By Nicole Canovas, Creative Content Intern at Mega Cat Studios
I’m about to relay to you the story of one of the most vivid gaming memories I have. It’s a tale of suspense. It’s a take of betrayal. It’s a tale of teens. I can’t remember the year, but the game was Mario Party and the system was Nintendo64. I was maybe 18 at the time, my younger sister and our mutual best friend maybe 16. It’s our friend’s turn, and he lands on the coveted Star Space. Toad jumps up and down, asking if he would like to purchase a star for 20 coins. The rest seems to happen in slow motion.
My sister’s hand snaps out and hits the joystick on our friend’s controller down- right as he’s pressing “A”. I had never been so proud and terrified of my little sister at the same time. Our friend looks at her, slack jawed, as his character declines the star. It was completely silent for about a minute before all hell broke loose.
The point of me telling you that story was actually to accentuate the bonds that form through gaming together. The three of us look back and laugh on that memory now, although admittedly there were sore feelings for a few hours. At the end of the day it’s just a game and we’re all going to end up eating pizza together anyways.
The Rules are There Ain’t No Rules
Except for the unwritten ones, which are arguably the most fun. There’s:
The Family Rule:
This one is always in effect for my sister and I; family members have each other’s backs first, and everyone else comes second. My sister can remember any and everyone who has ever stole a star from her in Mario Party, so in my situation, it’s mostly a fear-induced rule.
The Secret Alliance:
The two friends that make eye contact before a game and in that eye contact, a pact is born to screw everyone else over.
The Couple Rule:
If two people that are dating are playing- they will usually have each other’s backs and you’re kiiiiiiind of a jerk if you make them fight. Disclaimer- NOT ALL COUPLES ARE LIKE THIS. But you should make sure if the couple you’re gaming with is before you singlehandedly destroy their relationship and/or cause someone to have a pout session. Hyperbole, yes, but, you all know what I’m talking about.
The Angry Elf Rule:
There’s always that one person that ends up just getting super pissed that the game isn’t going their way and you have to decide if just turning the game off is the best option. That or risk them throwing their controller (or the gaming system) at something expensive.
The Bonds of War
But in other games, teamwork can be a beautiful thing. World of Warcraft is a good example of this – the tank that takes the brunt of the damage, the healer keeping HP up while your melee fighters wreak havoc. All cogs in a system based on blind faith. All participants in a virtual trust fall. Okay, enough with the analogies.
All Around Me are Familiar Faces…
Multiplayer games are a great test of character in real life. Do you REALLY know how your “friends” operate? Without question, my favorite games in the indie scene are multiplayer. We all know the Gang Beasts, Brawlhalla’s & SpeedRunner 2’s of the world, and despite spanning different genres and styles, they are incredibly fun and addicting mutliplayer chaos. I had the recent pleasure of playtesting a few games at a local IGDA meet up, and one specifically stuck out.
I immediately volunteered to play test (free games?!) and write about it. As a journalism major, and life long gamer, Viking Democracy checked all of the boxes of what I wanted to learn about, talk about, and be about.
Viking Democracy is a real life experiment by testing out those co-op modes. If you go into snowball fight mode and slide into that groove with a friend where you can get shit done at maximum efficiency levels without even having to speak to each other, that’s probably a friend worth keeping around. If someone gets hit with a snowball and up-ends the coffee table, you probably shouldn’t invite them next time. Or ever again. It’s your call.
To me, a good multiplayer game has high replayability, good controls, character balance, and some level of unpredictability. Whether it’s ragdoll physics like Gang Beasts, or short, anyone’s-match-rounds of Duck Game, the value of the fast reaction, and unpredictability these games provide is a necessary ingredient every multiplayer fun for fun’s sake game should have. The world needs more games like this. Disc Jam from High Horse Entertainment, Aviators of Eclipse Studiosand Viking Democracy from Mega Cat Studios top my list of most-anticipated games for 2017.
I got a fever. And the only prescription…is more multiplayer.
We at Mega Cat Studios are all collectors and enthusiasts first. In a world of cloud storage, download codes and virtual licenses, we are excited and proud to create exclusive artisan collectibles that complements the effort that goes into indie and homebrew development. We love creating games for the retro consoles of our childhood. We give these games additional life by also releasing current generation and PC ports with all the bells and whistles that gaming includes today.