Listen to Luke: More Players, More Fun
Humans are very social creatures (even neckbeards) and game companies know this. Being able to play video games with friends is a huge selling point for many games. This is why the ever-important multi player mode is in pretty much every successful game on the market.
Let’s get one thing straight right now. The reason multi player is fun is not because it is more cleverly designed or better; it’s because playing with humans is more fun than playing against an emotionless block of code.
Solitaire is less fun than playing poker with friends. Just like how whippersnappers are always playing jump rope with each other instead of skipping it alone. It’s a social aspect.
We’re not stinking tarantulas that live alone all their life. We interact with others. It’s human nature.
Equally important is the fact that playing with other people increases variability in a game. When you play a game for a while you can more or less predict how the A.I. will behave. If you’re playing online, however, you can never be certain who will do what. Will Billy123 play aggressively or will he be a coward? How would user CutiePieObama react to you threatening him (her?) with a plasma grenade? I don’t know! And that’s the beauty of it. You can never know, so it provides a unique experience every time.
TagPro is an online, simple version of Capture the Flag that can be played by anyone around the world. It is very addictive and engaging because it’s a new experience every time. Seriously, this game has the dangerous qualities of a worm hole. You might start playing on Tuesday and log off Saturday afternoon. When you play, you face off with different people each time you start a game. Similarly, you can play a match of Call of Duty everyday for years and never come across the same player twice.
The benefits of more-than-one-player mode are not limited to online. I bought Mario Kart 7 at launch in 2011 with one of my best friends. We played against one another a lot-like, everyday. I whomped him mercilessly. But he began to learn. He slowly became better and better. More shortcuts were added to his arsenal. Before I knew it, he was beating me left and right. The simple fact is humans adapt. It never gets old to play with other people.
Replay value is increased with multi player. There is a catch, however. Bad multi player does nothing for a game. If it isn’t fun, people won’t be motivated to play it. No one cares that Super Mario Galaxy 2 has a cooperative mode because its multi player mode is lazy and boring.
But then, if a company hits all the right chords in the multi player experience, the result will lead to years of game play. I’m still not bored of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and that came out six years ago. I still find excitement in going back to it and playing against my friends. It’s because effort and time, along with a cool idea, blended together to allow people to bond and spend time as a group.
Honestly, however, not every game needs multi player. Some aren’t well suited to it. Many RPG’s aren’t fitted for a full-fledged two-player mode. That’s cool. I get it. But other games have no excuse and deserve a simultaneous experience.
If game companies listen to Luke, they will put a heavy focus on multi player in their games. Now I’m gonna go play some more TagPro.