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Why do you play single player games?

FaffelFaffel Registered User
edited June 2009 in Games and Technology
I've been trying every single-player game that I can get my hand on for something like 14 years now and I've only beaten maybe six. Why do people enjoy these games? What is it that draws you into them? Every time I delve into a single-player game I can't see past the game - it just feels like a big, soulless world full of AI that all acts basically the same. I can't get into the aesthetic values of it like graphics, because I don't find visual art makes any impact at all on me. Every game that I've played TO COMPLETION (this was NOT in my OP initially and I bet explains a lot of confusion here) has had an intangible atmosphere to it that made me feel like what I was doing was rewarding, rather than simply entertainment.

I mean, I have the same issue with movies and books, but it really confounds me with games. For something as incredibly simple as most games, what is it that keeps you coming back without a dynamic human mind controlling your opposition? I can put a dozen hours into TF2 in one sitting easily, but I can't play, say, Dead Space for 15 minutes before my mind wanders and I turn it off. Do you find yourselves genuinely caring about the characters and enemies in the game? Does the fate of the world really matter to you in the least? I would love to be able to lose myself in these worlds, so I'm curious as to how other people see them. Sometimes I think I've just lost my ability to imagine or be mesmerized by this kind of thing over the years.

I always try to make wordy OP's, but I'm also really bad at making my thoughts sound longer than they actually are. Sorry for the sparse page.

Faffel on
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Posts

  • .Tripwire..Tripwire. Firman Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I actively seek out games where I don't have to deal with dynamic human minds controlling my opposition. I've played Counterstrike with bots ever since they were released.

    AI never calls me a fagoggot n--ger 10 times for no reason.

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  • slash000slash000 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Sometimes human opponents are more fucking stupid, retarded, and terrible at the game I'm playing than AI controlled opponents/allies.

  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Going on an adventure, enjoying a story, having fun.

    None of that is guaranteed with multiplayer.

  • FaffelFaffel Registered User
    edited May 2009
    .Tripwire. wrote: »
    I actively seek out games where I don't have to deal with dynamic human minds controlling my opposition. I've played Counterstrike with bots ever since they were released.

    AI never calls me a fagoggot n--ger 10 times for no reason.

    So is that the only thing that makes you play singleplayer games - not having to deal with drive-by internet insults?

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  • DisruptorX2DisruptorX2 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Immersion is impossible in a multiplayer game. Simple as that.

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  • UltrachristUltrachrist Registered User
    edited May 2009
    I mean, I have the same issue with movies and books

    I'd say you probably just have a really short attention span.

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  • GalagaGalaxianGalagaGalaxian Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Going on an adventure, enjoying a story, having fun.

    None of that is guaranteed with multiplayer.

    Pretty much this. Also, sometimes I like plot, many multiplayer-focused games lack plot.

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  • slash000slash000 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    But besides that, sometimes I enjoy a controlled single player experience. I don't want to always play these team v. team whatever matches. You can't experience a story in that setup the way you can in Bioshock or whatever.



    And besides that, games are games. If they're designed well, they're fun to play. I don't need humans to control my Goombas when I go platforming through a level in Super Mario Galaxy. The joy of the game is the gameplay.. I don't need human opponents to enjoy that.

  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Story, atmosphere, because it's fun to upgrade my saw blade launcher in Ratchet & Clank, because it's challenging to play songs in Guitar Hero, and it's rewarding to figure out jiggy challenges in Banjo-Tooie.

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  • slash000slash000 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Some single player games' gameplay is extremely fun and simply cannot be executed in a multiplayer arrangement.

  • cr0wcr0w Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I generally play for the story. I don't play multiplayer games on my consoles at all, and on my PC all I've ever played was Soldier of Fortune 2, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, WoW, and LOTR Online. Hell, most of my time spent on those was soloing.

    Another reason is that I just don't like depending on people when I'm playing games. MMOs especially...to do anything of substance, you need a group, and they tend to be unreliable at best. Or, if you have a group of people you play with, you can't do anything until they're online. When I play a game, I want to play at my own pace, do what I want, experience the game on my own terms, and with multiplayer games, that's really hard to do. It's all I grew up on with my NES, and it's still my preferred game type.

