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The Most Important Multiplayer Games Ever

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the pika-pi dept.

Games 234

Gamasutra's 'Quantum Leap' awards roll on, with game developers voting in the titles they see as the most important multiplayer titles ever made. These are non-massive multiplayer games that significantly advanced the pastime of playing videogames with other people. Some of the listed games are gimmes (Goldeneye, Tribes), but I thought an Anonymous submitter's comment about humble Pokémon was interesting: "Tajiri-san's introduction of the collect and trade concept opened the eyes of every developer, all of whom previously believed multiplayer was either head-to-head or cooperative. What Pokémon created with this breakthrough concept was a true sense of community centered about a game - a kinship among people which transcended the immediate game environment. With the inclusion of real-world Pokémon merchandise, and a constant flow of new, wicked-cute characters, it was easy for anyone to embrace the Pokémon lifestyle...not that I would ever admit to it." Any multiplayer classics you'd add to the list?

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How about Pong? (3, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894492)

Maybe not the first multiplayer game, but viewed as the first multiplayer game saw by the masses.

Re:How about Pong? (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894572)

Well, if you are talking electronic games and allow for the occilascope Pong, then it is pretty hard to go back any further.....

Re:How about Pong? (2, Informative)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895248)

I always thought that Spacewar [] was the first, made in 1961. But it appears that the oscilloscope Pong [] predates it, being made in 1958. OXO would be the first game, but Pong would be the first multiplayer game. But the first consumer multiplayer game... would be Computer Space []

Re:How about Pong? (2, Informative)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894582)

I think that list is fine, as long as they remembered to include Quake and Quake 3, i wouldnt argue about any other titles missing. While i know the Quake series really didnt attract everyone, quake 1 at least was really the first p2p via the internet fps to really just blow up the community. Quake 3 then brought legitmacy to professional gamers and the hard work that goes into becoming the best. While there may be "better" games not listed, few influenced the community as a whole as quake 1 and quake 3 did.

Re:How about Pong? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895332)

Sorry, Unreal blows Quake away.

The original Unreal had a multiplayer that was leagues better than Quake, Quake 2 and Quake 3.
That multiplayer bred Unreal Tournament that bore the familiar quips "Headshot" and "M-M-M-M-MONSTER KILL"

Unreal and UT (and subsequent) had alternate fire for weapons.
It had sniper rifle that Quake didn't. It's closest relative, the Rail Gun?? Sorry.
Where else could you get a blade gun and ricochet a round to get a head shot or even accidentally cut off your own head?

How about teleportation within a person?

Also, Duke NukeEm 3D was loads of fun for multiplayer as well.
Shrinking an enemy then stepping him and hearing "Ewwww!" is classic.

Quake offers nothing new that Duke Nuke'em didn't already have except better graphics.

Unreal had even better graphics, gameplay, weapons, online server browser, and multiplayer.

Re:How about Pong? (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895746)

Sorry, Unreal blows Quake away.

This is all a matter of taste. I never found UT to be all that different from Q2. It was a FPS that garnered a following, that rivaled the quake series. It looked good. Played well and had some innovations like alt-fire weapons. More like slight edge over a half year old game, innovations wise. Arguably Half life is really the one that blew Quake away and thats mostly because of counter strike. It soundly thumped Quake sales wise while UT is matched Quake 2.

Re:How about Pong? (1)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895762)

Maybe so, but if the question is not about "the best" games but the most important, Quake may still deserve inclusion more than Unreal. Quake was there first, and had more influence in terms of igniting the whole multiplayer FPS phenomenon (so did Doom, for that matter).

Re:How about Pong? (1)

konigstein (966024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894754)

I thought that was beer pong?

Re:How about Pong? (1)

Futaba-chan (541818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895058)

Other obvious omissions:
  • Gauntlet
  • MUD
  • Netrek
  • Snipes
  • Warlords

Street Fighter 2 (4, Insightful)

Erioll (229536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894590)

Whatever you can say about "firsts" and "blood vs none" that happened in those days, SF2 was "the" game that popularized the fighting genre like no other. I'm not qualified to say what was "new" or "different" about it, but let's just say that in ONE SITTING with my friends and I, I MORE than covered the cost of the cartridge in games played vs quarters at the arcade. And to think the cartridge was around $80 in early-90s money, think of how many games we played. And that was HARDLY one session.

Re:Street Fighter 2 (1)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894680)

I would have to agree with you on this. I look at my 360voice gamercard and it lists the XBL Arcade title Street Fighter 2 as my most played. Go figure a game that old still gets more play on my "next gen" system more than next gen games do.

