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Let's get physical: The art of multiplayer games on a single tablet

Players love invading each other's personal space, and so creating multiplayer tablet games in which players are forced to play in close proximity can lead to some great experiences.
Players love invading each other's personal space and getting in each other's way, and so creating multiplayer tablet games in which players are forced to play in close proximity can lead to some great experiences. As part of his talk at GDC Europe today, Slamjet Stadium developer Alistair Aitcheson discussed the possibilities of creating multiplayer games that take place locally on a single tablet screen. "People are being asked to do something very strange," he says -- in Monopoly, for example, you wouldn't suddenly lean over and steal another player's money. Yet tablet games can be focused around the idea of "cheating," and this is strangely compelling to players. In Aitcheson's own games, the act of reaching across into the other player's space and messing around with their characters or stealing their treasure is encouraged. This can lead to experiences that are far more competitive than two people playing on two different devices against each other, since the two people can push each other around and use human contact as part of the controls. Notably, this sort of physical play cannot be replicated by an AI opponent, so a multiplayer tablet game like this brings to the table the sort of gameplay that cannot be echoed elsewhere.

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