Monday, 25 July 2016

Remember Split-screen Multiplayer?

Those hours of fun just sitting on the couch with your mates without having to worry about servers or wi-fi connections, remember that? I do. It wasn't too long ago that we were able to put a game disc in, pick "Split-screen multiplayer" on the main menu and play the game with our friends in the same room. We would bring over our own controllers, get some snacks and drinks, gather around the television and play games together. Good times...

As the gaming industry has progressed, we aren't allowed to have that nearly as often with modern games. While there are some games that offer an offline split-screen mode, the vast majority only cater to the online community. As it stands, in order to play together in the same room, most games require each player to have their own console and their own copy of the game. Even in the same room, sitting next to each other, it's still netmork multiplayer or nothing. Some would argue that online multiplayer on modern consoles is a good thing because it allows you to play with your friends without having to actually meet up. It makes playing games with people from far away much easier. It also allows for a large number of players to play together on a single map. There are so many things that online multiplayer allows us to do that split-screen cannot and I absolutely agree! There is absolutely no way for split-screen multiplayer to allow players from far off locations to play together or accommodate 60 players on a single map. That said, there's no way online multiplayer would be able to capture the sheer joy of a few friends staying up through the nigh playing a game in the same room on split-screen. 

Don't think that I'm trying to incite a war between split-screen and online multiplayer, that would be ridiculous! I'm not opposed to having online multiplayer, not at all. Online multiplayer must continue to be available in all suitable games because it is an incredible feature that can no longer be absent. However, I would like to see split-screen multiplayer make a comeback. I know that some would argue that that's a stupid thing to wish for because "online multiplayer is so much better and you're just making a fuss because you're a noob!" or something to that effect. Let's ignore that completely. Another popular argument is that it would be near impossible to have split-screen multiplayer for modern games due to the processing power needed to run the game even for just one player. Of course, if the game struggles to reach 60fps for just one player, it would be near impossible for it to run a decent 4 player split-screen, right? Well, I ask you this, how many times have we seen something supposedly impossible brought to life in the past 20 years? Many, many times. So, it's entirely possible and I hope I'm not the only one who would like to see split-screen multiplayer become mainstream again.

While I'm happy that modern games are becoming more detailed due to the technology available, I do hope that we don't lose too much of what used to be commonplace in gaming. I'm sure that anybody who's read my previous articles would know that I'm very - and some say, weirdly - passionate about having manuals and that's another thing we're losing but I won't get into that again. The gist of it is this, while games are being improved and new features and peripherals are being introduced, I hope we retain the things which we all enjoyed so much growing up. Let us have split-screen along side online multiplayer modes. Please?

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