Re:Street Fighter 2 (3, Interesting)

digidave (259925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895084)

I wasted way too much of my life back then on Street Fighter II.

From my perspective, what SFII did to revolutionize video games is create a massive social aspect to visiting an arcade. It was not at all uncommon to see twenty or more people gathered around one arcade machine trying to keep track of who had their quarter in next. You could play complete strangers and have long conversations about the merits of Ryu vs. Ken, if Vega was a "cheap" character and how last week you saw some asian dude beat everyone while using Chun-Li.

When Champion Edition came out my friends and I traveled to arcades all over the city where we heard they had the game. I got kicked out of my favorite pizza parlor for "stringing" the game (taping a thread to a quarter to get tons of games).

I made more friends playing SFII than I did doing any other activity in my youth, including playing sports and going to school.

I have fond memories of the game, but I have no desire to buy the XBLA version of it. I've long since grown beyond those kinds of games.

Re:Street Fighter 2 (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895196)

You've summarized SFII culture in a nutshell. It's absurd when you think back on it. Like who's quarter was whom's? What's constituted as "cheese" or whatever your local term for the old "hit the guy then throw him while he's still blocking" move? And how come random strangers can walk up to the game, ask for "seconds" and actually get to play someone else's second round of a match?

How about... (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894592)

The original Gauntlet arcade game?

Or the simpsons/xmen-style arcade game? You get four people going at it...oohhhhhhh man, good times good times.

Re:How about... (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894794)

The original Gauntlet arcade game?
Yeah. Huge omission! Were there 4 player arcade games before it? Or games in which you "buy health points" with quarters, not just continue after you die.

Re:How about... (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895148)

"Red warrior needs health". A classic!

Re:How about... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895230)

I remember the first time I played it. I was at a campground with my family, and they had an arcade that had some classics in it (for the record, this was in 1989. I was 5.) In it was Dig Dug, Pac Man, Gorf (which I ruled at, my dad had the stand-up arcade machine in his house), Gauntlet, and some side-scrolling space shooter (it's name escapes me)

I must have spent half of that entire week playing Gauntlet.

Re:How about... (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895778)

"Blue wizard needs dew badly"

No Unreal Tournament? (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894598)

I somehow expected Unreal Tournament to be listed. End of 1999 was a big deal for FPS MultiPlayer, there was Quake3 and Unreal Tournament. Both served a very important part in the future of multiplayer FPS games.

And if it was up to me I would say Unreal Tournament was the more important one of the two.

Re:No Unreal Tournament? (2, Interesting)

scum-e-bag (211846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895010)


Doom predates UT.

Doom spawned (scuse the pun) a new genere of the multiplayer game.

Re:No Unreal Tournament? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895150)

granted, but in the Doom days the internet wasn't very popular. Ofcourse the gamasutra article isn't really about online multiplayer games. But I still think this whole article was cut a bit short (like may other /. readers), not really gamasutra like.

Re:No Unreal Tournament? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17895380)

It's not up to you though, and you don't even state why it was the more important one.

UT was just a clone, nothing really would have developed otherwise if UT was never developed. id Software made FPS/Multiplayer FPS what it is today.

Here we go... (2, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894606)

Cue the swarms of "butbutbut their miserably tiny list didn't have my games! WTF???"

Here's a starter.. they mention two Quake games, but no Doom. WTF???

Re:Here we go... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894746)

Doom? I don't recall the original even having multiplayer...

But if you're going to include two quake games, how can you not include Marathon?

Re:Here we go... (2, Informative)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894818)

Sure it did, both via modem, and directly using a nullmodem cable.

Re:Here we go... (2, Informative)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894896)

It also had native IPX network support, and later could be played with a TCP/IP wrapper on the internets! I used to play those dos games on kali over my 14.4 modem back in the day!

Re:Here we go... (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895246)

Doom Legacy has improved things tremendously. It uses a client/server model similar to that used by Quake, and it also added a LOT of new options, video modes, and a Quake-style command console.

Re:Here we go... (2, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894914)

There was also a hack that allowed you to get up to 4 people in a deathmatch over the serial ports (and maybe a modem), by daisy chaining the computers together with null modem cables. It required that two of the computers have two serial ports (not a given in those days), but it worked quite well.

Of course there was always the jerk who wanted to join the game with his 486SX25 and kill everybody's frame rates. :(

Re:Here we go... (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894860)

The original Doom had multiplayer deathmatches, but it took a significant amount of effort to get it going. Quake 1 streamlined the process and stuck multiplayer-over-IP into the main game menu.

