The Value of a Video Game: Part 3 - Multiplayer

Here's Part 1 and Part 2, in case you were wondering, or need a refresher after so many months of me having writer's block. Here's Part 3. Now, I don't particularly care much for multiplayer components of games, especially console ones. Having online multiplayer is new to me - and it'll take a while before it sinks in. For one, I'm not accustomed to having Internet connection on my consoles. This generation, everything seems to come with wireless. Except the XBOX 360. No surprise I still don't have an XBOX Live account. It's not like I didn't try - I did indeed try out playing Warhawk and Unreal Tournament III on the PlayStation 3 - it's just not my style to go off and play multiplayer games.

I'm not particularly competitive - so I won't go and practice an hour a day just to get good at killing random people online. I'd rather be reading a good book or solving a math problem.  I didn't train up my FPS skills - whatever little I have is whatever little I'm going to have for a while. Sure, I used to be able to headshot regularly in Counter-Strike - doesn't mean I'm gonna go try and do the same in Left 4 Dead.

Speaking of Left 4 Dead, there are many games like it where the multiplayer counts a lot. Games like Left 4 Dead and Rock Band really shine when you've got friends to play co-op with. These games were built to be played with multiple players working together and they are a whole load of fun with friends and family. There are many other games like this - local multiplayer changes the game entirely - Nintendo makes plenty of these - Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii are prime examples of what Nintendo is capable of.

Arguably, that's kid stuff. MMO and most FPS games shine online in multiplayer. What's so funny? FPS games used to be one of the few things PCs did great - they still do great, just that console multiplayer is doing so well - not to mention, sales are way better too. This, of course, translates to more players - and more fun online than people with PCs have now. MMOs are still mostly domain of the PC gamers - and rightfully so: with so many free betas, free-to-play games - and the huge disk space requirements (ahem, WoW, for example) have put them off the console and their expensive certification requirements - for now.

The ability to patch games has made multiplayer a lot more possible for consoles now and in the future. Of course, this has led to us getting bugged versions of console games - but often, even buggier versions on PC. We could blame the fact on being able to patch - but I think the problem is less on being complacent due to ability to patch - and more that the games are getting more difficult to debug every day as they get more complex and difficult to make. (Although Fallout 3 was absolutely abhorrent to anyone except maybe the developers for crashing like a newborn baby trying to drive a jet plane.)

Well, there have been numerous efforts to bring another multiplayer favourite, the real time strategy genre of games to the consoles. Halo Wars, Endwar - and even console versions of C&C3 and Red Alert 3! Without a question, RTS games are most certainly multiplayer domain - although most of them come with a great and rewarding single player campaign to play through all by themselves. Let's face it - the point is to pummel your opponent with your massive (or occasionally, reasonably sized) army. And the best opponents? Other humans.

There's no doubt multiplayer holds loads of value for a gamer in a video game - not to all of us - but most certainly for most of us. And yes, in case there was any doubt - there will be a part 4. ;)