My Wife And I Want To Shoot Each Other
December 13, 2007 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Help me shoot my wife: suggest a first-person shooter we can play against each other. I'm on a Mac (pentium macbook pro); She's on a PC (about four years old, without the latest and greatest graphics card). We have a home network.

We were thinking it would be fun to play virtual laser tag. The ideal game would be really simple. I'd try to shoot her; she'd try to shoot me. There's be obstacles (walls, whatever) that we could hide behind.

Neither of us is a very experienced gamer, so I'd love a game that doesn't involve a million keystrokes and a 300-page manual to read. Just shoot and try to avoid being shot.

We probably won't play this with other people. Just the two of us.
posted by grumblebee to Computers & Internet (27 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Call of Duty 2 or 4 (the latest and best-- but rather hardware intensive).

Ah, virtual violence, the key to a happy marriage! ;)
posted by iam2bz2p at 11:03 AM on December 13, 2007

Unreal Tournament 2004. Scales well for different hardware, gameplay is excellent, and it runs on Windows, OS X, and Linux.
posted by camcgee at 11:05 AM on December 13, 2007

Try Quake III. You can download a demo for Mac and PC. It's perfect for deathmatch.
You can also try Unreal Tournament 2004. I believe there's a demo for Mac and PC for that as well.
posted by demiurge at 11:09 AM on December 13, 2007

I recommend bzflag. Easy to pick up, not too many controls, but a fair amount of options in case you feel like getting interesting. Not "twitchy" either -- I think it's the perfect intro fps game.
posted by the dief at 11:11 AM on December 13, 2007

Oh, and bzflag is open source, no messing about with demos etc.
posted by the dief at 11:11 AM on December 13, 2007

Enemy Territory -

Free game, free online, decent graphics, and awesome game play. Different classes to master, and cool skills to earn+rankings. My wife and I started playing and after a bit we actually joined a clan and earned some free hardware =)

You can play on empty servers against each other and learn the maps, weapons, classes. Thats how we started. Then a few friends played too... then we hit the public servers when we felt like it. You can even run your own server pretty easily and lock it from others joining if you want exclusive play.

-Have a blast!
posted by Mardigan at 11:12 AM on December 13, 2007

Seconding UT2K4 -- timeless fun!
posted by nitsuj at 11:18 AM on December 13, 2007

Also voting for Quake III, or some mod based upon it.
posted by beerbajay at 11:18 AM on December 13, 2007

Quake III also runs well-ish on older computers if you jam the graphics way way down. Pushing the graphics down can also give you an advantage while playing since you'll have a higher framerate and you won't get distracted by eye candy and the contrast of map vs. players. Don't tell your wife.
posted by beerbajay at 11:21 AM on December 13, 2007

Quake III or UT2K4 will probably serve you best, as they're older and roughly scalable. Plus, the bot support on both is reasonably good, so you two can go co-op too. I'd recommend UT2K4 slightly more as there it has a *ton* of different game modes, some with increasing complexity that might serve as interesting if the straight-up deathmatch gets dull.
posted by Nelsormensch at 11:34 AM on December 13, 2007

posted by paradroid at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2007

For what it's worth, Q3A went open-source a while ago and you can now download "OpenArena" which is Q3A with different assets and a price tag of about $0.00.
posted by PuGZ at 11:57 AM on December 13, 2007

I add my vote to Unreal Tournament. My room-mate and I played all the time, it was great!
posted by yodelingisfun at 12:12 PM on December 13, 2007

If you have an old N64 around get a copy of James Bond/Golden Eye, and head right for the 2-player mode.

Super-simple and you can start mixing up the weapons once you get the hang of it.
posted by mikepop at 12:25 PM on December 13, 2007

I'd second UT and Wolfenstein: ET.

The Macbook Pros are not Pentium-based, to be pedantic. They started with the Core Duo. You can also get a "latest and greatest" video card for $40-100, figuring on a Geforce 7600GT in AGP. Should help a lot either way, as would 1-2GB of RAM (also <$100).
posted by kcm at 12:35 PM on December 13, 2007

Seconding bzflag, especially for the kind of play you're talking about. The main website seems to be having a little trouble at the moment, so here's a link to the Sourceforge page.
posted by musicinmybrain at 12:41 PM on December 13, 2007

P.S. Bzflag will run smoothly on really old hardware. It's all about the gameplay, not the graphics.
posted by musicinmybrain at 12:42 PM on December 13, 2007

Can we get more background on your wife's gaming history?

