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  1. #1
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    Multiplayer Nowadays

    (Essay-length thread, grab a snack if you're going to read this drivel.)

    We should be playing more games during our get-togethers again. At least that's the thought behind this thread. I was thinking about how we approach multiplayer nowadays, more generally speaking. I honestly don't think it's a stretch to say that couch multiplayer is extinct. Okay, it still does happen, but compared to online play it's something of a niche. More and more studios these days are dropping split-screen support from their games.

    Kids or teenagers don't want to do that kind of thing. It's almost always online multiplayer, obviously with the epitome of this being Fortnite. That's not to say I haven't been in those shoes. For a long time I was rarely one to indulge much in first-person shooters online. However, as a late adolescent when I got Halo 3 I played it a lot, and I think that's an earlier example of this type of gaming being so wildly popular on a console. Sure, there was Halo 2 a few years before it but Xbox Live hadn't fully taken off by that stage.

    Adults differ. I think that in most cases, couch multiplayer being rare is due to them not having the opportunity to do it. It's difficult to relive that ideal scenario we had as kids where four or more would be able to sit down and play a particular game for a whole evening in the same home. There's going to be plenty of brutal honesty from here on, but I've gotta say that online multiplayer blows in comparison to local. I do find it hard to find an online multiplayer game I can enjoy with others (not just randoms in servers) I know online because there are lots of factors.

    Games are a lot more flexible as a social activity. No matter what, even if somebody dislikes particular genres there's always going to be at least one game that everyone can universally enjoy. But investing cash into that isn't always an option, which is one of several reasons why these things often fall apart before they start. As a kid I loved co-op games, but they just don't hold as much of an appeal online. To describe one example, gotta be honest, I freaking hated it when we played Borderlands.

    That is one game that in my opinion wasn't meant to be played in co-op. Clearly it's designed as single player first. So the dilemma I often face is due to how polarising experience or skill levels can be. It's happened loads of times. There will usually be a Speedy Gonzales. This person knows the game like the back their hand. Co-operation goes out of the window completely because they're only interested in blazing through levels and collecting the most points or whatnot before others can. Since it's a game I haven't really played yet, do I play it slowly and try to enjoy learning the ropes at a comfortable pace and probably eventually have people complaining about my belatedness, or do I mindlessly chase after this speedster like a chump? That's a big reason I don't like co-op in games that have it tacked on.

    I had far more fun playing a rather silly (not to mention simple) indie game with somebody because it really was a co-op experience. That was the whole point of it.



    Like I said, I think price is the biggest problem when it comes to these types of get-togethers. In all seriousness I don't like to organise it myself because I know it's hard to please others, which is through no fault of their own because we're spoiled for choice in today's gaming market. And I don't feel like asking others to buy something so we can enjoy a gaming evening that I deem the best choice. That kinda sucks. In short I'd enjoy making multiplayer a thing again here, but I'm fresh out of ideas. The only game that I think does stand a strong chance of working is the Jackbox series (one of the games being Fibbage):



    It's because it quite literally has no prerequisites from other players. The only thing everyone else needs a phone. (Actually, a lot of them are possible with a desktop browser.) One person streams the game and others jump in and join one of the games it offers. It's funny and the majority of setbacks I've seen with other game get-togethers aren't there. No spending hours tinkering just to make the game work for everyone. I am looking for ideas though. Unfortunately that's the best I can come up with myself. I wish this game was free because Mario Party was great fun back on the N64 and GameCube.

  2. #2
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    I still enjoy couch co-op but I haven't played anything online in years. It's not so much about playing the co-op mechanics as much as it is about spending time with my friends. I'm sure I've said this over and over on the forum but when I play games that's my "me" time. I don't really want others involved. Come to think of it, I did play 100% Orange Juice with Starwind, Mantis, and my sister sometime in 2018. I don't remember much about the game but I know I bailed ASAP when the first round was done. I'm just remembering now that I forgot to refund it...I'm pretty sure that ship has sailed but I'm gonna see if they'll still let me after 2 years.

    I guess it's disingenuous to say that I don't play games with other people online because I do enjoy MMORPGs. Even then, I'm almost always a solo player. In MMO terminology, I'm a "skiller" which means that I only participate in PvE tasks. In RuneScape for example I don't think I've ever fought another player or spent more than an hour or two in multiplayer challenges/events. I spend all my time on there doing things like chopping trees or fishing to collect money. To put it in 2020 terms, gaming is a very "zen" experience for me. FFXIV is a rare exception because that game revolves around raids and dungeons that you MUST play with other humans. I usually cope by being a horribly toxic asshole in those situations.

