I want to first start off by stating that I love Online Gaming. Xbox Live and the Playstation Network offer a great deal of features that only enhance a game’s playability. Having the ability to download demos, new game content, and original titles really has revolutionized the way we play and enjoy videogames. The most defining feature of online gaming is online multiplayer. For me being able to sit in the comfort of my own home and play with people all over the world is something that i couldn’t have fathomed in my youth. With all the incredible offerings that come with online gaming, there are a few things that i miss about the days of old. When i was a kid videogames were abundantly more social than they are now. I know i have a greater access to more people with online gaming which in theory is exponentially more social than a LAN party, but the lack of physical interaction creates a disconnect for me. We use to have 4 dudes crammed into a small room with soda cans and pizza boxes everywhere kicking each others asses in Goldeneye on a small ass TV. That was gaming to me at its finest. I can still have that today, but its 4 dudes sitting in their own small rooms playing against each other on their own small ass TV, scattered across the city.
As these online services become more capable i fear that gaming will inevitably become an anti-social experience. It is already bad enough when i ask my friends to come over for a gaming session they would rather stay at home and tell me to “Yo, hop on LIVE”. That is fine and all, but i have always felt that gaming has some intrinsic quality that necessitates social interaction. Arcades are all but dead, but anyone who has gamed in there life has spent some quality time in an arcade and more than likely misses the hell out of those kinds of experiences. Some games are meant to be played alone and some games are too boring to play in front of others, but for those outings that are not get your friends over and drink some cheap beer and LAN up some original Halo.