Multiplayer video gaming

This shall address issues related to multiplayer video gaming that arise in articles on Slashdot and other web sites.



Multiplayer video games are games played by more than one person using an electronic device called a computer that reads input from one or more input devices, runs them through a mathematical model of a game environment, and generates a video signal that is output through an electronic display. For purposes of this article, a "computer" can be a general-purpose personal computer, or it can be a dedicated video game console. There are three modalities of multiplayer video game: single-head, LAN, and Internet; a single program may allow playing a multiplayer game in one or more modalities.


Single-head games involve one computer, one display, and multiple game controllers. They can either split the screen (as in Mario Kart series, Goldeneye 007, and We ♥ Katamari) or they can place all players' characters into a shared view (as in Pong, Bomberman, Street Fighter II, NBA Jam, and Super Smash Bros. Melee).




LAN games involve multiple computers on a local area network. Quake and Starcraft are the stereotypical examples of this.



Single-head plus LAN

Mario Kart: Double Dash! and Halo 2 support a compromise between single-head play and LAN play by allowing multiple players per computer and multiple computers in a network.


Internet games involve multiple computers on the Internet. Many LAN games have become playable over the Internet, either through private sessions (similar to virtual LAN parties) or through automatic matchmaking. In addition, the Internet makes possible games with large persistent worlds, such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games.



Problem: Dearth of PC games

There are not enough commercial video games for the Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, or GNU/Linux platforms that support single-head multiplayer. Virtually all titles with a strong real-time single-head multiplayer component are exclusive to consoles. Why is this? If I have multiple people in one house who want to play a PC video game, such as myself, two kids, and their friend from school who is visiting, why should I be forced to buy multiple computers to let them play a game at the same time?

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(Some Rights Reserved) Copyright 2006 Damian Yerrick. The author grants permission to use this work subject to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.5.