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Meta Multiplayer

There are several distinct types of multiplayer modes in Video Games. This trope is a Sister Trope of Competitive Multiplayer, Co-Op Multiplayer and Massively Multiplayer.

Meta Multiplayer

Only 1 player is present playing in their own game at a time, but there are other players doing this as well.

Leaderboards

Players compete with other single players for performance in the game.

Examples:
  • Nearly all Xbox 360 and PS3 games have support for this. This is also the essence of Speedrunning
  • NetHack has the score list which can be seen by other players on the same system (e.g. a public server), and there are "bones files" which store the contents of a level on which a character died. The program "Hearse" can be used to exchange bones files with other players.
  • Many Web Games and puzzle games (leaderboard for high score/best time).

Succession Game (aka "Hotseat")

Players take a turn in a single-player game, then relinquish control to another at a certain point in the game's progress. Almost any game can be played this way, even if it isn't part of the game design.

Examples:

Non-Preemptive Multiplayer

Two individual games that take turns. The two game sessions are kept entirely separate. Both scores may be tracked and directly compared for competition.

Examples:

Recorded/Ghost Matches

One player's game is recorded from start to finish, and another player competes directly against the recorded game.

Examples:

  • Tetris Friends uses this method for most of its multiplayer games.
  • Gratuitous Space Battles has a variation of this, with players creating Challenge Fleets for other players to download and fight against.
  • Trackmania is entirely this but also allows you to have 'live' ghost matches with dozens of people on the same track. If you feel like it you can look up the time other people set and download their ghost ride and race against it. You can challenge other people by message or mail as well.