News Article

Feature: The Joy of Gaming Together

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Not a headset in sight

It's been a busy few months here at Nintendo Life, and we don't expect it to calm down any time soon. Every once in a while we decide that it's time to relax and take time off as a team with gaming nights, where we descend on a glamorous location, hook up retro consoles to a projector and spend an evening doing one thing: nerding out.

Those of you that Like Nintendo Life on Facebook may have seen some photos last week of our last game-fest in September. It was so much fun that we're doing it all again on 4th February, with even more time set aside for slightly ridiculous multiplayer face-offs.

In a current generation of gaming that demands online multiplayer in almost all major titles, it's certainly a throwback to load up Mario Kart 64 and see four grown men perched on a sofa cursing every spiny shell. It also sparked a debate about the merits of the N64 racer, with some making it clear that Super Mario Kart would be a better choice.

Street Fighter II on SNES certainly prompted some heated competition, with three distinct classes of ability in this contest: button mashers, wannabe masters and butt-whooping champions. One of the button mashers decided that combos, blocking and strategy were irrelevant, and even adopted an unconventional tactic of playing in 'mirror' mode by viewing the action through a mirror on the back wall. He put up a decent fight too: 10 out of 10 for innovation.

This fiercely contested competition gradually whittled out the button mashers and wannabes, with the final consisting of impressive combos and some lightning-quick thumbs. We would never reveal the winner, of course, but the speed of his thumbs and sonic booms will never be forgotten.

We did indulge in some fairly modern multiplayer gaming, though it was still strictly offline. Star Fox 64 3D was reasonably new at the time, and being Nintendo Life staff we naturally all had our 3DS consoles on hand. A fair bit of time was spent in a four-player battle to dominate the skies, so much so that there were a few battery warning lights flashing towards the end. Although our eyes were fixed on the screen and the bizarre in-game video of our faces above the ships, we were still close enough for the occasional bout of verbal jousting.

These meetings are also a chance to show off just how far our video game obsession has gone. There were a lot of games magazines and a startling range of retro, bespoke and rare handhelds. The room was packed with game carts, consoles and some gizmos that many won't have seen before.

So as we prepare to do it again this Saturday, it's an important reminder that no matter how sophisticated online gaming becomes, it's never the same as meeting up with friends and playing games the old-fashioned way.

Do any of you still enjoy offline gaming sessions with friends, or do you play all of your multiplayer online? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

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User Comments (57)



Ryno said:

Playing retro video games with friends is an absolute blast! 2 player co-op on the NES and SNES, oh man I feel like I am kid again at my friend's house during summer vacation waiting for Joe the ice cream man to drive by! I would so much rather play offline than online. From those pictures it looks like a great time but that projector screen would kill me. Yuck!



Shiryu said:

Fortunately I have like-minded friends and we do this kinda stuff all the time. You wouldn't believe the marathons of NES Ice Hockey I have done in the past months.



Kyloctopus said:

The best to play, together is Mario Kart, and Pokemon. Well, Mario Party is also fun.



antdickens said:

THIS. Looking forward to Saturday - can't wait to beat everyone at F-Zero X again!



Corbs said:

Don't like playing games with other people. Never have. Besides, nobody can handle the Corbster's skill set.



NESguy94 said:

I love gaming with friends and family. With many games lately, the best parts have been in multi-player. Last year I spent so much time playing Goldeneye, Epic Yarn, and DK Country Returns.



turtlelink said:

Mario Kart Double Dash!!, Super Smash Bros. 64/Melee/Brawl, and Starfox 64/Assault are just a few of my favorite local multiplayer games.



tardis10 said:

Friends and I at school have at least 2 rounds of MK7 at lunch everyday



StuffyStuff said:

As someone who prefers the classic consoles, I'll never grow tired of Perfect Dark multiplayer with my friends. Order a pizza, some soda and go for it.



lonlon-milker said:

Man if only people in my family would play wavace 64 or super Mario kart with me that would be awesome.



Kifa said:

This is THE true multiplayer gaming. No headset, webcam, nothing can ever replace the joy of swapping gamepads and looking at eachother viewport, and it's a shame that not many gamers appreciate all this. Sorry for my babbling, I'm possibly slightly drunk, but my point is - I totally envy you and... Damn, I need to make a few calls right now!



Csabo001 said:

I have one or two friends who are old timer gamers too, playing regurarly on SNES from dusk till dawn.



dizzy_boy said:

sky 1 used to air the simpsons between 6 and 7pm. only on sundays. so i used to have a few friends round to watch them, followed up by a rwo player games of micro machines on the NES.
when i got the SNES, we ended up playing super smash tv, going through the hard rooms, and then a few rounds of street fighter 2.



