by Dan Blacharski
The most legendary and memorable games gain loyal fans because they work on so many different levels. Naturally, any game has to be interesting and challenging, but it also has to have great graphics, a strong storyline and the ability to run for hours on end without repeating scenes. Most of all, a strong game has to have one foot in fantasy and the other in reality to create a truly collaborative real-world experience that can be enjoyed with friends and family. Split-screen gaming is the perfect way to enjoy a multiplayer game with friends in the real world.
Split-screen co-op playing has been popular since Mario first said, "It's me!" Internet-based play brought in a new dimension of multiplayer gaming, but there's no doubt that split-screen play offers a more social experience and the deeper engagement of facing someone in the same room while bantering back and forth. Online multiplayer games have gained prominence with the increasing availability of Internet connectivity, and gamers enjoy playing against opponents from Myanmar to Minsk -- but players lose out on the social aspect with that type of solitary play. Nothing can beat an exciting all-day session with friends, some pizzas and hot wings, and a large-screen, high resolution 3D television for exploring those virtual challenges together.
Smart TVs often include split-screen capability, which is frequently used to watch television shows and surf the Web at the same time, or even to keep tabs on two television shows simultaneously. The possibilities have not been lost on the gaming world, and while not all games can deliver this level of play, the major developers are already hard at work getting ready to launch split-screen cooperative versions of their most popular titles, including Ubisoft's exciting Assassin's Creed 5 Unity, whose stunning and realistic graphics will play well on a high definition screen.
Players of split-screen games have often been wary of "screen watching," or other players who look over at the opponent's screen before a kill -- but more modern 3D televisions give each player a completely separate full-screen image to keep the play fair while providing each player a larger playing area. An extra benefit of these large screens in split-screen environments is that players have a better chance at catching those rare "Easter eggs," or hidden graphical surprises that game developers often embed into their creations.
Higher-speed broadband, along with today's higher definition televisions, 3D and larger screens -- and a desire to connect with people in real space -- are bringing co-op gaming back. Gamers can now enjoy the best of all worlds, both virtual and physical.
Tip #1: Bigger is better!
There's nothing more satisfying than a 60-inch, high-definition TV. The larger viewing area lets players catch every nuance and motion of the play, with enough viewing area to deliver great results to each player in co-op mode. Even with a split screen, each player can enjoy its great graphics and pick up every detail of the game.
Tip #2: 3D TV gives you a more immersive experience.
To make the gaming experience even more immersive and realistic, a 3D TV can deliver that ultra-realistic level of play. Choose a 3D TV with a high resolution picture quality and a higher refresh rate to ensure that your gaming experience will be out of this world. The required 3D glasses are comfortable and attractive, although a few years from now, manufacturers will have 3D TVs that do not require special glasses to view.
Tip #3: Use two televisions.
If one big television is good, two big televisions are better. Simply hook up both to the game console with an HDMI splitter, then zoom in each television's display so each shows only one part of the split screen. Each player then gets an entire television screen with his own dedicated view!
Tip #4: Laptop shades at angles can help separate the screen.
Televisions made specifically for split-screen gaming show crisp and clear resolution of each image when viewed from a slightly different angle, so in most cases, extra work-arounds won't be necessary. But if some extra help is needed to separate the screen, modify an inexpensive laptop shade. These add-ons are usually used to shade laptops from the sun while outside, but can be placed at different angles so each player can see only half the screen.
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About the Author
I am editor-in-chief of Techie.com, a destination web presence for emerging technology and disruptive trends. A "dotcom boom" veteran, I am at the forefront of what I've termed the "dot cloud boom," the next wave of innovation that is driven by new cloud enabling tech. I have written several books, including "Cloud computing made easy", and have written several articles for prominent trade journals as well as on techie.com.