Humans have been playing multiplayer games for millennia. In fact, we have probably been playing multiplayer games since even further back in history. Young animals play different versions of multiplayer games to help them learn how to hunt, which shows how inherent the idea of social fun is to live in general, not just our own species. There is, however, a key distinction to make between the multiplayer games of the animal kingdom and the human multiplayer games made possible through crucial advances in modern technology.
Throughout human history, our understanding and appreciation of multiplayer games have become ever more advanced. Whether it’s new inventions with card games or new sporting creations like football or rugby, we’re always looking for new ways to play games together. Modern 21st-century game designers have taken this sentiment to the next level, unveiling a steady stream of fantastic multiplayer games that have completely overtaken what many of us thought possible.
Modern games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare are the latest examples of how advanced multiplayer gaming has become. The impact that online multiplayer technology had in the late 2000s is impossible to ignore. For the first time, gamers could enjoy their favorite titles with friends from across the world. It blew the multiplayer gaming world wide open, as before this, you generally all had to be in the same room to play video games in a group. Stay with us for an in-depth breakdown of how game designers are creating multiplayer experiences and some of the most influential examples.
A History of Multiplayer Games
Before we get into the nitty-gritty regarding multiplayer gaming experiences, it’s m worth taking a look back to consider their history. Historians generally agree that humans have been playing some kind of rudimentary multiplayer games since the Stone Age, but these games looked very different to those we enjoy now and also served a completely separate purpose.
We could go on for ages about the history of multiplayer games, but for the purposes of this exploration, we’ll focus on video games rather than all types of games. The first multiplayer video games were developed in the early 1970s, with notable examples including the PLATO system. You could go back even further, with Tennis For Two which was released in the late 1950s, but this had a very short-lived impact on the gaming industry due to its rudimentary controls and difficulty in actually getting hold of.
Multiplayer games continued to evolve throughout the 1980s, as game developers started to grasp their potential. It quickly became evident that people enjoyed playing against each other far more than against a computer, so software designers flocked to this new gaming world and made several successful titles. Some of the most popular included Gauntlet and Quartet, which were two of the first games to allow for more than two players to play at a time.
Moving into the 1990s, things started to get even more exciting. Game developers were experimenting with things like MIDI in the late 1980s, hoping to find a way to connect players on separate consoles. Early inventions like MIDI Maze didn’t really have the desired effect, but then developers stumbled across the use of LAN networks to support multiplayer gaming. This was a crucial development that set the stage for the modern variations of multiplayer games.
The Emergence of Online Multiplayer Games
While online multiplayer games have existed in some capacity since the early 1990s, they were usually rudimentary examples like chess or other turn-based, strategy options. Other slightly more expansive multiplayer games existed, but the process of actually playing them together with other people required fast internet connections and other pieces of technology that not many people had access to.
Nevertheless, by the late 2000s, things had started to change for the better. As more households enjoyed the benefits of fast broadband connections, gaming developers could think about creating more complex and exciting multiplayer titles. The results were fantastic, as proved by the first Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game, a pivotal example that was arguably the first time that gamers from across the world could play against each other en masse.
And things have only become more intense over the past several years. Games like Fortnite took the Call of Duty blueprint and supercharged it, allowing far more players to come together on the same map. Nowadays, many games are released almost exclusively for online multiplayer gaming, with no real single-player options. It just shows the tremendous impact online multiplayer titles have had over the past decade or so.
Key Examples of Modern Multiplayer Games
Check below for some of the key examples of modern multiplayer games:
Fortnite is one of the most influential modern multiplayer games ever. A cartoon-inspired, first-person shooter played by up to 100 gamers during each round, it revolves around a huge island map that gets smaller and smaller as the game progresses. This battle royale-style game has a very simple ultimate goal: to win, you must be the last person standing.
Live Dealer Casinos
Live dealer casinos are another example of how modern technology has aided multiplayer games. For example, at live baccarat tables, you can play together with players from across the world, with a real-life croupier conducting the experience via video link. It can be great fun – you just have to hope your cards have a bigger face value in order to win.
Call of Duty
There have been several iterations of the remarkably popular Call of Duty series over the past few decades. Its original Modern Warfare game is arguably the most impactful, although most players have now progressed to the latest options, most notably Call of Duty: Warzone. This first-person shooter pits players together on several maps and also has a few different game modes to keep things fresh and interesting.