    I've been thinking about getting back into some FPS games recently or perhaps playing some multiplayer PC games where you just mess around with people like that one where you play as the businessmen with guns & briefcases of cash.
    "Out of the ground, raze all greenery with flame! Fire2!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Starwind55 View Post
    It deals with a demon virus that transforms people into freaky looking fuckers

  3. #3
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    Mantis, is this you trying to be subtle in telling me you want to play Halo 2 coop?



    On topic, yeah I too miss the days of couch multiplayer. I actually discovered Halo through that and I would remember playing Timeplitters 2 with my buddies during my high school years. Sadly, it's gone the way of the dinosaur as online multiplayer became accessible with everyone. Why travel all the way to a buddies house when you can just fire up an online game and just play from there?

    TBH, I wasn't really huge on Borderlands myself. I think these kinds of games are tough to have a fun coop experience because, like you said, some folks are gonna be better at it than others. I had fun playing Serious Sam with you just because of how fucking insane it got and it can be great to experience that with another player. I know you said that it's probably better to play that alone but I think it's great to play something batshit like that with someone and have a good laugh at it.

    I think maybe the best option would be to look at games where our skillset is more or less at the same level. I think River City Girls was great for this and I think the new Streets of Rage is a dead ringer for this sort of thing.

    You know what else I think would be fun for us? It's not a multiplayer game in a sense but I was inspired by an episode of oneyplays. We can play AI dungeon and each of us can take turns in typing in the events of the story and see how nuts we can make it. Throw in some drinks all around and I think it can make for a great time.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    I'm sure I've said this over and over on the forum but when I play games that's my "me" time. I don't really want others involved.
    For some reason you just reminded me of Mega64. Specifically the end of this skit.



    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    Come to think of it, I did play 100% Orange Juice with Starwind, Mantis, and my sister sometime in 2018. I don't remember much about the game but I know I bailed ASAP when the first round was done. I'm just remembering now that I forgot to refund it...I'm pretty sure that ship has sailed but I'm gonna see if they'll still let me after 2 years.
    Didn't I gift you that game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    Even then, I'm almost always a solo player.
    Man, have you never played with your wife?

    Anyway, PC multiplayer can be fun to get into, especially with the amount of more quirky games on the market which are mostly silly fun and a good laugh for a night.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starwind55 View Post
    Mantis, is this you trying to be subtle in telling me you want to play Halo 2 coop?

    Haha, a coincidence, honest. Don't get me wrong, I'd do that but when we tried this with Halo 1 you went off on your own and played it all solo after the first mission. Initially I found it slightly odd but quickly realised that it was probably just you trying to play Halo in a way that you could assess it best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starwind55 View Post
    I had fun playing Serious Sam with you just because of how fucking insane it got and it can be great to experience that with another player. I know you said that it's probably better to play that alone but I think it's great to play something batshit like that with someone and have a good laugh at it.
    While I don't think Serious Sam excels as a co-op game (kind of like Doom, then), I did enjoy it in ways. To some level it has mechanics that slow down the gameplay in phases such as different waves of enemies, so you're going to be working with your buddy to beat a level. With many other games that have co-op "tacked on" there are no such restraints, so the more skilled players can entirely ignore the co-op aspect. It's in those cases that I like it a lot less. This even goes both ways. If I'm particularly more skilled in a game (such as Halo) when possible I try to compensate by acting as backup so it can be enjoyed at a more relaxed and natural pace. If I wanted to I could ace most Halo levels really quick, but IMO that's no fun. It should be about having each other's backs.

    Maybe I'm stuck in the past. It's just that damn near everyone wants to be a speedrunner in modern gaming!

    Quote Originally Posted by Starwind55 View Post
    I think maybe the best option would be to look at games where our skillset is more or less at the same level. I think River City Girls was great for this and I think the new Streets of Rage is a dead ringer for this sort of thing.
    If you recall, I played River City Girls with you via Remote Play as soon as I bought it, but I haven't played it since. I probably should because that was some great fun. I think I had the intention to play through the whole (or most of) River City franchise.

    Streets of Rage 4 is some of the most fun I've had in games this year. It totally met my expectations and then some. I've been waiting for the chance to play it with someone else actually. I was going to do that with Baron but we never got around to it, and I don't want to play with some complete rando who'll probably end up quitting the game in the middle of a level or something.