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  • CG FaggotryCG Faggotry Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I do tend to get a more "warm" relaxing feeling from single player games. No one is depending on me, and that pleasure is something you can't get from a multiplayer gamer. This goes both ways, however, as quintessential differences mean something is not catered for by both.

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  • LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Immersion is impossible in a multiplayer game. Simple as that.

    No it's not?

  • .Tripwire..Tripwire. Firman Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Faffel wrote:
    So is that the only thing that makes you play singleplayer games - not having to deal with drive-by internet insults?

    Removing other people also means no one has any expectations for how you play. Your pace is your own.

    I like to appreciate the various ways in which the game was directed during production. I like only having to pay for my game once (when contrasted with MMOs).

    Caring about characters and worlds is an argument seperate from the single player experience, I think. I often laugh at game stories, but that's a reflection of the writing, not the absence of other human controlled characters.

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  • FaffelFaffel Registered User
    edited May 2009
    slash000 wrote: »
    But besides that, sometimes I enjoy a controlled single player experience. I don't want to always play these team v. team whatever matches. You can't experience a story in that setup the way you can in Bioshock or whatever.



    And besides that, games are games. If they're designed well, they're fun to play. I don't need humans to control my Goombas when I go platforming through a level in Super Mario Galaxy. The joy of the game is the gameplay.. I don't need human opponents to enjoy that.

    This is what I'm getting at - what is fun about simply running through a level hopping on Goombas? Do you just enjoy the diversion, or is there something deeper to it? Maybe I'm incredibly hard to entertain, but it always just feels like I'm doing the exact same thing in a slightly varying pattern over 8 hours. Doesn't it get to you? The only SP games I've felt really brought a sense of freshness of variation as the game progressed were God Hand and Ninja Gaiden, and that was because of how the AI reacted - the battles were very frantic and it was all about reacting correctly to the situation and thinking on your feet. Very few games seem to require that, or even go directly against it and encourage dying and retrying to learn the pattern. SP games love patterns.

    Perhaps I'm just a lonely man and can't handle the cold logic of AI.

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  • slash000slash000 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Faffel wrote: »
    So is that the only thing that makes you play singleplayer games - not having to deal with drive-by internet insults?

    Drive by insults are annoying... haha, but that would never preclude me from playing a good game.


    Tell me how something like Super Metroid would have worked if not single player only? The immersiveness, the atmosphere, the rewarding exploration, the rewarding upgrade system, the isolated feeling, the enormous bosses, etc etc?

    I don't see how it's hard for you to see how single player games aren't extremely fun and intriguing.



    Hell half the time I'm glad for my immersion not to be broken by idiots on the internet.

  • .Tripwire..Tripwire. Firman Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Why couldn't multiplayer games be simplified in the same way?

    Edit: Responding to Faffel's last post.

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  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Leitner wrote: »
    Immersion is impossible in a multiplayer game. Simple as that.

    No it's not?

    It's rather hard to get immursed in an epic dragon slaying quest to liberate the four ancient metal forests of Gortundra when your communication to your fellow players goes like this.

    "K, we gonna pull the mobz."

    "Hold the agro!"

    "Heal me!"

    "I'm dead lolz"

    "I @#!$ your mom."

    RP'ers aren't much better. I do not want to hear about your lovey-emo-angstfilled character's bullshit while in the middle of the spinning death fortress of Raydor the Imperious.

  • FaffelFaffel Registered User
    edited May 2009
    slash000 wrote: »
    Faffel wrote: »
    So is that the only thing that makes you play singleplayer games - not having to deal with drive-by internet insults?

    Drive by insults are annoying... haha, but that would never preclude me from playing a good game.


    Tell me how something like Super Metroid would have worked if not single player only? The immersiveness, the atmosphere, the rewarding exploration, the rewarding upgrade system, the isolated feeling, the enormous bosses, etc etc?

    I don't know - none of it ever did anything for me. I got about an hour into the game and turned it off, never to be touched again. I didn't get any feeling of magic from it.
    .Tripwire. wrote: »
    Why couldn't multiplayer games be simplified in the same way?

    Edit: Responding to Faffel's last post.

    Because the human mind is a chaotic thing. Only the stupidest of stupid people do the same thing over and over again in a multiplayer game, and even then their reaction almost always varies. Nothing is ever a sure deal.