WarioPower said:

I love local multiplayer, but I never have anyone to play with as they are either obsessed with cod or aren't gamers.



WarioPower said:

To this day I believe the mario party series has the best local multiplayer by far! I love the uncertainty of who will win!



Omenapoika said:

since 2008 we've had a tradition of gaming sessions, taking place a few times a year. 5-10 people playing 3-5 days! These are hilarious events... 3 Wiis, 4 TVs, PS3 and a room full of old consoles and DSs.
I beat the Pokemon Colosseum XD in one 50 hour sitting
we've had notorious Mario Party tournaments. Not to mention the obvious worldly conditions caused by such a marathon. We should get web cams and start a charity fund raiser event of it...



Aqueous said:

Game sessions with friends, yup
Streetpass Halifax makes for a great bunch of 3ds gaming and some great times.

More importantly me and my best friend have been gaming for years and still stay up way too late, try like 2am playing smash bros, mario kart and pokemon. There are others of course but those keep dragging us back.

Have fun guys!



Vincent294 said:

@Corbs You sure anyone can't handle you? Perhaps most, but I usually place 1-3 on MK7. Try the Elite Racing Crew sometime. It's kinda catching on.



Scarkaiser said:

Oh, this sure does bring back memories!

The one game I remember is Perfect Dark. My friends/siblings and I used to play that game so much the expansion pack would overheat and cause the game to lock up.

Other games would include Mario Kart, Pokemon, and Halo LAN parties

In a way, online multiplayer actually made it harder for me to play multiplayer games, as now all my friends play different stuff :/



Dodger said:

I like both. I'll play local multiplayer often because I have people to play it with. My sister, my dad, my friends, Etc. However, I enjoy online play a lot too. I like being able to play alone and still play against a human brain and I like being able to play with friends who live far away.



SuperUberBear said:

It's so funny you've posted this article today, I've been up the loft earlier to fish out all my old consoles to set up. Sadly half of them don't work anymore but the N64 is going strong! Now I just need to convince some friends to join me on it!



Lobster said:

Man, local multiplayer is where it's at. Online may sell copies and consoles but I'm convinced one reason Nintendo stays strong is that it never neglects the local multiplayer. We are social creatures, after all!

I wasn't allowed any consoles as a kid but I still have fond memories of playing MK 64 and Kirby's Dream Course (anybody remember THAT one?) with my friends who did have them.

But yeah most of my childhood multiplayer revolved around local games of Warcraft 2 and Age of Empires - both my best friend and I had dads who loved computers, so we had multiple ones early on at both houses, hers one room apart and mine in the same room. Man, there is nothing like playing RTS multiplayer in the mid-90s!



SuperUberBear said:

It's funny how pretty much everyone here has fond memories that they are keen to relive but all our friends have moved on and don't wanna know now we're in our 20's+!



DarkRoy said:

In the first days of January I've participated at an Italian Mario Kart meeting with 10 other people which lasted 4 days, and well... they were utterly fantastic days in every possible ways. Playing online is fun, but when you meet other people it's seriously a completely different thing! We enjoyed it so much that we'll be doing it again many times in the future... my suggestion is: if you have the possibility, meet other players in real life. It's a blast, and you also get to know and talk with awesome guys. It's an experience that goes beyond the multiplayer fun.



Contrary said:

Thank you Nintendolife workers who provide us with the latest news. I deeply appreciate your hard work.



Urbanhispanic said:

@12 That was something me, my cousins and some of their friends did during the n64 days.....ahhh...memories.



FonistofCruxis said:

I agree that local multi-player is so much better than online, even if online is still fun. The Mario kart and smash bros. series are the best multi-player games around IMO. The Warioware series is another fantastic multi-player series and NSMBW is great for multi-player too.



TKOWL said:

Mario Kart 64 & DD + Smash Bros. Brawl + Kirby Air Ride + Nightfire > Any other multiplayer experience out there.



The_Fox said:

Local multiplayer is awesome and all but people move over the years and priorities shift. That's why online multiplayer is indispensable for many many gamers. I can still stay in touch and play games with friends/family I might only see a few times a year in person.



Radixxs said:

I prefer gaming alone in my room with the lights off while I am not wearing pants. It makes me feel cool and mysterious.



CerealKiller528 said:

If only I had someone to play GoldenEye or Conker BFD with. Sadly, all everyone cares about is MW3 or some sh#t like that. Well I can always play by myself...........................................



alLabouTandroiD said:

Good to see you having fun together, guys. You deserve it.

While i prefer co-op gaming to those big Vs. games i can only hope that i get to know some friends who play some Ninty games when i move later this year.
Until then i'll have my sweet memories of playing Mario games, Tetris, Donkey Kong Countries, Wii Sports, LEGO games, Epic Yarn, F-Zero with some of my relatives and Guitar Hero / Rock Band with some friends.

