Same room multi-player - a call to arms.
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  • davyK
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    I was reminded of this in the shmup thread -  posted this in a sleepy retro forum a while ago and got no response at all - I thought I'd throw it in here unedited...I'm maybe being harsh about social online gaming - but thought I'd throw this out to see what it goads in way of response.....

    I am going to ramble on a bit here (and maybe even rave a bit too). I am also going to be deliberately provocative. So please excuse me.

    I believe that for the most part, we are now playing video games in a non-optimal - almost crippled - way - and the real crime is - games are being designed for this way of consuming them - continuing to deliver a watered down experience. It's akin to eating sweets with the wrapper still on - AND - I would go as far to say that it is divisive - and playing its part in the inaccurate mainstream perception of gaming as something not entirely wholesome.

    The whole WW2/FPS/gore thing has its role to play too - but is a red herring - and it only exists because of the pit created by consoles and now handhelds that for the most part - encourage lone gaming and encourage the development of the lone gamer - online or not.

    Games were born in the arcade (in pubs to be more accurate) - the first successful one was two player only remember, required one hand for compatibilty with being in a bar , and was a social device.

    Anyone remember when some arcade cabinets had 2nd monitors on the top for spectators? I do. I can remember the old 2 player shooter Boot Hill having that - it attracted crowds. Dragon's Lair had it too - though that was for different reasons - it was a hard sell of a game that cost 5 times the normal amount for 1 credit. Even single player gaming in the arcade wasn't a solitary exercise - the thrill of showing your skills, or coming across someone who was skilled in one your favourites was great - and youtube is a poor substitute.

    I can remember tips and tricks that seemed to just become common knowledge - the photo finish bonus in track & field, ufo hunting in Asteroids - they became known without any need for the world wide web. Social gaming.

    Single player gaming is valid of course - but when arcades died and gaming went into the home, the secondary, poorer home experience (which still has some merit when proper gaming as I'd call it isn't available) became the only option - and gaming is all the poorer for it.

    Arcade gaming and it's even more thrilling cousin, the same room competition (witness the atmosphere at the likes of EVO or the Classic Tetris Championship - thankfully it hasn't gone away) is real gaming. Anything else is second best. I have organised small work-based competitions and younger gamers, xbox live veterans, step up and their hands shake. I know some who actually can't do it - can't perform in front of a crowd - sounds a bit like sport to me.

    This sort of event is a rarity in gaming and gamers - to their shame - have allowed this to happen. If gaming was physical - and standing at a cabinet can be, or being in a room of a dozen of more jeering people (loads more at EVO), can be - and if gaming can bring it's own level of intensity,and if it was presented so that non-gamers could experience it - I honestly believe more would do it - and we would all benefit from it.

    There are assholes in gaming - and they are at soccer,football,basketball matches too - we shouldn't worry about encountering them in real life.

    Arcade and tournament gaming needs local competitive - head to head games that can be enjoyed by spectators. They need to be accessible yet deep enough for experts - and they are few and far between.SFII(and its modern ilk) Virtua Tennis, Tank, Tetris are some examples - and THEY and associated events where physical presence is required should be the mainstream - not cussing, paying-in immature louts online - nor lonely Bejeweled playing 40 somethings.

    They, and those games, have their place - but they should be the 2nd choice experience - something to tide one over until an opportunity to experience the real thing comes along - which should be as regular as more traditional pastimes....think golf would be as popular if it was played online? We shouldn't let technology get in the way of experiencing real gaming.

    How on Earth have we arrived where we are? Modern experiences are good.....good enough. No passion, no social scene, less skill. It looks good for corporate balance books and looks good to those who like technology more than games.

    Sadly it's a long road back - EVO shows the way. This is a call to arms. Get out there and organise events - bring real gaming back.
  • Fucking hell Davy you had a lot to drink?

    I agree that same room gaming has declined, but that is not just down to a change in gaming but a change in social interaction as a whole.

    So many people now communicate through the web that it is the norm. People railing against it are the dying breed.

    I would guess that eventually technology will better integrate the offline/online gaming experience so that this be a non issue.
  • Dark Soldier
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    Same room gaming is far better though, its why I barely ever online game, even with you guys. Its nowhere near the same.
  • Love local multiplayer, but online has a bigger pool and as the average age of gamers goes up (34 now I think?) we aren't all living round the corner from our school mates anymore.

