David was pretty excited about the potential in Left 4 Dead when it was released. He got a copy of it for Christmas from his parents, but it wasn't until recently that either of us tried it out much. I've been really slow to warm up to it; I like zombie movies, but that's because I really prefer to be a spectator when it comes to a zombie apocalypse rather than one of the participants.
Part of the problem with the game turned out to be that's it's not as much fun playing with the computer, and you can't turn off NPCs. The premise of the game is four strangers banding together to try to escape the zombies, which makes playing online with strangers a very harmonic way to play the game. Unfortunately, it's hard to find strangers who are fun to play with. I want to play with people who are competent enough to compensate for my gaming shortcoming without being arrogant douchebags. I'm pretty sensitive to being made to feel dumb, and once I feel like I can't do it or I'm made to feel like a liability, I don't want to play anymore.
The interest in the game was fueled when Joey rented a copy and we played online together. I'm comfortable playing with David and Joey, and it wasn't so bad to have a random online stranger as our fourth. It seemed like we played with both people very familiar with the game as well as one or two n00bs. There was one fellow who had played the game before but was modest and nice about his experience and didn't make me feel bad or make David and Joey frustrated.
The most fun was last night. We rented a copy and had our friend Sheri over. David and Sheri played split-screen in the kids' room, I was in our room, and Joey was playing from his house. That, for me, was exactly how Left 4 Dead should be played. David and Joey, as the most experienced players, strategized as well as anyone can with zombies running around everywhere. I've improved a little since last time and almost matched David's score on headshots. Sheri, who had never played any kind of shooter before yesterday, picked it up quickly held her own very well for a first-timer and became really good at getting in there to revive fallen teammates. I think the zombies knew she was new, because she seemed to be targeted by the special infected and swarming hoards a little more than the rest of us.
I've been digging in my heels until now, but I think I'm sold on picking up a second copy.