will never, ever have to go without an opponent. As a gamer child, I would've killed for that ability. Literally. I would have butchered you without hesitation if it meant that your ghost would somehow be leashed to my SNES in the afterlife, doomed to play F-Zero
with me on command.
"Boom! Into the wall, bitch! No, you can't say goodbye to your family; we're doing Mute City next."
And though I will say again and again that I despise online multiplayer, that's really only because I despise people in general. I can't stand the things. With their "wants" and "needs" and "opinions that aren't mine" -- quite frankly, it's disgusting. But that's not the fault of the game or the genre: Even I will play the hell out of online multiplayer if it's done right. Not to beat a dead whore, but let's revisit
. Aside from Team Fortress 2
, that was the last game that really got me into online play, and that was because of one simple thing: Free Mode. What a brilliant, amazing move that was. Finally somebody paid attention to what we, as gamers, really wanted to do ... which was apparently "nothing special." I once spent a whole night with some friends on Free Mode, just screwing around. While they were experimenting with the swing launcher, or playing Car Tag in the streets, or just good old fashioned gunfighting, I spent the entire time stealing helicopters, carefully hovering directly over the other players, then bailing out and sending the machine plummeting down on top of them while screaming, "HELLO-COPTER!"
For added horribleness, try doing it in a series of increasingly racist accents.
Sure, I lost some friends that night, but that may be the most fun I have ever had with a video game.
I'm not saying that all of our complaints are invalid or unwarranted. I'm just saying that we're all so busy bitching about what this hobby should be, and what it's not doing quite yet, that we rarely look back and see how astoundingly far it's come, and all the amazing things that it is right now. My wildest dreams as a child gamer have been exceeded a thousandfold -- I literally would not have believed you if you'd shown me
and told me that was only 20 years in the future of game development; I would have burned you as a time-witch (they were a serious problem back in the early '90s). And yet it seems that, whenever it's time to talk seriously about gaming, I invariably spend most of my time complaining.
And honestly? I'll probably be doing it again in a week or two, because I'm a fickle bastard with attention deficit disorder. But not this week. This week I'm setting the controller down for a minute, turning to my 10-year-old self, and asking in reverently hushed tones: "Did you see that shit?!"
And he will answer: "Yeah, that was
Because he's a fucking idiot.
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For more from Robert, check out Why Ebert Is Wrong: In Defense of Games as Art and 5 Personality Flaws Skyrim Forces You To Deal With.