As you may have guessed, we love single-player games. We share our love every day through the work that we do, but the pace of this industry means that we rarely get the opportunity to stop and look back.
Join us this week as we celebrate the best that single-player gaming has to offer as part of Single-Player Appreciation Week.
Growing up as an only child, I honestly did not know multi-player games existed. My female friends did not share my interest and my male cohort refused to believe I could play anything without ponies, pink, or rainbows. In my world, video games were story-driven delights, just waiting to be discovered and told only by me. This early passion sparked a life-long love that has shaped who I am today.
Most recently, I found an admiration and respect for Aloy of Horizon Zero Dawn. She was the first character I had seen in games, film, or any other media that I felt truly reflected me. Aloy is strong, passionate, and as feminine as she is fierce. No matter how many times I watch the ending of that game, I still get deeply emotional. What struck me the most was the line “being smart counts for nothing if you don’t make the world better.” I genuinely believe the sentiment of those words and make an effort to live by them every day. This was not the first time the words of a game resonated with me, though; I owe that much to Dragon Age.
While playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, the text-laden tarot cards that fill the loading screens contained a phrase that have since modelled my life on. The card for dwarven companion Varric Tethras sports the words: “there’s a power in stories, though. That’s all history is: The best tales. The ones that last. Might as well be mine.” I couldn’t agree more. Since reading this back in 2015, I discovered my own desire to become a video game developer to weave exciting new tales that might inspire other people to build lives so bizarre that if they became a movie plot, no one would believe it was true.
Another aspect of the Dragon Age franchise that I adored was the RPG stylings that meant I got to truly tell a story I felt was my own. However, I first discovered the thrill of RPGs playing the PS2 wonder Barnyard. Yes, Barnyard. The game based on the Nickelodeon movie. My tiny mind was blown to discover that I would not take on the role of an established character, but a cow of my own design. Venturing through the large open world showed me what games and their stories could be in a way I had not seen before.
Going back even further, the likes of Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank were the games that really turned me into a gamer, with Sly 2 most prominently shaping my childhood. The thieving raccoon had a surprisingly dark story of friendship and revenge that took me to cities I never heard of while telling stories I will never forget. Around the same time, Pokémon Emerald Version became my greatest obsession; I learned braille just so I could uncover the secrets of the Regi-Pokémon. My mother started to notice how inquisitive these games made me about the world and encouraged my passion by finding walkthroughs and buying games, which were always on the right console.
Being supported by your parents as a gamer made it a normal hobby that normal people have. Yet my current choice of profession as a fitness instructor with qualifications in game development makes the complete opposite of many people. To this day, I still have to defend my love of video games even though I would not be the hard-working and driven woman I am today without them. The games mentioned above, along with so many others, have etched themselves into my heart, teaching me to be curious, brave, and the hero of my own story.
Nowadays, few games inspire the same inquisitive nature in younger players. No cheesy movie spin-off games to inspire a love for a new genre. No pathways to get to players to discover themselves through the stories they create.
What I love the most about single-player games is that they have the capacity to shape the positive beliefs of people. They have inspired me to become a better person and I know I am not the only one. Hopefully one day, video games will be seen as the conduit of positivity that they truly are. Until that day, I will continue to defend my passion with the gusto that my video game heroes have taught me.