Let's Get Ready to Rrrumble!!
Once upon a time, we all played our games by ourselves. Many of us started on a more primitive 4-bit, 8-bit, or 16-bit console system (Atari, Nintendo, Sega, etc.). Even as far back as the earliest affordable home computers (IBM PC/AT, Amiga, AppleII, or my personal pick, the TI-99/A, the first to have color graphics and sound), who wouldn't enjoy settling down for a nice game of Zork at the console? Then came the more fancy games. Wolfenstein 3D, the first popular first person shooter, and in quasi-real 3D. Following that, was DOOM, possibly the biggest "first" for the industry since. Doom began to shape the trend for multiplayer 3D gaming. It wasn't what we know as multiplayer now, it didn't have master servers, it didn't even have a TCP/IP stack. It was simply a DOS game that supported modem-to-modem two-player action. Now you could join up with a friend and start playing games with them!
DOOM was one of the last to bear that semblance. Many more great single player games arrived between its time, and that of its successor. Quake. Quake had something relatively new to gaming. It had internet support for playing a TCP/IP game over the internet with a seemingly infinite number of people on servers scattered throughout the world. At first, Quake was what we all dreamed of. Friends playing head-on, and having a blast. Then something began to go horribly wrong. People started banding together for the sole purpose of beating others. They didn't play for the fun of playing, but rather practiced every moment of their lives simply to be able to beat everyone on a server, then heckle them for losing. This began more and more to be the norm, as they overran server after server. More and more Quake clones started to surface, lacking quality, yet drawing the same type of crowds. The dark times had begun...
Flash forward to present. Now we are inundated by multiplayer games everywhere. Odds are that if you walked into a software store, put a blindfold on, and picked up 100 boxes, 90% of them would support multiplayer gaming. Even more likely, at least 5% of them (likely more) would be multiplayer only. So what's so wrong with multiplayer gaming? Seems fairly popular. Or is the question "what's right?" This four-part debate will show the experiences of 4 of us gamers in a struggle for multiplayer paradise, or the elimination for all multiplayer games. This is Round-1. In Round-1, we will each tell you about our views of where we stand on multiplayer games, and a brief gaming history (with a "slightly" biased spin). LordHavoc and myself (Award) will be on the opposing side of multiplayer games, while Eidolon and Cryoborg debate us on the playability of multiplayer games. In Round-2 we will rebut against the other articles. In Round-3, we will defend our articles from the rebuttals of Round-2. Round-4 will summarize everything, and close up the discussion.
We also strongly encourage you to post your comments and thoughts to the forums. You will not only be able to discuss your opinions on the topic, as well as what you think of our opinions on the topic with fellow readers, and us (yes, we check in on the forums and post), but it is highly likely that your discussion will make it into one of the following rounds as a part of our community input! Forums are the best way to involve the community's opinions in our writing.