The large majority of early video games featured a multiplayer split-screen mode, probably due to the fact that the earliest analog games were mostly enjoyed in person with friends and family. While most gaming veterans’ first multiplayer memories will involve swapping a controller back and forth during classic titles such as the original Super Mario Bros, the modern generation’s lasting memories of multiplayer gaming will probably revolve around being called out on Xbox Live by someone halfway across the world. Nevertheless, despite the ever-changing nature of multiplayer games, they remain a staple of the industry due to the simple fact that it’s generally more fun to play with other people.

As of 2015, Mario had appeared in around 116 unique titles and sold an estimated 528 million units worldwide, making it the best selling gaming franchise of all time. Whilst much of this success centers around the single player Super Mario Bros, the franchise has also excelled in the creation of some of the most absorbing and playable multiplayer games. Super Smash Bros for the Wii offers an 8 player smash option for example, which almost always leads to total on screen carnage and unlimited enjoyment. In the same vein, Mario Kart, a staple of the Mario franchise, is famous for its split-screen mode on the Nintendo 64 and remains of the of the best selling Mario games of all time.

Nowadays, there is a fading demand for local multiplayer, mainly due to bandwidth speeds combined with a desire for better graphics and playability, which has spelled the inevitable demise of split-screen play. Online multiplayer games are taking over the industry as they don’t require graphical sacrifices and the modern day gamer is constantly on the lookout for the most immersive multiplayer experience possible. This has lead to the increase in popularity of interactive games which are played with the aid of video and/or audio communications. For instance, at the online casino at MrGreen, players can play live games, where they interact with live dealers and chat with them and fellow players by typing in a chat interface. Going beyond that example, all we need is to consider the more popular MMO titles like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone.

The experience of immersion within multiplayer video games is a much discussed concept amongst both gamers and developers and whilst it’s easy to rhyme off the symptoms of immersion (time passing unnoticed and becoming unaware of events happening around you etc), the causes are a little more tricky to identify. As a result, there have been a number of studies undertaken to attempt to explain exactly why this happens and it turns out that the nature of the opposition is key, with a more human opponent making the result of the game a lot more relevant to the player. A recent neurological study has found that if a gamer believes that he/she is facing a human opponent then the victory is more rewarding to them, owing to the fact that the result has a bigger impact on self-esteem.

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Source: Pexels

 

There’s no doubt that the face of multiplayer gaming is definitely changing and evolving into a more interactive experience for the user due to the endless possibilities the internet provides. However, for those who are longing for the nostalgic feel of multiplayer gaming, all is not lost. It has recently been revealed that future games in the Halo franchise will once again include the option for split-screen gaming after 2015’s Halo: Guardians was the first title in the series not to include the feature. One thing’s for sure, whether you’re a fan of live online experiences or simple crowding round a TV with a few friends, enjoyment will always be the end goal with regards to video gaming.

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