Rant: The Decline of Split Screen Games

I’ve been gaming a lot more recently. It’s a mixed bag of good and bad. I’m not passively watching TV, I’m actively problem solving which is good. But I’ve also not been making things, which is bad. The Mass Effect Trilogy may be the reason I’m updating less here too (and by “may be” I mean “most certainly is”). The other down side is that gaming seems to have become a mostly a one person per console activity. Most multiplayer games are designed to be played on Xbox Live or the PSN. While these options are great, I miss the “lets hang out and play games” aspect of gaming. Plus, I’d like to game and hang out with my husband. He might be more understanding of how much Xbox I play if we were spending time together doing so.

I realized how rare good split screen games were becoming when I picked up Little Big Planet Karting. It was partially my fault for not glancing at the back, but I guess I had assumed it’d be like Mario Kart. Split screen two player, race around the track type of game. Wrong. It was single player unless you were online, in which case then you could race other players.

I do not like this trend. I think back on all the good times I’ve had playing games sitting next to my friends and wonder how long that’s going to be around. Even recently, I went over to Claire’s to play Dungeons and Dragons only to find out everyone had bailed at sometime between when I left my place and arrived at hers. So what did we do? Claire, her boyfriend, and I sat down around the Wii and played Super Mario Brothers Wii and chatted. I got to laugh as Claire got frustrated by my endless jumping on her head and knocking her back down ropes she just climbed. It was just fun.

I understand that playing split screen is kind of a bummer, but we did it with way smaller TVs with way lower resolution. I think we’d be able to manage somehow now. There are some gems still out there, I asked over at Co-Op Heroes for some advice and the thread was full of options. But as time goes on, I wonder how much longer it will last.

Because sometimes, I just want to laugh as I jump on the head of the friend sitting next to me.


Originally published at www.puregeekery.net on February 11, 2013.

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