Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Andy's Top 5 Favourite Multiplayer Videogames Ever

Last year, I wrote a Top 10 list entitled "Andy's Top 10 Favourite Videogames Ever," which is now the most viewed and commented article on this website. In the end of the list, I make mention that it is a strictly single-player list, and that I plan to post a "Top 5 Multiplayer Videogames" list someone "in the next month". I suppose five months later isn't too late to fulfill that promise, I suppose. So here we go, my Top 5 multiplayer videogames of all time.

5. Left 4 Dead 2 (2009)
Developer: Valve

To say "I love the hell out of Valve Corporation" would be such blunt, massive understatement that it would probably cause serious damage to whoever happens to be within a five mile radius. Nontheless, I love Valve. I also love the Left 4 Dead series. This is the sort of game that can exist only in Top 10 lists like this one - because as a single-player experience it is dreadful, and with two or more people it is the most fun you will ever have. I understand that saying "it's more fun with friends!" can be true of, say, cutting your hand off with a rusty hacksaw, but it figures more true in Left 4 Dead's case because Valve designed it that way.

It isn't a bad game improved with co-op, it's a game built from the ground up to be a barrel of fun in co-op - and Valve made two of them in rapid succession, which probably comes from the fact that they loved their creation as much as we did (the whole Valve team gets to pick their next project, not the stuffed shirts). It goes without saying, most of you reading this have probably played it with me at some point, I love Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, and honestly, though I might display otherwise, I would honestly be pretty damn excited if they revealed they were working on a Left 4 Dead 3.

4. Call of Duty 4 (2007)
Developer: Infinity Ward

The current Call of Duty multiplayer model has proved to be the most succesful model in first-person gaming. It has also remained mostly unchanged since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The campaign of this game was an epic journey and I think most FPS fans could agree it is the best entry in the series in that regard, but it is because of the multiplayer that this game remained so popular long after its release - and, thanks to the LAN play option lacking from its sequels, a staple at LAN parties and events long after Modern Warfare 2 hit the shelves. Playing this game online nowadays is a bit like trying to play Counter-Strike 1.5 online nowadays - since everyone still playing is what we would equate to "totally pro," it's intimidating, if nigh on impossible to get started. But back in the day, and in some corners of the PC gaming world, Call of Duty 4 was the standard that everyone adhered to. Long live Modern Warfare.

3. Goldeneye 007 (1997), Mario Kart 64 (1996)
Developer: Rare, Nintendo

Say what you want about the Nintendo 64 - thanks to its impressive "party game" line-up and due (in part) to being the only console at the time to have four controller inputs, it quickly became obvious that Nintendo was sitting atop of multiplayer gaming gold. Some of the most well-known examples of this are the four-player split-screen powerhouses Goldeneye 007 and Mario Kart 64. In Goldeneye 007's case, it was the first FPS that really "worked" on a controller, paving the way for future hits such as Halo: Combat Evolved and Perfect Dark.

On the flipside, Mario Kart 64 was a light-hearted and - let's be honest hear - batfuck insane cart racing game, which became the cornerstone of the "whacky kart racer" blueprint for games even to this very day. Both are classic party titles, and both are fondly remembered by gamers all around the world - which would explain why we keep getting the crappy remakes and clones, year in, year out.

2. Team Fortress 2 (2007)
Developer: Valve

Nevermind that the game nowadays can pretty much just be replaced with Hat Hatress Hat, for a good two years this game was essentially the most popular multiplayer shooter on PC. Valve's commitment to releasing constant streams of new content, combined with the solid-as-hell base that the game was built on, combined to create the most fun you could have shooting the hell out of your friends. The game's sense of humour and character also helped to these ends, creating a light-hearted yet competitive atmosphere that kept us hanging on Valve's every word. Of course, the state of the game today is in something of a flux, as my article explaining my view on the issue will reveal, but in this case, I think it's important to just realize how influential this game was that it even got to the point it has at all! Valve had a masterpiece on their hands that they're carefully juggling right now, and though it might fall over sideways at any moment, smashing to the ground - that will never remove that fun we all had when we started out - we were Heavy Weapons Guy, and Sasha was our weapon. And nobody could outsmart bullet.

1. Super Smash Bros. (1999)
Developer: HAL Laboratory

Before the Nintendo Wii released Nintendo's magnum opus Smash Bros. Brawl, before the very cool Smash Bros. Melee, there was a game on Nintendo 64 that had a fickle nine stages and ten combatants. It was a simpler time. It was a better time. It was a Super Smash Bros. time. When you got four friends together, it was not uncommon for this game to have marathons stretching into several hours at a time. It was addictive, and the (by today's standards, anyway) lacking character roster and stage selections just made it all the more compulsive. You could actually master a character - you know, like in a real fighting game - knowing the fundamentals of the other characters you'd be up against.

It was a staple of my childhood, and whenever I dust off the N64 it's the first game I fire up. Surprisingly, unlike Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64, which have become a blocky ugly mess and a sprite-dependent ugly mess respectively as time passed, Super Smash Bros. has remained as viscerally satisfying a punch up as it was in 1999. And that's why it's remained in the No. 1 spot - a game that has stood the test of time, on the best multiplayer platform of the era. Good job, HAL Lab!

Well, that's my new Top 5 list. I hope you enjoyed it, and - as I said on my last list - I hope you realize this is all just my opinion. However, feel free to have as mild mannered a discussion as you choose in the comments. I'd love to hear from you, I'm sure there's a title I missed at some point, and this list can be retconned at any point I choose. So speak up, and, until next time, don't forget to catch the videogame answers in my Andy's Blog 30 Day Challenge Answers!


  1. TF2 is fun so is CoD4.
    but dude, CS:S (everyone loved/loves CS:S)
    L4D is so mediocre (for valve)

  2. Replace Goldeneye with Halo CE, move Cod4 to 2nd place, chuck Quake 3 in somewhere, replace SSB with Portal(2? Haven't got it yet) and move left4dead somewhere else and you've got mine.

  3. Yes CS:S. It's a great game because of its simplicity, but there are heaps of different game modes and community made maps to keep people playing it for this long