An anonymous helping hand
Sometimes, we don’t want to talk, but rather crave spending a few minutes in silence with our friends – either united by a common project or simply sharing our space. If that’s your case, then we would advise you to look into asynchronous multiplayer games, which let you interact with other players in this light and unobtrusive way: you might see their avatars moving alongside you on the quest (as in Journey), or even get some assistance in the form of notes and clues from players who discover a certain location before you (as in the recent phenomenon, Death Stranding). Knowing that it’s not just another NPC (non-player character) but a fellow gamer going through the game beside you makes a ton of difference, also spurring this deeply human feeling of connection, compassion and understanding.
Quests with strangers and friends
I am ready to bet my trusty Xbox 360 gamepad (yes, we’ve been through a lot together) that almost any gamer would name you a couple of online multiplayers if asked about ways to play with someone else. Countless types and genres within this category – from competitive shooters like Counter-Strike or Fortnite to racing simulators like the renowned Need for Speed or Forza Horizon – will be the best choice for someone in desperate need of a goofing-off get-together with friends, or an almost, dare I say it, party-like experience of mounting a campaign alongside complete strangers.
I can’t do it without you
Now, whereas online multiplayers rarely feature an intricate storyline and are mainly based on short campaigns, co-ops or split screen games usually include a decent plot with a variety of quests that, depending on the mode you select, can or cannot be completed by only one player. These games often require direct communication between players – otherwise it might be impossible to coordinate your actions precisely enough to open a door or solve a riddle. Games like A Way Out, Left 4 Dead, or the Borderlands franchise, some of the best representatives of this genre, will provide you with the closest substitute of hanging out with your best friend on your couch, gamepads at the ready.
Why live one life when you can have many?
Finally, there’s something we can recommend to you with a necessary word of caution, as games in this genre are essentially virtual worlds with even real-life marriages known to have happened “inside” them. Massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft or Destiny 2 allow you to interact with hundreds of other gamers logged into the game with you, all exploring a typically huge open world with thick volumes of lore to set its rules. No need to worry about not being able to leave the comfort of your home now – dozens of virtual realities are open to you, and who knows, you might just be next to find the love of your life over drinks in a rusty tavern somewhere.