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  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Multiplayer is not inherently a benefit. In many cases, it can detract from a game. A good example would be Mass Effect. The story, atmosphere, the ability to immerse yourself in the universe would be completely shattered by other people.

    Other real people break suspension of disbelief, hard.

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  • DomhnallDomhnall Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Left 4 Dead was pretty immersive at the start before people played it so much they got used to everything. However the time it took that to happen was quite long, certainly as long as most RPGs I've played and there's very few games that are immersive to me the second time around.

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  • NerdtendoNerdtendo Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    It really depends on the game. Generally, there's two totally different things that I look (independently) for in single player games:

    The first, and the main one that keeps me coming back, is simple mindless fun. I love arcade style games, especially ones that reward you constantly with upgrades. I'm a complete whore for the multitude of flash games that work like this. I'll play one, and it's totally similar to the millions of other castle defense, zombie shooter, etc games... but there's either a minor gameplay change, or interesting controls, or something. Sure, I get bored of them after playing for a few hours, but there's hundreds of them out there.

    The other, is atmosphere/story/characters. Some multiplayer games can nail the atmosphere really well, but I'm constantly finding single player games with really cool mechanics, art, atmosphere, personalities, that I keep saying "I wish they'd do something like this in an online multiplayer game." Perfect example, Shadow of the Colossus. I'd really love a co-op oriented game that's based around the idea of bringing down these massive monstrosities. Basically, each map would be a team of players against some boss, and there'd have to be some randomized circumstances to mix up the game a bit every time, so players won't master each boss too quickly. Even when I complete one of these types of games, and I never touch it again, it still remains a great memory.

    Of course, both of these are done pretty well in multiplayer games at times, but I feel like the single player games just nail it down so much better. The main reason why may be that single player games have been around for much longer than online games, and developers are still figuring out online mechanics and ways to stretch what's possible.

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  • MoioinkMoioink Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Because I like both apples and oranges.

  • DisruptorX2DisruptorX2 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Leitner wrote: »
    Immersion is impossible in a multiplayer game. Simple as that.

    No it's not?

    It's rather hard to get immursed in an epic dragon slaying quest to liberate the four ancient metal forests of Gortundra when your communication to your fellow players goes like this.

    "K, we gonna pull the mobz."

    "Hold the agro!"

    "Heal me!"

    "I'm dead lolz"

    "I @#!$ your mom."

    RP'ers aren't much better. I do not want to hear about your lovey-emo-angstfilled character's bullshit while in the middle of the spinning death fortress of Raydor the Imperious.

    Thats in addition to the simple fact that the added competition destroys the suspension of disbelief. Take an extremely immersive game like Diablo/2. Once your fighting over boss drops and trying to keep up with the group, there's no time to appreciate the atmosphere.

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  • .Tripwire..Tripwire. Firman Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Faffel wrote: »
    .Tripwire. wrote: »
    Why couldn't multiplayer games be simplified in the same way?

    Edit: Responding to Faffel's last post.

    Because the human mind is a chaotic thing. Only the stupidest of stupid people do the same thing over and over again in a multiplayer game, and even then their reaction almost always varies. Nothing is ever a sure deal.

    I've encountered some pretty spontaneous moments in single player games, and it should all be fresh on your first playthrough.

    I've sunk a lot of time into TF2, and have found it can be repetitive in a patterned way as you've described. The top players refine strategies and locations that are the most consistently successful and repeat them ad nauseum and chastise fledgling players who aren't yet familiar.

    Edit:

    I'd also like to add that I enjoy games of yore that I can revisit. I replay favourites, and am pleased by the fact that I will most probably be able to pop in Grim Fandango in 2025 and enjoy it all over again. There are assorted multiplayer games I likely won't be able to play at that point.

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  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    .Tripwire. wrote: »
    AI never calls me a fagoggot n--ger 10 times for no reason.

    That's pretty much true. :^:

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
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    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • DisruptorX2DisruptorX2 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    .Tripwire. wrote: »
    Faffel wrote: »
    .Tripwire. wrote: »
    Why couldn't multiplayer games be simplified in the same way?

    Edit: Responding to Faffel's last post.

    Because the human mind is a chaotic thing. Only the stupidest of stupid people do the same thing over and over again in a multiplayer game, and even then their reaction almost always varies. Nothing is ever a sure deal.

