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In computer and video games, single player refers to the variant of a particular game where input from only one player is expected throughout the course of the gaming session. A "single player game" usually implies a game that can only be played by one person, while "single player mode" usually refers to a portion of a multiplayer game that can only be played by one player.
The majority of early computer games were single player. Two-player games appeared with the first personal computers, and 1978 introduced the first multiplayer games, known as MUDs. The early 1990s introduced many games which utilised local area networks and null modems for multiplayer mode. Doom is a notable example of one such game.
Popular modern single player games are typically first-person shooters (FPS), internet Flash games, and games for the mobile phone. The major selling points of larger single-player games are interesting storylines, impressive graphics, and realistic non-player characters and opponents. Notable examples include the Half-Life and Doom series. Selling points of the smaller games are low learning curve and availability (many are free to play on various sites).
Certain game genres are inherently oriented towards single player in their design. Such genres include puzzle games, such as Tetris, and plot-based Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs), such as the Final Fantasy series. Recent additions to these genres, such as the Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs (MMORPGs) or online multiplayer versions of Tetris are serving to undo this trend.
The vast majority of modern console games and arcade games are designed so that they can be played by a single player; although many of these games have modes that allow two or more players to play (not necessarily simultaneously), very few actually require more than one player for the game to be played. The Unreal Tournament series is an example of such.
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