M is for Multiplayer

I have a feeling that, in some years, when I have my own family we will play lots of games (both physical and non-physical) together.  We would be similar to Minecraft Dad who plays the computer game Minecraft with his kids and posts the videos on YouTube.  I think the majority of video game’s bad rapport are due to their tendency to isolate people, but this mindset always assumes a singe player experience.  Nonetheless, let’s talk about some of my favorite multiplayer experiences both with and without a wall outlet:

Terraria:  Very much like Minecraft above, but done in gorgeous SNES-esque graphics.  A few of my buddies got together and we thought we’d only play it for an hour or so, that hour became all night.  It’s a blast.  It’s only flaw is that it’s Windows only (aside from hacks, of course) because of it being a .NET game.

Left 4 Dead:  You’re one of four people trying to survive a zombie cataclysm.  It’s a first person shooter that heavily emphasizes cooperation.  When you got a player down, you have to mow down the zombies and physically help him up. The single player version uses computer controlled bots with decent AI, but it’s a boat load more enjoyable with three other people.  One of my favorite things about L4Dis that your character choice is purely one made on aesthetics.  But what I like even more is that it’s played in short campaigns only taking a few hours or so each.  So instead of watching a movie with your loved ones and not talk to each other in the dark, why not blast away some zombies together?

Omega Virus:  Okay, to be fair, I haven’t played this one since maybe Clinton’s first term. It’s a board game where you are trying to survive on a space station where a malicious computer virus is trying to wipe you out.  It’s got a battery powered voice with some creepy, snarky comments (think an early prototype of GLaDOS).  Is there anything more that really needs to be said?  Note to self, track this one down.

Munchkin: Takes the concept of dungeon diving and monster slaying and simplifies it into a card game where people with no experience in these sorts of games can enjoy it.  It’s absolutely chaotic and hilarious.  While it’s true you’re all playing together, it’s also built off competition and betrayal.

Unnamed tabletop RPG:  Tricky one because this a wild card.  I’ve been playing D&D 3/3.5/Pathfinder for some time.  They are fun, but I’m currently looking for something different.  Here’s what I got my eye on:

Labyrinth Lord:  A retro clone of classic D&D.  You can download some of the books on the publisher’s website and I’m blown away by the game’s simplicity.  Combat looks to be very quick and adventure building looks to be simple.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Warhammer is gritty and dark.  You’re not playing the knight in shining armor, but more than likely just a regular person in a dark fantasy universe trying to make their way.  Combat in Warhammer is also very lethal and is sometimes wiser to avoid rather than charge blindly in.

Call of Cthulhu: Even lower than Warhammer.  See my earlier post on Cthulhu and Lovecraft.  This game really isn’t even meant for combat (as you will probably die), but is built on investigating strange mysteries.  It’s made to be like its source material, so if you see one of the eldritch monstrosities you will probably go insane.  Hah!

Barbarians of Lemuria: Know almost nothing about this one other than its meant to be pretty rules light.  A low fantasy world like Robert E. Howard’s Conan (which I’d prefer).  Will have to look more into this one.

Deadlands: Just like barbarians, I know almost nothing.  It’s a weird west game that uses dice, cards, and poker chips (as any western game probably should).


4 Responses to “M is for Multiplayer”

  1. I can’t with Left 4 Dead. I simply cannot. I tried to play it once, since I love all things zombies, and nearly ended up in tears.

  2. We have a Wii, and one of the things I like about it is the number of multiplayer games. Our kids span a wide age range, but they can all come together around the Wii and play either against each other, or with each other. I would hardly criticize gaming as an isolationary pursuit. Quite the opposite in our case.

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