Originally, machines were all single-player games. It was one player at a time. But starting in 1954, Gottlieb came up with the idea to have two or even four people playing at a time. Player one would play ball one, then player two would play ball one. Then player one would play ball two, and player two would play ball two. Suddenly it was more competitive.
The problem was that with electromechanical architecture, the amount of circuitry needed to support multi-player games came at the expense of game play. Basically, it meant that the games couldn’t be as complicated as far as game play and game features were concerned. So there was always this kind of wresting match—do you have a multi-player game that people can play more or less head to head, or do you have a single-player game where the rule set can be considerably deeper but with only one person playing at a time?
As far as collectors go, most collectors like single-player electromechanical games because the games are more involved and they have a deeper rule set. There’s more to do. With the advent of solid-state microcomputers and microprocessors, all games became multi-player just by default because now the game could remember.
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