Quoted from novaguy:
Unless you're competing, multi player games suck because every ball is the first ball.
Once, I asked a friend what he thought of a certain multi-player EM game. His smirking reply was, "It's more fun to compete!" which told me what I needed to know. Ha. But, I'm going to reprint below from another thread a long thing I wrote about that, just because why not and also it took me a while to compose it. Here it is, freshly re-edited in places for clarity:
Quoted from I_P_D_B:
People often say that multiplayer EMs had no ability to retain the playfield settings from player to player and that the games just reset everything after every ball. While I can think of examples where that is exactly true, I am going to be the annoying guy who plays with semantics and say that quite a few multiplayer EMs actually DID retain the playfield settings from player to player, and these settings did NOT just reset after every ball. Quite a few multiplayer EMs are like this.
What I think people mean to say is that these games did not allow each player to accumulate features that were not also available to the other players to collect. That these games did not allow for private progression for each player but had features for shared progression. That it is the solid state games which retain "for each player", not "from player to player".
Here's what I mean:
Certain EM features let the next player's ball start out with whatever the previous player left for him/her. Games like Williams 4-player Whoopee and Gottlieb's 2-player Sunset have 5 steel balls in the center looping feature that do not reset for each player. What one player does with that feature is there for the next player to deal with. Gottlieb's 2-player Wild Wild West (and maybe also Lariat) have the unique vari-targets that stay "pushed" until collected by either player. Games that have roto-targets may not spin them at the start of a player's ball so whatever target value (and target bonus multiplier, don't forget) that the last player left exposed is what the next player gets. If the targets do spin at the start of each ball, this still means the playfield is not identical for each ball. Gottlieb's 2-player Seven Seas, the 2-player Mayfair, and Bally 2-player Twin Win each have two bonus ladders available to either player that stay until collected by either player. You don't start over like at 1st ball. Community features, shall we say?
So, this is why I say that these playfield settings do indeed retain "from player to player". These carry-over features do not reset after every ball. Quite a few multiplayer EM games are like that. You can probably think of more. In this way, people who press off 2nd, 3rd, and 4th player are not exactly playing individual 1-player games simultaneously on the same machine with no feature progression. I'm just seeking to counter that specific perception if you are not an EM player.
If you have never played a multi-player EM game with these carry-over features, except all by yourself, then you may not fully appreciate the built-in challenges they present in terms of competition game play. Unlike what my friend meant, it's more fun to compete but in an enhanced way because you can collect on another player's hard work and vice versa.
Yet, even without competition play, you enjoy feature progression. Even if you play all by yourself as just the 1st Player, the fact that these features carry over and do not reset means that you are able to build on what you achieved on previous balls, just like the standard 1-player machines.
In addition to the 1968 2-player "Pit Stop" game mentioned earlier, other Williams games like 1966 "8 Ball" and 1971 "Strikes and Spares", both 2-players, also carry over at least one feature from ball to ball.
Hmm.. interesting, I just noticed that eight of the ten games that I mentioned are pre-1970s. I've mentioned Gottlieb, Williams, and Bally. Could it be that the 70's games put an end to this ball-to-ball carry-over through some type of standardization... such as... I just thought of this... that ubiquitous outhole bonus ladder that was seldom used prior to 1970 but had a resurgence that never subsided starting with Gottlieb's 1970's 2-player Snow Derby and 4-player Snow Queen? You'll notice how the multi-player games that followed seemed to jump on having that outhole bonus ladder feature. The pre-70's games I mentioned here do not have outhole bonus ladders. Even the three games I mentioned that did have bonus ladders did not collect them at the outhole. Did the outhole bonus ladder kill EM multi-player carry-over? Hmm... I may be onto something here.
Could it also be because these 70's outhole bonus ladder games are more well known, are more of them, and are what many of today's EM players are used to seeing, is what keeps the thought alive that (all) multi-player EM games always reset for each ball? It's true that many people think that. Maybe that's what is going on. Maybe readers can think of examples from the 70's that carry-over.
See, this is why I gotta stay away from the forums. I cannot write one or two lines and shut up! What brought me here today is that someone asked me to talk about a certain multi-player EM that few people know about that I think is great fun and I was looking for the proper thread to talk about it, but look what I posted instead! He's not going to like that I didn't talk about that game!