Don’t play games online, play them in the same room

Gamers today live in an always connected, always online world.  When you buy a console these days the internet is as important to have as the latest launch title.  We spend more time waiting for downloads to finish than we do playing the games themselves.

And when we want to play against friends we simply play against them online.  We don’t seem to play games against people in the same room anymore. We feel this should change because we believe playing games against people in the same room local multiplayer is more fun.

This article will explain why by talking about what local multiplayer gaming is, and the benefits it has compared to online multiplayer gaming.

What is local multiplayer?

Before there was Xbox Live or other online gaming services, if you wanted to play games against friends you had to all play in the same room.  There was no online gaming service for consoles and PC internet gaming was slow and expensive.

Local multiplayer allowed you to show your gaming skills, or lack of, to real people.  You shared jokes, memories, and experiences of playing the game. This shared experience helped bring you together even if it was a competitive not a cooperative game.

How does local multiplayer make you more human as a player?

Local multiplayer gaming brings people together in the same room.  This can be families, it can be friends.  There is a deeper connection with those you are playing against in the same room, versus playing against random strangers online. Sure, you may all want to win, but it’s friendlier and gamers who are in the same room will congratulate you or give you encouragement, even if you aren’t winning, and you simply do not get that online.

You can also craft your own experiences and memories when you play against real people in the same room.  As an example of this, take the classic rhythm action game Guitar Hero.  Pulling off massive riff combos against someone in the same room could make you feel invisible, or ten-hit combos in fighting games, their facial expression as you beat them is priceless, but you simply don’t get that connection or shared experience when you play online.

This can affect how you play as well.  For example it’s harder to ragequit in the middle of a multiplayer game with everyone in the same room because you get to immediately see and feel their reaction.  Online gaming though is a different story.  There is almost no empathy and you do not connect or care about who you are playing against because you cannot see them.  This has at times caused people to behave in ways that are simply mean spirited, sexist and/or racist.

Not everyone has a perfect internet connection.

It is true that there are more internet connected devices in the world then there are people. However this gives one extra layer for things to go wrong and slow down the game experience. It’s no fun having to deal with lag trying to get into a game and when you are finally playing the game. Every gamer who has tried gaming online has a story of dropping out or losing their connection at the worst time possible and nobody wants to deal with this.

If your internet is not the fastest then you can be at a disadvantage compared to those with faster internet speeds.  Having a low internet speed can also ruin the online gaming experience entirely because you may end up getting disconnected from the game.   This is something that would not happen if the game was being played in local multiplayer mode.

Conclusion

To conclude, local multiplayer gaming allows for multiplayer gaming to become more personal again and ultimately more fun. It’s far more fun seeing people’s reactions when you play against them, or fighting over who gets the best controllers, and the bonding experience can also help a game become more popular.

Party games for example are great as a local multiplayer title for college students, parents are more likely to purchase local multiplayer games that that can enjoy with their kids too.

The sudden increase in popularity for local multiplayer games explain why board games are also now more popular than ever.   People want to make a connection when they play game and the only way to do that is to get people in the same room.

Ian

What is your favourite local multiplayer game? Comment @gogameout
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References

“Why Local Multiplayer Games Will Always Be The Best”, Dealspwn, last updated March 2014