Monday, September 20th, 2021

Soapbox: Parallel games are the new sofa co-op, and Minecraft is a great fit for it

image: Irene Viana Prado

I haven’t seen some of my friends for months.I haven’t seen the others year. Partly because of the pandemic, partly because I moved abroad four years ago, and partly because my understanding of the permanence of objects is flawed, so if I can’t see someone’s face often, I might forget their existence . However, with the combined power of Discord, the Internet, and my huge video game library, I can roam the fantasy world with my close friends almost anytime, anywhere.

I wrote an article about cooperative and multiplayer games in May, and I said that I really want more cooperative games instead of killing each other or others.I played a lot at the time Wallheim, This is great because it is PvE (player vs. environment) instead of PvP (player vs. player); Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and astronomer The same is all about cooperation and separation to build a community and a base camp.

Me, riding my new Strider pet
Me, riding my new Strider pet

These days, I am back in my Minecraft carnival. A few friends and I were on the Discord server. Someone mentioned starting the Minecraft server-a few days later, I got up at 3 am to build a virtual aquarium.

I like Minecraft very much, you see-I like the collection aspect, the excitement of upgrading, the zen-like mining, inventory management, and the freedom to create whatever your imagination is.

Another player on the server built what we call "cabin"; It has a newt shell
Another player on the server built what we call a “hut”; it has a salamander shell

But I have never played with so many people before. It’s scary (they are all very good at games) and fascinating (I keep meeting other people in the world’s builds), but most importantly, it collaborates in the best way.

The server is based on the socialist concept: everything in the town center is shared, including resources, farms, and XP grinders; if you want to build a fantastic castle, someone may offer to help or share their materials.

This server is a kind and generous utopia, thank goodness; if I had to do it myself, I wouldn’t have so many diamonds. With the help of my friends, I can overcome a lot of repetitive boredom and panic at the beginning of Minecraft, and instead focus on making the cutest house I can make.

my home!
my home!
Important sign outside my house!
Important sign outside my house!

But cooperation is only half of the whole. The other half is our work when we are not cooperating, which is usually just working on our own projects while we are on a Discord call together. Our projects are usually thousands of blocks apart-for this we created an ingenious instant delivery button system in the central hub-but in a Discord call, we are in the same place.

This way of playing games is called “parallel play”, which is one of the most common behaviors among children. “The children are playing next to each other,” Read the Wikipedia page“But don’t try to influence each other’s behavior.” This is a fascinating way of socializing, because two or more people may be interested in the same activity, but not necessarily in doing exactly the same thing.

In children, parallel play is a way to develop social skills before they are developed enough for children to socialize effectively; for adults, especially those separated by time zone and geography, this is a way to enter an important friendship time Without having to change the behavior too much. I can play Minecraft (or other video games) anyway; if I can do this while hanging out with people, it would be two birds and one rock.

What I like most about parallel games is that it highlights the range of skills, expertise, interests, and abilities of a group of people: I might want to build a machine that makes my Minecraft experience more efficient, while others will think it’s a necessary evil. , To help them build a huge castle that requires 10,000 dark prismarine stones. But in parallel games, we end up waltzing around each other, filling in the gaps in each other’s knowledge, without actually hindering each other.

I may have accidentally caused a raid, and within a few seconds, everyone online at the time agreed to help repel the invasion.
I may have accidentally caused a raid, and within a few seconds, everyone online at the time agreed to help repel the invasion.

Usually, we will be silent for a few minutes at a time, until someone asks: “Does anyone have extra bones?” We will briefly gather together to share and exchange building blocks, and then spin back to our own little dance. When we finish our project, we can choose to share them or use them as our little secrets, it is not important; we can even contribute to the work of others, such as I built for my friend’s zombie grinder A water elevator. We will eventually share everything we can do to make the whole place better.

I strongly recommend that extroverts and introverts play parallel games: if you want, you can join and talk, or you can quietly enjoy the soft light of the digital presence of other people. You can leave at any time; you can stay until 3 am. With or without you, progress will be made, and people will comment on the work you have done or leave small packages of gifts at your door.

When my fish tank needed coral, a friend lent me a silk pick and gave me the coordinates of a nearby coral reef
When my fish tank needed coral, a friend lent me a silk pick and gave me the coordinates of a nearby coral reef

I will end with the story that happened recently in my Minecraft. With so many people on the shared server, many things may happen when offline. In my case, it was a lightning storm that burned down my house. When I came back, the entire roof was gone, there was a hole in the upper floor, and a volcanic crater on the lower floor. I sent a message to this group of people and asked anyone if they knew what was going on-they didn’t know, but they saw the wreckage and just assumed I was decorating.

My roof! That's how I use it!
My roof! That’s how I use it!

I am very depressed. This house took me several hours, even if someone donated materials and helped transform the earth. I don’t want to build it anymore. I thought about asking someone to help me rebuild or restart the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition style-but then I realized it was actually a bit pretty.

In the next few hours, I used grass, moss, vines, and leaves to make my previous house look like a real ruin; the garden went from being neatly trimmed to overgrown with weeds and turned into small animals (some of them tried to kill me ) Of refuge. I did it all by myself, but if there were no parallel games, it would be tedious-I did this to show my friends, to contribute to the village where we live, and to make the village where we live Less damage to the landscape, more aesthetic choice.

In the next few days, people will come over to take a look and leave kind comments in Discord. It even obviously motivates someone to do something, even though I forget who it is and what they are motivated to do. This asynchronous gameplay feels more like any community I’ve lived in, and turns what might be a tragedy into a beautiful thing. I can’t do it alone.

Mainly because if I was alone, the house would not catch fire.

So, please tell me: What parallel game style games have you played recently, and how has it changed the way you play games and socialize?