Did Nintendo Just Create Better Words For 'Multiplayer'?

If you thought the word "multiplayer" was a good way of describing the thing you do when you play a video game with friends, please consider the word "together".

That's the option you'll get in the new 3DS game Kid Icarus: Uprising if you choose not to play the game's Solo mode.

"Together" is pretty good. It feels warm. It's welcoming. These are not the kind of adjectives I usually associate with multiplayer games, especially online multiplayer game, which Kid Icarus offers.

"Together" isn't an instant winner, though, because it's less descriptive than "multiplayer". You might read the word and think: "together" doing what?

But what "together" lacks, "nearby" and "far away" perfect. These two terms are what you see after you choose to start a multiplayer -- I mean, "together" -- session. They take the place of "wireless" and "Wi-Fi", which are customary terms for either playing a 3DS game against people in the same room who also have a 3DS, and playing a 3DS game over the internet against people who have a 3DS. The old terms are jargon-y and, perhaps, technically redundant. The "nearby" and "far away" terms also displace the horrible nomenclature of "ad-hoc" and "infrastructure" that Nintendo rival Sony has championed.

I've never seen these terms before. I now prefer them.

I think Nintendo is on to something. A half-decade ago, Nintendo recognised that many people were too intimidated to play video games. They looked at game controllers and the people they considered to be gamers and were scared off. It wasn't for them. Nintendo made and marketed the friendly Wii to change that. Within gaming, I think there is a similar divide between those who enjoy multiplayer gaming and those who look at multiplayer, particularly online multiplayer, the same way those pre-Wii people did. Online multiplayer is daunting and off-putting.

Some Nintendo-style re-branding of multiplayer gaming could be a wonderful thing. That could be what these words do, though, I should note that this may well be a one-off.

Nintendo sometimes takes lumps for oversimplifying technical things for its customers. This is a company that would rather tell you how many "blocks" of memory you have left in your 3DS or Wii than how many megabytes, the implication being that such a technical term would either scare you off or tell you too much.

I won't condemn them here.

If this is the start of something, Nintendo might, just slightly, help turn multiplayer gaming into a part of gaming that feels a little less off-putting to so many players. It could bring more gamers "together", as corny as it sounds.

I've asked Nintendo if they can share more insight about their fine new words. If they have more to share, I'll let you know.

Images from this story were photographed on my Nintendo 3DS and are not direct feed. They're from a retail copy of Kid Icarus: Uprising, which will be out on March 23.

WATCH MORE: Nintendo News


Comments

    That UI looks very Smash Bros.

      It's made by the same guy

    Fantastic. (good article Stephen)

    The game is actually out here on the 29th of March. 23rd is EU and US release.
    Luckily I'll be getting mine from shin tokyo at end of the week. Gonna be hosting two tournaments within 2 weeks.

    People who consider games too jargony shouldn't be catered to with existing technology. They're not the same market.

      But isn't saying that people shouldn't be catered to if they don't like jargon the same as saying that people who don't like double-speak from the govt should live in anarchy?

      As far as I'm concerned, language is a flexible, malleable tool. I woun't worry too much about companies trying to reach out to those who don't like one type of jargon. Doesn't put you out, unless the words you like somehow make you smarter.

    They should definitely continue using the word together. I easily get put off seeing the world multiplayer, so it is great to see a change.

    They should definitely continue using the world together. I easily get put off seeing the world multiplayer, so it is great to see a change.

    They should definitely continue using the word together. I easily get put off seeing the world multiplayer, so it is great to see a change.

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