Re:Here we go... (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894962)

Quake 1 definitely premiered multiplayer over TCP/IP, but Doom was really what kept BBSs alive, along with Descent. I remember playing both games over dialup to my friend's place way back when. Anyone remember DWANGO? Funny also that they mentioned Quakespy with no mention of Kali/Kahn which really were the first services that brought TCP gaming to the masses. I used to play 8 player Warcraft 2 over dialup via Kahn before Battle.NET was even in existence.

Re:Here we go... (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894882)

The game mode coined 'Deathmatch' was first used in Doom. In the mid-ninties, most networks with 386's or better would have seen tons of Doom multiplayer action.

Re:Here we go... (1)

DimGeo (694000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894986)

The original Doom was the first FPS game with multiplayer. It was the first game to introduce the term deathmatch. It was the first FPS to have varying heights of floors/ceilings.

Re:Here we go... (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895538)

"The original Doom was the first FPS game with multiplayer."

I think you forgot about someone important [] . Midi Maze is the reason there are so many qualifiers tacked onto Doom's "first" multiplayer achievements in the Wiki. Granted, Doom was more infleuntial to the modern FPS multiplayer, but if you really want to argue about who was more influential to the modern multiplayer FPS, I still would put Doom 2nd behind ROTT [] which supported more players and had more modes of multiplayer, including the now-popular capture the flag. ROTT was released after Doom but given the development timeframes, they didn't copy from one another. The only things they shared were the Wolf3D codebase they each had license to use, much of which Doom discarded.

MIDI Maze (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895734)

The original Doom was the first FPS game with multiplayer.

Midi-Maze for Atari ST [] was around in 1987, long before Doom (December 1993). Even the Game Boy and Super NES ports of Midi-Maze, titled Faceball 2000, were around before Doom.

TA (3, Interesting)

jcgam69 (994690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894628)

Total Annihilation, the first 3D multiplayer strategy game.

Re:TA (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895192)

Still good fun!

Re:TA (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895314)

Best... RTS... Game... Ever... :-)

Opinion Piece (1)

reyalpdemannu (1054910) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894630)

I guess I should publish a short opinion piece, load the CMS up with AdSense ads, and get myself posted on Slashdot.

This article was distinctly lacking in substance, similar in nature to a pop record. Surely the news isn't that slow today?

all Hail, ZORK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17894642)

yep, zork nemesis. You go into a cave and are presented with three directions, which do you choose?

How about some other genres (5, Insightful)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894644)

Although there are some old school throwbacks, the majority of games on this list are first person shooters. What about other genres? I would think there should at least be a spot on there for an RTS like Warcraft 2 or Command & Conquer. Also, the article specifically does not include MMO's. Why? It hardly seems relevant to make a list of ground breaking multi-player games without at least mentioning Everquest or WOW. And of course there's the glaringly obvious omission of Counterstrike. I like Gamasutra, but this is a pretty poor list.

Re:How about some other genres (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894720)

I was thinking Starcraft. At least one of the first that would (potentially) team random players together against other random players in an RTS.

Why don't you try... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895546)

I believe the first true quantum leap in multi-player games were the MUDs, like DikuMUD. Circa late 80s, the initial round of MMOs with hundreds of people online in a single world playing both co-operatively and PVP, collecting, trading, building, etc.

Those were the days....

The classic multiplayer 'game' (1)

Jergosh (1007669) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894648)

How about sex ;)?

Re:The classic multiplayer 'game' (2, Insightful)

strokemouth (731202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894752)

The initial version had too many bugs. I'm waiting for the sequel.

Re:The classic multiplayer 'game' (3, Funny)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894774)

for the readers the article was intended for that is generally a single player game

Re:The classic multiplayer 'game' (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894898)

This is Slashdot. The closest multiplayer game to sex that people have played here is using two hands at once.

Re:The classic multiplayer 'game' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17895486)

It has a multi-player mode?

An evening of fun. (1)

Lemental (719730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894658)

Atari Warlords would have all 4 of us playing for hours. We made up names for our little warlords. Ok, maybe that is a little sad.

Re:An evening of fun. (1)

NathanRF (1060272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894872)

You beat me to it, Lemental. Warlords changed the way I thought about games, and was a quantam leap forward at the time. I put Goldeneye in the same category. Did Doom have a co-op mode? Capture the flag, that sort of thing? I always think of it as a free-for-all type of game. Nathan

What about... (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894678)


That's easy (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894710)

Jones in the Fast Lane taught me and my friends everything we needed to know about success. That's why I'm the CEO of the factory, with a Post-Doc degree, and living on nothing but Monolith Fries.

