Alright, so first off I don't want to sound old...but I remember when I used to head over to a friend's house and gather up a few people, collect some controllers and play games together for hours. It didn't matter what system, how small the tv was, or even if it was really that great of a game. It was the fact that you were playing a game with others that made it the best.
Anyways, after just finishing my first semester of college, my gaming experiences have changed a great deal.
First of all I'm finding myself playing more PC games, thanks to Valve's Steam...and I always find the multiplayer ones to be the best. Sure Team Fortress 2 is fun on its own, just playing random people online. Adding a few college friends in there makes it a whole lot more fun (especially when you just killed the guy who lives next door because he tried killing your soldier with the scout's baseball bat, oh the funny things that are said) Of course, I still have a serious soft spot for the oldies that can bring a group together in front of a screen for hours of fun. A friend of mine over Thanksgiving collected his Nintendo 64 things together and brought them back up after the break. Sure his controllers were a bit iffy (the sticks are loose beyond anything I've seen) but it got a few of us interested. We all sat down in his dorm room (four altogether, three of us interested, the other a Halo fanatic who constantly complained about the graphics....it's the Nintendo 64 bro) and put in Mario Tennis. I've spend hundreds of hours playing games with a group of friends, but never before have I had so much fun...all it took was a simple game, and some trash talk. (We got called out for being too loud)
So, after that it got me thinking...why aren't games still made to bring people in front of a single screen anymore? Has the gaming world as we know it been taken over by Microsoft's Xbox-live which allows any twelve year-old to cuss out a complete stranger after killing them with the devastating grenade or pipe bomb? (Even exclusively online PC games aren't as back as Xbox-live typically is) Knowing that the Call of Duty games are extremely popular, a group of us from the floor tried to get a multiplayer game going. So gathering around the biggest tv we had on our floor we tried playing some multiplayer (with four people) on Black Ops....well it was disappointing, our COD fanatics kept promising that we could play with four in just about any mode, but no...that we later found was not true. (Mind you, I'm not much of a Cod guy, cool games....just don't interest me) So the whole system link thing began to take place...but it wasn't the same. Sure it equalized with the TF2 mention of earlier but it wasn't as fun...TF2 can add another 28 people to your fun. So switching to Halo (if I recall it was Halo2) we played with eight of us, using two screen....what happened to the multiplayer like that?
Sure, playing online is awesome...but does it give us an excuse to basically stop making friends who play games because you will always have an opponent online? Having someone against you, while sitting right next to you is so much more fun, and I miss the days when it was commonplace. Just ask yourself gaming developers...would you be more willing to play a game if you walked into a room with one guy playing online, with all you capable of doing is watching? Or, would you be more willing to play a game seeing a few others in a room all into a game because they are all playing? (I think that was the idea behind the Wii, she it finally lost its luster...but I think it worked)
My message is to get off your rears, take that mic out (you twelve year olds didn't know how to use it anyways), and start making friends, there is a reason why they put four controller slots (or lights) on those consoles.