We need more competitive local multiplayer games

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We need more competitive local multiplayer games

Postby Brandon Schmidt » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:27 pm

I've been gaming for 25-30 years now, but it wasn't until the middle of the Nintendo 64 era that I really began to get a taste for local multiplayer in games. Although I enjoyed cooperative games like Gauntlet and still do, there's just something about the competitive games that I really love. Games like Goldeneye and Perfect Dark were prime shooter examples, but also the more whimsical titles like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, and Bomberman 64 were party favorites. I think it's the fact that you can screw over your friends and get the immediate payoff of seeing their response. Or in turn, they've screwed you over but you get an immediate chance at payback.

Flash forward to today and I'm playing mostly indie games as opposed to titles from major developers. It's difficult enough to create a game, let alone a good game in an indie environment. So it's not a surprise to me that multiplayer is often a luxury or an afterthought for indie developers. And even in those instances where multiplayer IS included, it's often online. I think a lot of developers realize that the days of getting a group of gamers together in a living room, taking over every piece of furniture available are not as common. Not. at least, with the ease of use in getting online to frag (is that term still used?) some buds or a group of strangers. There are far more options available to gamers today than there were 20, 15, or even 10 years ago.

With that mindset, whenever I see an indie game that features competitive local multiplayer my eyes light up. With the privilege of running this site comes the exposure to many, many games that I would otherwise might never have heard of, let alone played. I've been fortunate enough to play a few games over the last year and a half through the Xbox Live indie Games service that have been local multiplayer winners in my eyes: SpeedRunner HD, Hidden in Plain Sight, and Squadron Scramble. All 3 started out as games I was playing on my own, but quickly introduced to local friends. After some initial learning curves, each has found their place in the permanent rotation of games to play when we're all able to step away from jobs, wives, kids, and unmowed lawns for a few hours to get together. Each brings that same self-satisfaction that comes with besting your respected peers and having the opportunity to brag about it in person. Inevitably, these indie titles as well as some of the older ones are mentioned in comparisons made with each new indie title I review that includes local multiplayer. They've become measuring sticks. I've love to see more of these types of games and I hope that the indie developers of the world are out there reading this.

The questions I pose to our readers are the following:
    Do you still play local multiplayer games and wish there were more?
    What are some of your favorite competitive local multiplayer games from days gone by?
    What are some of today's indie games that include an enjoyable, competitive local multiplayer experience?

I'd love to hear what you all think.
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Re: We need more competitive local multiplayer games

Postby SillyCatStudio » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:20 am

Hi Brandon,

i'm Alexandre.
Not so much response in here...
When I was younger, I use to play, like always, with my little brother, multiplayer games. Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, then, Timesplitters 2, Smash Bros and of course GoldenEye (but I'd prefer Perfect Dark :p)
Now... there's not so much local multi. It's a social world - as "they" say - but social with random people you don't know and mostly don't want to know.

I kinda missed the "old times". It's called a "key feature" to have local multi now. It was normal back then.
Worst recent example : Need for Speed Hot pursuit. It was thought to be a local multi game (like on ps1/2), cops VS bad guyz. But no, only online multiplayer.

So, I wish there's more game with local multi ('cause our screens got bigger too !) but it's not the tendancies.

Recent indie(-like ?) game with local multi I loved ? Trine 1&2. Jamestown was really good too.
And... yep, I don't remember a lot of games with LM in it. Sad :(
If you have some games to share !


Now that I'm a grown up man, I make (indie) games. With some friends, we opened our studio recently : SillyCat Studio.
And we just released on Android devices (soon iOS) our first game : Mothership Touch Battle.
I remembered your name, you're the one who sent us an email after submitting our game to TheIndieMine :)

And, to stay on the subject, we made a LOCAL MULTIPLAYER ONLY (it's not a really good choice to sell a game, but hey, wanted to do a game where you play with your friends).
We added a simple Solo Mode to train you.
Our intention was to bring back the local multiplayer on tactiles devices. We missed that so we made one :) Hope some people will like it.
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Re: We need more competitive local multiplayer games

Postby Brandon Schmidt » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:13 pm

Alexandre,

I played and love every single one of those games. Great choices.

I'll try to take a look at Mothership Touch Battle once I'm done with a review I'm currently working on for another iOS game.
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Re: We need more competitive local multiplayer games

Postby Lugana707 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:50 am

The only game I can think of is I Made a Game With Zombies In it. Space Salvager was meant to have local multiplayer for the 360, but I delayed and delayed that into oblivion.
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