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Video game multiplayer should not be online-only – Reader’s Feature

A reader reminisces about playing video games as a child and is upset that modern games have such limited options for local multiplayer.

Growing up in the eighties and nineties, like most kids I enjoyed a good gaming session.

My mind harks back to one time I went to a friend’s house after school to play video games. By the time I left his house it was after midnight and my mother had the police looking for me.

Or those times when we’d get all our mates round and everyone would bring their consoles and games. Four controllers, split screen and we were off. Teams of two versus two or everyone for themselves depending on the game. Hours of fun, laughing at each other’s blunders, mum bringing snacks…

Almost any game would do, as long as there was a general consensus as to what everyone wanted to play. And play we did!

And we still had the time to get a football match in the back garden or in the street.

Playing video games was great. A little escape from the real world, silly fun to keep our young racing minds occupied.

Don’t get me wrong, I still very much indulge nowadays. But my question is, what happened to the mindless fun? I’m all for great graphics and realistic movement. But why are games companies so invested in losing the human side of gaming? Why is that, if I want to get friends over to play, most games only give you the option to have cooperative play or two players at most?

Why do I have to go online and play with strangers I’ve never met, half of which will spend their time throwing insults or cheating? I want to have the experience of playing modern quality games with real friends on my (or their) sofa, having a drink, having fun. And I want my children to experience that too.

I would go as far as guessing that most gamers my age (just over 40) feel the same. And we have the buying power. So why are gaming companies neglecting what could be a gold mine? I would buy so many more games if they gave us that option. Gaming was a way to socialise with actual friends and make new ones, as there was always a mate who brought their neighbour or something.

Cater for us, I beg of the gaming companies.

And while you’re at it, please develop games that don’t need as many controls as a passenger aeroplane. For me, Halo was the last game I played which I enjoyed from start to end. The graphics were good at the time and the controls did everything you needed without being overwhelming.

There are 10 different consoles in my house, my kids all play games too. But trying to play games that feel more like a job instead of something that relaxes us after a long day becomes disheartening. I’m not saying stop doing stuff for hardcore gamers. Please do, it’s what moves the technology forward. But don’t leave certain factions behind.

We middle-aged men grew up gaming and do want to carry on. Please stop excluding us. We thank you.

By reader Nuno Oliveira

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