As a gamer I've been more or less exclusively playing retro stuff for years now. The last 'current' console I was genuinely excited about was the Dreamcast and its quick demise made me sad. Even then, though, I still spent a lot of time with my many older systems. Since then, I've dabbled with the odd newer game of course - a few original Xbox and PS3 games for example - but even then there is one aspect of gaming I have practically no experience in: online gaming.
I'm sure at least most of you reading this, even those who think of yourselves as hardcore retroheads, probably still play modern games as well, and these days that generally means at least some degree of online tomfoolery. Some games like Titanfall and Destiny give you no other option, but I have somehow avoided doing this almost entirely. I'm not quite sure why if I'm honest, I don't hate the idea or anything like that, it's just something I've never gotten around to trying properly.
I say 'properly' as I was recently reminded of my first ever flirtation with the slightly daunting prospect of playing against anonymous players from around the world. This reminder came during my second, and to date most recent online gaming experience which sort of happened involuntarily while playing Test Drive Unlimited 2 on my PS3. It seems that here, while I'm still free to go about my business doing as I please, I have no option to share my game world with other players doing the same.
It wasn't as proficient as the PC which has been doing it for years, of course, but it wasn't bad for a first console attempt. Sega rewarded us patient DC owners (in Europe at least) with a free copy of their frantic puzzle/action game, Chu Chu Rocket, which allowed players to compete against others over the wonder of the internet for the first time (kind of). This wasn't enough to tempt me into dipping my toe into such unfamiliar waters, however, but I gratefully added the game to my collection all the same. Who wouldn't want a cats-chasing-mice game?
More releases followed such as Phantasy Star Online, Starlancer, and Bomberman, and I bought a few of them (and played them in one-player mode, naturally), but I did finally buy one with the intention of trying out its multiplayer aspect, and that game was Quake 3 Arena. I had heard about Quake deathmatches from enthusiastic PC gamers, and indeed Doom deathmatches before them, but the closest I had come to one myself was playing multiplayer Goldeneye on my N64 (and even that I did infrequently). This would be my chance to try though, and try I did.
In retrospect, I imagine this unexpected turn of events actually bought me a few seconds, but my courageous venture had nonetheless come to an end and, for reasons I cannot recall (shame, perhaps), were not repeated for the rest of the Dreamcast's tragically short life. Indeed, aside from the brief (and unintentional) dalliance with Test Drive Unlimited 2, this type of gaming has not been attempted again on my part at all, despite its prevalence in modern gaming.
Who knows, though? Maybe I'll give it another try one day, especially as I make my way through my vast collection of downloaded games (of the Steam variety, not illegal stuff), but at the moment I'm not overly concerned about it. What about you guys though? I'm sure most of you play games online regularly but did you leave it as late as me? And did you have any embarrassing mishaps? I'm sure your stories are more amusing than my pitiful example so let's hear them! :)