I’ve seen the Dungeon Siege III commercial a few times now and it’s got me thinking. Actually I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and the commercial was more of a catalyst. What’s happened to couch co-op? Sitting around your room with a bunch of friends, a few bags of chips, and a lot of foul-mouthed tomfoolery. It seems so many games focus on online multiplayer that playing a game with a person in the same room is becoming a thing of the past. I understand that often times human interaction can be down right (forward, HADOKEN!) detestable, but video games are meant to bring people together! Too many games are either completely single player (which there’s nothing wrong with. Mass Effect is the best game ever) or are designed to get people online and into a team deathmatch as quickly as possible. I blame Call of Duty. The predecessors to Call of Duty: World at War didn’t have a campaign co-op, so when World at War finally released I was quivering with excitement to get home and play with my roommates right away. It was a great night. I simply don’t understand why the follow ups took that feature away. More recently Brink, and we won’t even mention any other problems with this one, is strictly multiplayer even in the single player campaign! Why not throw in some split screen action?
I have nothing against online gaming. I’ve been playing MMOs (specifically not World of Warcraft), RTSs, and FPSers for years on the PC and nothing is more devoid of direct social interaction than an MMO. But what if my wife and I want to play a game together? For the most part we would both need to own a copy of the game, have separate systems set up on separate TVs in separate rooms*, that or be relegated to playing some garbage carnival game on the Wii or pretending to rock out with fake instruments.
I’m sure it all comes back to money. My previous line of thinking pretty much answers my question. If you have a sibling or two and you want to play online with them, a sale of 1 game is nice, but make it so that you can only do 1 person online per console, well now you have 2 TVs, 2 consoles, 2 games, 2 headsets, and 2 accounts sold.
Here’s a typical situation: You’re in a store looking for a game to bring home to play with your friends but all too often the back cover reads, “Players 1. Online multiplayer 2-16.” I’m always talking about how perfect the XBLA and PSN are for finding awesome games and this is another prime example. The best co-op games aren’t found in a store for $59.99, but are available for immediate download usually at around only 15 bucks!
So here’s a list of games I thank for having multiplayer, split screen, campaign co-op, and whatever other ways they make it so we can game together without our only form of connection being our headsets.
- Halo – The most recognizable. This game has sold systems for years and from day 1 had split screen co-op
- Portal 2
- Hunted – Even though it’s mediocre
- Dungeon Siege III
- EDF – Don’t laugh. You have no idea how awesome this game is
- Castle Crashers
- Scott Pilgrim – This one’s so old school there isn’t even an online feature. You might have to make some friends to get all 4 players
And I was ever so excited when these 3 gems appeared on the XBLA
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
Yeah I know I left out some games. I’m sure you have other co-op games on your own list that I didn’t mention. So what? Wanna fight about it?
Drop me a line, leave a comment. Most importantly, share this post!
* note that my wife and I do have separate systems set up on separate TVs in separate rooms