Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Not all games need online multiplayer!

Whoa, bit of a late start here! Better get goin' on this one...

Online play can be a great thing. Games such as Mario Kart DS and Pokemon Diamond just wouldn't have been the same without their respective online functions. But that doesn't mean all games need to have online multiplayer. Every time a game is announced, at least one person says "It needs online!" or "No online, no sale!". But they are not always right. There are certain games that have been made especially for local multiplayer. Here are two such games that just wouldn't feel right online.

Wii Sports

Ah, here's one of the most popularly talked about games regarding online play. Why anybody thinks this needs online, though, is beyond me. Wii Sports was designed as a game for getting people together and having fun socially. Online multiplayer would totally destroy this effort. Where's the fun in boxing someone halfway across the world? I don't see it. Thrusting your fists to attack gives a great sense of realism, but not actually being face-to-face with your opponent completely defeats this purpose. After all, what good are your punches going to do against some guy sitting in Japan? Sure, you'll mess up his character a bit, but there's really not much you can do to show off beyond stringing together combos. Actually bouncing up and down on your heels and jabbing with a left, then a right, then an uppercut... None of these fancy moves are noticed by the opponent if they're in an entirely different continent!

What's that you say? A webcam? Well, please be so kind as to explain how you'd possibly keep an eye on both the on-screen action and the camera feed in the corner? You can't, really. A webcam in this situation would be little more than a novelty. Don't even get me started on Nintendo's safe approach to online interaction!

And that's just the boxing! The same reasons all apply to golf, tennis, bowling and baseball! Putting that degree of separation between each player ruins the entire realistic experience.

Mario Party

Here's another commonly discussed series. Again, I have no idea why anyone thinks this should be online. Have you ever had a party over the internet? I sure haven't.

Boardgames have always been a social experience. Sitting around a table with your friends and family and having a nice session of Monopoly or The Game of Life is one of the greatest things that can be done as a group. Mario Party is also a boardgame, albeit virtual. Thusly, playing it online against a group of faceless opponents really defeats the entire purpose of the game.

As for the webcam arguement? Well, that has some validity here. Besides the minigames, Mario Party can hardly be considered "hectic". Webcams would actually be a pretty good fit for the franchise. But just because something could work, doesn't mean it should happen. Sure, with a webcam you can see all your opponents, but there's still the separation of not actually being with the rest of the players. There's no way to pat a pal on the back after an exceptionally well played minigame! Parties are supposed to be an interactive and social experience, and all possible levels of interaction are essential to such an event! Mario Party should never go online, plain and simple.

Don't get me wrong here, folks. Online can be a great addition to many games. But certain titles just don't work this way. I'll take Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii online any day of the week, but when it comes to games like Wii Sports and Mario Party, I prefer a more direct experience.

The Duck Has Spoken.


NaomiKnight said...

Huh, you know what? I actually think that an online function for the Mini Game option in Mario Party might be fun.

After a while, it can get boring whooping the same people's butts in the same mini-games, you know? It'd be fun to play against people with unknown strengths and weaknesses.

I can see how it totally wouldn't work for the actual board game play, though.

ModestMr.Green said...

I agree with how you said Wii Sports shouldn't be online, and to an extent, I'm not sure how Mario Party would feel online.

However, that latter will be a reality, as Mario Party DS is a Nintendo WiFi Connection title. It'll be interesting to see how it's handled.

alexanderpas said...

okay... before anyone does... I DON'T WANT METROID ONLINE MULTIPLAYER!!!

(for those that want... there's hunters for you)