Sunday, November 14, 2010

Couch Gaming in Extremis

Today I invited some people over from the neighborhood to hang out and play video games. If someone invited you to do this, what would you expect to be doing? I personally imagine friends sitting in front of the TV controllers in hand, laughing about the ridiculous death some character onscreen just suffered. Unfortunately, my friends' idea of it is bringing laptops for the purpose of playing different single-player games in the same room. So here I sit at a computer after so many failed attempts to pull them to the Playstation to play something together, so bored that I actually remembered to do homework for once.

The "good ol' days" of video gaming are often described as going over a friend's house after school or Saturday mornings to hook up the Nintendo 64 or the Playstation 2 to play that new game that just came out or an old favorite. I ask you, my classmates: Is this dead? Are the "good ol' days" gone for good? Have Xbox Live and fast internet connections killed the togetherness and friendship that was always tied into 2-Player Mode? Can we even imagine 2-Player Mode now that we have Call of Duty servers that hold thirty people we don't even know?

There is at least one lighthouse out at the shore. Do you all remember Scott Pilgrim VS. The World? The film that released last August? The no one had a clue what it was supposed to be about? The entire film reminds you of that couch-gaming era, and the video game adaptation takes the nostalgia even further. It's a side-scrolling two-dimensional beat-em-up with sprite art based on the graphic novel series that started it all. One of the most curious features of the game is that it does not feature online multiplayer, despite the fact that the entire game is built on co-operative play. It's easy to see the reason for it now. I now have friends over all the time to play it with me. (Not the particular set of friends I have over today, clearly.) Scott Pilgrim VS. The World has proved to be the most fun I've had playing a video game with friends in a while, and even though I'm not even 18, I can still say "it takes me back."

Do any of you still play games on the couch with friends anymore?


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  2. I am always surprised at the direct contact that people relinquish without provocation. New routines like texting instead of phone calls, online MOM, online classes, twitter instead of face to face=I miss it too. Do you think Wii has ruined gaming, kind of like your parents on Facebook has changed its chemistry forever? Every time I see one of the family Wii commercials, I wince. I miss board games.

  3. I have to agree with John in this instance. The sitting down with a group of pals gaming world is just about officially dead. Not to say I am ecstatic or disappointed about it, but it is dead. Online play has fully taken over and I do not know the last time I had friends over to play a video game. Maybe they were over to hang out and it came to playing game, but then people had to wait and it became too tedious. Online play gives more people a chance to play at a quicker pace so I much prefer this new system.

  4. I can't say I have much to comment about the video games aspect since I have never played video games. I also don't know anything about online gaming or anything, but I know most of my guy friends don't hang out together just playing video games like you described. Like Healigan I also miss board games because it seems like now no one has time to do things together. Everyone is at a faster pace now and has no time to sit down and spend it with others.

  5. Even though I don't have very much room to comment on the whole video game thing because I don't really play them... Even the idea of people gathering to play single player video games seems really strange to me.
    The entire point of meeting up with friends is to interact and enjoy each other's company. Not to do exactly what you could be doing at your house by yourself.

  6. I believe Johnny is correct about this type of gaming dying out. I have not personally done this often because I do not typically play video games. The only video-like games I play or have played are the Wii now and the old fashioned Nintendo years ago. Games are mainly played alone, except sometimes my family or friends will play Wii games together. Playing games used to be a time to relax and enjoy the fun with people around you. Today not many people have the time to sit down and participate in any games with friends or family. My family tries to play board games together every so often or play Wii games together, but our schedules do not always allows us to do so. The gaming era seems to be dying and I feel something needs to be done to bring it back.