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There are several distinct types of Multiplayer modes in Video Games
. This trope is a Sister Trope
of Competitive Multiplayer
, Meta Multiplayer
and Massively Multiplayer
See also Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode
, where multiplayer modes are featured in games that are really designed for single-player, and Sliding Scale of Cooperation vs. Competition
, on how competitive and cooperative elements can be mixed in the same game.
All players are on the same team, playing against the computer; this only counts if it's the "main game" and not multiplayer with the teams set to be players vs. CPU. The characters played by additional players are almost always Canon Foreigner
s, rarely making it past Road Cone
s. Comes in several flavors:
All characters have an equal amount of influence over the game itself, including camera control if it's a shared screen. Occasionally allows players to attack each other in some way, either for added difficulty or possible competition/hilarity between players, and may keep track of scores as well.
Beat Em Ups
- Wizard Of Wor, which in the arcade version also forced single players to contend with a computer-controlled ally's friendly fire.
Real Time Strategy
- Helter Skelter: Ten of the screens require the help of a second player to complete, and are accordingly skipped in single-player mode.
- Tetris Party and Tengen's unlicensed NES version of Tetris have a mode in which two players co-operate in dropping pieces onto the same field.
Shoot Em Ups
- Battlezone II's MPI mode (Players versus AI) has one player take on the role of the Commander, who builds units and buildings. Other players on his/her team can be given units to order around personally, and they generally do most of the fighting against the AI team, leaving the commander and his Player Mooks to defend the base.
- Pikmin 2
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
One character is the designated "leader," and has more influence over the game itself, particularly the focus of the camera. The other characters are optional and often expendable and may be controlled by the computer.
- In Dead Rising 2, the host player's progress through the story is used. The guest player starts with none of the items they have in their 1-player game, and when they leave they drop everything they're carrying. All the guest player keeps from co-op is any money and PP earned.
- Demon's Souls
- Donkey Kong Country Returns plays this mostly straight, though Player 2 can continue the game by himself whenever Player 1 dies (as shown in this video).
- Halo 3
- Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil: a second player can control Popka, who can provide a massive bonus jump with a cooldown and, well, not much else.
- In Madden NFL one player is responsible for calling plays. There is another variation with three players to a side, in which one player controls the quarterback and calls the plays, one player controls a running back, and the third controls a wide receiver.
- Kirby Super Star and Kirby's Dreamland 3
- Mercenaries 2
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and onward
- The 360 version of Spelunky is a mix of this and Individual. note
- The Subspace Emissary in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Tales Series
- World of Mana series
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, if only on the PS2 version.
- Driver San Fransisco, Wii edition only. P1 drives, P2 shoots.
- Street Fighter X Tekken. You can manually switch characters, Launchers automatically switch the current character out, and there are two super move types that incorporate co-op gameplay- Cross Arts, where both players use a powerful move to deal huge amounts of damage, and Cross Assaults, where both players can fight together simultaneously. In single-player mode, the player controls both characters and their switching, while the AI fights with them during a Cross Assault.
- The co-op mode in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon basically takes the single-player levels starring Col. Bishop (the main Player Character) and lets three players play as him and two unnamed members of his squadron, who are little more than Attack Drones in single-player. The host of the game always plays as Bishop and basically directs the gameplay. Weirdly, one of Bishop's three wingmen, Guts, remains computer-controlled even in co-op.
Secondary characters help with some other indirect force as a part of the user interface. In combat flight games, this is known as "pilot and gunner".
- Jet Force Gemini lets a second player take control of Floyd after he's put back together. All the second player can do as Floyd is shoot enemies with what is basically an infinite-ammo pistol, except for specific areas where Floyd has to go it alone, where either player can control him.
- Sin and Punishment: Star Successor allows a second person to control another gun. The second player doesn't have any charge shots or melee attacks, and doesn't take damage. This does, however, mean that the death of Player 1 is a Game Over for both players.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker lets a second player connect a Game Boy Advance to the game in order to help the main player by droping bombs on his field and let him buy some items, as long as Link collects a certain object early on in the game.
- MechWarrior 3050 features possibly the strangest example, allowing a second player to take on half of the controls used in single-player mode to act as a “weapons officer.”
- Super Mario Galaxy allows a second player to fire Star Bits alongside the main player. This turns the game into a Rail Shooter for Player 2, with the "rails" being Mario's movement as dictated by Player 1.
- The sequel expands on this by adding an orange Luma that can further assist Mario on top of the actions the second player did in the first game.
- F-15 Strike Eagle is a Jet Fighter game for the NES that practically NEEDED an assistant on the higher difficulties. On 'easy', the jet would practically fly itself (auto-speed, auto-level, auto-landing), you had 1 type of multi-purpose missile, and 1 type of counter-measure. On the hardest difficulty there were 3 types of missiles, 2 types of counter-measures, and you had to handle all normal flight controls (speed/leveling/etc...). Needless to say, with only 4 buttons there were LOTS of multi-button controls to switch which missile was loaded, or which C-M to launch, or how to adjust speed. The second player's controller did nothing BUT these secondary tasks.
- Driver San Fransisco allows an additional player with a Nintendo DS to take some police attention away from the other player(s), place roadblocks, search the map for power-ups, and place a movable marker on the map.
- Star Wars Arcade has player 1 play as the pilot of an X-Wing; their cursor is fixed in the center of the screen and they must move around in order to aim. Player 2 can play alongside player 1 as the gunner, and can freely move their cursor around the screen.
- An arcade game, Lucky & Wild, features player one having to simultaneously drive a car and shoot enemies. Player two can join in but only as an extra gun.
Progress in Turns
Essentially a single-player game where the game forces multiple players to take turns, a little like a Succession Game
. Player 1 plays until he dies, then Player 2 plays until he dies, then back to Player 1, etc. Both players work toward a common goal and share progress. Individual players' scores may be tracked for competition.
While most tabletop games center around player competition, there are also games where all players are on the same team, opposed only by the Random Number God
and Murphy's Law
. Cooperative board games
are distinct from games with team-based competition, ones where you're expected to form dynamic alliances, and ones without any winning condition at all (like narrative games)
. One common addition to cooperative board games is the "traitor
"—a player secretly working to subvert others' efforts—but unmasking the traitor is neither necessary, nor sufficient to win the game, so there is no real competitive element there, either.
- In any Tabletop RPG where the words "Player Party" are used, the Game Master completes the antagonistic triumvirate with the RNG and Murphy's Law.
- Arkham Horror. The players are Occult Detectives trying to prevent the awakening of a Cthulhu Mythos monstrosity.
- Battlestar Galactica, based on the eponymous series. Features a Cylon (sleeper) agent as the traitor.
- Flash Point: Fire Rescue. The players are firefighters trying to rescue as many people from a burning building as possible before it collapses.
- Pandemic. The players are scientists and emergency workers trying (usually, in vain) to stem four infectious decease outbreaks happening simultaneously across the world.
- Shadows over Camelot. The players are Knights of the Round Table defending Camelot from a number of enemies and going on quests, while the (optional) traitor works to undermine their efforts.
- Legendary. The players are superheroes working together to try to stop the evil mastermind from successfully doing whatever it is he's trying to do (usually represented by Scheme twist cards). While players also compete for points to become MVP, nobody wins if the villans scheme is successful (though if it's a draw for some reason, there is still an MVP). Also in playable villain flavor.