    Go to some arcades in japan, going out for local multiplayer thrives there, whereas it were a bit of a fad for us.
    Today is the shadow of tomorrow.
  • Escape
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    As ever 'tis, it's why I say fibre optic is the real next generation.
  • Will it mean you can sit next to Davy on his sofa via the Internet?
    Today is the shadow of tomorrow.
  • wonderbanana
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    In brief - there is a reason arcades died here long before they did in Japan and largely it's the difference between the way Western players play compared to our distant friends.

    The vast majority in the west played arcade games because they were the best experience available (graphics etc); home consoles simply couldn't match what the arcades could.  But the big difference in culture was how we played.

    The vast majority in the West credit fed the games, score was less important than progression at any cost.  Once the home machines caught up, arcades became largely irrelevant as people could do the same at home without the cost.  

    Contrast this with Japan where players played with one credit and then walked away.  There it was skill, score and an understanding of how you play the fucking things.

    Actually I'm fucking shit explaining my thoughts on it but you might enjoy this article Davy.  I don't agree with all of it but the latter part is fairly accurate and is also similar to why I play my cabs with coins, why I don't MAME and why a PCB is always worth the money to me - because one game will last me ages: 

    http://insomnia.ac/commentary/arcade_culture/
  • wonderbanana
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    Oh and I know this doesn't cover all your 'social' points but it's relevant to part of what you are describing :)
  • Escape
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    Will it mean you can sit next to Davy on his sofa via the Internet?

    You can wave at his PiP in real time.
  • I went with my mate at work to casino a couple months back because she thought there were no arcades anymore. You have to check this place out! I said. This could be a regular thing! We thought.

    When we got there we found out it had closed for good. My heart fucking sank.

    Anyone been to that esports bar in kings cross that does wednesday fighting games night? Might pop there one week.

    Edit: id also like to say that although i dont play online pretty much at all, i think its the natural evolution. Like with film and cinema people want to do everything on their own terms nowadays, so build it into their living rooms. Also hesitate to call single player experiences 'secondary'- just different.
  • Escape
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    A few of our boys nip into HoG here and there, Cos.

    General Fightman's the thread for it.
  • Hell, I'm moving house this year and I'm looking at areas around Acton just so I can be close to HoG.
    "In the long run, if you play solid, you'll be a more solid player." Aris Bakhthanians
  • Even the days of Japan being arcade culture wonderland are well on their way to passing. Fact is, community stuff like wot's generated around vs-fighters and the like just isn't all that much of a money spinner - you can establish small, subs-based hobby circles like what they do at Mi-Ka-Do but that's yer lot. Japan's coasting on a degree of embeddedness but it'll go - new and refurbished arcades are plenty but they're given over much more to attraction stuff, bemani, MMO-likes, straight up gambling. I already have to go well out my way there to get a bit of 3S, as far as I'd have to go here (i.e. to HoG). Would be less dire if I were into SF4 but I ain't.
  • Without a true breakthrough in networking efficiency (something like a whole new protocol to send mininum input info only down the lines), feels like the jig is up. EVO is tops but once the commitment one has to make to get tourney-competent starts to include literally moving states or even countries, nah. That's asking for stagnation.

    Of course, stagnation is kind of the norm everywhere in the developed world today so
  • Escape
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    Brooks wrote:
    Without a true breakthrough in networking efficiency (something like a whole new protocol to send mininum input info only down the lines), feels like the jig is up.

    Government's the disease; FTTP's the cure.
  • davyK wrote:
    I can remember tips and tricks that seemed to just become common knowledge - the photo finish bonus in track & field, ufo hunting in Asteroids - they became known without any need for the world wide web. Social gaming.

    Does anyone remember a rumour about Chun Li being able to take her bracelet off and throw it as a one-use fireball? Whoever made that up was a wind-up genius; plenty of pocket money was spent in chip shops trying to trigger it.

    I enjoyed the rant and agree with it. Online gaming has its place (online co-op I like, I also greatly enjoyed Quake III and Halo 2 in online mp), but for the most part I've avoided it because it's just not as much fun as couch multiplayer. Also, most people are better than me online, and I rarely play games long enough to get genuinely good at them these days. To use an analogy from school, In my own front room it's like I'm top of the bottom set for games, but online I just get 'pwned' by the A team. I've won one of what used to be regular Pro Evo touneys with colleagues/drinking pals (10-12 players, someone's front room) and reached the final for two of the other four. Whenever I've played it online, I've either been ruthlessly picked apart, or had my opponent quit if I'm winning. No stories about mates turning the PS2 off in a strop while I'm saving a replay of my goalkeeper scoring onto a memory card, just pot luck as to whether or not you're stuck with a knobhead for 10 minutes (he says, whilst admitting he's someone who runs the pitch with his keeper when he's three goals up).

