Are Gamers Anti-Social, or Do Games Make Gamers Anti-Social?
Many times I've heard people say that gamers are anti-social. We'd rather sit in front of a console than go out and meet people. We'd spend umpteen hours in an online community before we get together with friends. I even know a married couple who spend more time together in the online world of Everquest than they do in real life. The question is, are gamers anti-social to begin with, or do games make gamers anti-social?
I play a lot of games and it used to be that there were a lot of 2 player games. By 2 player I mean games where 2 people can sit in the same room and play the same game together. Split screen first person shooters, racing games, fighting games, and sports games used to be the best gaming experience. Some of my fondest memories of my 20's are of playing NBA Live or Madden NFL together with friends. Not to mention Gauntlet, or other RPGs like Baldur's Gate. It was so much fun to get together, hang out, and play games. That's far from anti-social.
There are fewer and fewer games like that today. The trend is to make everything single player on a single console and multi-player is online only. I've even heard of game developers who feel that this is a step forward, that multi-player split screen was primitive, and that online is the only way to play. RPGs are no longer multi-player on the same console. Some FPSs don't even have a split screen mode, or even worse they (Black) don't even have multi-player.
My theory is that games make gamers anti-social. Is it really a step forward that everyone should sit alone at home and play together online? I think not, because where is the interaction that takes place around the game? Where are the high-fives and the jokes, the stories about our day at work, the break for dinner and the beloved pizza and beer? They are gone, because everything is being pushed online. I believe that console manufacturers want everything online so they can compete with each other in the new online frontier. But the casualty of this competition is gamers, gamers that want to sit in the same room, play together, and socialize.
The way I see it, online gaming is just about the game. Any community revolves around the game. Why should my friend sit in his house and play with me online when he could come over here and we could actually interact as human beings?
My conclusion is that we're being separated physically and pushed online because console manufacturers and game developers see online multi-player as the future and 2 player on the same console as backwards and outdated. All this does is make more gamers sit alone at home, forsaking real interaction with friends for virtual community. "Game night" now means everyone sitting alone at home, and that just isn't right. Gamers may be somewhat anti-social to begin with, but one player per console is just making it worse, not better. Games should have multiplayer on the same console and multiplayer online to give a variety of options. We shouldn't have to sit home alone in order to play with a friend.
Which do you prefer, multiplayer online or multiplayer on the same console? Write a comment and let me know.