RWR: The Internet and Social Gaming

RWR: The Internet and Social Gaming



I've been following the video game industry pretty much since the beginning of the internet. I remember when sites like CheatCC were essentially a project run by only a handful of people, back in the exceedingly ugly era of coding when the normal template for a website was a grey screen with basic text lettering and some bad stock art (if you were lucky). Gaming, of course, was there more or less from the beginning.

RWR: The Internet and Social Gaming

My first foray, as it was for many of us I suspect, was waiting out the painful process of dial-up on 14.4 kps, dreaming of the Commander Keen, Jazz Jackrabbit, and Cannon Fodder types whose screens tantalizingly taunted us as we were forced to incur the terrible monotony of waiting for a given download to hit that magic 100 percent. For me, screens and whatever snippets of info on PC games I could find were a critical component to the coping process. They were the fuel that kept me going during the long haul. Even before connection speeds hit a viable enough rate to make multiplayer gaming as we know it today feasible, the internet was right there. It was, of course, an inevitability that the two would go hand in hand.

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My first foray, as it was for many of us I suspect, was waiting out the painful process of dial-up on 14.4 kps, dreaming of the Commander Keen, Jazz Jackrabbit, and Cannon Fodder types whose screens tantalizingly taunted us as we were forced to incur the terrible monotony of waiting for a given download to hit that magic 100 percent. For me, screens and whatever snippets of info on PC games I could find were a critical component to the coping process. They were the fuel that kept me going during the long haul. Even before connection speeds hit a viable enough rate to make multiplayer gaming as we know it today feasible, the internet was right there. It was, of course, an inevitability that the two would go hand in hand.

RWR: The Internet and Social Gaming

This is entirely subjective, of course. As the model drifted towards the Call of Duty deathmatch experience, I grew less and less interested in gaming online. Since the advent of built-in internet with the seventh generation (unless you count the Dreamcast) endangered local multiplayer outside of the realm of the somewhat hamfisted forced co-op narrative campaign, it seems that the humanity and fun has largely been sucked out of most multiplayer experiences. Anyone can call you a douche (or worse) over XBL—and when you're playing a game with a bunch of strangers, the kind of language that's usually tossed around makes for a disconnected experience (at least when it becomes clear that it's impossible to penetrate that outer barrier). The physical interaction of trash talking with friends, however, has been a gaming tradition for years, and as anyone who regular games with pals will tell you, it's a true bonding experience.

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