The Evolving Role of Single Player

How Journey taught an old-fashioned gamer to love the evolution of single player.

As video games evolve, so does the single player experience. It used to be you played by yourself unless you had a two player game and a friend at your house. Now, of course, things are completely different. Most games have some sort of multiplayer or co-op portion. We can play with other gamers from all over the world. We can even use games as a way to keep in touch with family members that live far away, like how my son can play Mass Effect 3 with my brother who is several states away.

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But what about good, old-fashioned single player campaigns? Since I grew up in the 8-bit era, I’m used to playing alone. In fact, most times I prefer it. I don’t even like onlookers “helping” me while I play. It’s my experience, dammit, let me succeed or fail on my own. I know I’m probably in the minority feeling this way. Fortunately, even though single player is changing, I like the direction it’s going in.

I recently played Journey for the first time. Honestly, I didn’t know much about the game except that everyone seemed to praise it, and it won a lot of awards. I knew there was “something” about co-op, but figured it was the standard lobby set-up. So when I was joined by another player, I thought it was AI. However, when I asked my friend who didn’t have a PS3 hooked up to the Internet if he had another player, the answer was no. Immediately, I was fascinated by this multi but still single player experience. I actually like “journeying” with someone else, even though I didn’t know their username. When the credits rolled, I found out I played with about seven different people.

With Journey, I learned that playing with someone else didn’t have to be the in-your-face multiplayer that so many games push. Bungie’s Destiny is also touting this new single player experience. I look forward to playing Destiny with others, in a non-combative, no spawn killing environment. These new ways to approach single player in a rapidly changing industry give me hope that my favorite way to game won’t be left behind.

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Jennifer Amlie
I've been a freelance gaming writer for three years. I grew-up on the NES. My favorite games include Legend of Zelda, BioShock, and Gears of War. I've been published on various blogs and websites including Yahoo! News.