For me and my partner, our co-op adventures began slowly; up until a couple of years ago my gaming adventures had been solo RPG adventures and the odd bit of competitive gaming with friends, but after a while - and with me going to sit in my corner for my PC gaming fix - something had to change.
We had a simple yet entertaining dive into the world of Lego Indy II with it's superb split-screen options but didn't really think it would become much of a permanent thing, we collected many a Lego brick and whipped our way thought most of the game.
We were then lucky enough to win our self an Xbox 360 in a competition, which led to some occasional Soul Calibur...and so we did that for a while.
One night after we both decided that we can't stand watching TV in general. Neither of us watch "the soaps" or much beyond Top Gear, QI and Doctor Who, which leaves a large gap in our TV schedule, with a child in the house (now 5 years old) and cartoons on in the day time, we needed something to unwind and a way of spending our evenings together, shooting things seemed like a great solution and by now I had built my self a small collection of games that I had been playing on my own, so I joked I could teach her to play Halo 3... she accepted the challenge.
So after a few hours of "sky, ground, sky, ground" camera troubles, dying and retrying, we finally figured out she should be playing with inverted controls. This was a revelation for her so it wasn't long before she had finished her first campaign mission and we joined forces for some co-op.
And so it all began...
Before long her technique of standing way back, picking enemies off with a rifle and being my far too regular re-spawn point, whilst I run in arms and guns flailing beating enemies shields for her to take them out. With me generally dying a lot from reckless abandon we started to compliment each other and the missions started flying by. The campaign was completed and soon after was started all over again on Heroic, then Legendary. Before long we were both chasing achievements, racking up high scores and playing 100's of games in multi-player with our matching armour and colour schemes, then on occasions also joining forces with our co-op couple friends Lee & Leanne who live in Wales, to bring our fight to the world, or of course to them and plenty 4 player campaign though all the Halo games the console would allow.
We worked our way through all the modes and difficulties on offer throughout the Halo series and still play Halo Reach a few nights a week, we've both become better players and almost always play as a team. But this wasn't enough, now we had the bug for gaming together and had to expand our games collection.
We have invested in many more games over the last two years, starting with Resident Evil 5, a game that was "OK" at best for me on my own, but with a partner, the endless in game taunts and on the couch yelling at each other about incoming enemies with chainsaws was an absolute joy. Again another game that took up many an evening playing through Mercenaries mode and various DLC, it still gets an occasional play, in the hope we finish the last two levels on professional mode.
We recently found ourselves in the absurdly large boots of Fenix and Dom wielding our in game bravado in the art of killing Locust. Games like Gears of War are great for co-op, so much thought has gone into making sure the person sat next to you is what matters, you can make your own adventure regardless of the games story in your attempts to squeeze more enjoyment from each level and that we did.
Over the last few months we have played several hundred hours on our new favourite game, BORDERLANDS! which much to our disappointment we couldn’t play online and simultaneously in split screen with our co-op friends in Wales, who have also been co-op coupling there way though the game in the hope of joining us for a play-through. Non the less though we have picked every corner of Pandora in the hunt for shiny guns, grinding our XP and going on scenic walks through the desolate landscape the game offers us killing and looting freely as we go. Borderlands was another game that bored me within an hour on my own, yet came immediately to life in co-op, essential purchase for any aspiring co-op couple.
But have we come to the end of our fun? Several more games have come and gone, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, ODST, Splinter Cell, many a Guitar Hero with plenty of Drum/Guitar co-op noise making. We needed more games! our library of co-op split-screen games was dwindling and we were now picking the depths of the co-optimus website games database.
Now that my partner has become a tough competitor in the games we play and a skilled FPS player, with many games under our belts and more co-op split-screen games still pending there release, all too far on the horizon for us to wait for, we turned to asking the people of co-optimus if we should buy another XBox. They responded with a fantastic article for which we are more than grateful.
We took the leap, bought our second XBox, made the risky investment into buying two copies of some of the games we had been so painfully denied before and last night took our first leaps into the co-op world of Saints Row 2. We were pimp slapping and flipping the bird to many an unsuspecting citizen and enjoying every minute of it in no time. Finally some real open world gaming where we can both explore in opposite directions and go try on hats, but since she's not got the hang of driving yet, she's riding shotgun, with a shotgun, so I can take her character shopping for hats.
So here we are on our new adventure, already half way through the joy that is Brink, leaping our way around, healing/buffing each others characters till the early hours in the morning, oh and occasionally killing some enemies of course. We now also have two copies of Battlefield Bad Company 2 ready for it's first game of multi-player, wish us luck with that one.
It's a shame there aren't more couch co-op games out there, but if you really put the time and (unfortunately) the extra money required for some of them, then like we have there is definitely years of entertainment to be had together, even though we have had to start playing co-op together online regardless of the fact we are sat next to each other, it was an investment well made.
Now we have even started the little one on his first few games and are enjoying co-op fun in Little Big Planet with him.
So our adventures continue...
Peter Donnell, Ruth Cusworth and of course little James Cusworth