Games' true specialty as an entertainment medium is interactivity. Books are a solitary activity. Movies and TV are passive processes of being entertained. Games, however, bring the player into the action, physically, mentally and emotionally. The player must act, must become involved in order for the entertainment to proceed.
It is this necessity of outward action that places games at the top of my list of Best Entertainment for Groups. Many couples read in bed, side by side, before turning off the lights, but they are having completely different experiences. Rooms full of people can enjoy TV or a movie, but ultimately because of the passivity of the activity, they are not embarking on an activity together. Whether it's for a common goal or contest in which we are pitted against one another, the active nature of playing games together is what makes them special.
Multiplayer games, online with thousands, or in the living room with
your spouse, are a special segment of the gaming world, pushing the limits of entertainment as we know it. That is why, on this day of celebrating love and togetherness, St. Valentine's Day, we are focusing on playing games together. Mark Wallace shares a love story from his favorite online world. Pat Miller discusses Animal Crossing, and how the multiplayer aspect of Wild World on the DS took the gameplay to new heights. And Spanner returns, telling about a brief encounter, one summer, years ago, where a multiplayer game brought two people together. Find these articles and more in this week's issue of The Escapist.
Happy Valentine's Day!