Ars Technica’s non-scientific study found the personal touch of gaming within punching range of your competitors trumped talking over headsets and dealing with lag.
Gaming, since its early days of competitive Pong play and the 80s arcade boom, has been a somewhat communal affair. With the advent of the Internet, the ability to connect instantly with available gamers around the world has grown exponentially in the past decade. Has such newfangled technology overtaken more intimate forms of gaming as a group?
Ars Technica sought to answer this question in its own informal fashion, asking industry professionals their feelings on the online versus offline multiplayer debate.
“What kind of meek, sheltered recluse would ever say online multiplayer is better than local? When you’re physically together, you get to laugh with your friends, you get to enjoy a more social experience, and if all goes wrong, you can throw a controller directly at the guy causing all the grief,” commented former Electronic Gaming Monthly editor Dan “Shoe” Hsu. “Sure, online play is a bit more practical and easier to organize, but whether sharing the same Mario Party screen or having to sift through mountains of wires at a LAN party, nothing beats good ol’ fashioned in-person gaming.”
Freelance writer David Thomas agrees, believing face-to-face interaction is the “only way” to truly enjoy multiplayer gaming. He added, “This question reminds me of a joke: Sex is like pizza, when it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s not so good, it’s still pretty good. So to beat the analogy beyond all recognition: local multiplayer is really fun. Online multiplayer is still pretty fun.”
GamePro senior editor Casey Willis provided a dissenting opinion, stating, “It’s not always realistic to crowd into your tiny apartment to play splitscreen. Plus, there’s no cheating online because your opponents can’t see your screen!”
Clearly a decisive verdict has not yet been found in the preferred multiplayer environment debate. As natural internet users, do Escapist visitors prefer the convenience of online gaming? Or is the trouble of gathering friends together make the gaming the experience that much more exciting?