For the longest time, I was completely opposed to the vice offered by online play: Fifa online… No, Call of Duty… No, online multiplayer games of any kind… No. I would avoid these games like the proverbial house on fire, fervently sticking to single player Platform, (J)RPG, Action and Puzzle games. While all my friends enjoyed the glorious online battlefields on their Xbox 360’s and PS3’s, I stuck to my guns pouring endless hours into the Wii and only submitting to the PS3 with the release of Final Fantasy XIII.
And then something strange happened, Nintendo released a shooter (which isn’t that strange) but a predominately online shooter. Yes, I’m speaking about Splatoon. Slam the breaks right here, this isn’t to say I hated shooters, I just never really enjoyed them until… Borderlands! That game definitely converted me to the ways of the shooter. If you know me and know me well. Then you would understand my obsession with Borderlands. I spent my mid and late teens absolutely resenting FPS games. And between the ages of 14 and 17, I essential stopped playing video games on a regular basis. Opting for Novels, Fashion and Hip-Hop as opposed to Controllers, Sequential Art and Journeys to find the One Piece.
The First-Person-Shooter, essential almost destroyed my love of gaming. It’s all people would talk about Call of Duty, Medal Of Honour and then Battlefield (thank you EA). My day job, working in a school, I very often hear the same conversations between this new generation of teenaged gamers. One of the biggest issues I have with the FPS genre is that typically they attract what the Bartle test would describe as ‘Killers’. I believe predominately that games are meant to be fun, immersive and preferably social experiences. So when the floodgates are opened and a million murderous trolls tsunami through, I close my wallet and keep my hard earned cash. Another issue I have with the FPS in general, where is the exploration? (with the exception of Borderlands) with another reference to the Bartle test, I would fit snuggly between the ‘social’ and ‘explorer’ category. I am the sort of person that completely delves into the world. I obsess over every little feature. analysing then discussing said features and once all my friends have moved on to the next big or little thing…. I don’t stop until I’ve truly had my fill.
Now, this is where my obsession with Splatoon has somewhat changed my approach to games. I’ve fallen for the online spell. competing with strangers all over the world has now become a favourite past time (I can’t even play Smash or MK8 without jumping into the inter-connected wilderness). The urge to compete with others is starting to dominate. And games I would have previously ignored are at the forefront of my attention: Overwatch, Battleborn and Destiny. The desire to be in the fray: digital battlefields, race tracks and rings, has taken over. So much so that when Splatoon won Best Shooter and Best Multiplayer at last years Game of the Year Awards; I found myself excited at the prospect of the community growing and more people to battle.
The multiplayer and competitive experience has transcended, what it once was. Using Splatoon as an example of evolution may be wrong; it’s not an FPS nor is killing your opponents the primary objective. Yet, this feels like a natural progression; Borderlands resonates because it broke the norm – focusing on cooperative play, enhanced social exploration and showed me that a shooter could be fun.