My Experience of Online Modes

After a period of game sessions on local networks at friends’ at the beginning of the 90’s, I was naturally brought to test some PC online games. But, as I mostly play on consoles it is on a Dreamcast and its 33.6 kbps modem that I really explored different types of online games. I particularly have great memories of ChuChu Rocket! and of Phantasy Star Online. The idea was two-fold: to find other players and live this kind of experience at a distance but also to enter into virtual contact with them in the case of Phantasy Star Online. Then, as I was taking part in the creation of an online multiplayer sport-game development company, I noticed from within the difference of process between an artificial intelligence and a community of players.

When the network card of the PlayStation 2 arrived, I mostly used online modes for race games. At the beginning, it was just to try. Then, I played with a definite aim: to meet experienced players. A game against the console is generally predictable in terms of difficulty. Hence a double interest in online games in this context: competitors with very different game levels and the opportunity to find particularly gifted players. I have, today, the same approach on PS3 with the same kind of games. For example, I begin to play Pure online and I clearly realise that I haven’t played enough and that I lack quite a few hours of playing.

But, there remains a dimension which, I hope, will spread my online games practice: the materialisation of virtual relations such as what can happen on the Web. Indeed I haven’t yet physically met a person I have known through online playing. But this should rapidly change as the public of video games gets larger and with the new game platforms focusing on the relationships between the players.

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