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From the NES to the PS2 multiplayer has been a big factor in gaming. The N64 doubled that with 4 controllers ports, allowing up to 4 friends to play each other at the same time. Games like Goldeneye and Super Smash Bro’s were an instant hit. The Dreamcast also sported 4 ports and the PlayStation 2 had a multi-tap to increase the amount of players allowed to participate in a game. But what happened to friends all huddled around one television, laughing and smiling? The answer lies in one word; online.

Ever since online gaming became popular local multiplayer has been declining. Think of it as a see-saw, as one goes up the other inevitably goes down. When online was first introduced I was one of the gamers that shunned it, why would I want to play against random people, when I could play against my friends? I continued to neglect online on consoles till I bought my Nintendo Wii, where I embraced it slightly, but still preferred local. I saw nothing more fun than arguing with a friend over cheap tactics in Street Fighter or Mario Kart. Unfortunately a lot of my mates have embraced online so much they only have a single controller for their consoles.

Am I The Only Gamer Who Misses Split-Screen?

Am I The Only Gamer Who Misses Split-Screen?

The differences between Local and Online are the reasons people prefer one over the other. With Online you have the advantage of; playing anyone, of any skill level, from anywhere in the world, whenever you want. You always have someone to play against, day or night as someone in the world will always be online. It’s cheaper and more convenient and you don’t need to make contact with the outside world. Whereas with Local you have to invite people over to play, and spend money on extra controllers. With Local there’s no lag, smooth crisp gameplay 99% of the time, you don’t need Internet and it’s a lot more personal. One of the best things about Local is the trash talking and general dick-headedness that goes on, as you can give someone a quick smack round the head if they piss you off.

However, online has risen above all these great reasons and now reigns as supreme ruler of multiplayer. It’s rare to find games nowadays that don’t include some form of online play. Some developers have even gone so far as to exclude local multiplayer altogether, this was most evident with games such as Motorstorm, Burnout Paradise and even Killzone 2. Personally I am appalled that a game would be released without Local Multiplayer, especially racing games. But this just goes to show the emphasis on Online nowadays.

Online Lobbys Like PSN Or XBL Are Great

Online Lobbies Like PSN Or XBL Are Great

With PlayStation Network and XBox Live as the main online marketplaces, gamers strive to be part of an online community. Why have friends over when you could play them from home?  Even going as far as to use Blue-tooth Headsets to chat to them, it’s got all the pleasures of local multiplayer, without the actual people. However it has it’s fair share of problems, from quitting halfway through a match to playing people with bad Internet. Online can be easier, but it can also be a royal pain in the ass. Another problem is the people, you can’t choose who you play with most of the time and you’ll always find people who have a million and one excuses for losing, these can range from; “My net was lagging” to “My Teammates Were Bad”, there’s always some reason they can’t accept losing.

It seems even though Sony and Microsoft are neglecting Local Multiplayer, the one company that embraces it is Nintendo. Many gamers bash Ninty for their sub-par online system, friend codes and what not. Ninty have always been more focused on the fun part of gaming, and I for one have never had more fun online than I have locally. It just doesn’t compare, even with headsets. Sometimes I’d much prefer to play Smash Bro’s or Wii Sports locally than COD4 or Halo 3 online, it’s not that those games are crap locally, it’s just the others are more fun locally. Online gaming to me is the same as playing the computer AI. Lonely.

Gamer Points, The Killers Of Local.

Gamer Points, Are You The Best?

One of the main attractions to online are Achievements or Trophies. These create the foreseeable retard rush to be number one on the Leader-boards. People stop playing for fun, and start playing for points. Not everything has to be a competition. Gamer Points and Leader-boards have turned gaming into something ugly, sure it’s nice to see how good you are at a game, but when you start thinking you’re better than others, then its gone too far. These points have become like a monarchy, if you’re number 1 on the Street Fighter IV Leader-boards, then you are respected like a god. If you aren’t in the top 1000 then you’re a lowly worm. People will deny this but it’s true. Gamers want to be number one, not for personal satisfaction, but so they can feel better than others. When you play locally you want to win, but it’s not a big deal. It’s all about the fun.

My main gripe with online is down to local being excluded altogether. The foundation is already there, how hard can it be. Gears and LBP have both offline and online. Why was it so difficult to put it into Burnout from the beginning, or Killzone 2. It’s not that hard. Personally, a game without local multiplayer isn’t worth the money. If i can’t play with friends in the comfort of my own home it defeats the purpose, gaming is about bringing people together, not putting them miles away and playing them online.

Is online gaming killing the fun? Yes and No, it can be a huge success, with games like Warhawk and Halo, people love the online. I don’t blame them, it can be fantastic. But in another way it twists gaming to a degree where I don’t want to play anymore, and that’s a bad thing. I do not hate online gaming, I’ve had lots of fun online, but overall, I prefer local multiplayer.

