Back at the beginning of my Co-Optimus career I wrote up a piece that may have been more profound than I’d initially meant it to be. It was called Let the Wookiee Win, and it described the softer side that playing with a non-gamer partner sometimes required. But recently I’ve learned that there’s a flip side to that.
Not too long ago Heather joined me for some splitscreen Call of Duty: Black Ops - specifically, the Combat Training mode. We squared off against AI bots...I’d hoped to re-introduce her to Call of Duty with a smooth, easy approach. Despite the lack of witnesses and even though there was no fear of significant consequences, Heather laughed in self-deprecation over and over again. “I suck!”
"Here, honey - I'll die, and you can watch my killcam to see where he's hiding."
Truth be told, she’s rather good when she wants to be. So why would someone who has the ability to excel put forth a half-hearted effort? Turns out the weaker side of our Co-Op Couple has her own “Let the Wookiee Win” strategy - to stroke Captain Han’s ego.
As fast-paced and hectic as Black Ops Combat Training is, there’s really no time to develop a good, coordinated plan. Most of the time it’s just shoot-and-go. So while I was busy tearing the other team apart with white hot lead, she was fixated on making sure that our time playing together was time well spent. It worked.
"Keep 'em occupied for just 16 more seconds, sweetheart..."
I don’t need her to be fair or to make special amends; I can hold my own. But to have the freedom to play with my co-op partner and not have to worry about carrying extra weight is really valuable. Oh, it’s still worth the effort when we’re trying to make campaign progress in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 or trying to complete co-op challenges in Halo: Reach Firefight...but during quick skirmishes, having someone that will communicate - and not necessarily dominate - is a boon for this trigger-happy goober.
I’ve heard it said that marriage is bliss. I contend that letting your spouse run distraction patterns while you let loose with an RPG...now that’s bliss.
In Memoriam of Heather - 32 Deaths for the Cause