This may be a bit hard for anyone born after 1995 to imagine but, in the old days, your friends needed to know where you live. Yes sir, in the days of yore, playing games wasn’t as simple as today. Playing with friends was a laborious task, from link cables on the Gameboy to physical memory cards during the PS2 era.
These days though, it’s become as simple as an internet connection and a subscription service to play with friends. It has become so simple that entire tournaments and competitions can now be hosted from within someone’s home, as demonstrated by World Of Warcraft’s latest race to world first.
Different game design
Typically, P.C. games have been designed to be played online. Any multiplayer outings are typically designed for an immersion experience. MMOs like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV are meant to immerse the people who play them into a fantasy world that’s vastly different from our own. It would be particularly hard to immerse yourself in a fantasy world if your friend is screaming like a banshee beside you. Other than this, CRPGs and real-time strategy games are the order of the day on P.C. None of those games would go half as well on split screen.
Real-time strategy games take real focus and brainpower. Playing games like these is customary to put some headphones on and get drawn in. Split-screen gameplay is for things like smack talk and tomfoolery. Completely different environments.
You don’t use your P.C. on a couch
The split-screen play was designed for consoles. It’s a way for you to engage with friends within your physical vicinity. Split-screen is best at home in fighting, racing, and party games. While modern game developers might port these types of games to P.C., they usually reserve the multiplayer portion for online play. Split-screen as a mode was designed for the couch. It was designed for when your friends came over after school, all of you could play together and enjoy your favorite game together.
Not only that, but gaming on a P.C. is a very personal experience. The time that a gamer takes to source parts, organize a build and then implement everything to their best specifications means that they most likely can’t replicate the experience for others in the same way that others would not be able to replicate the experience for them. Gaming has become a fine-tuned hobby, on par with that of building cars, as you wouldn’t build a car to do more than show off, so to you can’t build a P.C.
Pros and Cons
In the age of pandemics and inflation, the fact that most modern games don’t possess split-screen is probably a good thing. Now gamers can play with their friends without worrying too much about any physically transmitted diseases. Split screens also encouraged guests to linger longer than needed. I’m sure many parents in the old days had problems getting friends to leave, once a round of split-screen games started.
On the flip side of that argument, the relocation of gaming from the couch to more private spaces has distanced people even more than in the past. While party games like Mario party still exist, and racing games like Need for speed are still common, it’s become less of an occurrence in homes for gamers to gather to play games together.
Split-screen games have ever been a console affair. When it comes to P.C., having more than one player indulge in a game can be done over the internet, with both players in the comfort of their own homes.