I don't know about you, but I have always turned to video games to relax, to unwind, to ease, to decompress.
It has never really been about competition for me, although I have admittedly punished myself by tackling some extraordinarily difficult games (such as Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening and Ninja Gaiden ). It's about doing something I enjoy doing; it's the manifest intent of any hobby, I think: To ease whatever burden daily life heaps upon your shoulders.
And for the life of me, I cannot understand how playing anything online relieves stress. For me, it only enhances stress because it's all about constant, ceaseless, frantic competition. I'm aware that there's a lot of cooperation involved in certain MMO experiences like World of Warcraft but even so, those are the very same games that seem to cause serious problems in people's lives. As I've said before, I don't think any marriage every broke up or any job was ever lost because of Final Fantasy VII or Resident Evil . I dare say that 99.9% of any all legitimate cases of video game addiction involve online multiplayer.
That tells me something, as does my experience. Call of Duty: Black Ops II is out and while I will certainly play it online long enough to produce an accurate review (as I always try to do), I will not be playing it online beyond that requirement. I'll finish the campaign and that will be that. I will go back to playing Assassin's Creed III and maybe I'll attempt to finish Resident Evil 6 . Or maybe I'll go through Journey or Dishonored again. I'm sorry, but playing by myself, Zen-ing out, so-to-speak, is what does it for me. It's what this hobby has always been – and will continue to be – about. Playing with others can be fun, and I like doing that ocassionally. But those people better be in the room with me. Ain't nothin' social about it otherwise.
On top of which, you know what else? I don't deal with the vast, vast majority of issues that plague this industry, which almost seem exclusive to multiplayer. I don't deal with server issues, I don't deal with the myriad of technical mishaps that plague online entertainment, I don't require an Internet connection to enjoy myself, and perhaps above all else, I don't have to listen to the ultra-depressing and horrifically embarrassing tidal wave of hostility that spews from everyone's mouth when playing online. How any of that is even remotely relaxing, I don't know. And to be quite candid, I don't want to know.