How To Play: Billy No Mates

As far as I’m aware, the Left 4 Dead 2 has finally opened to the public. The debacle that was the preorder demo release has hopefully not been repeated, and the world is now full of people playing L4D2. What a relief. This of course means that people will hopefully be playing together with friends and telling people about that time the tank raped them in the ear. I hope that people aren’t playing the single player version. I’ve tried this, and it just isn’t the same (It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Louis has that wonderful ability, only available to him, to whisper ‘Witch, turn that flashlight off’, and then run straight into it with his flashlight on).

Thar you go Louis, a friend for you to play with

And Left 4 Dead isn’t the only game that becomes infinitely better when you play it with friends. Me and my girlfriend spent a whole day playing Burnout Paradise a few weeks, taking it in turns to either race or crash and killed a whole day just doing that. Enjoyable though Burnout is, I don’t think I’ve ever spent a whole day playing it before. SO these games don’t need to be designed to be played cooperatively. Me and an old friend used to spend whole days playing Summoner 2 and grinding money, and just having fun (We were doing the gladiator fights. We rocked at survival), even though its a single player game.

So I suggest to you, the humble gamer to start playing with friends. Get Steam, its not evil (And I don’t think it ever was) and come join friends in the PCG chatroom. Then, with the beauties of adding non-steam games, you can play these games and communicate with other gamers. I’m currently finishing Hitman, and I usually play it while in chat. Not only can you pretend that people care about what you say enough that you start a blog about your gaming experiences, you can get nice helpful hints. Its also a great chance to talk about how you’ve played. At the end of a L4D game, don’t you usually go ‘We fucked that up didn’t we?’ or ‘Nice shooting Tex. I didn’t think it was possible for you to shoot my legs off’? Whenever anyone finishes a match and they’re in the PCG chatroom, usually everyone gets to hear about it. Especially the fun stories. With the upcoming release of Dragon Age, I expect that several people will be playing, and not only being asked about the game, but about how they play the game.

Which leads me to wonder: Why is it that people keep seeing gaming as a loner’s hobby? They become much easier (and more fun) to play if you have a person over your shoulder chirping along and telling you that you’re doing it wrong. Ah, a little snag. There is always that backseat gamer isn’t there? The little git who thinks s/he knows everything about the bit you just happen to be playing, and just tells you that crashing the helicopter isn’t the point of the game. You already knew this of course, but the fact that those people were firing at you and destroying your propellers made it pretty difficult to keep in control didn’t it?

I still believe it a fair point though. Gaming is a social hobby, and those who aren’t playing it as such aren’t playing properly. Those tabletop games would be nothing if the story didn’t become a big part of the appeal.

  1. Hey man.

    Nice article but I think you need to streamline a bit more. In this short piece you touch on:

    Games being called unsociable
    Online communities
    Emergent story
    Doing stuff in games that isn’t the ‘point’

    You could probably write an article on each of these separately. I think you need to think about what point you want to get across in you’re article and then write it. If that point is just l4d co-op is ace, that’s fine, but you need to focus on just that.

    Other than that though, keep it up.

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