A few years ago, my friend Brandon and I were chatting about games. More specifically, games that took place in New York. I remembered hearing about a game called "True Crime: Streets of New York" for the original XBOX. It was a GTA-like urban sandbox game, where you played a cop who went on various missions around the city. It had been out for awhile, and it was reviewed very poorly, but from what I read it was very faithful in re-creating the streets of Manhattan in virtual form. Sure enough, a week later, Brandon found a copy of the game in a bargain bin for 5 bucks and brought it over to my apartment.
After getting through the tutorial, our avatar was walking through a last-gen version of Times Square. Without wasting a minute, we nabbed a car and drove our character downtown through Union Square and into the East Village. Soon enough, we were walking through my neighborhood, looking at my apartment building as depicted in the game. There was something very zen about the experience, but that didn't stop Brandon from selecting grenades from the character's inventory and start fire-bombing my apartment building.
A few hours later the novelty of wandering through (and blowing up various pieces of) virtual New York had worn off. The game was as buggy and rough as the reviews said it was, but it still remains one of the more memorable experiences in gaming for me. Why? Because for the first time in my life I was playing a game with another person. Brandon and I both remember that moment and laugh.
I've been playing video games since the Atari 2600 lumbered its' way out of the primordial ooze and heaved itself onto store shelves. It's a hobby I've enjoyed all of my life, but there's one thing about it that you can't deny. It's a very solitary one. Sure, there are two player games, but most mainstream console games are made with a single player in mind. Even social MMOs like World of Warcraft require that the player be sitting by him/herself at the keyboard.
Lately, I've discovered the joy of playing games with other people. I recently went to a gaming meetup, where every month a group of people play through "Shadow of the Colossus". I went to it wondering how it was going to be handled. Do we take turns? Do we each take down one Colossus (there are 16 in the game)? In actuality, it was a very laid-back and loose affair, where people who wanted to play would play and the rest of us would just watch and make funny comments. It was a total social thing, and I had a great time. Something I never thought I would experience while playing a single-player game.
Honestly, I'm not sure of the point I'm trying to make here. I just think it's great that video gaming - once considered the past-time of pale shut-ins, has become much more widely accepted. Does anyone else have memorable moments like these? Do share 'em!