Typically, I would suggest starting out with something that has co-op mode, but if she's cool with Vs. play then the above suggestions are spot on. If you are looking for something co-op, I would suggest the old Ghost Recon, which is all squad and mission based. It's slower, more stealthy, and is based on acheiving objectives as opposed to carnage.
posted by butterstick at 12:50 PM on December 13, 2007

Seconding (or thirding, or whatever) bzflag. It is a lot of fun, and should be fine cross-platform with your Mac and PC. For a more UT-ish open source shooter, try Nexuiz.
posted by eafarris at 1:00 PM on December 13, 2007

OpenArena is free, open-source, and based on Quake.
posted by radioamy at 1:28 PM on December 13, 2007

A girlfriend and I still play Quake 3 Arena together. It's old school, but still crazy fun, and there are a plentitude of third-party maps that can be installed to keep the game fresh and interesting.
posted by browse at 2:28 PM on December 13, 2007

another vote for bzflag... the gameplay is surprisingly good.
posted by geos at 2:38 PM on December 13, 2007

Response by poster: Can we get more background on your wife's gaming history?

Almost none.

She and I played Myst together, but that's a very different sort of game. And she sometimes plays word games online, such as crosswords or boggle. But I've never seen her play a first-person shooter.

I went through a big Doom period, but that was years ago. I actually haven't touched a shooter in maybe eight years, and back when I did it, I was never very good at it. Last time I saw someone play one, I asked him how he moved his character. He said, "You know, the standard move keys." I had no idea what he was talking about. (I know now that he meant ASDW -- or ASDF or whatever ... darn, I guess I DON'T know.) So that should give you an idea of my skill-level as a gamer.

Despite that, we both think the idea of playing against one another would be fun. We were at a party this week, and we watched some people playing Call of Duty, and it looked to both us like something we'd enjoy.

I'm hoping the fact that we'll both be bad at it will make us well matched. And we're both smart. We'll catch on.
posted by grumblebee at 3:03 PM on December 13, 2007

I would strongly recommend against Wolfenstein:ET. You most definitely do not want a class based shooter if you're just coming back to multiplayer shooters. They're meant to be played with big teams of players with each team having a few of each class. Plus, there's the objectives for each map which are kind of complicated and non-obvious. Plus, as an online experience with other people, I find it to be punishingly imbalanced most of the time. W:ET can be great, but for new players it's another big layer of confusion that just isn't worth it. You'll do much better with OpenArena or UT or something.

(I _loved_ Marathon's multiplayer and there's a project to modernize the engine called Aleph One. It's cross-platform and likely has working cross-platform multi. Dunno what the data file situation is, though. Like OpenArena, I think you're supposed to provide your own data files. Worth a look, though. Even 1v1, I think it's a pretty great experience.)
posted by heresiarch at 3:22 PM on December 13, 2007

Best answer: There's lots of great games suggested here but I'd nth Quake 3 for the "pure" shooter experience. Each weapon has only one firing mode, there's only five or six (pretty well-balanced) weapons, most of the maps are smallish and designed to be quick to learn and fun to play with only two people.

The upshot of all this is, you will be running around and clicking the "shoot" button to shoot each other. With Quake 3, ID polished these fundamentals to near-perfection. Unreal Tournament, Wolfenstein, and Call of Duty all take the shooter concept to various next levels, but for pure pick-up-and-play I hardly think you could beat Quake 3.

Your ideal as "virtual lazer tag" gives me pause, though -- in these games you will most certainly be exploding each other with big guns. If that's too visceral, I'm sure there's free "paintball" or "lazer tag" mods out there, which would be trivial to install and play.
posted by churl at 4:28 PM on December 13, 2007

PS your wife sounds awesome.
posted by churl at 8:08 PM on December 13, 2007

Response by poster: Your ideal as "virtual lazer tag" gives me pause, though

Nah, I didn't mean it that literally. We're both cool with blood, guts and gore. My (awesome) wife is into zombies.
posted by grumblebee at 8:11 PM on December 13, 2007

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