Since the beginning of the internet, gaming has grown tremendously. Whether it be for quality of gaming, length of gameplay, variation and so forth, the gaming industry has skyrocketed to major heights. However, with this boom in the gaming industry came a population increase. Many games suffer from a form of overpopulation in their online communities. Now, this isn’t to say that there are people that shouldn’t be there, or to proclaim that something must be done to reduce the climbing population, rather that there is very limited interaction required between gamers in this high population. Back when I started gaming, I remember playing games like XIII, Counter Strike, Red Faction and Tribes 2, and (excepting Counter Strike, which has always had lot of players) I remember interacting with other gamers and even making friends. This, like stated before, is difficult when the population is so high. It should be easier but it is not. The feeling of which gamers would stick together or interact because they had something in common doesn’t feel to be around as the population grows, everyone games now. What do we do to reestablish and preserve this community of gamers?
After an intro like that you may be thinking: what could we possibly do? Well fear not; game developers to the rescue! Developers have turned their eyes to the future of gaming, where interaction and community are key to making a truly amazing gaming experience. Media Molecule, with their “Play, Create, Share” model in Little Big Planet; Bungie creating the Theatre Mode and their community channels; every online shooter with leaderboards and stat comparisons. All these developments have brought the community closer together.
Two games, however, are going much bigger in their attempts to bring gamer involvement in their community to much larger scales. Nationalism has been infused in the new Housemarque game Dead Nation. In the leaderboard system, there is an integrated global raking system which takes the player to a screen that shows how much of the virus they have destroyed within their own nation. This is ingenious. It allows the gamer to feel national pride within their community without the negative international hatred nationalism brings. In other words, it creates the “I want my country to win but I hope that we can all save human life” feeling. Dead Nation brings life back into the overdone zombie smashing concept while bringing a wealth of national pride to gaming.
Later this month Bad Company 2: Vietnam will release with an unlockable classic map from Battlefield: Vietnam. The challenge required to unlock it is an interesting method to bring the community together across all platforms and all nations. The gamers must complete 69 million support/team actions. This is, if you are unfamiliar with Bad Company 2, spotting, healing, repairing, resupplying and reviving. DICE, the team behind the game, tried this with Battlefield 1943, however it was a kill-based challenge between consoles. I highlight this challenge because it does not alienate between consoles but rather brings the entirety of the Bad Company 2 community together.
In the future, I do not fear that we won’t have amazing gameplay, terrific graphics, breath-taking cinematics, engaging stories, and fantastic franchises (5x adjective combo!!!); what I do fear is that we might lose this community feel. I would like to thank these great developers for their amazing attempts to bring all of us gamers together in ways many would not have imagined. Go Gamers Go!
Logan hails from Canada and spearheads Prestige Mode Gaming, videos from which you can find on the Pixel Enemy Youtube Channel.