There’s more than one way to skin a cat

As everyone who is reading this site knows, one of the beautiful things about gaming and technology these days is online gaming. The twin facts that just about everyone these days has broadband, and that games consoles are as cheap as chips combine beautifully to help move gaming away from the old stereotype; the lone gamer hunched over a keyboard, surrounded by pizza boxes and porn mags in a darkened bedroom. Now there are thousands of us, headsets on, hunched over a console surrounded by pizza boxes and porn mags in thousands of darkened bedrooms. (I’m just kidding)

Of course, most online console gaming revolves around competitive games, deathmatches, team deathmatches, capture the flag etc. Whereas I’m not against those modes, I just don’t get competitive easily. When I’m playing a game I’m only in it for fun, and I’d rather lose 100 games straight and have a brilliant laugh with the people I’m playing with, than trounce everyone repeatedly with no chatter or banter. I’ve been playing GTA IV Cops ‘n’ Crooks mode weekly on Monday nights for over 6 months now, and I honestly couldn’t tell you if I have won more games than I’ve lost. I’m too busy having a laugh with the people thrown together in my team and hammering the ‘A’ button to start another game. As far as I’m concerned that scoreboard is only there to mark the break between rounds.

This lack of competitiveness does tend to lead to me preferring co-operative games. I love playing co-op, and as Ready Up’s own Anthony has mentioned previously, the two of us often pair up to play co-op games. This frequently proves amusing as the two of us go about things very differently. We’re practically the original Xbox odd couple. 

This would be me; Anthony would be the one on the right, sensibly covering.

To take a typical scenario from a game that we have played co-op together on, Rainbow Six Vegas; there’s a room full of terrorists and hostages, right behind a couple of doors. Anthony will be checking the satellite pictures and map, equipping his smoke grenades, thermal goggles and ensuring all of his weapons are fully loaded before finally moving to the door and preparing for entry. In the meantime, I’ve got bored, C4’d the door off of it’s hinges, and killed two or three enemies (and perhaps a number of hostages) with a fully automatic weapon. On reflection, my approach was probably not the best, but damn was it fun. 

In GTA IV, I’m the one who bails out of the moving car into a tree and then attempts to single-handedly rocket launcher a cop car full of Uzi-wielding coppers whilst Anthony is busy advising the driver of the getaway car of the best route to avoid capture. Sometimes I get away with it. Mostly I don’t. This to me, though, is the very core of playing online. Real people are so massively unpredictable compared to AI enemies, and this simple fact makes a game richer, fuller… and frequently p*ss-funny.

Sometimes my crazy plans work…

Anthony, you see, is a thinker, a planner, a careful strategist. I play more like a partially-sighted Rambo after six cans of Red Bull. Sometimes, though, sometimes – it just works. My wild unpredictability and his careful planning and tactics just occasionally come together like a Ying and a Yang in perfect harmony. I’m the one running across the battlefield waving a machine gun around like a heavily armed bull, and he’s backing me up with a sniper rifle from cover, and it all falls beautifully into place, and victory is ours.

I couldn’t play like him, and he couldn’t play like me. But, hey –Viva la difference!








11 responses to “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”

  1. Snozzeltoff avatar

    Three cheers for pizza and porn!

    …anyway, i find i play both serious and over the top stupid. Depending on my mood i might plan my route, kill the targets and work seriously as a team.
    I may also get bored, play Saints Row 2, go car surfing butt naked and hip thrusting in old ladies faces!

  2. city avatar

    Paul and I are much the same.
    Playing Left 4 Dead, Pauls tactical, finds the safest routes, walks past witches and ignores flashing cars.
    I on the other hand, storm in all guns blazing, piss the witch off and set the car alarm off… its more fun that way!

  3. GamerGeekGirl avatar

    The only online games I play “competitively” (attitude, not in any actual tournaments) are Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft.

    When I play those, I get all about the tactics, the tried and tested routes of approach by the team, or the little tricks I (as an individual) can often fool people with.

    If I get good at a game, I will get very tactical…

    But until I reach that point, I’m doing the things that are fun – I may hardly ever get any kills as a Pyro, but I’m sure as hell going to run in screaming burning people as much as I can before they take me down ^^

  4. Edd avatar

    I’m exactly the same! Online play should prioritise fun above all else.
    The amount of times i’ve played a game like Gears online, and at the end of a match, the other team has an arrogant explosion of ego-stroking, and tells us that we’re shit. And one of our team will just say that we don’t care and that we had way more fun. Which is 100% truth, and it shuts them the f’ up.

    I am a bit of an x360 achievement whore, so i sometimes put myself through the torture of ranked matches to get them, and it’s so boring playing in this hyper-competitive testosterone-fuelled game. Not fun at all, which is why i’m so glad that i can be in a party whilst playing, because that’s just as much fun

  5. MrCuddleswick avatar

    Sounds like you two are co-op soulmates….

  6. Michael avatar

    In other words, you’re the maverick, the loose cannon, the guy on the EDGE! And Anthony is the other one. Is that right?

  7. Tony avatar

    Yes, I’m the Mel Gibson to his Danny Glover.

  8. Lorna avatar

    Wow, Tony 🙂 I thought that if I ever got brave enough to venture into a GTA game with you guys once I’d played more of the single player that you’d be all serious…I fully expected to get shouted at for driving over pedestrians (something I seem to excel in) and screwing up!

  9. Tony avatar

    Oh, no. We do try to win, but overall GTA night is all about the fun!

  10. Anthony avatar

    I always thought of myself as the Goose to your Maverick.

    In all honesty Lorna, you should come and join us for a game. GTA has become so popular on Monday nights that we’ve got a full room of just Ready Uppers so you’re guaranteed to be amongst friends.

  11. Lorna avatar

    Sounds great! When I get my poor Xbox back from Germany, I’ll fire up GTA and get a little practice in before I embarrass myself! 😀

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