Introversion and Games

While reading this article, Hot Topic – Are Single-Player Experiences a Dying Breed?, I started thinking more and more about how even video games are becoming less and less of a haven for those of us who are typically introverts. Note that when I say introvert, I am defining it as someone who restores energy by being away from other people (not some strange psychopathic loner type) vs. an extrovert who gains energy from being around other people. An introvert needs to have time alone each day in order to recharge that energy or risk being drained and exhausted on a day to day basis.

Despite the fact that people with multiple gamers in a household always had games they could play together, most games could still be played entirely and gloriously alone, without the need for or help from other people. For me, nothing is more satisfying than to be able to complete a challenge entirely alone, and proudly be able to state, “*I* did that!” “*I* defeated the dragon!” “*I* saved the world!” “Me me me!!!” When you need a team of 20 others to accomplish a task, the sense of accomplishment is greatly diminished. For that reason, I tend to view raids in MMORPGs as social events more than anything else.

If you’re an introvert, and you’re forced to be around other people all day long who continuously spout, “Teamwork this, and teamwork that,” then when you get home and turn on your game, you often just want to toss all that teamwork crap into the garbage can and escape into a world where it all about you, and you can completely immerse yourself into that game world without it being entirely ruined by other gamers who have different playstyles.

I’m a very laid back gamer in many ways. While I’m very goal oriented and do want to get the levels, loot, achievements, etc., I also want to get them my way and at my own pace. I enjoy reading and listening to all the text and immersing myself in story and lore. When playing with others, they are usually done with all of that as soon as they can click a button and I’m left feeling rushed and feel like I’m holding them back while trying to get the most out of the experience. Alternately when I’m playing a game alone, I have all the time in the world to enjoy and savor all of the events at my leisure. It’s so much more relaxing and enjoyable.

But now, multiplayer is becoming required for so many games if you want to get the most out of a game. Want maximum 360 achievements in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, a game series that has typically been a single player experience? Too bad for you if you are the only gamer in your household and don’t really enjoy playing online, or playing competitively. Also, I suspect if you will be a latecomer to the game (like me…I just started playing the first Assassin’s Creed) then good luck finding other players to play with when most people have already moved on to other games.

Mind you, I do enjoy some multiplayer at times. If I didn’t, I would never play MMORPGs (even if I do tend to voluntarily solo a lot in them) but I’m in the camp that single player games should remain single player, and if they want to tack on more game content, then that tacked on content should also be more single player. Usually tacked on multiplayer means that both the single player and the multiplayer turn out to be mediocre.

Thank goodness for the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Dragon Age series of games. It will be a gloomy day indeed if those ever go multiplayer in any way whatsoever. (Yes, I know there is a Fallout MMORPG in the works, but it is not part of the single player series.)Β The socialite gamers won’t even be able to snobbily tell us introverts off anymore by commanding us to, “Go play a single player game then if you don’t want to play with other people nyaah nyaah nyaah!” because there wouldn’t *be* any single player games anymore for us introverts to use as a refuge from the hordes during our alone time.

The Alone in the Dark series would need to be renamed to Alone in the Dark with 50 million other people.

6 Responses to Introversion and Games
  1. KayJay
    January 22, 2011 | 12:06 pm

    I hear what you’re saying. There are many days where I come home from work and just want to sit down and play a game by myself, but my choices are limited at best. The focus on online game play with other people, however, can be just as much alienating as a single player experience.

    I remember when consoles were actually worth buying, co-op was all the rage. Nothing was more exciting than inviting your friends over on a Friday night and all sit around the TV playing co-op 007 or Mario Kart. My house was like Grand Central Station in that aspect, because while I was a Nintendo geek, my brother enjoyed Sega/Sony, so between the 2 of us we had all the gaming systems from the Atari 2600, to the last generation of consoles (PS2, XBOX, Gamecube). There is a definite gap between the PS1 era and the PS2 era with co-op.

    As far as introverts and online play, I’m noticing a slight backwards trend. While typically single player games are offering online play with other people, the Western MMORPG market is offering more solo content. I think it’s kind of backwards since the MM in MMO means MASSIVE MULTIPLAYER, but games like World of Warcraft and Everquest 2 can have you soloing to level cap in no time.

  2. a.girl.IRL (Rebecca)
    January 22, 2011 | 5:06 pm

    Wouldn’t that be something if the only gaming refuges for introverts ended up being MMO’s! πŸ™‚

  3. Rakuno
    February 10, 2011 | 8:33 pm

    Heh. Talk about small world. :p

    I was reading some blogs and end up stumbling on yours. :p

    Anyhoo, on to the topic at hand… Being a big introvert (and slightly social phobic) I agree completely.

    When I am burned out of MMORPGs I go to recharge my batteries, so to speak, on single player games. During those times the last thing I care about is playing with another human being.

    Unfortunately it seems that big companies nowadays feel like multiplayer has to be another part of their games or it won’t sell. Then they put extra achievements for that to go along with it….

    Hopefully that will just be a trend in video-games that will eventually go away as many others came and went by.

    Also, to celebrate this…. Let me do something highly unusual for me… :p

    P.S.: Erollisi Day is going on EQ2 now and it will be around until the 20th. If you have a bit of free time and like the event you might want to give it a try as there is some new cool items. πŸ™‚

    • a.girl.IRL (Rebecca)
      February 10, 2011 | 9:25 pm

      RAKUNO!! *hugs the ratonga zillions of times*

      I saw the pink unicorn with the hearts coming out of the hooves, and I want it! Kelel would be head over heels! πŸ™‚

      This class I’ve been taking has been killing my time and motivation for EQ2 lately though, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get it this year.

      I also hope all of the multiplayer achievements are just a trend. It seems that a number of people who have been posting in the various game forums seem to really hate multiplayer achievements, so maybe one day the companies will stop them and/or stop tacking on multiplayer to single player games.

  4. April
    March 5, 2011 | 12:21 pm

    I love this article! Great job! I will keep peeking on here! Thanks πŸ™‚

  5. […] from a.girl.IRL, kindly asks that we just give the introverted gamers their game time, in single player mode: If […]

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