The Greatest Multiplayer games of all time

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Re: The Greatest Multiplayer games of all time

Post by davyK » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:11 am

Office Gaming League I organise in work (in year 4 now). Notes I have kept over that time..

Format is :

1 event every 2 months held over a lunchtime - so we have an hour or so at most for a maximum 16 person knockout format (usually get 10-12 people)

Game properties are:
* 2 player Vs mode
* A game lasts approx. 5mins
* Game has to be accessible - no learning of levels or tracks required. No complex control issues. I have a "familiarisation session" the day before the event so people can get used to the feel of a controller and game.
* Must be enjoyable to watch

There is a slight retro theme but it isn't compulsory - modern formats welcome.

Satisfying these requirements isn't as easy as it sounds. Driving games aren't much fun to watch, either are FPSs. I've still to be convinced if a fighting game is suitable - a novice crowd will just mash buttons and the newer games just have so much going on its hard to appreciate what's going on when spectating.

I have use of an old data projector and big screen - it has composite, s-video and VGA connections. Big screen gaming is well worth trying to get set up - it's excellent.

So far games that have been tried are:

1. Tetris (vs first to 25 lines) played on SNES

Went down a storm. The young 'uns found the old console quite quaint and the old Russian Tetris music went down well. We tried the "hard core" version first - win by forcing the other player to fill their pit up first - but rusty skills proved for a non-aggressive and thus boring game to watch - we switched to game B - first to 25 lines - garbage on - which was much better.

Howls of derision on misplaced pieces etc. Cheers as yours truly was sunk by a Tetris when only needing one more line. Final was best of 3 - overall a success.

This game looked great on the big screen - 16bit pixels scale up quite well when you are talking about a simple looking game with crisp visuals. Blocky - but all is clear and quite pleasing looking.

2. Virtua Tennis 2 (first to 3 games) played on Dreamcast with arcade sticks.

People loved the controllers - playing with a stick is almost like getting back to nature in these identikit pad dominated times. It added a physicallity to the game - much slapping of buttons and clicking of sticks ensued.

It's a great old game is VT2 - and onlookers were agape at the quality of the graphics for 15 year old game "Why did this console fail?" was the cry. Several people commented on how enjoyable a game is to watch. I used the Dreamcast's VGA box for direct input to the projector and it looked great.

Much merriment to be had at the more ham-fisted competitors with nervous running around etc. A few guys were really good and they brushed us aside - a tight final went to a tie-break and it made for enjoyable spectating. Those who went out in the first round hung around until the conclusion.

3. Typing of the Dead (2 player versus mode over 1 level) - played on Dreamcast with keyboards

It being an IT section I expected a keen level of competition among the keyboard warriors and I wasn't disappointed. I use this as our end of October Halloween game.

Noone had heard of this one but doubts melted away as soon as people saw the game and had a go. This game is quite simply inspired - it shouldn't work but it does. The slightly dodgy graphics (old House of the Dead 2 engine) and even dodgier voice talent only adds to it.

The field of 10 was whittled down by a single score attack challenge on the training level. The top 4 scores went through to the knockout phase using the 2 player versus mode on level 1 of story mode.

2 player TOTD is hilarious and extremely competitive - once one person types a word it is gone - the other player scores zero if they are typing the same word - and a p1(red)/p2(blue) marker is displayed after each word is "won"; so you have a rough idea of who is ahead (the score isn't shown until the end of the level). It is actually very well thought out as a 2 player game and isn't just a tacked on option. This, plus the general weirdness and the brilliant word list (which opens up infinite possibilites for double entendre) adds up to a superb tournament game. Highly recommended if you can get the gear. I've no idea if the PC version is still a viable thing or not.

4. Super Monkey Ball (2 player competition mode over 5 levels with bananas on track) - played on Gamecube

As the guys had never played it before we just played Beginner levels 1-6 (skipping 5 which is a bonus level) and levels 4-9 for the final.

I forgot how great this game is with a roomful of people - lots of laughs and this mode is highly competitive as you are racing to pick up the bananas as well as racing for the goal so some decisions about short-cuts have to be made - and the banana count is hidden in the final level.

