What ever happened to gaming together?

I remember back when I was very young, my brother and I would play Super Mario World together for hours at a time. We used to make pizza rolls or bagel bites, grab a soda, and just kick back and game together. Now, the concept of “gaming together” in the same room is almost unheard of. It has become hard to find a good game that is split-screen co-op. Most games have become strictly online as far as multiplayer goes. For those of you who may not know what “split-screen co-op” means, it’s simply the ability for two or more people to play the same game at the same time while in the same room. “Split-screen” is something  I tend to use as a blanket term, it’s literal meaning refers to when the screen is split into two or more viewing boxes. So I may look at the top of the screen to see my player while my friend looks at the bottom screen to see his or hers.  I tend to refer to co-op games where both players are visible at the same time without the screen being split as “split-screening”, but it’s not necessarily correct, I just like using the term for both things. Makes it easier for me. Anyway, back to the point: The lack of split-screen co-op games these days.

The last game I remember playing together with someone in the same room as me was Borderlands. Man, that game is so good! I mean, at first I was thinking it wasn’t the best, but then my boyfriend and I played it together and my world was rocked. Borderlands excelled as a co-op game, both online and offline. I have friends who tried to play it alone and absolutely hated it, but when they played it with someone else they grew to love it. I’m sure there are more recent games that have both online and offline co-op available, but it’s much easier to pick one that doesn’t. I mean, most games these days cater to the online player when it comes to multiplayer and wont allow split-screening. For instance – when Bioware annouced that Mass Effect 3 would have a multiplayer game mode, and that it would be co-operative, I was exstaic. Then I found out there would be no split-screen option and was honestly a little disappointed. Why does this have to happen? Mass Effect 3 is hardly the only game that has done that recently, so what gives?

Why are companies making split-screen gaming disappear? I don’t know, but I really wish I did. A lot of people speculate it’s a money issue, and that makes some sense. The gaming companies will make more money if the two people who would previously be sharing the game through spit-screening each bought a separate copy of said game. That’s a fact. But I really want to believe that these major gaming companies like Bioware aren’t that money hungry. Maybe I’m just being naive with that hope, but we may never know. I highly doubt any company is going to admit to this money making theory, and what else could they say? That the just hate gamers who wish to play the game together in the same room? Doubtful. Because of this, we may never really know why more games aren’t spit-screen compatible and we may just see the death of split-screen co-op gaming in our life times. Our children may only be able to play with their friends online, forcing them to limit social interactions in person to a quick hi and bye before going home to get online and play. I suppose they will still be socializing through game chat, but it’s not the same as the good old Super Mario World days of my childhood. Or, maybe I’m just delusional and what the people really want is online only co-op or team gaming. Maybe I need to get with the times. We will see, but all I can say for certain is that split-screen gaming is on the decline until further notice.

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