UMMMM CS? (4, Insightful)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894730)

a little game called Counter-Strike?

Re:UMMMM CS? (2, Insightful)

badenglishihave (944178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894832)

I agree. Not that the games they picked aren't good choices, but CS really opened the door to computer gaming for non-geeks. So many of my friends who were strictly console got into Counter-Strike and subsequently play computer games to this day. From my point of view, it really changed the way people look at computers as a platform for easily accessible and innovative entertainment.

ummm NO. (1)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895496)

Plenty of people played Counter-Strike, but it's just a rehash of old team-based multiplayer games, now with terrorists and counter-terrorists, rather than Red team and Green team.

Re:ummm NO. (1)

jfodale (1032534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895642)

That's great, but most of the games on their list are, in fact, rehashes themselves. Goldeneye... I love it to death, but what did it really do that was so innovative and important? It opened the FPS door to a whole new legion of gamers? Is that not what Counter-Strike did?

If we're including rehashes, then at least include the rehashiest of all the rehashes: Counter-Strike.

Doom 2 (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894736)

Even before Goldeneye, Doom 2 was already "king" of multiplayer if you were tech-savy enough to get your two computers to hook up via a 14.4+ modem. Using a DWANGO server or something akin to it, you were able to get 4 players together via modem just like a lan...each (and this is the important point) with your own separate screen.

After playing Doom/Doom 2 on the computer I could never sit down in front of a TV divided into four quadrants and feel really good about playing a Deathmatch game where your every move could be monitored by your opponents. A lot of people at it up, but it never felt right to me.

Re:Doom 2 (3, Interesting)

NathanRF (1060272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894990)

They're different animals, to be sure. I started out on consoles and had a heck of a time getting used to NOT being able to keep tabs. Certainly, it's a less realistic mode of play... I just viewed it as a particular gameplay element within the game. My friends and I actually rigged up four TVs, all running the same av feed from an N64, facing away from one another and each 3/4s covered with cardboard (it was the trashiest setup in video game history) so that we could play with 'solo' screens. I'm a big fan of Halo, Half-Life and Gears of War today, but I still say Goldeneye plays better when you can see your opponents' screens. I generally dislike radar in FPS's, too. I just think splitscreen in Goldeneye works for some reason. Nathan

Re:Doom 2 (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895706)

Heh, when I played goldeneye, I didn't look at my own screen unless I needed to aim. I do the same thing on split screen Halo matches.

Re:Doom 2 (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895804)

you were able to get 4 players together via modem just like a lan...each (and this is the important point) with your own separate screen.

Faceball 2000 for Game Boy had the same feature, with up to 16 simultaneous players.

After playing Doom/Doom 2 on the computer I could never sit down in front of a TV divided into four quadrants

That's good for a first-person shooter such as Doom or a real-time tactical sim such as Starcraft, but would a separate view per player benefit the players in a game like Bomberman or Smash Bros., whose ordinary multiplayer view is not split?

Just one? (2, Interesting)

Avatar64 (985352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894764)

Numerous MUDs for introducing the basic concept. Numerous Arcade / Home Console Classics for further introducing the GUI version of cooperative and adversarial interaction (e.g. Mortal Combat, Pong, Mario Brothers, Gauntlet...) If I had to choose one, I guess it would be Wizard of Wor, both cooperative and adversarial, and one of the first. I really would select Ultima Online except for the fact that it is an MMORPG and that is against the article's stated goal. I would not choose it for its MMORPG state, but for the way groups had to work together and the fact that it was the first of that nature that went big. Even if it hadn't been an MMORPG, the basic concepts were there similar to games like Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, Etc. that required teamwork beyond you and one other person. Sharing supplies, using skills that augmented and/or supplemented your ally's skills, etc.

Did I miss something? (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894766)

Maybe I'm dating myself, or my standards are a little different, but what about Warcraft? Diablo? Duke Nukem 3d?

Warcraft - first game I ever played that involved resource collecting, progression, RTS
Diable - first multiplayer game I played that had a free online service, levels were randomly created, high customization factor and tons of loot
Duke Nuke 3d - full 3d range of motion with your mouse, 3d level creation that you could share and play over the phone line

How did Quake 3 get on that list?