    Everybody's Golf 2, Athlete Kings, Micro Machines 2, Worms Armageddon, ISS Pro '98. Two/four player simultaneous/pass the pad multiplayer will never reach these heights again. However, it's worth pointing out that this is chiefly because I'm not always stoned round a mate's house, and games of this ilk still have the choice of same room modes.



    You have minecraft?
  • Love local multiplayer, but online has a bigger pool and as the average age of gamers goes up (34 now I think?) we aren't all living round the corner from our school mates anymore.
    Well exactly. I've only recently bothered with online MP, and before that it was SP only. It's been many years since I knew people who were free to all pile round each others' houses of an evening. So while online may be a bit deficient in some ways, as an alternative to nothing it's not a terrible option.
  • Best gaming memories from my childhood and adolescence are predominantly local MP - worms, Mario kart, goldeneye, street fighter etc.
  • Get playing Monaco in 4 player, brilliant fun.
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:

    Everybody's Golf 2, Athlete Kings, Micro Machines 2, Worms Armageddon, ISS Pro '98.

    All those and no mention of Street Fighter, Mario Kart or Goldeneye?

    Remember Halo with 4 TVs and 16 of us @Moot_Geeza ? Amazing times!
    PSN/XBL/NNID/STEAM: retroking1981 - 3DS: 4210-3980-2083
    PLAY GAMES NOT CONSOLES!
  • Streetfighter and Goldeneye of course. Mario Kart I missed out on - my multiplayer experiences of the series are limited to Battle Mode on the N64, the couple of times we linked up four GBAs and the odd retro SNES session. The Halo lock-in was wonderful, we couldn't get those shutters down quick enough.
    You have minecraft?
  • Apart from some Street Fighter here and there, I don't online mp much at all. 3 of my GOTGs are there because I had so much fun in local mp. Halo 3 was all about split screen 4 player round my mate's (and the awesome campaign), played Street Fighter there too all the time, as well as at Mordor Mashup. Lastly, Rock Band [3] (I gotta update my GOTG list) is nothing if not all about getting friends and family together in a room and jamming it out.

    I tried some Halo online. Didn't do too well, had a little fun. I tried Gears online too. Same. And Street Fighter and other vs fighters online are just not the same, specially with lag and dropped connections. 

    Viva local mp.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Paul the sparky
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    Same room shenanigans is great, the pinnacle of multiplayer, but I'd hardly call online multiplayer the 'crippled' version as its a great, practical solution.

    Had a bunch of chaps from here round mine for a good old session, it was excellent but unfortunately it's not something that can be done twice a week is it? For that you've got Live/PSN.
  • Local multiplayer is great fun - Nintendoland is perfect for family do's. Minecraft is as close to being the perfect babysitting software as you can get - my 2 lads are playing it split-screen on the 360 now and if they were allowed to, they would play it for hours and hours. 

    I far prefer online MP, but that's mostly down to the infrequency of getting a group of mates, relatives etc in one room and the reduced screen that some games can bring. Also means I get to catch up with uni mates, friends and family all over the country. Also met quite a lot of decent people online who I still game with occasionally.
  • davyK
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    Yeah - my rant is a bit harsh re online. It is a great compromise and helps with logistics etc. but that is what it is - a compromise - and sadly, it has an effect on game design.
  • Splitscreen Borderlands is the TITS.
  • acemuzzy
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    I reckon some devs view local multiplayer as the compromise. Split screen, so less real estate. Low res textures to allow 4x rendering, etc.

    Having LAN is a halfway house I suppose, but obviously needs more kit, and it depends how near together all the tvs are!
  • acemuzzy
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    (Having said that, I guess some devs view ANY multiplayer a compromise! )
  • davyK
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    again - design - a properly designed 2 player versus game doesn't need split screen. Major problem I have is multi-player now equates to same "arena" online.

    Split screen isn't always an issue - race and puzzle games benefit from it. FPS games can be compromised by it.
  • Nidhogg, people. It comes.
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