Games to play with friends online, a taxonomy

Let’s metageekout real quick: what are the kinds of games that can be played online?

I’ve given it some thought, and want to explore each kind as its own medium and culture, so… here is a list you can add to!

  1. Online video games, like Battle for Wesnoth, Xonotic, or Ryzom
  2. Offline video games, either online via RetroArch, or via screen sharing/streaming hangout
  3. Tabletop games, board/card/roleplaying
  4. Story games, such as Lexicon
  5. Text games, different experience from “video” games; MUX/IF, rogues, wars of dope

Okay, what are we missing?

the classification system i reach for first is co-op vs team competitive vs everyone for themself. what’s a good name for such a classification system? “competitive style” ?

also, number of players, on diferent scales. i can play wow solo or with thousands of people.

also, what you get out of playing with others. for some games it’s beating other players. for others, it’s beating the game together. for still others, it’s just exploring together.

i also think about the opportunity to create emergent behavior. we can make things mean more and increase the percieved worth of certain items, say. i dunno how to frame this as a way to classify games. i’m thinking chess is harder to make up shit for (although you could argue strategies and studying chess problems are emergent behavior)

then there’s free, freemium, paid, subscription

all kinds of scattered thoughts =)


Those are great categories! Reading yours I realized I didn’t make it clear in the original post that I was looking at games we can self-host or are safe projects, and the types of systems they entail.

I want to play with just folks I know, and maybe a few new friends as we add them, slowly.

For instance, I talk about Minecraft on the bus every morning with this group of kids, which really makes me want to host a Minetest server. But that fill one silo for me, the online video game slot. I can’t play it all the time, nor would I (despite it being available on Android…), but I might like to RP over jabber and do a spot of MUDing in the evening.

I am wondering if there are online game systems I don’t know of.

@judytuna, I feel like your post answered five future threads. :slight_smile:

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This thread is a snapshot in time, meant to give us a base set of questions to ask, but also to figure out what we want to play right now… so let’s determine competition styles:

  1. Co-op
  2. Team Competitive
  3. Free-for-all

What else is there?

We should create a code system or something for each of those axes, so you can quickly compare if you are in the mood to play with another person!

Tonight I am looking for: team coop, dozens of players, beating the other team, barely emergent, and free as in beer…


Okay, emoji may not be the best way!


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emoji is definitely the best way!!! hahaha

Youve forgotten board and card games. (though it buttresses roleplaying/tabletop) There are a couple floss and propriety engines for coordinating those. As well as game specific clients.

What are people’s prefer game/sharing/streaming sites/services these days? Are their interesting alternatives to twitch?

I read that and was like, “I included those!”

I changed it to be:

  • Tabletop games, board/card/roleplaying

I had meant that to include both dedicated game clients as well as tabletop simulators.

You know, I was about to say how much I kinda dislike those, but then I thought how fun it would be to play D&D 4e on a grid in OpenRPG or something, and I think that might be a lot of fun. :slight_smile:

@tim brought up the idea to me, but I don’t have any streaming experience. I should say: I know how to self-host a streaming server, and the requisite tech, bandwidth, and clients… but I haven’t done it.

I am open to this, but stand unconvinced I would enjoy it. :slight_smile: Live plays, for instance, hold absolutely no interest to me. I love the idea of playing Smash Bros on 3DS or ROMs via RetroArch, where there is an interactive element…

Oh, maybe we could stream some element of it over anonradio! Anyone want to upstage James and narrate their retro-playthrough! :slight_smile:

In other news, I won’t be surveilled to watch someone play, so unless there are alternative services, I have to take my self-hosted toys and go home! =P

Maybe someone should stream or do a “lets play” with text games via

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I love that idea! That is fairly easy to self host (the player), so we could build a pretty fun archive!

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