I grew up with a N64, so besides the standard singleplayer blockbusters (Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Mario64) and some minor, but also enjoyable games(BLUB), there were 2 multiplayer games that really stood out for me. Of course the first would be Mario Kart 64. I played this game a lot, especially with my family. It’s the kind of game that appeals to almost every person, gamer or not. The problem for my family was, that I would win almost every round, I would somehow manage to win even if against the odds, but hey: I was the one with training 😀
The other game was Super Smash Bros. Opposed to the racer mentioned above my family did not really enjoy this game, but my friends did for sure! The game just had every character or item we loved from other games, and our heroes could fight each other? That had to be awesome! Unfortunately the game was not my own and I could only borrow it for short amounts of time. The time it was in my possesion was filled with many, many afternoons batteling my friends.
So a few years later I picked up a gamecube and no I did not get Luigi’s Mansion as my first game, but: Super Smash Bros Melee. And we played it like madmen, we trained, we battled against each other for hours and hours, we played many 99 lives matches, and overall we had very balanced skill. It was the game we could play anytime, in any condition.
Later on, at the time a wii found the way to our home, Super Smash Brothers Brawl took over it’s ancestors legacy.
Both of these games have some sort of direct competition. The outcome was not only relative to the skill and mindset of the participants that faced each other at a specific time (and of course also luck), but as well es recognizing each others strategy and adapting the play styles that were most suited. And it was awesome!
Things have changed in the last few years: there are a lot of reason why I cannot meet up with friends as often as in school years. Online gaming is also often a problem, because everyone has to be available at the exact same time, which happens not as often as everyone would like it to. Another aspect is that if you are not in the same room as your friends, you cannot shout/curse at each other; a huge factor why I enjoy mutliplayer games so much.
If I meet with friends, it’s also easier to just play a coop game (they are awesome as well), because skill differences do not matter as much and everyone is able to spend some fun hours. Trine/Trine2 and Dungeon Defenders may be good examples.
Eventually I found an alternative for myself. A great way of having an exciting head-to-head competition, even if not at the same place or even the same time, is playing another kind of game, the kind with highscores. Everyone can play like/when/where he/she chooses, but there is still the aspect of comparision, and integral part of every competition.
This may be the reason why the games I created so far (and also the two featured on this site) have highscores and are kinda arcadey. I want my friends to duel. I want to duel my friends. I want to shout/hear “Maaan, you are THE WORST! It’s harder to beat a baby!” when we meet the next time.
And that simple fact may be the reason why I (among other genres) enjoy arcade games so much.