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894866)

Quake 3 ushered in professional gaming as we know it today. On a large worldwide scene. Counterstrike carried the momentum from quake 3's professional gaming success and expanded it 100 fold. Modern pro gaming as we know it largely has Quake 3 to thank.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894960)

Quake 3 ushered in professional gaming as we know it today. On a large worldwide scene. Counterstrike carried the momentum from quake 3's professional gaming success and expanded it 100 fold. Modern pro gaming as we know it largely has Quake 3 to thank.
To a smaller degree, Total Annihilation was a part of this. The first PGL (which I guess is defunct?) had Quake 3 and TA as its competitions.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895018)

Diable - first multiplayer game I played that had a free online service, levels were randomly created, high customization factor and tons of loot

Everyone knows you meant Diablo. Actually, I think Diablo should be noteworth for its making player killing in RPGs popular (and troublesome). There was nothing like waiting at the entrance to the dungeon and typing "Hey, come on down to the dungeon and help me!".......... WHAM!

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895090)

There was nothing like waiting at the entrance to the dungeon and typing "Hey, come on down to the dungeon and help me!".......... WHAM!
That was you?!? Can I send you my therapy bills?

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895108)

Yep, it's been a long day and my eyes aren't seeing the difference between an e and an o on the screen. I didn't know about the possibility of "duping" until Diablo, and it was the first game I played where people were bringing their "hacked" items online. A staff of apocalypse with 299 charges?

Netrek (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894776)

Netrek. It's multiplayer, it's online, it's been around forever. []

Re:Netrek (1)

C. Alan (623148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895862)

Man that game was addicting. I swear it cost me at least 0.2 of my GPA in college, but damm it, I ogged the base, and was NOT free beer.

Team Fortress Anyone? (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894782)

Or even Descent 3. You can still find people hosting these games albeit in very thinned out quantities.

Joust, dammit (2, Funny)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894812)

And get off my lawn, you damn kids!

Re:Joust, dammit (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895194)

Megane: You see kids, you played a medieval knight flying around on an ostrich and avoiding pterodactyls.

Kids: Mom, grandpa is having acid flashbacks again.

Re:Joust, dammit (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895484)

@moderate(parent, +1funny);

Dani Bunten! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17894834)

M.U.L.E. 4-player, Atari 600/800.

My own uninformed opinions (4, Informative)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894892)

I have a few that I don't see on the list...

  • StarCraft - Not much needs to be said here. It took a lot of what already existed in RTS gaming and gave it multiplayer. Also of note is the fact that it managed to decently balance non-identical sides. As for overall impact, just look at what it's added to the multiplayer lexicon. Paired with gave it a distinct leg up for finding other players over C&C or AoE or the like.
  • Team Fortress Classic - There are many many great HL mods out there, a number of which you could pick out for this list, including the infamous favorite Counter-Strike and one of my favorites, Natural Selection (balanced disparate teams, and probably the first to combine FPS and RTS wel). But I really like TFC, so I'm gonna talk about it instead. It had the kit system like Tribes, but without the learning curve. I could join a game of TFC for a quick half-hour of enjoyment - in some other games, a half hour is about what it takes to get to your enemy. It balanced simplicity and strategy well.
  • Dungeons and Dragons - OK, not necessarily a computer game, but still. It's influence on computer games has been incredible. A major inspiration behind nethack, almost all of the MUDS in the world, and who knows how many other dungeon crawling games.

But that's just my opinions. Not like I'm pulling down that high "games journalist"kind of scratch here...

Re:My own uninformed opinions (1)

aarmenaa (712174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895338)

There are many many great HL mods out there, a number of which you could pick out for this list
TFC was my first truly online game. I had played some direct connect, network, and so on, but it was the first time I'd ever seen a server browser. However, I think we need to be more general than this. You mention that there are many excellent HL mods. In fact, there's something for just about everyone. Even if the original game didn't strike your fancy, it is the strongest proof of one thing: the community is important. They can take your average shooter and turn it into something everyone will buy. And if you happen to have a very good game on your hands, like HL, making it easy to mod will ensure that it still sells years after it's release.

Re:My own uninformed opinions (1)

FluffyG (692458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895588)

You may have came in during the era of TFC but they did list the precursor to that; Team fortress for Quake. Even though there was always a huge battle between TFC and TF vets about which one was better but you still have to give credit to the original. I was introduced to the game in the earlier MPlayer days before the Quakeworld client and gamespy became available and would have to say I had never had as much excitement out of a game than playing matches in TF.

The problem I found with TFC is it did not reproduce the fast paced atmosphere I was used to in QWTF.