    I've encountered some pretty spontaneous moments in single player games, and it should all be fresh on your first playthrough.

    I've sunk a lot of time into TF2, and have found it can be repetitive in a patterned way as you've described. The top players refine strategies and locations that are the most consistently successful and repeat them ad nauseum and chastise fledgling players who aren't yet familiar.

    This is why I no longer play Command and Conquer clones except on very rare occasions, generally only with RL friends. Extremely repetitive and cookie cutter.

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  • DarlanDarlan Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    A nice difficulty curve makes a huge difference: you basically just get killed a ton in MP games until either get sick of it and move onto something else or it clicks. Personally, I hardly ever play MP games at all except the occasional CoD4 or L4D, and even then its almost always only with my real life friends: strangers just aren't that interesting to talk with in the setting of a game, and the lack of a plot and atmosphere doesn't help.

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  • Grid SystemGrid System Registered User
    edited May 2009
    .Tripwire. wrote: »
    Removing other people also means no one has any expectations for how you play. Your pace is your own.
    Yup. It's hard to pause multiplayer games. And I like being able to pause.

  • FaffelFaffel Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Maybe I'm just not a gamer these days... I love the concept of games. They're the coolest form of entertainment out there and they just absolutely blow my mind. Then I begin playing them and I'm so incredibly underwhelmed that I can't even get hooked into a world long enough to see the closure of the first act.

    Shadow of the Colossus is one of the few magical games that hooked me, and is I think the only form of entertainment in about 5 years to actually make me emotional outside of laughter. I think it's because it specifically didn't try to feel like a populated world - there was an incredible feeling of isolation and it was a very bitter-sweet atmosphere in general. It touched a chord that no other game has touched, and that's what makes gaming amazing.

    I just can't see the lure of killing a swarm of 15 locusts that all run in the same direction in Gears of War, when you could be battling human beings that flank, feint and generally confuse the hell out of you due to the way the mind works.

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  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    .Tripwire. wrote: »
    Faffel wrote: »
    .Tripwire. wrote: »
    Why couldn't multiplayer games be simplified in the same way?

    Edit: Responding to Faffel's last post.

    Because the human mind is a chaotic thing. Only the stupidest of stupid people do the same thing over and over again in a multiplayer game, and even then their reaction almost always varies. Nothing is ever a sure deal.

    I've encountered some pretty spontaneous moments in single player games, and it should all be fresh on your first playthrough.

    I've sunk a lot of time into TF2, and have found it can be repetitive in a patterned way as you've described. The top players refine strategies and locations that are the most consistently successful and repeat them ad nauseum and chastise fledgling players who aren't yet familiar.

    As in it's never the fault of the person with "the perfect plan" for failing to abandon it; it's the fault of the other people for not doing it right. I hate people who do that shit. It's why I didn't get into battlegrounds in WoW.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • slash000slash000 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Different games are rewarding in different ways. Multiplayer games are rewarding because you're playing human opponents. But that's only 1 way of millions of ways games can be enjoyable.

    Why is that hard to understand?

    I personally find myself straying away from internet multiplayer. Half the time the opponents are too easy, and it becomes more rewarding to play higher-difficulty-set Bots. The other half the time I enter a match and get raped, and that's no fun.

    My big problem with team based multiplayer is that it's hardly ever a team. Just a bunch of people randomly put into a server, and most of them are self-interested at best. Team tactics? Gimme a break. That only really works if you can do a clan or play with PA people or something. But that's not always convenient to set up.

  • MoioinkMoioink Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Leitner wrote: »
    Immersion is impossible in a multiplayer game. Simple as that.

    No it's not?

    It's rather hard to get immursed in an epic dragon slaying quest to liberate the four ancient metal forests of Gortundra when your communication to your fellow players goes like this.

    "K, we gonna pull the mobz."

    "Hold the agro!"

    "Heal me!"

    "I'm dead lolz"

    "I @#!$ your mom."

    RP'ers aren't much better. I do not want to hear about your lovey-emo-angstfilled character's bullshit while in the middle of the spinning death fortress of Raydor the Imperious.

    Yeah... kinda hard to be immersed when all that is being said on ventrilo drowning out the music and voice effects of the encounter and a third of your screen is covered in addons.