There were some comments about how the controller looks - its Fisher Price styling is even more shocking nowadays but it is beautifully responsive - especially with this game.

A resounding success and one to keep in the league.

I have been very wary of using a 2 player split screen game for the league as it can be hard to follow. Monkey Ball is workable because of the level layouts -especially on the shorter earlier levels. Using a projector helps a bit too of course but you still have to work with a slightly restricted view. The guys were doubtful when they heard that 2 player was split screen but the experience was highly enjoyable both from player and spectator viewpoint.

When you consider the other modes available in this game it represents brilliant value for money really.

I still find Super Monkey Ball a pleasing looking game but the GC connected to the old projector via an RGB SCART to s-video adaptor was pretty ropey but it got the job done. The bright colourful abstract look of the game means a super crisp display isn't required - and it looked fine when sitting back a few feet anyhow.

5. Combat Game 6&7 - Tank Pong (simple & complex maze) played on an Atari 2600

Total bemusement from the younger ones who found it hard initially to adjust to the simplistic controls (some are half the age of the hardware), and the reset switch on the console is a novelty - but that old 2 player versus gameplay is still intact. At times this game was a riot. It went down extremely well.

I had to use the black and white mode because for some reason the assembly of various cables, adaptors and a Sony VCR required to use a projector resulted in loss of colour - but in a way that made it better.

It's pretty competitive and we played the version that allows you to bounce bullets off the walls and obstacles. The mechanics of the game allow for quickly emergent tactics that have modern counterparts such as spawn camping - you can maneouvre your opponent into a position where you can ream off several hits without reply but it makes for comeback play too so its all good. The more complex maze used for the 3rd place play off and final stymied that tactic quite a bit anyhow.

This is a timed game (2' 16'') so its easy to plan the event which helps in an office lunchtime environment. The flashing score showing time is nearly up is inspired as it is panic inducing in a tight game - far better than actually showing the time left.

Overall a success - and again seeing those ancient images on a screen-size never imagined by the developers because of a projector makes it great for spectating. I considered this one a bit of a gamble but it paid off - it isn't something to return to in a short space of time but I can see it featuring in the programme in future years should the league live on.

6. Tap Runner - 4 players - 1st to 3 wins - played on Nintendo Wii

Had a field of 8 so two groups of 4 played until one player won 3 races and the top 2 qualified for the final which was first to 3 wins.

This really went down a storm and attracted loads of spectators too. We had one day for warm up which meant everyone was pretty close in skills which made for blanket finishes etc. Inspired little game and while it doesn't hold up to extended sessions - for this sort of thing over an hour or so during lunchtime it was perfect.

Group games started at level 2-1. Started at 3-1 for the final.

Even with a composhite (sic) connection to the projector this was fine...if one person lags far behind the camera zooms out to handle it which can compromise the size of everything sometimes but it wasn't really an issue as people didn't get left too far behind.

7. Baku Baku - sudden death 1 set - played on the Sega Saturn

This is a 2 player puzzle game with a simple animal-to-food matching mechanic but it is implemented with that Sega panache - and graphically is a clean yet effective blend of 2D and 3D (the animals eat the food and are rendered as large cartoon-style munching animal heads in 3D). There's a weird soundtrack that features odd sounding instruments that reminded me of mandolins and harpsichords - it still looks and plays great.

The more food gets eaten in a move, the more garbage gets dumped on your opponent. Creating chain reactions really ups the total garbage. Players get the same sequence of animals & food but they soon get out of synch because a garbage attack takes the next N symbols from the queue.

Had a warm-up day for this and players benefited from it, and the big brick of a Saturn drew some attention. After initial bewilderment at the look of this game it went down really well. Any game that involves monkeys munching bananas and "boxed in pandas" is always going to be good value. There are 5 speed levels - we played on level 2 which isn't too quick but moves games along.

Again, playing this on the big screen via a projector brings the whole thing to life. Even though I could only manage a composite hookup the simple, bold graphical scheme held up well.

A match lasted on average about 3mins - perfect for the office lunchtime tournament.

This one comes with a hearty recommendation.
Last edited by davyK on Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: The Greatest Multiplayer games of all time

Post by TheDude18 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:49 am

do you have an vacancies? :D

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