Friday, September 23, 2011


So I played a multi-player video game for the first time ever this week.  Gears of War 3.  It was awesome.

I have played an MMO (Warcraft) before, and I’m looking forward to Star Wars the Old Republic, but I had never played the multi-player for a regular video game. 

However, my friend Brev convinced me that I should buy Gears of War 3 for this purpose.  We played on Tuesday night, and I am hooked.  Hooked!

My pre-conceptions of Multi-player games were:  You want to play something combat heavy, like Halo or Call of Duty.  You go online via xbox live arcade or what have you.  If you are lucky, your friends are online as well and want to play the same thing as you – but that is a rare occurrence.  Most of the time, you end up playing with strangers.  Most of them pwn you.  And if you are not performing to their exacting specifications, you get called bad names and are made to feel inferior in every way.  And there are things like tea-bagging and other gestures of scorn.

(I was happy to see that these notions were not accurate - at least, not in my particular circumstance.  I suspect that a lot of the Player vs Player world of Multi-player is like this, but I haven’t ventured into that arena.)

What I actually experienced:  A group of friends coordinated schedules and agreed to log in around the same time.  Once online, we formed a party and discussed which type of multi-player game we wanted to go for that night.  In Gears of War, you can play through the regular campaign individually, with AI’s for your teammates, or with individual players controlling teammates.  There is a PvP mode, where you fight against other players online.  There is a Beast mode, where you play one of the alien enemies that you encounter in the setting, and you attack humans.  Then there is Horde mode, where you pick a map in the world, build a base on it, then have to survive as many waves of enemies as possible – with a “boss” enemy every 10 waves.    This is what we ended up doing the first night.

I’d never played any of the Gears games, and I made sure I logged in a little early so that I could at least play through a couple of levels of the campaign to figure out basic button mechanics.  Then the others logged in, and we got started.

We all had headsets, and that is what made the experience for me.  I knew two of the other guys playing, and was familiar with the other two but not really close.  But listening to their antics over the headsets was hilarious.  One of the guys I don’t know very well yelled “Oh my god!  Oh my god!  Oh my god!  Brev!” so often, I could have sworn I was listening to an intimate moment rather than him running from fictional monsters.  I used quite a few four-letter words myself. 

Nobody got angry with me for not knowing what I was doing half the time.  I got killed – a LOT – but they didn’t gripe about always having to save me.  Mostly, we just all wanted to have a good time.  And we were!  I died at least once because I was laughing so hard at what was being said I couldn’t pay attention to the game.  We had so much fun that I was a little sad when midnight arrived and we all agreed it was time to call it a night.

What struck me most in retrospect was that it was a Tuesday night.  A Tuesday night.  I would never get to have fun with my friends on a Tuesday night in normal circumstances.  I live miles away from them, and everybody has to go to work in the morning.  But this was a way to play a game together, laugh and kill fictional monsters in the middle of the week!  I get it now!

Real life conspired to make the rest of the week a schedule challenge, and last night (Thursday), I logged in just to see if I could play some more of the campaign by myself so that I could figure out more about how to play.  As soon as I logged in, I was invited to party with a couple of the other guys, who were just starting to run through some of the campaign cooperatively.  We did that until midnight again!  I feel almost spoiled at how much fun I’ve had, and it made spending $60 on the game a completely valid expenditure.

More, please.  Kthxbye.

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