Why is there a huge lack of split-screen games?

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This past week has been spent with my boyfriend at his house. We both love to game and so, in the weeks before, we tried to find a new co-op game we could play together. We wanted something new that neither of us had played before so we could explore a new story together. However, we looked everywhere, on the backs of every box, and not one of them had split-screen co-op.

But, almost every single game had online co-op. Mass Effect 3 and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City for example would have been perfect with split-screen co-op. Why then do they choose to do it online over local? The most obvious answer is that almost everyone has the internet now and with online gaming growing every minute, perhaps online gaming has become more popular than playing with someone in the same room as you. However, where’s the evidence to prove we don’t play with our “real” friends anymore? When I moved to university, I made gaming friends and we would buy (and still do) a game on the principle it’s local multiplayer – no one wants to come round and watch just one person game at a time. But there is a huge lack in these games and it’s becoming even more common to not have local multiplayer it seems to me games companies are missing out on a huge market. Families, students, couples…these are all the sorts of people that love to play games together and I feel that devs are missing out on targeting these groups.

It doesn’t make much sense to leave it out either. An online server costs money to run and maintain, and sometimes those servers eventually get shut down when they’re not so popular anymore to save money. A local version of this would cost them next to nothing in comparison, it would be so easy to implement so why don’t they? It seems we are being punished for having real life friends or playing with our families and that doesn’t seem right.

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Local co-op can make a crap game good in some cases. Okay, some would argue the polar opposite but hear me out. My boyfriend and I finally found a game with local co-op during our week together. Neither of us had played it before and it was under a tenner so it was perfect. It was called Hunted: The Demon’s Forge and it had been given average reviews but we thought we’d give it a go. It was good fun but I think the experience wouldn’t be as fun if you were playing it alone.

There’s no evidence to suggest gamers have gotten more anti-social in the past few years, in fact the Wii has proven we love to play games together, so please developers, don’t leave us without local co-op when you include an online version.

Should gamers have a say over video game storylines?

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Of course this questions comes over the huge, over the top, protest about the ending of Mass Effect 3. Now Eurogamer says this successful protest could pave the way for more game developers to listen to their fans. Is this a good thing?

I say no. Why? Because, let’s be honest, the general public are stupid. Great storytellers are rare and yes, the professionals don’t always get it right but if it was down to the public all the time, you’d get some really stupid ideas I’m sure. Listening to user feedback is always a good thing, it helps devs improve for next time but that’s not what we’re talking here. We’re talking about changing the entire ending to something or changing a character – core changes which I feel, should be left to the storytellers.

It’s a bit cruel to say the general public are generally stupid but have you been on Youtube? Have you read the comments on games websites and Metacritic? Exactly. Do you really want those people to be in charge of your favourites games? I didn’t think so. Plus would you expect film fans to protest to get an ending to a film changed? What about re-writing the ending of a novel? It simply wouldn’t happen and if we want video games to be seen as a special craft like other pieces of art, we should leave it to the artists.

Personally, I haven’t played Mass Effect 3 yet, let alone seen the ending so maybe I’m not the best judge. But if I didn’t like it? So fucking what? I wouldn’t care that much, it’s an insult to everyone who’s worked so hard on bringing a fantastic series to us – why would I criticise them? The ending to Rage was far worse, believe me, at least ME3 has an ending. I think people should remember and think: would I really be able to do a better job? If the answer is yes, go and write books or be a game developer. In the mean time, shut your bloody cake hole and get over it. It’s only a game.