By Jerry Maynard
We have reached a strange ironic phenomenon nowadays that really really ticks me off in our super advanced world of online gaming. I can now play my game in my room with anyone in the WHOLE WORLD! ANYONE…..well….anyone except for the guy sitting next to me.
This issue has been going on for a while now but I didn’t quite notice how bad things had gotten until Halo 5 came out. (More just because that’s the one my friends and I played. It should also be noted that this article does not apply to Nintendo games. Keep up the good multiplayer work Nintendo!) For those reading who may not know, and for my own raging purposes, HALO MADE ITS NAME OFF OF MULTIPLAYER LAN PARTIES. Don’t get me wrong, I love the tale of Master Chief and Cortana and all the other parties involved but its not Halo’s strongest selling point and its not what has kept as many people playing Halo for as long as we have nor is it the core of the nostalgia people have of Halo. It largely was the multiplayer that forged such fond memories of not only the game itself but also all the moments and friendships (and sword fueled rage) that came along with it. But this time around when Halo 5 released my friend, who had reserved the game in advance, and I were sitting in his living room as we played through the game with 1 constant thought running through both of our heads as we traded the controller back and forth from mission to mission. “Man this would be a lot more fun if we could play together.” By removing Split screen multiplayer Games like Destiny and Halo 5 have lost a huge part of what would have made them so memorable to their clientele and what could have created even more loyal customers for them in the long run. That factor is the Nostalgia Factor
In high school friends would gather in a house filled with pizza and mountain dew of varying flavors and friendships were forged in the fires of grenades and rockets fired across the expanses of Blood Gulch. As time progressed so did the technology and we soon were able to have lan parties going from several places at once or just play with people across the country but the point being that we still had the option to play with friends in the same room while playing with those across the country. We battled against the genocide of the Covenant together and journeyed our way though Chief’s story together and had the opportunity to experience all of the emotion and adrenaline of the various tales with our friends playing right next to each other. We raged as one of our companions would grab hold of the coveted energy sword and proceed to go ham on the whole room, or when someone would just take the game over using a rocket launcher but honestly that was what part of the fun was. It was making these memories together. I’m not even the biggest Halo fan around but I darn sure was planning on buying Halo 5 because of all of those memories right until I found out there was no split screen multiplayer. Doing things together was what made Halo and other great games like it so much fun! Look at some of the top selling games off all time and you will note that outside of Grand Theft Auto and Tetris, the games all feature multiplayer to some degree or another that can be played by the people in the same room as you. Heck its even become a huge activity for parents and kids to play and be able to bond together!
Being able to make memories with other gamers and have genuine real life interactions with other players is part of what has created such a great community of gamers and where even the new Esports leagues can trace their roots back to. Look at classic party games like Super Smash Brothers, the first Halo, Guitar Hero, Gauntlet Legends, Mario Kart, Mario Party, GOLDENEYE!!!! (If that’s not enough reason to see the value in split screen multiplayer then nothing ever will be.) Heck even my guild from World Of Warcraft would get together IN REAL LIFE and bring our laptops together and play in a friends living room with each other.
What would any of these games have been like without that ability? There would be no memories of staying up till all hours of the nights with your friends playing games together nor would there have been tournaments in which you could compete at your favorite video game (Which would mean no Esports for console games.) Without split screen multiplayer gaming returns to having the risk of one of the earliest criticisms of gamers come true, which was that all gamers do is sit in their rooms not interacting with anyone in the real world and live in their video games not having a life. If we can’t play with our friends then honestly what are we gaining in real life from games. If its not a recreation that we can get together with other people with then is it really playing with our friends? Yeah Yeah you can still play online with your friends but isn’t that a huge money grab? That means your friends must buy the same system, and same game, and then if you even want to play a game with a friend you have to pay monthly for that ability even though they are right next to you. Not to mention how pointless that extra controller becomes if more games remove split screen multiplayer and co-op. Sure you can make a game look better by not having that in there but isn’t it just a step closer to making gamers look like these guys?
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