    It also doesn't help that everyone is obliged to read up all the strategies for the boss and watch it die on youtube before you've even seen it for yourself. Immersion is simply impossible in WoW, it pales compared to Oblivion in that regard.

  • PataPata Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Because multiplayer sucks most of the time.

    You run around in small areas dealing with retarded people who ruin everything.

    It takes a lot more effort for retards to screw up single player.

    Plus, there are a lot of games that don't work with multiplayer, are you honestly going to say that this isn't worth while.

    Spoiler:
  • GoombaGoomba __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2009
    Moioink wrote: »
    Because I like both apples and oranges.
    I hate doing this but this is pretty much the best response.

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  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    slash000 wrote: »
    Different games are rewarding in different ways. Multiplayer games are rewarding because you're playing human opponents. But that's only 1 way of millions of ways games can be enjoyable.

    Why is that hard to understand?

    I personally find myself straying away from internet multiplayer. Half the time the opponents are too easy, and it becomes more rewarding to play higher-difficulty-set Bots. The other half the time I enter a match and get raped, and that's no fun.

    My big problem with team based multiplayer is that it's hardly ever a team. Just a bunch of people randomly put into a server, and most of them are self-interested at best. Team tactics? Gimme a break. That only really works if you can do a clan or play with PA people or something. But that's not always convenient to set up.

    Seeking out a clan or community to play with is a positive experience though. Or at least can be. Plenty of games I've played online I wouldn't have done so without other PA folks present.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • FaffelFaffel Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Goomba wrote: »
    Moioink wrote: »
    Because I like both apples and oranges.
    I hate doing this but this is pretty much the best response.

    I just want to see if I can learn to enjoy singleplayer games by learning why other people enjoy them. I sometimes feel I lack the ability to perceive art as anything but colours and shapes, because I almost never get any emotional content out of it.

    It seems that people just seem to enjoy it... because they do. It's not something I've ever been capable of. Shitsux.

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  • slash000slash000 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Faffel wrote: »
    Maybe I'm just not a gamer these days... I love the concept of games. They're the coolest form of entertainment out there and they just absolutely blow my mind. Then I begin playing them and I'm so incredibly underwhelmed that I can't even get hooked into a world long enough to see the closure of the first act.

    Shadow of the Colossus is one of the few magical games that hooked me, and is I think the only form of entertainment in about 5 years to actually make me emotional outside of laughter. I think it's because it specifically didn't try to feel like a populated world - there was an incredible feeling of isolation and it was a very bitter-sweet atmosphere in general. It touched a chord that no other game has touched, and that's what makes gaming amazing.

    You just answered your own question. Different games are rewarding in different ways. SOTC would be absolutely wrecked if it were "multiplayer." So would, say, Metroid for simiilar reasons...

    I just can't see the lure of killing a swarm of 15 locusts that all run in the same direction in Gears of War, when you could be battling human beings that flank, feint and generally confuse the hell out of you due to the way the mind works.

    Human opponents online are often just as idiotic as some of the AI we see for Bots in shooters. Both in terms of strategy and in skill (accuracy, timing,etc)

    I ask you -- why is it only fun to play against humans? Especially with all the scrub players out there, if "flanking and feinting" is what does it for you?

    I ask because sometimes I want to experience what it would be like to be a Hero in a world overtaken by swarms of alien monsters, and blast them down as they try to overwhelm me, just to finally put the last one down right as its upon me.


    Alternatively, sometimes I just like conquering challenges. Progressively sloped difficulty curves up culminating in some great challenge that is greatly rewarding upon finally winning. This is something you may have experienced with Ninja Gaiden for example. But it applies to many games.

  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    And to answer the thread question directly, I play single player games because I just feel like it most of the time. Multiplayer games are spaced out, special experiences for me.

    I'm not gonna say it's wrong that people have logical, well-thought-out reasons for playing singleplayer, but it's not the only valid response.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • StreltsyStreltsy Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Well, for a lot of multi-player games single-player can serve as good training; I'm thinking mostly of RTS where you can learn hotkeys, tech-trees, and practice mechanics without the pressure of losing (if you're a stats whore like me anyways).

    But really the question is so broad is may as well be "why do you engage in non-competitive entertainment?". So, I present an equally vague answer to your question; "people play single-player games because sometimes they're fun".

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