Do Multiplayer Games Make us Jerks?

jenova chen journey

Journey was a sublime experience for me, one that was helped along by the presence of a silent other; a compatriot that I could travel with but not share a single form of spoken or written communication with. Aside from musical chirps, player interaction in Journey is severely limited but this didn’t stop my partners from helping me find hidden items or guiding me through the world. Without the incentive to hinder or harm me, were they actively trying to help?

This is what Jenova Chen, designer at thatgamecompany, thinks. In a recent interview with Eurogamer, he posed the thought that the agressive nature of multiplayer games leads to people being dicks to one another. I’ll let him explain his point, though:

“But listen: none of us was born to be an asshole,” he says. “I believe that very often it’s not really the player that’s an asshole. It’s the game designer that made them an asshole. If you spend every day killing one another how are you going to be a nice guy? All console games are about killing each other, or killing one another together… Don’t you see? It’s our games that make us assholes.”

It’s a very interesting theory, and I’m tempted to say that he’s correct. While there are players out there who are just out to troll no matter what, there’s a marked difference between how I play during a co-op game and how I play during a Call of Duty match.

In Journey I sought out companionship and tried my best to stick to my new-found friends. In Battlefield 3, unless I’m playing with someone I know, I go out of my way to avoid people. Heck, even during public Mass Effect 3 matches I don’t wear my headphones just because I don’t care to hear what people say. There’s an expectation that online interactions will be negative, but Journey blew that notion out of the water.

What do you guys think of Mr. Chen’s statement? Is he right on the money? Do you have any experiences that prove this? The entire interview is a great read, too, so I recommend checking it out.

Source – Eurogamer

Written by

mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

4 thoughts on “Do Multiplayer Games Make us Jerks?”

  1. If you go by the internet dickwad theory, then yes it does. But since multiplayer can be a coop mode and some people play the competive version for fun and have good natured rivalry I will say no it does not make us jerks.
    Its the jackass who post trolling in a game videos on youtube, the rascist, sexist, homophobe scum who uses the mic and thinks we all want to hear the bile that comes out of the maw. Its the players who think rank , k/d ratio and winning are more important than having fun. If we could sit those peole down and tell them what giant scumbags they are being and basicly runing the game for everyone the will probably tell us to f**k off, and I am okay with that the BAN HAMMER will find them the sooner the better.

  2. I find that very true that a competitive environment naturally leads to short fuses. Plenty of ragin in a COD game. Its also how in you are into the game as well. If you had to play a boss battle over 10 times, you’d be pretty pissed off I’d say.

    Journey’s different as the objective’s isn’t really competitive. There’s no Who’s First, King of the Hill, or so on. You can gain nothing from making your companion less help. Its just your choice. There’s really no response from the other end over your action as well. I think all people will try to reach out and help most of the time is a human behavior consequently you’d see it in Journey. That user you’d never find out anything more but stayed with you continuously to the end all the way to the end.
    It magical, I guess its human to want someone to be there. Not to be alone.
    To Have a Friend.

  3. Personally, I think two things make the difference in the behaviours of people you interact with in a multiplayer experience. First would be the target audience of the game. Certain games attract a more mature audience (and I’m speaking about maturity level, not age). That’s not to say you wouldn’t find mature people playing mutiplayer games populated with a noticable portion of immature people. But the mutiplayer audience in an FPS is quite different from a sports title, or and RTS, etc. And as a generalization, you may have a higher average level of maturity in those people playing games like Journey as opposed to WoW or COD. However, I’m not sure there is much a developer could do about this.

    The second, and perhaps more important in my opinion, is the community. Back in my Counter Strike days, there was plenty of jerks you may had to put up with online. But I rarely experienced that because I played on a handful of servers that I knew well. These servers had established communities/regulars, set rules that almost everybody agree upon (or at least adhered by) and those player who came in who caused grief to others would be booted right away if not soon (even with no admin on, enough of us would know admins who could hop online, deal with the stuation and get back to doing whatever it was they were doing). It may sound weird, but you kinda felt safe playing on these servers because you knew the admins were looking after their community. So in essence, you were alwys playing with mostly friends, even if they were just online or CS friends. It’s difficult to create that amoung the console community. I love my consoles, really enjoying playing the games, even the mutiplayer components of them. But I yet to have even a quarter of the enjoyment I regularly had when playing on servers I knew in my PC days.

  4. It’s really nice to be an admin in a server for PC gaming. Controlling people’s stupidity as best you can and maintaining a fun environment for the non-shitties is sometimes a pain, but really pays off. It’s one of the biggest things missing from console games. Muting everyone before every match kind of sucks.

    I’ll definitely say “oh f*ck you, your family will die horribly”, but it’s always in good fun and it’s the “out of nowhere” shock that gives it the laughs. Once the game gets taken too seriously by any one person, it’s probably time for a break.

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