Video games for me these days are almost exclusively a solitary affair. Growing up, it was me and my Game Boy- I rarely got to play on a console all by myself. The Nintendo 64 was kept in my parents room, under pretty strict supervision. Doesn’t mean I didn’t play video games any less, just that I experienced them in a more limited fashion.
During sleepovers or birthday parties or what have you I would play with others. There are four controller ports on the Nintendo 64 after all, can’t let them go to waste. We’d play Goldeneye or Super Smash Bros., maybe link up our Game Boys for Pokémon or Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (that head-to-head racing was unmatched and I wish it was available on the Virtual Console version). As middle school turned into high school, multiplayer became less important until it began to fade away more and more.
Playing games with others got a resurgence in college- Melee made the rounds in everyone’s dorm, Rock Band was a big deal. But once I came back into gaming from my hiatus after college, I pretty much just wanted to experience single player games and not deal with the newly developed infrastructure of online gaming. Couch co-op was hardly a thing anymore, and the new Smash Bros. games didn’t click the way they used to.
Fast forward to a few months ago. I was living with two other guys, gamers and bros and all around fantastic people. I had a PS4, they both had Xbox. I had Until Dawn. There was beer in the fridge. They wanted a thrill.
Cue the next several nights, staying up late and yelling at the screen. “Don’t send her down there! Listen to me, say ‘yes’! Take the speedy path, not the slow safe one!” Sure, Until Dawn is a single player game- I’d actually played through it all in one sitting the first weekend I bought it for myself- but as a multiplayer experience, it’s on a whole other level. It’s the fun of watching a shlocky horror movie with a group with the excitement of being able to control that movie yourself. We’d pass the controller around, each of us focused on different goals- this guy wanted to explore, this one wanted to try and make the dangerous choice every time. It was unpredictable and fun and it’s a hell of a way to spend a weekend.
If I’m ever spending a few days in a cabin with a group of friends and we happen to get snowed in, say, or the ski lift breaks and traps us at the top of the mountain- I’d be more than happy to hunker down with whoever was present and blast through this game. If you’ve never experienced it and love a good cheap thrill, give it a go. You won’t be disappointed and you just might rekindle a feeling that you thought might have been lost to time.