    It has a decent amount of multiplayer modes. Honestly I'm slightly tired of kicking people's asses in versus as I rarely find enough challenge. Streets of Rage 4 is really easy to get comfortable with if you've already played the series or most other beat-'em-ups. It's just a matter of learning forward-foward-hit, some common sense, how to throw, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starwind55 View Post
    You know what else I think would be fun for us? It's not a multiplayer game in a sense but I was inspired by an episode of oneyplays. We can play AI dungeon and each of us can take turns in typing in the events of the story and see how nuts we can make it. Throw in some drinks all around and I think it can make for a great time.
    I don't have a clue what that's about but it does sound intriguing. Some kind of text adventure? I used to enjoy a few of those. I could see that being funny as hell when played with others senselessly. So why not? So long as you can persuade the solo and zen Zem.

  5. #5
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    My husband and I got stuck in ibb and obb and never finished it. LOL We both tend to get frustrated with games like that. Sure, we could just look it up but then what would be the point?

    If you are ever looking for a game to play with 3 other friends, Move or Die is a good one. Had loads of fun on there.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mantis View Post
    For some reason you just reminded me of Mega64. Specifically the end of this skit.
    Classic! Yeah it's a bit like that minus the hissy fit, lol.

    Multiplayer Nowadays-solo1-png

    Quote Originally Posted by Mantis View Post
    Didn't I gift you that game?
    Come to think of it, yes! I think you guys wanted to play it or something and I refused to buy it so you bought me a copy. Must be why I still have it. I appreciated the sentiment of course but if there's a way to revoke it so you get your money back let me know and I'd be happy to do so. I doubt Steam allows that with gifted games?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mantis View Post
    Man, have you never played with your wife?
    Hmmmm. Final Fantasy VIII & IX, yes but even then those are clearly single-player games that she just needed my help with. Ironically, that's back when I played World of Tanks with my friend a lot and I'd be playing a different game on my laptop despite being in the same room with her.

    Multiplayer Nowadays-solo3-png

    Quote Originally Posted by Mantis View Post
    Maybe I'm stuck in the past. It's just that damn near everyone wants to be a speedrunner in modern gaming!
    I've noticed this as well. People were finishing FF7R within 24-ish hours of release and I can't imagine that they actually enjoyed it that way, or any game for that matter. Stopping to smell the roses is what gaming is all about. Even if the gameplay is fast-paced, taking the time to appreciate level design, characters, and story are necessary for me to enjoy a game. I suppose that's not the same for everyone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mantis View Post
    So why not? So long as you can persuade the solo and zen Zem.
    Multiplayer Nowadays-solo2-png

    AI dungeon looks fun. Let me know if you two really wanna get that going sometime.
    "Out of the ground, raze all greenery with flame! Fire2!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Starwind55 View Post
    It deals with a demon virus that transforms people into freaky looking fuckers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    Come to think of it, yes! I think you guys wanted to play it or something and I refused to buy it so you bought me a copy. Must be why I still have it. I appreciated the sentiment of course but if there's a way to revoke it so you get your money back let me know and I'd be happy to do so. I doubt Steam allows that with gifted games?
    No refunds! You and I know exactly where this is going.

    Multiplayer Nowadays-payuporelse-jpg

    Pay up or die.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    Hmmmm. Final Fantasy VIII & IX, yes but even then those are clearly single-player games that she just needed my help with. Ironically, that's back when I played World of Tanks with my friend a lot and I'd be playing a different game on my laptop despite being in the same room with her.
    You should try some couch gaming with her like the good ol' days. Even if it's something as simple as the Nintendo Wii.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    I've noticed this as well. People were finishing FF7R within 24-ish hours of release and I can't imagine that they actually enjoyed it that way, or any game for that matter. Stopping to smell the roses is what gaming is all about. Even if the gameplay is fast-paced, taking the time to appreciate level design, characters, and story are necessary for me to enjoy a game. I suppose that's not the same for everyone else.
    Indeed. I think that most single player games are best enjoyed at a normal or slower pace. Rushing through a narrative-driven game kills the immersion. It reminds me of how before Final Fantasy VII I'd always skip through dialogue in games. But once I gave the story a proper chance Final Fantasy VII quickly became my favourite game. I was completely absorbed. Difference is, I was nine years old. Youngsters these days don't have that kind of patience.

  8. #8
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    Oh that reminds me that Starwind and I were talking about watching Paranoia Agent. A re-watch for me but it's been at least 10 years so I'm down for it.

    Story gets a lot more interesting as you get old enough to appreciate it for sure. I'd argue that games with a comprehensible story aren't meant for sub-9 year old kids anyway but I bet tons of adults just mash through.
    "Out of the ground, raze all greenery with flame! Fire2!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Starwind55 View Post
    It deals with a demon virus that transforms people into freaky looking fuckers

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