Diebold? (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894894)

Does the American Political System count? can't wait till it makes it out of beta...

Age difference (1)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | more than 7 years ago | (#17894966)

For many gamers, age will be the deciding factor. For my brother and I, the definitive multiplayer moment was experienced on our old Atari 2600 (which still works after more than two decades and extensive use of the skills I learned years ago in soldering class). We used to spend hours playing the tank game, "Combat", which, for all it's simplicity, is still one of my favourite games (and still provides a very intense challenge to a pair of skilled players). For those of us that owned a computer when 9600 baud was screaming fast, any number of BBS RPGs were our first 'online' gaming experience. My neice and newphew, on the other hand, grew up on games like Mario Party and Mario Kart. They laugh when I show them the games I grew up on and can't understand how we could play games with only one button on the joystick (which wasnt't even always used :P).

This list must be a joke (1)

Speed Pour (1051122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895074)

To begin with, as another poster pointed out, it's limited almost entirely to FPS style or classic 1-screen-2-player arcades. This doesn't even scratch the surface of the multi-player games, and completely misses the fact that the genres are far more varied. Even within the list, it's missing necessary choices like Unreal Tournament and Counterstrike, two of the most influential FPS games to have rolled through history...yet we've got Quake 3 Arena? Not saying it was bad, just that it didn't break any new ground really.

This list, IMHO, is pretty meaningless without having Gauntlet on there. The first real 4-player game for Nintendo, and the newer version was one of the most successful 4-player arcades in history.

Considering how focussed the list is on FPS games, let's put some fighting games on there. Get Mortal Kombat on there. I shouldn't even have to explain why this one belongs.

Leaving out Diablo is also insulting. If you include Tribes, it's absurd to leave out Diablo. This game paved the road for Everquest. I remember when EQ came out, and I remember tons of Diablo players making an almost religious trek from there to EQ. And as another poster pointed out, leaving EQ and WoW off the list is pretty meaningless.

Is the guy writing this article posting to the right site? Should it be on Gamasutra or the Onion?

M.U.L.E. (2, Interesting)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895152)

Wikipedia says it all:

M.U.L.E. [] is a seminal multiplayer video game written in 1983 by Dan Bunten of Ozark Softscape. It was published by Electronic Arts. It was originally written for the Atari 400/800 and then was ported to the Commodore 64 and the Nintendo Entertainment System and to the IBM PC Jr.. While it played like a game, it was actually an economic simulation taking place on a small colony planet.

In 1996 Computer Gaming World named M.U.L.E. as #3 on its Best Games of All Time list on the PC.

Essentially, the game is an exercise in supply and demand economics that is set in space on the planet Irata (which is Atari backwards) and involves competition among four players. To win the game, the players not only must compete against each other, but they need to cooperate with each other for the survival of the colony. Central to the game is the acquisition and use of "M.U.L.E."s (Multiple Use Labor Element) to develop and harvest the player's real estate which can consist of: Energy, Food, Smithore (from which M.U.L.E.s are constructed), and Crystite. Players must balance supply and demand of these four elements (Crystite is available as an option during Tournament play only) as well as other events such as fires, theft, etc.

M.U.L.E. was revolutionary in the ease with which it allowed multiplayer interaction through a single game/computer console. (Its development came years before the advent of multiplayer Internet connectivity.) Though this failed as a trend setter at the time, the game is still heralded as the first game to make effective use of the multiplayer game concept.

The game was very popular in its day among certain groups. It did not become a bestselling title, but it has more recently become a favorite of retrogaming enthusiasts. Various clones for modern computers exist, the most recent commercial clone published in 2002. The original's addictive theme song by Roy Glover has been widely covered by remix groups.

Dani Bunten (previously Dan Bunten) was working on an Internet version of the game until her death in 1998.

Many game designers cite the game as one of the most revolutionary ever and an inspiration for many of their games. Will Wright dedicated his game The Sims, the greatest selling computer game of all time, to the memory of Bunten.

A modern version of the game entitled Space HoRSE was developed in 2004 by Gilligames and is distributed by Shrapnel Games.

xenophobe (1)

p0w (134255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895166)

Xenophobe in the arcades allowed 3 players with each player having their own section of the screen to control. Probably the first game to build on the Gauntlet model by improving the players ability to move independently from each other. A classic.

WoW? (1)

watchout5 (1060282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895188)

I might not be the first one to say this, but he forgot the world... ... ... of warcraft 8 million and growing

Re:WoW? (2, Interesting)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895388)

Having lots of people play it doesn't make it revolutionary. Fact is that WoW is simply an upgrade/clone of EQ, which was an upgrade/clone of UO, which was....

