Empty Playground

Redditors fight to keep old online games alive

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Empty multiplayer games are a decidedly lonely place: No one wants to be the only kid on the playground.

It’s a common phenomenon: A new game pops-up, and gamers flee old ones. And some quite good titles just never hit a critical mass of users that can propel them into the spotlight.

Last night, social news site Reddit’s gaming community decided they were collectively sick of it.

In a swarm of frenetic, excited creativity, thousands of these redditors flcoked to a new section, or subreddit, on the site: r/playdate.

It’s goal? Collectively swarm dying or little known online multiplayer games, bringing them back to life for an evening of fun.

Or, as the moderators describe it: “Redditors can play the multiplayer modes of their favorite games without having to worry about having too few players.”

Like a lot of recent big subreddit launches, including r/helpit and r/explainlikeimfive, r/playdate was launched from within another popular subreddit. Late last night, redditor Schnevets posted a comic suggesting the idea, which shot to the front page of r/gaming. Within hours, r/playdate was formed.

A subreddit called r/revivial tried to do something similar in the past, but never managed to build up much momentum. It topped off at 234 subscribers, and only tried to swarm one game a month.

In less than half a day, r/playdate already has almost 7,000 subscribers. And it’s founders say they’ve already learned important lessons from r/revival’s failures. They’re going to play a game a day, the moderators say, and keep the subreddit’s rules as flexible as possible. That will hopefully maintain interest in r/playdate and sustain it’s impressive momentum.

The subreddit’s first online adventure is tonight. Redditors will invade the free game Alien Swarm.

Want to join? You’ll be able to identify redditors by the handle {R}.