Multiplayer in Games

While reading Bonnie Nardi’s My Life as a Night Elf Priest and the posts and comments on this site, I noticed that both the book and the blog focus on the sense of community within the game of WoW. A lot of players become attached to one another and some even consider their guild mates family and so on. One theory is the need to belong but to that point I have to wonder about solo RPGs and the growing need for every game to have multiplayer. As I’ve stated, the Mass Effect series is my favorite game and up until the third game, they were single player. You customized your Commander Shepard, made choices on their behalf, and suffered the consequences, all on your own.

(Spoilers for ME2 in the vid)

In ME3, they added a multiplayer horde mode option and swore that it would not impact single player gameplay. It was a straight up lie. You had to play a couple of games of multiplayer in order to get your galactic readiness up enough to get one of the endings. As someone who doesn’t like multiplayer, I couldn’t stand this. It’s not that I don’t like playing with others, but I don’t like not having a choice. I also didn’t like that in a game revolving so much around individual choice and team cohesiveness reduced its players to CoD grunts who “stole kills” and trash talked others just to get the highest score. It belittled the entire point of Mass Effect.

Other games, however, are designed for multiplayer and promote a team effort and community, such as WoW or Borderlands. Do you think it’s possible that, if attached to the wrong game, multiplayer can have an adverse reaction on its players, or is this simply the way of the future for gaming?


2 thoughts on “Multiplayer in Games”

  1. I think you posed a great question as to whether multiplayer can have adverse reactions to its players. I do believe that it can have such reactions because, while extremely tragic, look at what effect video games played in the Colombine school shootings many years ago. Apparently, there were links to a video game that influenced the boys to go on that shooting massacre. Here is a link that I think will show what negative effects video games can have.

  2. I think the possible problem with community in video games stems from anonymity of video games. In general, people are becoming more and more culpable for their online communication. Video games are one of the few ubiquitous online platforms where a person is expected to use an alias, and perhaps the only such platform where strangers commonly speak to one another. This anonymity has allowed for people to lower their standard of decency when speaking and interacting with others. I think anyone who has spent any extended any time around gamers hass heard terms like “rape” and “gay” thrown around with an ease not typical to normal conversation. (I have personally found that receiving sexual threats are simply a part of the online gamer experience.)

    I think this anonymity is particularly to blame for the rampant sexism involved in gaming. Professor Reid posted an article in the beginning of term regarding onw woman’s experience with sexual threats and comments in the gaming community. Below is a link to a study detailing how much of a problem is still is in the gaming world.

    In other words, video game communities allow for an increased contact with human beings under the veil of anonymity, and this allows them to defy social norms without consequence. The real problem with this is that time spent in such environments will begin to make a person accustomed to the culture, and thus make it harder for a person to acclimate themsleves to the norms at play in real life. That is, the more time spent by a person, even one who thinks this sort of talk is despicable, in these sort of environments the more they will come to view this sort of talk as normal or unworthy of reproach, even in their actual lives.

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