Finding games to play together •

Finding games to play together •

Salvation! Over the next few days, we’re going to revisit some of our favorite games, moments, and themes and so on from this very weird year. We hope you enjoy looking back with us!

It’s not easy to find games to play with other people in the same house. You will know if you have tried. This is one of the reasons I was so impressed with It Takes Two earlier this year. It’s not only playable in local co-op, but built entirely for it, meaning that the game solutions require two people rather than being able to be played by two people as well. For example, one person throws giant nails into a wall while the other uses the head of a giant claw hammer to swing over them. This is just one example and there are many – ideas keep changing and they keep coming – and it’s great. It Takes Two has been arguably the best example of dedicated local co-op play in years, if ever.

But playing together is not always a definite cooperation issue. It can also mean that two or more people are contributing to a game even though only one person is actively playing it. The Dark Pictures series does it very well, and it has become a defining feature. The latest game, House of Ashes, was released this year, and you can assign different characters to different people in the room in it, and then walk the pavement when their sections appear. And taking a quick break while someone else takes over – at their own difficulty level (a cool feature) – works just fine.

As far as I know, developer Supermassive almost stumbled upon this niche. It wasn’t until people talked about playing Until Dawn with other people and treating it kind of like a collaborative movie – “No, don’t go down into the dark cellar alone!” – that Supermassive achieved what it had. And it’s actually this instinct to shout and participate that you can see through games.

Ian and Aoife take on House of Ashes in their own way.

One of the more magnetic games in this regard this year was Microsoft Flight Simulator. By switching from the PC to the console, and therefore on a large TV near a sofa, the game opened up much more to passers-by. There is a beautiful part at Martin’s Microsoft Flight Simulator Xbox Review where he shares a photo of his family enthusiastically gathered around his TV while someone is playing the game. I can almost imagine what they are saying. “Fly over there! Or, “Oh, I remember going there!” »It’s an effect I saw with my own eyes when I flew to my partner’s hometown in Bulgaria – a place that I think has never been mapped for a game and never will be. She was glued to the screen, sharing memories as we flew. These common experiences of flying and returning home: these are incredibly powerful things to build on.

But the shared experiences don’t have to be so grandiose. Another game we’ve played a lot this year was Dorfromantik, a tile placement game that’s so quaint and adorable that I just want to kiss it when I think about it. One of us played while the other looked over his shoulder, and we spent whole afternoons trying to figure out how we could increase our scores. Charming impenetrable, this game.

There is no deliberate cooperative in Dorfromantik, there is just closeness and a human desire to be involved in one way or another. You don’t always have to hold the controller to participate. Since when do football fans feel left behind because they are not on the pitch, or even in the stands within audible range of the players?

Speaking of streaming: here’s Ian playing the silly part in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

This is why streaming works so well, because we are part of the gaming experience whether we control it or not, especially if we are active in the chat and are affecting the game in some way. . Social platforms are an extension of our social desires, I guess.

And if it hadn’t been for streaming – well, video conferencing in this case – we wouldn’t have played the game that took up most of our time this year: Dungeons & Dragons. This is the first extended campaign each of us has participated in, and we’ve been playing online (and once in person) since the summer. It works wonderfully online when you mix green screens and voice modifiers and sound effects and digital character sheets and dice rolls. I even bought some faun horns and panpipes as props! And I can’t tell you how nice it was to have daily conversations about building the characters and “what’s going to happen next week” – oh and how I accidentally pulled everyone in. world in the spirit realm and killed almost all of us, yadda yadda – nothing but mold on the bathroom walls.

Which is a really long way to put it: we have found games to play, whether they are cooperative or not. And I look forward to finding more in the coming year.

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