You mentioned using a projector. This possibility and the fact that big TV's have gotten much cheaper makes me wonder why there is no splitscreen in a lot of games today. The premises are near-perfect. It should be included in most about every one of these multiplayer games. As a dedicated mode and an option to play spiltscreen and have other play online with you online.



Deviant_Mugen said:

Man, this article was a great read. There's nothing like a room full of people duking it out in a shooter/racer/fighter to get the blood flowing. GoldenEye is always a good time, make sure you guys have that one on tap for Saturday...

Also, I'm greatly pleased that the best Street Fighter player won while using Guile (at least that's what's implied) and not the down+front+punch standbys like Ryu or Ken. Kudos to you. Sonic Boom!



erv said:

I am a HUGE advocate of online gaming; I love playing online games. Best examples are action type games or shooters, and of course the brilliant monster hunter 3 online gaming. The communication and the settings were all a great part of it.

However, without couch multiplayers the multiplayer universe just isn't complete. Watch me play brawl with my family every week and you'll almost always see us laughing ours lungs out. Motoheroz anyone? Yes please.

So give me online multiplayer, give me social multiplayer, give me both. One of the most exciting things about wiiU is going to be its ability to mix the two on occasion, playing multiplayer at home competitively, working together or both, and mix these with online co op and or competition. More online please, yes, but no fewer couch multiplayer either



MattEriks said:

me and my pal Mike often play 2 player games last saturday we played Worms Battle island on wii. Tomorrow we will play Four Swords dsiware. Gonna be a blast



LordTendoboy said:

This is one of the reasons why I've enjoyed the Wii over the other two consoles. Nintendo doesn't forget about multiplayer gaming with people in the same room.



Reverandjames said:

Level - Level, Life - Life on Megaman with my firends, and beleive me, the controller get passed around fast.



Whopper744 said:

Nintendo is behind with the online functionality, and I want to see that grow a lot more, but, in saying that, there is nothing like the days of sitting together, playing Super Mario Kart (or the great Mario Kart 64) with a friend or two. With all of the online play, text messaging, and Facebook status that most people dont' care about (i do it too!), I feel like we forget how to actually be around people, in person.
I would love to be able to get my cousin and my sister together like, every weekend and play some Smash Bros or something. I feel like it makes more memories.



Reverandjames said:

@Joshers744 I used to play a lot of Smash Bros on the 64 with my Cousin, and I haven't laughed as hard at people exploding in video games since. Good memories!



Whopper744 said:

@Reverandjames Sounds similar to part of my childhood. haha. Try Melee with all Bob Ombs and twice the speed. For some reason it was always funny to do that and play as Bowser.



TheGreenSpiny said:

Couldn't tell you how many hours I spent on GoldenEye and Mario Kart 64 back in my college days.

Lately I've had my nephew to play games like DKCR, and NSMB with, but he's gone off to college himself. Nothing like some good old fashioned offline multiplayer.



StarDust4Ever said:

Funny how as I grow older, it becomes harder and harder to find people to play games with. Once you leave college, your gaming career pretty much goes solo. I have no siblings, my fiance's a non-gamer, and my mom would rather spectate than participate. I have one close friend that I've had since high-school, who still comes over every now and again to play Nintendo games (both current and retro), but due to jobs and other responsibilities it's getting rarer when we meet up, and those nights of thrashing about in MK64 and Double Dash until dawn are pretty much over. I even got him an old Game Cube for Christmas (they're super cheap right now) so he could relive old memories of lazy weekends playing Mario Sunshine at my house...



Yadoking said:

During school breaks and summer my buds and I do this often. Much more often than online.



Masterjoe116 said:

@Scarkaiser You sir, have put into words my feeling exactly about online multiplayer. As much as it was broadened the multiplayer experience, it has equally destroyed it imo. Everyone is playing something but no one is playing together. Even when I play with my friends online in games like cod or halo, we're all playing, but not in that sense that we are together. It's more like we're all just in the same game playing as we would play if we were playing by ourselves, if that makes sense. We're not really playing together, we're just in the same lobby/game at the same time... That's why online < local.



Masterjoe116 said:

@StarDust Dude. My soul. It weeps. For I too am a post-grad gamer. Oh how I miss that good 'ol college community... Is there nothing for us now? The degree-wielding gamers of the world? Are we now doomed to a life of responsibility and priority? As I reflect on this from my full time job, I grow ever more disheartened. My soul. How it weeps.



Masterjoe116 said:

@Joshers744 "With all of the online play, text messaging, and Facebook status that most people dont' care about (i do it too!), I feel like we forget how to actually be around people, in person."


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