Tandem Play: Theorizing Sociality in Single-Player Gameplay
Game studies scholars have begun to theorize sociality in play, but little has been done to investigate how sociality occurs in relation to single-player games. To investigate that question, this chapter provides an overview of a series of studies centered on the question: “In what ways do individuals play single-player videogames with or alongside other people?” We define tandem play as: “when two or more players engage with a single-player game together, moving through the game with a variety of potential motives.” Tandem play occurs when players come together to play, although not perhaps necessarily to progress, in a game. Players may have different goals for the play session, but must take account of who else is playing with them, or witnessing their play. Tandem play can force players to revisit their goals for a particular gameplay session and may or may not be appropriate for a particular type of game. Seeing how another person played made some question their own taken for granted style; it also allowed players to think about how play can be a social activity and what goes into making a game enjoyable for a multiple of people.