This is something that has been bothering me for quite some time. Given this months blog theme, I though that this topic would the perfect one upon which to write my first ever Destructoid blog.
I love LAN parties. In high school, my friends and I started holding them every few weeks or so. Because not all of us attended the same school, it was a great way for us to get together and catch up with each other. Above all, it was a ton of fun. We continue the tradition to this day for those very same reasons.
Several, but not all, of us had an XBox so we played Halo mostly in our early LAN Parties. Later we expanded in to Halo 2 and Halo 3. One of my motivators for purchasing the 360 was the LAN parties I so enjoyed. The same basic game over and over can get rather tedious though, so my friends and I began to look for new games to play. We have tried several over the last couple of years, but unfortunately we began our search just as a change was being made in the gaming world. As I am sure many of you are aware, many games these days limit the number of people that can play on a single XBox. Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Team Fortress 2, and most recently Left 4 Dead are but a few of the games we have attempted to play, but they allow at most two players per XBox. Including myself and my brother there are eight people that attend these LAN Parties regularly. Occasionally we have a few more, but eight is the norm. We only have three XBox 360s. My brother and I own one. The other two are each owned by a pair of brothers, as well. I realize that some people can afford to own several XBoxes, but I and my friends can not. The only reason I was able to afford the 360 in the first place was because my brother and I pooled our resources. The same is true of my friends. There was a time when two 360s were more than enough to allow all of us to play together, but no longer. If we wish to continue as we have been with new and exciting titles, someone must purchase a 360. No one can really afford to do that, however. This says nothing of the cost of a television or the labor of moving a television to wherever it is we decided to hold the LAN party. Furthermore, space is limited. We struggle now to fit 4 people in a room comfortably. As I look about my room now, I see little space for a second television.
I realize that much multiplayer these days is done over the internet. I, however, cherish the time I get to spend with friends that I see rarely as we all move on to college, graduate school, or careers. A death match on XBox Live just wouldn't be the same as a death match conducted over LAN. It is is undeniably satisfying to hear the cries of anguish or triumph echo down the hallway. It is undeniably hilarious to have someone coming running down that very same hallway at the end of a match to brag about their triumphs or curse someone out for exploiting the gameworld to their advantage.
While we still have Halo 3, our current generation selection is extremely limited. My question is why developers choose to limit system link to a single player or at most two players. Surely if a group of people had the capability to field one 360 per person then they could conduct a LAN party in such a manner while those who can not would be able to put up to four players on a single machine. I see absolutely no reason to limit system link in such a manner especially when several titles allow for four player split screen play in other areas. If there is some reason of which I am unaware then someone please share it. Until such time as I am given a satisfactory explanation for this, I will continue to espouse the untapped potential of many fantastic current gen games that do not allow me and others like me to enjoy them with a large group of friends.
P.S. If anyone knows of any good games that allow for four players per console in system link play, I would love to hear about them. Thanks.