One of the most galvanizing things about being part of the video game community is when a game comes out that everybody is playing. Whether you are following along on Twitch, reading updates on Twitter, or playing on multiplayer servers, there is a palatable sense of togetherness that happens as a large cross-section dives into a new title at once. It happens regularly, but with a wide range of games; some that come to mind are Dark Souls, BioShock Infinite, The Walking Dead, Skyrim, and even The Stanley Parable. With some of those games, I was late to the party as a result of not being able to buy it at the time, or having to wait for it on PC.
Even though I missed out on the zeitgeist surrounding those games, I didn’t really feel like I missed out when I got around to them. As I await the imminent release of Dark Souls II on PC, as well as the (likely?) release of Grand Theft Auto V there as well, I’m not terribly concerned by the delay because I’m confident the experiences will be every bit as memorable as they would have been at release. For some others however, I can’t help but feel that the ship has sailed on having that special gaming experience.
Portal 2 (Multiplayer)I like warm hugs.
Portal 2 is and was an absolute delight. Even after having played it a number of times, and even though I could now do the puzzles with my eyes closed, it’s still a blast to play. As much as I enjoyed it however, one thing I really missed out on was the co-op multiplayer. I got the game on PC right when it came out, but at the time I didn’t really have anyone to play with. By the time I got around to it, everyone had already been through it. I suppose I could have convinced someone to go through it with me, but, with this series, there’s something about the sense of discovery that only happens the first time through.
Animal Crossing: New LeafSoon…they will all fear me…
At E3 last June, one of the things I observed was the wide variety of people playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Gamers, developers, press — everybody seemed to be enthralled by last year’s 3DS summer hit. I certainly didn’t have the time, the game, nor the 3DS to join in, but I’ve been feeling the itch to give it a try one of these days. While Animal Crossing: New Leaf is full of content independent of its multiplayer component, one of the reasons I’d want to get into it is to see (read: mess up) my friends’ towns. I recognize that this is totally not the case in-game, but I have this image in my head of picking up New Leaf, loading up a new game, and finding a derelict world full of despair and the post-apocalyptic remains of dreams long since abandoned. Then again, that actually sounds pretty fucking awesome.
Counter-Strike/Dota 2/League of Legends/StarCraft II“Hi, we’re the League of Legends Welcoming Committee.”
I’m just going to go ahead and lump these games into the same group because, let’s face it, we’re talking about the same thing here. Competitive shooters, MOBAs, and online RTS games are ones that, if you weren’t in on them early on or aren’t super dedicated to excelling at them, largely feature communities that have no interest in you. I’ve dabbled in each of these games because I find them absolutely fascinating, however the ticket to entry is so high and the community so unforgiving towards newcomers that frankly I’m too intimidated to jump in.
The silver lining in all of this, however, is that while I likely will never truly be able to get into these communities as a player, they are at least fun to experience as a spectator. Games such as these are the closest equivalent we have to professional sports in this regard. Still, like the baseball player who missed out on that shot at the big leagues, one always wonders what could have been…