They're just remaking the same game over and over again. If you're going to talk about MMORPGs, then I can really only endorse Ultima Online which started the whole genre, or GuildWars which did away with subscription fees. Neither was particularly revolutionary, though.

Marathon 2 (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895190)

Marathon 2 was released for the Mac in Nov. of 1995, and featured multiplayer co-op & deathmatch, plus voice chat. It became cross platform game in 1996 when it was released for the PC. This game was light years ahead of the competition until Quake came out in June of 1996, which is probably one of the reasons M2 never quite got the attention it deserved.

Pokemon was only a copy of Magic: The Gathering (0)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895260)

Pokemon original? What a rewrite of history. Pokemon was just a ripoff of Magic: The Gathering, one of dozens. What made Pokemon was the tie-in to Nintendo, that was what opened lots of new levels in the gold mine for harvesting. But Magic did have a go at a PC game tie in, just not as successfully. Never played either myself, but I gather it was the gameboy that really made the trading style of gameplay work with the kids.

Re:Pokemon was only a copy of Magic: The Gathering (1)

Zero_DgZ (1047348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895500)

Pokemon was a copy of Magic: The Gathering in the same sense that Missile Command is a simulation of global thermonuclear war. The difference is that one of the above actually involved actual strategy beyond rock-paper-scissors. I'm not going to name names. And don't even get me started on the Pokemon card game. That was a retarded Bizarro world rip-off of Magic and I never saw its appeal.

Re:Pokemon was only a copy of Magic: The Gathering (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895906)

> And don't even get me started on the Pokemon card game. That was a retarded Bizarro world rip-off
> of Magic and I never saw its appeal.

Admittedly I don't really give a rat's rear about Pokemon, considering it retarded. But you can't really escape some exposure. (And there IS no safe exposure level.) On the fscking Pokemon cartoon it is pretty apparent they are just PLAYING the card game. So if the Nintendo versions are an improvement I say hurray!

Of course it does get worse, one of the cartoon/cardgame spinoffs/ripoffs is even more blatent about being a pure infomercial for how to play the cardgame. Good grief, I'm as Pro 1st Amendment as they get, but crap like that makes me want to turn a blind eye the next time the nanny state talks regulating children's TV.

Quake.. (1)

Sorcha Payne (1047874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895316)

I would rather add Quake 2 in place of Quake 1, and Unreal Tournament in place of Quake 3 in that list. There are still many people playing quake 2 online, and various tournaments being held every year.

Bolo (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895802)

This is a forgotten gem that was the very first RTS multiplayer game that could be played with up to 16 people at once. IIRC, the game dates from about 1990-1991. It had color, sound, and all the goodies of a modern game. Side note - the third party AI - or "Bots" were the very first use of the term and the first implimentation of in-game AI routines to provide payers with real-time opponents. To this date, much of modern AI routines in games are based upon this work. BTW - they are almost as good as human players at times. No mean feat, considering they were largely perfected by 1992/1993. Why haven't most people heard of it? It was originally made for Macintosh and was easily a decade ahead of the P.C. genre/competition. The game effectively died when the creator went to work for Apple Computer - where he still works. As long as he remains employed there, it's permanently shelved lest Apple get its hands on the code. Eventually people made a PC clone of it, but that was nearly a decade later. - First 16 player RTS game(shooter, too, technically, but Spectre may have been first there) - First game to not need a dedicated server to play on(used token-ring technology) - First game with user-programmable AIs in it to play against.(as well as the first online game to use third party plug-in modules) - First game with a dedicated internet-based connecton/opponent finder. Essentially Gamespy-like but years earlier. - One of the first games to use AI mapmaking programs and tools. (Iirc, Doom had one first but it wasn't point-and click easy) - One of the first games used by the military for training purposes(as opposed to just entertainment). - first RTS multiplayer game to use real-time "fog of war"(screen was greyed out beyond what you could see - not just what you hadn't explored) - it still is quite playable today.


Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895422)

In 1979, there was NOTHING like sitting on an ASR33 connected via a 110 baud accoustic modem to one of the CDC timesharing systems we had access to (mainly MERITSS at the U of Minnesota and MTS [MECC Timesharing System]) and waiting the loooong 30 seconds for your lasers to cool before you can slam another Laser/Missle/Missle volley into your long distance opponent in real-time while a dozen or more other ships were hurtling around in space around you and shooting at each other.

