I had fun writing this one. I knew the joke right away, that to play together you have to NOT hang out, but it took me about 30 minutes to tweak how it all came together. I couldn’t decide on whether to end the joke with the lonely guy being excited that his friend left, or disappointed and confused. I think in the end it’s happily ambiguous.
The concept of playing with friends far away is understandable, since there are many cases that you cannot be in person. However, the idea that multiplayer on the same console has been lost in the process is really disappointing. Maybe it’s because my “peak” video game years were spent playing against friends after school and siblings in person, but in my mind the art of multiplayer games has been lost in recent years. I want to share the experience with others, but that doesn’t mean miles away. Sometimes, you want video games to be a social activity in a way that being apart can’t fill.
That being said, I don’t think there aren’t lots of games out there that are fun in groups. Rock Band, Smash Bros., Wii Sports (can you tell I own a Wii?) just to name a few, but I stand by my statement that the era of getting together to play with your friends is being lost to going your separate ways just to meet up online. I guess that’s not just video games, now that I think about it.