There was a time when multiplayer games were not merely a virtualized social medium, but a real and tangible moment of physical meeting and confrontation (with related emotional bursts).
If you were a kid in the Eighties you should already have guessed what I am referring to: split screens (and shared screens).
Call it a fashion or be it a necessity, nowadays split-screens are not so common in videogames. This is certainly due to the increasing availability of better communication technologies (DSLs and Wireless LANs, to begin with, while in the past we had slow PSTN connections and NULL modem cables) and a change in the way videogames are designed. However, some of the magic vibe of the past glory has been lost. Only fighting games a-la Street Fighter, casual Wii games, and sport games seem to conveniently resist in supporting this game-mode (although it would be interesting in playing a network-assisted 2-on-2 match in a fighting game); it should be noted that lag would a major issue in those games, ‘though, and it certainly better to avoid it from the very beginning.
One of my fondest video-gaming memory is bound to Pitstop II. I spent so many happy moments playing this game with friends and relatives.
My one-stop list of the top ten split-screen and shared-screen multiplayer games is:
- Pitstop II (C=64)
- ACE 2 (C=64)
- Rally Speedway (C=64)
- Spy vs Spy (C=64)
- Bubble Bobble (Arcade)
- Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe (Amiga)
- Gauntlet II (Arcade)
- Sensible Soccer (Amiga)
- Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (Arcade)
- Cabal (Arcade)
It’s been a while since the revival of the retro-styled games. Developers should revive this game mechanic, too. I think that could bring some new interesting mechanics!