I've been a gamer since the original Nintendo, and my childhood was filled with hours of gaming! The majority of my fondest gaming memories come from Super Nintendo and N64. I could go on forever about Super Nintendo especially, but this article is about multiplayer!
I'm an only child, so most of my video game playing was single player. I'd still go over to friends' houses and play with them when able (the idea of two players simultaneously playing was still somewhat novel in the NES days!), but for the most part it was me on my own. Then, it all changed......
The N64. I remember back when I used to call Nintendo's customer service every week to see if there was anything new on "Project Reality" as it was originally called. When it was finally released, I was so excited. Sure, there had been additional accessories you could purchase for the systems leading up to N64, but this console came with 4-player capability right out of the box!
When the system was first released, it was still primarily (for me) a single player experience, with Super Mario 64 coming bundled with the system. It wasn't until this jewel that I got to experience 4 player multiplayer at the same time
Ahhh... memories! Mostly of me getting pissed off and annoyed! I was great at the races since that's where all the single player action was, BUT whenever my friends would get together, it was always straight to battle mode!
My friends would pretty much always play together when I wasn't around, so they had way more experience with the maps and weapons than I did. I occasionally won, but it was pretty rare. Oh well, fun times nonetheless! We played this game for hours every time we got together until our next multiplayer game...
This game had an AMAZING single player campaign! I loved buying strategy guides back then (way back when the internet was a wee infant), and I remember reading this one thoroughly. They added alternate routes you could take in certain maps that would take you to other planets you'd otherwise miss, so I had to explore ALL of them! And it was a joy. It wasn't long before we started playing multiplayer. I actually did pretty good at this one! The matches weren't anywhere near as fast nor intense as Mario Kart though.
I don't know if it was the fact that I was winning mostly or due to the pacing, but, I do remember that after that first multiplayer game with my friends, that same afternoon, it was back to Mario Kart and me losing and we didn't return to Starfox. Oh well... my glory days were short lived! And it stayed that way for another 4 months until the big one... the phenomenon of the N64... the one... the ONLY......
*DUN DUN!* Dramatic Music! Ooh! Ahh! Eee! Applause! Whistles! All other sorts of fanfare! I think this was the game that everybody who had an N64 had, and those that DIDN'T, went out and purchased an N64 for! The single player campaign was very well done. I poured hours into the single player mode, not only to beat it, but because each level had PAR times, and beating those PAR times on the required difficulty level unlocked a cheat! This may have been one of the few games I became a completionist for, and extended the game's life even further. Everything from Donkey Kong arms and big heads to infinite ammo and invincibility could be unlocked in this mode. When I finally unlocked the invincibility and infinite ammo cheats, running around dual-wielding two RCP-90s was being overpowered at it's best!
However, this is about the multiplayer. It was another undeniably fun mode, but, once again, my friends bested me quite often in it! I could hold my own in most modes, but they would decide to play with the explosives only mode toggled, and.... these bastards.... would use proximity mines EVERYWHERE! They'd once again memorized the maps and knew all the "kill zones". They'd set them up, lead me into them, then I'd die within a half second from 3 prox mine explosions. Maybe it's just my imagination, but I remember there always seemed to be a 4th mine that would go off once the area of effect from the explosion reached it as a nice little "F you" tossed in while red filled my screen.... aye! so much frustation, but I was a good sport.
We played the hell out of Goldeneye from release date until Christmas, then we shifted our attention to...
Yes, WCW! I was a huge wrestling fan during the WCW/WWF Attitude eras. The feud between the two companies, dubbed the "Monday Night Wars", was awesome. There were some people that were die hard WCW fans, and the same in the WWF camp. I was originally a WCW fan, but once the Attitude era of WWF kicked in, I was all WWF. That's a story for another article though!
This game was a ton of fun for us..... at first. I would always try various wrestlers out, but the main guy I played with would ALWAYS go for Rick Steiner. It seemed, inevitably, that he'd always end up making me submit to the torture rack!
It was SOOO frustrating hearing the stretching sound of submission for what felt like minutes as I broke a sweat running my palm back and forth over the tiny joystick on the controller in a desperate attempt to escape that, more often than not, left me cramping, red, crying, and agonizing in defeat. I continued on like a trooper though, grinning and bearing it, and hoping for revenge in the next match.. which usually didn't come to fruition.
Within a month or two of WCW/nWo with friends, we ended up returning back to Goldeneye, and that was our staple until the main host graduated high school and moved off to college. Ahh, good times. Anyone else share the same fond memories/ridiculous frustrations as I? I'd love to hear about it :-)