Nobody hates video games more than gamers. If you listen to the forum posts and mouth-frothing Reddit rants, that is. In a way it makes sense -- the people most passionate about a thing are also going to be the most pissed off when something goes wrong with that thing. To a normal person, a game offering downloadable horse armor is kind of ridiculous. To a gamer, it's a sign the shadowy horse illuminati that secretly runs Bethesda is upping the schedule on their bid for world domination. Here are the ones I just don't get:
5DLC That Comes Out Too Soon After Release
Don't get me wrong: I totally understand people being upset when a title releases and it's clearly not finished, then starts charging you for DLC that already should have been in the game. But if the game is a relatively complete experience with DLC that comes out somewhat soon after release, I don't understand getting mad about that. In fact, I love it. If anything, my biggest issue with DLC is that it takes too long to come out: when a game sucks me in, I spend days getting lost in its world. My hands develop the necessary muscle memory to pull off the moves, I memorize the character's cadence and reaction time, and I become one with the controller. Ellie barely has time to scream before I've leapt over the wall to bash that raider's face in with a brick, dropped a smoke bomb, and disappeared into the night. When the dust clears, the other raiders look down to find a grenade oscillating on the ground atop a crude sketch of me giving them the finger.
But it takes time to immerse yourself that fully in a game -- that's why there's a careful progression in difficulty from the early levels through to the end. When I finish a game and forget about it, only for the DLC to come out eight months later, everything is thrown off. Joel is no longer a grizzled heap of man-steak pile-driving fungus zombies onto landmines -- he's fumbling about while I try to remember which button makes me cry in the corner. Then I get stuck on a rock and a raider kills me out of a mixture of disgust and pity. If I finish a game only to find out that DLC is being released a week later, that's awesome. It means I'll leave my last impression on the game world as a whirlwind of justice, not a staggering idiot hucking dynamite at his own feet because square was the reload button in the last game I played.
4The Death of Couch Multiplayer
Future Publishing/Future/Getty Images
Isn't it a shame that modern consoles did away with in-person multiplayer? Those were, without question, some of the most fun times I've had while gaming. I still have an annual Blitz night, where all of my friends come over, I plug in the N64, and we think up creative new swears for each other. Here's the bill for the last one:
The whole evening is capped off with some ill-advised betting, a sprawling fistfight, and lots of inappropriate sobbing. It's the best time I have all year. But, as gamers love to point out, the practice just doesn't exist anymore -- everything's online, and getting called racial slurs by strangers just doesn't have the same appeal. You really have to look into a man's eyes when you tell him that he sucks dog cocks for pesos in Tijuana, otherwise it comes across as an insult.
But anybody that complains about the death of couch multiplayer is missing one very big, very obvious thing: Nintendo.
Every time you lament the lack of couch multiplayer in modern consoles, Nintendo sheds a single lonely tear and retires to a brightly colored, mushroom-shaped shack to dry their eyes with tissues emblazoned with cute little cartoon penguins. Nintendo has always been the best at in-person multiplayer, and it's still like 90 percent of what they do. If you miss couch multiplayer, buy a Wii U. At some point during Blitz night, everybody gets too drunk to read what the plays are, and we switch to the new Mario Kart so we have a reason not to talk to each other for another year. You measure a really good in-person multiplayer gaming experience in scars and ruined friendships, and the Wii U supplies plenty of both.
Wii U Daily
Such a good game. I don't talk to my brother anymore. Blue shell motherfucker.
It's true that PlayStations and Xboxes don't have much in-person multiplayer, but most of those games are first-person shooters. Do we really want split-screen back? Before you answer, plug your old gaming system into your fancy new flatscreen and fire up a split-screen shooter. Give four-way GoldenEye a shot -- it's damn near unplayable now. I don't know if that's because of something in modern TVs, if we've just gotten used to being able to actually see what we're doing, or if it was all down to the ol' whiskey-vision, but split-screen multiplayer shooters are damn hard to get back into. Do not mourn their passing because you had fun with them in the past -- at one point you had fun playing in your own feces, but you outgrew it.
Stop decrying the death of couch multiplayer, and give Nintendo a call. They're so lonely. They can only cuddle up with that Luigi body pillow for so long before they start wondering what a shotgun tastes like.