Hotseat (multiplayer mode)

Hotseat or hot seat is a multiplayer mode provided by some computer games and video games (usually turn-based games), which allows two or more players to play on the same computer using the same single set of input devices (e.g. mouse and keyboard), by taking turns using the input devices. The name hotseat comes from the fact that in order to use the input devices, the players will sometimes take turns sitting in the seat where the input devices are located, in reference to hot bunking. True hotseat games involve the players actually having some effect upon each other, so the Mario/Luigi play in Super Mario Bros. would not count.

For example, the PC game Master of Orion II is controlled using mouse and keyboard. When several players play this game in multiplayer hotseat mode, each player will use the mouse and keyboard for some time once per game turn. The method of hotseat computer multiplayer gaming is quite similar to that of many non-computer board games such as Monopoly, where the players also take turns moving their pieces on the board.

Compared to networked play, hot seat play has the advantage of only requiring one computer no matter the number of players. However, it does mean that games can take much longer, especially if there are many players, and this can lead to games becoming more boring or time consuming. Some games even allow hotseat and networked players to compete with each other in the same game.

In some games with hotseat multiplayer function, an element of the competitive multiplayer gameplay is that not all information is available to all players. In this case, the hotseat players have to make sure that other players can't look at the game while they are taking their turn. This is sometimes facilitated by password protecting each player's turn.

Hotseat multiplayer functionality is of course not possible in real-time multiplayer games such as StarCraft or Quake, because hotseat cannot handle the case where two players meet in the game and move in real-time.

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