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Shared tablet gaming is a "whole new creative experience", says Alistair Aitchenson

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Shared tablet gaming might not be on the radar of most mobile gamers, but, according to Alisatir Aitchenson, creator of Tap Happy Sabotage  and frequent guest author, it's a format that has a lot to offer gamers and developers alike.

“The big twist that always came up in a lot of my games was that there's always a lot of physical contact. Players are encouraged to get physical, and essentially, cheat,” explained Aitchenson, speaking at this year's Develop conference in Brighton.

“The big joy of shared tablet gaming comes from the physical contact you get by forcing people into the same space.”

Fight and win

That physical contact brings a new dimension to proceedings, encouraging players to not only interact with others, but think of new more creative, and often underhand, ways of winning.

It's a new experience, and it's one that gamers crave, even if they don't quite know it yet.

“[Shared screen gaming] encourages players to intentionally push each other out of the way. It becomes a whole new creative experience: it's not just about winning the game, it's about winning with style against a living, breathing, human being,” said Aitchenson.

“[Developers should] avoid splitting the screen into 'your side' and 'my side'. You want to encourage fortuitous collisions and keep players moving around all of the time. Reward the smart, imaginative, and creative players.”

Tap Happy Sabotage thrives on social interaction
Tap Happy Sabotage thrives on social interaction

Ultimately, gaming is a social experience, and there's no reason why mobile gaming can't create incredible multiplayer moments of it's very own.

Local multiplayer might be a thing of the past on consoles, but on touchscreens the future is looking brighter than ever.

“These games are about creating a social experience, than creating a competitive one,” offered Aitchenson.

“It's okay to have some unbalance, because that creates villains, and every good story needs a villain.”