I love Halo. I love Halo 2, despite the rubbish ending. Only Deus Ex has wasted more of my life (somebody remake it and hurry up – the DX Source project seems to have ground to a halt), and I’m genuinely excited about Halo 3. But I didn’t download the Halo 3 beta, despite owning Crackdown and therefore being eligible. The reason? Multiplayer.
I hate multiplayer gaming, because I’m rubbish at games. And that’s becoming a bad thing, because publishers see multiplayer as the future. The latest release for the Xbox, Shadowrun, is largely (entirely?) multiplayer, and more and more console game reviews say things to the effect of “the single player mode is crap and even a monkey could finish it in less than four seconds”. I ain’t paying fifty quid for that, which means that of the few console games that come out, even fewer of them are of any use to me.
Now, I’m not ashamed of my rubbishness. However, it does mean multiplayer is a complete waste of time for me. No matter where or when I connect, the same thing always happens. Go! Bang! Dead! Shite! Go! Bang! Dead! Shite!
The difference between my skill level and everybody else’s is just too big. You could put me in a multiplayer game where I’m armed with rocket launchers and everybody else has nothing but grated cheese to defend themselves, and I’d still be fromaged to death within three seconds.
I briefly thought that playing similarly rubbish gamers might be the answer, but it isn’t. Imagine the scene: a barren post-apocalyptic wasteland (that’ll be every game, then). Player one commandeers an all-terrain vehicle and drives it over his own head, East 17-style. Player two wanders into a cupboard and can’t find his way back out. Player three strolls off a cliff while trying to remember which button jumps and which one reloads. Player four sits down and has a nervous breakdown. And player five turns out to be a skilled gamer slumming it, and within three seconds I’ve been cheesed to death.