It hit me that night my friends and I threw a dinner party with a box of day-old Little Caesar’s and a bottle of flat Pepsi: Present-day multiplayer gaming is lame. Why? Because the console kings hate people who have actual lives. David Wong pretty much sums it up over at Cracked.com:
…if you think “multiplayer” means inviting the gang over to play, get drunk, laugh and high-five each other until the break of dawn, too bad. You can’t do that. Want to play with friends, they must be kept at arm’s length, faceless at the other end of a broadband connection. Grand Theft Auto IV multiplayer is a world without hugs.
Likewise, on that night when my friends and I took an impulse drive down to the local video store with the intention of renting something the four of us could play while our bloated bellies processed vast quantities of empty calories, we were sorely disappointed to find that all of the PlayStation 3 games available at the time were online multiplayer. In a perfect Sony world, each of us would have smiled stupidly, gone out and bought his own PS3 and a copy of the game, gone home, hooked it up, and, eventually, jabbered about how awesome it was to be playing the same game at the same time without being in the same room. What really happened: We dug out my piece-of-shit Nintendo 64 and its four crusty controllers, and we knocked off a dozen rounds of GoldenEye. Fucking brilliant—not only because I was still able to kick ass at the game, but because, despite today’s cutting edge, gigabyte-wielding, coffee-making, cancer-curing gaming systems, it was fucking GoldenEye that provided the superior “party” multiplayer experience.
The console kings want us divided, split apart, separated into our individual, stuffy apartments playing our individual PS3s or Xboxes in our filthy underwear and believing, naively, that we’re networking, socializing, making friends. BS to that. I just fragged the dog shit out of some kid from Wisconsin—it means nothing if he can’t see me giving him the finger, if he can’t feel me raking my knuckles across his scalp, or if I can’t watch him flinch as I hurl the salsa bowl into his face during my victory dance. I can only feed the stereotype that gamers are stay-at-home losers whose only interaction with other human beings is through their TeamSpeak headsets. For this, Sony and Microsoft earn a big fat bag of flaming poo. (Not you, Nintendo; you’re golden, what with your darling Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.)
Now, get the hell off my lawn.