Putting on a show with single-player games

Media takes on a whole new dimension when you share it with other people. Discussing or analyzing it is one thing, but experiencing something as a group can make it so much more enjoyable. Caitlan Oram writes about the pleasures of playing videogames with an audience:

A person’s reaction to something can enhance your own reaction; showing someone a scary movie and watching them jump can be just as fun as you getting startled yourself. This is why my roommates and I play horror/suspense games together. We sit down on the couch in the living room, pull up blankets, and give one person the controller. For Alan Wake, I got to be that person – and the whole of Alan Wake was improved because I played it with my friends.

Rather than empathizing exclusively with a fictional character, you fear for the person playing. Watching a single-player game is like watching a movie except you don’t have the same assurances that the person playing will survive. Oram survived one of these situations to the elation of her friends:

It was one of those moments where you want to turn around and say “DID YOU SEE THAT?” and gush with someone who knew that had just freaking happened. It became a shared experience, a moment made more awesome because other people witnessed it.

These games are made to be entertain one person, but maybe they are best enjoyed by many. This could be a type of single player that developers explore further.