Multiplayer games dominate today’s gaming landscape. Comprised of competitive shooters like Fortnite and Call of Duty to sports games like FIFA and Rocket League to party games like Fall Guys and Mario Kart to social experiences like Among Us and many more, the multiplayer gaming landscape is more diverse and alluring than ever. This is in stark contrast to even just a few decades ago where most titles were single-player.
While multiplayer titles definitely win-out on replay value, social connection and variety, single-player games occupy a unique place in the world of gaming—so here are a variety of reasons that you should play more single-player games.
Story, Character, Message
One of the most common reasons that players love single-player games is for their story. This is also one of the largest contrast to most multiplayer games, which barely (if at all) use strong, sustained narratives.
Just like cinema or literature, games have their own unique way of delivering complex narratives which can be incredibly satisfying to experience. In contrast to these other media, games provide players with agency (choice) within the game world, allowing you (the player) to direct the story as you wish. In many single player games, this comes in the form of branching narratives and character creation.
For example, in a game like Red Dead Redemption 2 you can build your own version of the character, focus on different quests and storylines, and have your own moral compass which in turn effects how the world reacts to you. The same way goes to its online mode, where you can build yourself up or buy RDR2 account and have everything that you could desire from the multiplayer mode.
On the other hand, smaller games like Kentucky Route Zero provide players with strong stories, characters and overarching messages which can leave strong aesthetic and meaningful impressions—just like the best art out there.
Multiplayer games can be immersive for short periods of time—like a match—but many single-player games can immerse you for hours, days, even months on end. Sprawling RPGs are the greatest example of this. Games like Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3 or Skyrim are all examples of games where players are given the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in dense worlds, brimming with characters, stories and points of interest. This immersion can be incredibly enjoyable.
You’re in Complete Control
In a single-player world, as you’re the only player you know that the game is centred around your actions. Take a game like Fallout 4. You know that there is a narrative progression that you can follow at your own pace, without the chance of another player appearing out of the blue to ruin your experience or suddenly rage.
This sense of control and individual-centric design can be very liberating, as it provides a space for you to do as you wish. If you want to have an immersive playthrough, go for it. If you want to goof around and find glitches, the world is yours. And if you want to speedrun, well this is the perfect opportunity.
In other words, the experience is fully in your hands—so you can get out of it whatever type of experience you want.
Multiplayer games are tough to make. Between running servers, implementing good net code and building strong, reliable communities, they are a type of game that is really hard to begin making a profit from. Because of this, most multiplayer titles come from large, longstanding developers who have the experience, knowhow and, importantly, budget to pull off.
Because many of the largest studios have migrated to focus on multiplayer games, the single-player game market is comparatively overflowing with indie developers—each bringing their unique voices and styles to the table.
This makes the single-player game space very exciting and diverse. From roguelikes to narrative games to innovative gameplay and more, indie games are often the origin of new ideas and trends, making them—strangely—part of gaming’s cutting edge.
Thinking more technically, single-player games don’t require strong or consistent internet connections. This one may seem obvious, but it has a profound effect on the gaming experience for many. After all, if you frequently experience laggy game sessions, or simply have very poor internet connection, single-player games offer the opportunity to enjoy the best of gaming without the frustration that comes from lag spikes and mid-match disconnections.
Tailored Challenge and Mastery
While balance during matchmaking has come a long way in the last two decades, there’s no question that it isn’t perfect. We’ve all experienced matches where highly skilled players—smurfs or otherwise—have dominated everyone in a lobby, making the game feel not only unfair, but unfun.
Single-player games avoid this type of random, unfair difficulty altogether, because their difficulty is carefully tailored to grow over time as you become better at the game. Even games considered extremely difficult—like Dark Souls, Sekiro or Hollow Knight—have carefully constructed difficulty curves which aim to build your abilities over time as you face and overcome tougher and tougher challenges.
In short, if you’re looking for a fair challenge—single-player games have got you covered.
Single-player gaming is rich, diverse and, well, fun. While multiplayer gaming sure pulls its weight in terms of thrills and social interaction, single-player games have their own unique draws. So, I think it’s about time to pull the plug on the Wi-Fi and settle into that single-player title you’ve been thinking of playing for a long time. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
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