Owner, creator, and mad scientist of Co-Optimus, Nick spends every spare minute devoted to gaming.
Co-Op gaming has been in his blood since the days of Sega Genesis playing Streets of Rage and Golden Axe. Of course the fond memories of the boardwalk arcade and Raiden II, Aliens vs. Predator, and Ninja Turtles didn't hurt either.
Nick's resume includes over 6 years of gaming coverage experience, including leadership roles at many prominent gaming outlets. He has created numerous websites to feed his insatiable appetite for world domination, of which, is coming along nicely.
A chance encounter with Nintendo's Duck Hunt at an early age kicked off Danny Cowan's fascination with video games, and his enthusiasm for the medium intensified in the decades that followed. He loves co-op games, and has coaxed many family members, roommates, and acquaintances into sharing countless rounds of Bubble Bobble, Earth Defense Force 2017, and other personal favorites. Previously serving as a Contributing Editor for Joystiq.com, Danny has written for many publications throughout his career, including Gamasutra, 1UP, IndieGames.com, and GamePro. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, with a fluffy cat and a few hundred Sega Genesis games.
Andrew started gaming with a second-hand Atari 2600 and a shoe box full of dusty cartridges. He remembers playing the original Street Fighter in actual arcades and when jump-kick, sweep was best combo in a fighting game. He thinks Zelda II: The Adventures of Link was one of the most under appreciated games on the NES, and usually begins and ends his argument by screaming "Downward Thrust!"
Andrew got serious about co-op gaming while in college, pursuing his Creative Writing degree. He realized it was easier to get a novice into gaming if he was helping them and not virtually murdering their on screen persona every few seconds. He has had several real world jobs that had nothing to do with video games. He decided that was pretty lame. He now writes for the internet and is a full time Dad. His wife and main co-op gaming partner is the person who keeps his writing coherent, preventing it from becoming a cavalcade of obscure references to things he thinks everyone should know. Reading his work is scientifically proven to make you a better person.
I have been playing games of all types my whole life. My first experience with video games was playing Pong at a friend's house when I was about four years old. Up until the last generation, I was an unapologetic Nintendo fanboy, but my love for the games themselves has expanded my horizons to enjoy all current systems.
As far as my personal life goes, I am a teacher and technology coordinator for a small rural school district in Missouri. I'm married to a lovely woman, and we have two boys, ages 14 and 7. My sons are my co-op partners, and the biggest chunk of my playtime is with them. Other interests of mine apart from video games are watching movies, NFL football, and collecting comic books and Transformers toys. (This is pretty much exactly what I was doing when I was ten, it seems.)
Unsurprisingly, one of my biggest interests in gaming is the classics. Nostalgia is a very powerful factor for me. Some of my favorite gaming moments ever are the times when I have played an old favorite game of mine with my kids. Games like TMNT IV and X-Men: The Arcade Game are every bit as good now as they were the first time I played them!
My earliest memories of gaming involve a Nintendo Entertainment System, a television that still used tubes, a family room, and my brother. Before we even had a game where two people could play together, I remember sitting and watching my brother play Super Mario Bros. Occasionally, hed let me play a life or two, but that was all I needed to get hooked. Pretty soon, games like Blaster Master and Final Fantasy were finding their way onto my Christmas list alongside the Transformers and GI Joes. I used to play so much that my family nicknamed me Nintendo Boy, a moniker that occasionally still gets brought up today. From the Nintendo I moved on to playing PC games, thanks once again to my family. I was too young at the time to really understand them, but my mom used to play the Zork series and Id sit next to her while she played trying to contribute and follow along as best as I could. Nowadays I mostly play Playstation and Nintendo DS games, although I still occasionally sneak in a PC game or two and a large portion of my co-op time comes from playing with friends.
Aside from gaming, I also enjoy watching movies, listening to music (anything but country), re-learning to play bass, and reading authors like Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, and whatever good science fiction/fantasy novel comes my way. It is my hope that one day I might be able to switch jobs from government contractor to full-time games journalist or freelancer. A man can dream, a man can dream
When he finally managed to get a go on his older brothers brand new ZX Spectrum, unbeknownst to Sam he was embarking on a lifetime love of games and being British. When Sir Clive Sinclair stopped making computers Sam had to admit that he needed to buy some consoles made further afield and he has not looked back since; owning every single console since the Super Nintendo.
