANIES RUSHING GAMES OUT BEFORE THERE EVEN FINISHED - THEN PATCHING THEM UP OVER TIME thats a whole nother monster
and sorry -- i know a lil off topic of the thread you started--- just my take on multiplayer/single
While I do agree that not all games need online, I do think all games need some form of multiplayer.
For example, Black was one of my favorite games ever. But, surprisingly, even for a last-gen console, it had no multiplayer, not even split screen so I can face my friends. Halo 1 for original Xbox, relatively best Halo ever, me and my brother had massive fun beating it in Co-op, and even better inviting over a bud or two to split screen it up on Blood Gulch.
Also, not all games that have online are automatically compensating for a crappy story. Red Dead Redemption has an amazing story and the online had more activities to do than you can wave an Ethernet cable at.
Online didn't kill the Video Game Star.
Considering gaming came from computers, and computers and Internet go together like....well computers and Internet, online play was an inevitability.