Shared-Multi-Split Screen Design
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 11:59AM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid) in Donkey Kong Country Returns, LittleBigPlanet, Misc Design & Theory, Pikmin, Pokemon, Portal, Puji, Super Mario Bros., Zelda

In the early days, everyone received all of a video game's visual feedback from a single screen. Then came the Dreamcast VMU, multiple monitor displays for racing games and arcade cabinets, GBA to Gamecube connectivity, the Nintendo DS, iPhone to iPad connectivity, and now the Wii U. It's about time we take a look at video game screen design for real-time multiplayer experiences. First, we'll consider the design differences between split screen, shared screen, and multiple screen options.


4 players all fit on the screen.

Shared Screen


2 players. 1 split screen.

Split Screen


The pros get a screen per person.

Multiple Screens


Now for interesting examples:





The list goes on. Once you understand the pros and cons of each type of screen design, you can begin innovating. Of course, it helps to have a system like the Wii U that offers a wide range of screen design flexibility espeically if you pair it with the DS/3DS. Even if you're not a game designer, it's fun to think of new ideas like in this NeoGAF thread.

Article originally appeared on Critical-Gaming Network (
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