Sunday, April 10, 2011

Four-Player Split Screen Blues

As many of you know (because I wrote about it awhile ago and soooo many people read our blog), I don’t own any newer consoles.  This is going to change very soon however, as I will be purchasing an Xbox 360 within the week.  This is not really important to the overall agenda of this particular post though. 

The other day, willtacular and ProtoScott came over and played Halo: Reach alongside my girlfriend and myself.  I have not played any Halo game in about a 2 years and my girlfriend has never played one.  Needless to say, the two of us were severely outranked. 

I own a decently large TV (50-something inches) so playing high definition games looks reeeal good.  Sadly, we were cursed with the four-player split screen curse. BUM-BUM-BUUUUUUUM!!!! I know, it’s scary: one screen, four players, and one couch.  There was a lot of squinting going on, but there is always a silver lining.

The four-player split screen may have its many downsides.  First, it is nearly impossible to see anyone else on your screen, making any form of distance shooting nearly impossible.  Secondly, it’s terribly easy to mix up which screen you are playing on.  This leads to many hilarious outbursts, such as, “Why isn’t my controller working?!” and, “I can’t make my guy shoot!!”  The split-screen leads to a lot of anger, plain and simple.  No one enjoys not being able to see anything besides their own gun.  No one likes constantly squinting at the screen trying to see if anyone is twenty feet in front of them.  It is an evil thing.

Strangely, the four-player split screen has its upsides. If you enjoy video games for their social aspect, the split-screen can only lend to the level of joy.  It forces you to interact with the person sitting beside you; sometime even to the point of looking on their screen to figure out where they are if they are being attacked.  If you are playing against the person next to you, you might as well give them a shove or a punch in the face in an attempt to distract them.

The split screen boosts the communal feeling of gaming, which is important for many gamers.  There is something to be said about being able to play someone on the other side of the world through the online multiplayer format, but this will never replace the joy that is found in a group of people sitting on one couch trying to invade a base together.   


  1. Amen. For me, that is the best way to play multiplayer games. It certainly has its downsides, but it feels much more like a bonding experience than online gaming.

    Also, I'm glad to hear you're going to purchase an Xbox 360. It is a fine system. Is there any particular reason that you're buying a new console now?

  2. One reason is that we won't have any new consoles for probably another 5 years due to the expense that currently plagues PS3 and Xbox 360. Also, I want to be able to play online with you, willtaculer, and and ProtoScott while I'm taking summer classes in Bloomington. I just feel a little out of the loop occasionally.

  3. Understood. I'm glad you chose the Xbox 360 over the PS3. Every time you buy a PS3, God kills a masturbator.

    I look forward to playing with you!

  4. I sent you a friend request. I'm JauntyJaggers.