Are you the type of gamer who thrives on the rich worlds of EVE Online or World of Warcraft, worlds made more realistic by the semi-real interactions with other flesh and blood gamers? 'Cause, man, I am so not. And neither is Wired's Clive Thompson, who writes today about the joys of playing solo, even in games that simulate, in a fashion, big open worlds filled with personalities like Fable II.
To some degree, I can chalk up my own disinterest in the tedium of massively multiplayer online games. Grinding away on "kill X number of Monster Y and report back" style missions just aren't my thing. But it's really the potential for social interaction that does these games in for me.
Obligation gaming, the guilt of not being available for a gaming session, regardless of the genre — I even hate feeling trapped by first-person shooter social calls — is what makes me a gaming shut-in. A virtual Man's Best Friend, like the one in Fable II is about all I can handle.
Thompson looks at it a bit differently, writing "The fact that I know I'm the only person actually alive makes the game seem all the more dreamlike, as if everything — those mountain ranges, those creepy beetles — really is taking place inside my head."
True, bots suck, as does being verbally berated online by little boys who have just discovered the F-word.
Even in a perfect world, though, where everyone else might be a gentlemanly good sport, I think I'd prefer to do most of my gaming alone. Am I the only one?