A World of Their Own

The future for multi-player gaming looks bright indeed. The genre s hard- core fans are so enthralled with it that they often have no interest in single-player games. Indeed, MUDs and the massively multi-player commercial games they have inspired have attracted a whole group of fans that were never interested in single-player experiences. It cannot be disputed that multi-player games, through their inclusion of multiple intelligent players, contain a combination of emergence, novelty, and unpredictability that single-player games will never achieve, regardless of how much artificial intelligence improves . At the same time, multi-player designers have much less control over this game-space and thereby the games can be quite hard to get into, especially when a player finds himself a late arrival among a sea of veterans . The glory /shame balance in a multi-player game can be intensely satisfying for the winners, but just as intensely depressing for the losers. Furthermore, once other players are involved in a game the level of immersion players can experience is severely diminished. As soon as one player in the game-world discusses what he saw on TV last night, the other players suspension of disbelief is shattered and they are reminded that they are not really running around an enchanted forest or a World War II battlefield. This is all but impossible to prevent, yet in the end, though developers may lose sleep worrying about the suspension of disbelief being shattered, the players of the games are just happy to be talking to each other. Players of multi-player games are mostly looking for a fun, social experience, not an all-consuming immersive journey with a rich narrative. This means that, for all the advantages and untapped potential of multi-player games, single-player games will probably continue to be more popular for years to come because they can provide a highly tailored experience that gamers can start and stop whenever they want. Anyone who has played a multi-player game for long enough can tell you that hell truly is other people. But for the ardent fans of multi-player gaming, the drawbacks are more than worth the unique experiences that only social gaming can provide.

Game Design Theory and Practice
Game Design: Theory and Practice (2nd Edition) (Wordware Game Developers Library)
ISBN: 1556229127
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 189

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