There were also multi-channel TALK programs (MTC, MMT, DDT, XTALK, etc) where one could chat with folks all over the state. And KARNATH. :-)

Barren Realms Elite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17895492)

Barren Realms Elite. Classic turn-based multiplayer game on many BBSs. I used to participate in inter-BBS games that had players from at least 8 different BBSes in my town battling it out.

Subspace, a.k.a. Continuum (1)

Lotvog (1034852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895620)

The first MMOG I've every played, in development since 1995 and officially released in 1997 - still going strong today. Subspace! Now known as "Continuum" after its source was released and heavily expanded upon, the game attracted well over 10,000 players at its peak, and still enjoys a loyal following of more than 1000 players worldwide. Fantastic game, and horribly addictive; for more info, Wiki:

- me) []

Descent (I & II) (2, Interesting)

RPI Geek (640282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895756)

The first multiplayer game I ever really got addicted to was Descent II over a serial link (this predated the time when computers typically had built-in NICs). My dad and I would sometimes fight each other and sometimes play co-op. I remember dialing in and using Kali to emulate a local IPX network so I could play Descent II with people from who-knows-where.

I never got tired of people's responses when they found out that I wasn't using anything but a keyboard while keeping up with the top players in each game B-)

Nice to see Bomberman. How about "Hunt"? (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895768)

Nice to see Bomberman in the list, shame the screen shot is of the single player campaign. Anyway, plenty of people have already mentioned Doom, and frankly I don't see why any other FPS should be included. One person was also posted something similar to what I was going to post about MUDs, so that's covered. Anyone remember a text-mode top-down multiplayer unix game called "Hunt"? I reckon that should be in the list somewhere. As should Populous with its two-player null-modem option. That was fun.

Nibbles! (1)

RPI Geek (640282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895848)

2-player Nibbles was always a blast, especially if you'd seen Tron :-D

/ Double post... oops

What about Myth I & II? (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895870)

I was really surprised not to see alot of popular games (Doom + UT) but one that really should be on there is Myth the Fallen Lords and its Sequel- both from Bungie before they went to the darkside. Even after 10 years these games have a strong mod and online play community at and These games are still amazing to this day and really converted me to a PC/Mac gamer (till recently). Overall a pretty lame list if you ask me.

Super Smash Bros? (2, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895890)

While not as much of a contributor to "social multiplayer gaming" as Wii Sports might be, the Super Smash Bros. series definately started the whole "party game" trend that Wii Sports continued.

During my junior and senior year of college, many of my friends were of the opinion that for the most part, one should not watch TV or play video games at a party. Super Smash Brothers was the one exception - It got played at quite a few parties, especially my senior year. Like a previous poster's comments about Goldeneye for N64, it was able to keep a large number of people amused (not just the four actually playing the game) for rather extended periods of time. In fact, I recall one night when our neighbors (who were all close friends of ours, we intentionally got two four-bedroom apartments across the hall from each other) were hosting a party. Prior to attending, many of my apartmentmates decided to play SSB for a bit. Within an hour or so, most of the guests of the neighbor's party were either watching or playing the game in our apartment.

Of course, the fact that we were playing on my LCD projector probably had something to do with it. SSB is amazing on a ten-foot screen. :)

I have a theory... (1)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895892)

... that this list omits certain games like Counter-Strike, which we KNOW has had huge success as a MP shooter that they must have done something right, and yet is omitted from this list because it creates controversy. The controversy results in more hits to their site due to more talk. Profit.

The list had to have some glaring flaws, otherwise it wouldn't have had much notice.

Since no one mentioned them... (1)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17895908)


I would say Halo at least deserves consideration. I think it helped bring alot more people to online FPS that wouldn't have made the plunge. It made online gaming easier than ever before. Other than impressive looks and sounds for it's generation, it didn't bring a whole lot new, but IMO, it didn't get anything wrong. It had plenty of user configurable game variants, good weapon selection (magnum was a bit strong), and reliable online play. Where I think it changed online play was by increasing the fan base for online shooters.


I don't know about anyone else, but it seemed to me that for a while, every geek was playing worms. A great twist on a pretty simple concept. Lots of fun.


Already mentioned above, I thought it was a big step up from earlier online shooters, one of the few online shooters I'd want to play at the time.

Command and Conquer

IMO, Command and Conquer really put online RTS on the map.

Gears Of War

I'd offer for consideration because it brought a great covering system to online play where others have failed.

It's hard to say that these drastically changed online play. The question is a bit to subjective. There are so many games that brought just a little something new that has been adopted by others that it is really hard to say.

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