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  1. You’re not the only one who misses split screen. Some of my top split screen games: Halo 1, Jet Set Radio Future, the Mario Parties, Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, and (not split screen but) WCW:NWO Revenge for 64.

    PS – The guy in the right of the top screenshot looks like Michael Cera

  2. avatar Guy

    I don’t think that online gaming is necessarily a bad thing but I think the fact that many games witch were perfectly playable in split screen don’t even get a two or more player mode for offline is stupid. I am therefore happy about games like supersmash bros. Brawl which incorporate both. because I personally think that there is no way to play videogames that is more fun then with four friends totally wasted on the couch.

  3. Personally I was appalled when Burnout Paradise excluded local multiplayer then had the gall to make you pay for it.

    I realise they have given out so much DLC, but to pay for LOCAL multiplayer in a RACING game is just a downright scam.

  4. avatar Jon

    KZ2 has no local multiplayer because of framerate issues. If they went split screen they couldn’t keep the framerate anywhere near 60fps. Seeing as one of the biggest knocks on KZ1 was framerate, they left out local multiplayer.

  5. avatar Lando2

    Okay, so the main complaint is that Online Multiplayer (The Ability to play with anyone, anytime, anywhere) has killed as you so plainly put it: Fun.

    Really? This is by far one of the most unconvincing articles I have ever read. I was scanning through the plethora of dreadful articles on N4G and just could not stop myself from laughing in disbelief at the head line that read: Online Multiplayer; Fun Killer.

    If you’re anything like me you have friends. Friends that play games. Friends that don’t live at my house or within walking distance (I drive 15 minutes to go play with my good friends). So when I’m jonesing for a quick match between a good friend I don’t go wasting time and gas to settle a long time rivalry in NHL 09. I simply put on a headset and invite him to my game, simple as that.

    Although my friends and I do host game nights to account for lag and just to hang out for the night/weekend, we aren’t turned off by the fact that developers have allowed us to play each other when we aren’t in the same house, which to me and almost everyone else, makes sense.

    Maybe you haven’t played online or didn’t have a very good experience with it, but when I turn my Xbox 360 on I expect to see a few things, one being the amount of Friends that are currently online and a number of game/party requests to pop up for me to join. This enables me to escape my home for a bit and hang out with some people just like me that don’t like the feeling of sitting alone playing multiplayer (Even though we are). It adds to the immersion that is a community. Online gaming has been able to achieve this. Without it we would be waiting for a friend to phone when he got home, just so I could start up my car and drive over there to split a 30″ television with him as we both screen look and try to play a fair game without getting mad (And don’t forget hitting your friends controller out of his hand to make him miss a shot or drive into a wall).

    In order to appreciate online gaming I believe you have to play the right games as some developers make it unbelievable hard and somewhat of a chore just to invite a friend/get a game set up. Party play is the essence of online play and only a few games have truly knocked it out of the park (Halo, CoD4/5, Gears 2). It should be the foundation of any multiplayer game but it isn’t that much of a problem thanks to the introduction of the Party feature on XBL.

    I understand where you are coming from though, as a regular gamer who saw the days of old disappear and dissolve into a few games that still offer the true split screen experience (And do it half-decent). Games like Rainbow 6: Vegas, Halo, Gears, etc. have taken the extra step to give the not-so-common (anymore) man something to do with a friend.

    Anyway I hope that shed some light on how people on the other side of the spectrum feel. Take it as a compliment, an insult, a simple statement or however you want to look at it. I don’t care, cause I’m busy playing on XBL.

  6. @Lando2

    The article was titled “Online Multiplayer: Fun Killer?” (With a ?). He was posing a question, and the answer has it’s ups and downs. Online gaming isn’t “definitively” killing gaming fun.

    I think the author was trying to say that gamers are thinking like you now: Lando2 “this enables me to escape from my home a bit”. The author doesn’t like that idea; what’s wrong with gaming with friends in the home?

    Your thoughts were very well layed-out, thanks for stopping by with your input. I agree with some of your points, and I absolutely adore online gaming. With it, I had a blast running the top Mech Assault clan in America for a while (not possible without Xbox Live). I also miss split-screen gaming with my friends, trying to see who was the best at a ton of games, however.

  7. avatar Dave H

    I agree totally, I used to love playing with mates in the same room, micro machines v3 is a good example – what a fantastic game for 2 or more people! Knocking your mate of a massive table and seeing the look on his/her face as your little car bounces and spins with joy.

    I recently picked up Burnout Paradise in a game store and the ONLY reason I didn’t buy it was the lack of split-screen multiplayer. Burnout 2 and 3 were 2 of the only games my girlfriend would play, so when paradise didn’t have split-screen I instantly put it down.

    I do feel like the miniroty on this issue, I can’t think of any of my mates who miss split-screen, they laugh at the idea of going back to it. It’s a shame gaming has become an even more lonely pastime.

    When I was a kid, Streets of Rage 1. 2 and 3 were games that brought me together with my mortal enemy (my brother), for once we were united against a common foe – Mr X. Will siblings ever have this again?

  8. @Lando2
    I fully respect your opinion on the matter and some of the points you’ve made I’ve touched on in the article. I have come to believe you didn’t full read it, or you didn’t read it with enough care to notice a few things. I do not “hate” online gaming, I say that in the piece, quite cleary I may add. I say that “I’ve had lots of fun online, but overall, I prefer local multiplayer.” Yet you assume I’ve never played online.

    I state the advantages AND disadvantages, you can’t be claiming that online gaming is perfect. I never once stated Local Multiplayer was better than Online. I said I PERSONALLY prefer it. Certain games are better online. The point I’m trying to make is that online could be destroying Local multiplayer, as it’s come to the point where developers are completely excluding it from thier games, or in the case of Burnout Paradise, making you pay extra for it.

    • avatar Mariscos

      De EduardoBoa noite pessoal!Gostaria de saber se apos a 7a Temporada de Dr. Hause teraimos a honra de ter a 8a Temporada, outra coisa oassei para ver se ja havia a postagem da 4ba episodio de hause mas ne3o obtive sucess, mas aguardaremos anciosos pela postagem.Um grande abrae7o a todos voceas

  9. avatar David Macphail

    This is the most ridiculous article i’ve read all day! Online gaming killing multiplayer??? Every one of the points you mentioned is completely illogical:

    Split – screen??? So you’d rather play with 4 people on 1 TV where none of you can properly see your surroundings and you end up walking in to each other during a deathmatch without even realising it? That kind of local multiplayer is just one big mess. With online you each have your own TV and therefore have a much better sense of orientation. Conclusion – Online gaming > split – screen.

    Multiplayer – with the PS3 you could have up to what, 4 people playing at a time in the same room? Wheras with online you can have up to 60 (Resistance 2). I know which community i’d rather be a part of for massive deathmatch battles. Conclusion – Online gaming > local multiplayer.

    That’s not even taking into account the other things true online gaming can bring – without a proper online service LittleBigPlanet wouldn’t be half the game it is now. Neither would most FPS games that use a badge system (Like Killzone 2 or Call Of Duty 4). I mean, what would be the point of having a levelling system if it’s just going to be the same 4 people playing all the time?

    Basically online multiplayer IMPROVES everything there is to possibly improve in a multiplayer aspect of a game………without it gaming would go back to the “Dark ages”.

  10. So gaming in split-screen is the “dark ages”? You’re a fool.

  11. David McPhail,

    If you can’t appreciate the days sitting around a mate’s house playing Goldeneye 4-player on one screen or Street Fighter 2 with your big brother giving you a dead arm, that’s totally up to you. But please don’t “conclude” that online gaming > local multiplayer.

    This whole thing should be taken on a case by case basis.

    Sports games, for example, do not need split screen. Playing with the person actually sitting next to you can be one of the most joyous or horrendous experiences in gaming. It’s these two ends of the spectrum that are exploited when you can see the whites of your opponent’s eyes. It’s magic.

    “without a proper online service LittleBigPlanet wouldn’t be half the game it is now” – when was he calling for no online service?

    Also, levelling system? Real-world bragging rights are so much more tangible than online levelling up. Who ever won a pint from levelling up?

    I love playing online but I totally agree that when a game (expecially a racer) has no split-screen, it is very upsetting.

    Also, local multiplayer gives you the chance to pause and go for a piss. Very important.

  12. avatar pjfry

    @David McPhail:
    “Split – screen??? So you’d rather play with 4 people on 1 TV where none of you can properly see your surroundings and you end up walking in to each other during a deathmatch without even realising it?”

    Simply put. Yes I personally would. Different strokes for different folks. I can see the draw of online play and I like to join a game now and then. However, I’d much rather a game came with offline local multiplayer than it not come with it. I’m sick of people saying that it splits your TV up… it’s so small. I used to regularly game on a 13 inch TV. Now, split 42″ (common LCD size) into 4 chunks and you have a 21″ TV each. Bigger than what many people play PC games on.

    Also, read the article and not just the headline.

    • avatar Bobette

      oi! muito obrigada por me ajaudr a saciar o meu vedcio chamado house! sf3 que tem um probleminha… je1 que estou viciada, quero assistir mais… estou quase acabando de ver esta tempora e fquei na dfavida se tem 8aa, ou pelo menos episf3dios avulsos. algue9m poderia me socorrer? obrigada pela atene7e3o: Josy

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