As one of four, he learned fast to share a multi-tap and play games such as Bomberman and Snowboard Kids. Now as a Librarian he believes in world peace and harmony, shunning the world of competitive gaming in favour of co-op. You can find him online in a variety of places from shooting terrorists in Rainbow 6 Vegas to tending his garden in Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise.
As a Librarian, Sam is also an avid reader and would encourage you all to try a book once in a while (and keep him in a job).
Tally is currently a doctorate student in Linguistics because she enjoys unraveling the mysteries of grammar, of all things. In her more normal life, she plays games with her boyfriend and a close group of friends that they consider a guild, but it's more like a bizarre and slightly dysfunctional family. She enjoys nothing more than being part of a team and can often be found filling the roles that make the team stronger and more effective as a whole. She'll roll a priest or monk to your rogue or mage, watch your back while you're defusing the bomb, and be on top of the list for team assists.
Tally got her start on the PC back in 2002 or so and is still most comfortable with the keyboard and mouse set-up. She's a relative newcomer to the whole new-fangled console thing, but she's doing her best to make up on lost time (of course prioritizing the co-op console titles that were released in the past few years which she whined at length about not coming out on the PC).
Mike's primary duties include building, maintaining and washing/waxing our lovely cast of robot characters. In the remainder of his time, he co-hosts the Co-Opticast with Nick.
A gamer since he discovered manual dexterity and the myriad uses an opposable thumb provides, Mike is a proponent of PC gaming and the proud owner of every major console and handheld release since the NES. He also won't shut up about his cats.
Chris began his life in gaming from watching the TV screens of his childhood friends while playing over at their homes. His parents never particularly wanted him to be a gamer, but it was what he was born to be from the moment the controller met his hands. To him, nothing beats having huge playlists of various 8-bit soundtracks played in his ear all day or watching loads of professional Starcraft 2 matches online. During his time at Kutztown University of PA, he focused most of his writing on gaming at every chance he got, concerning the hell out of most of his professors in the process. Proving them wrong, he obtained his BA in English/Professional Writing in 2010 and has since done freelance work for a few other small gaming websites and The Morning Call newspaper.
Other than joining up with his close group of buddies over XBL to play exorbitant amounts of Left 4 Dead, Chris enjoys the little moments of quiet reading on his Kindle, spending time with friends and family, or surfing the internet. Chris is a huge fan of Valve and is making the effort to beat every Legend of Zelda game made within his lifetime.
And no: his favorite baseball team isnt the Mets. Nice try.
Eric has been a gamer for as long as he can remember. His first gaming experiences were shared with his brothers on a Commodore 64 with games like Mario Brothers, Fire King, Double Dragon, and Save New York City. Eventually, he ventured into PC gaming where he expanded his experience to online gaming and participating in gaming communities. In college, he was thrown into console gaming (kicking and screaming) around the release of Halo:CE which was the start of his ultimate transition away from PC gaming. That transition was complete when he met his soon to be wife who is also a gamer. Now, you'll rarely find Eric gaming without his wife at his side, so "couch co-op" games like the Halo, Gears of War, and Left 4 Dead franchises are a staple of his game library.
When he's not gaming, he's working for a consulting firm as a software engineer, spending time with his family, or geeking out with one of his many computer related hobbies. At Co-Optimus, he is in charge of the forums where he feels at home engaging with the community.
Locke was born out of the NES era with a controller in his hands and the cord wrapped around his neck straight out of the womb. Since the age of four he has been collecting games and creating his very own gaming library, boasting over 2000 titles that go all the way back to the Atari 2600.
Lockes co-op gaming started with Friday night rentals of old school classics like Contra, Double Dragon, and Battletoads where the game would go in, and the weekend would evaporate away. Games like like Toe Jam and Earl 2, Turtles in Time, and Sunset Riders established the foundation for his co-op background and paved the way for future generations of games.
Locke has been reviewing, podcasting, and establishing gaming communities for the past 5 years. He is a self-proclaimed video wizard where many of his dreams materialize into crazy web-series and ridiculous antics that can be seen across the Internet superhighway.
John started playing games back in the dark days before the internet. You know, Game Boy link cables, multitaps and all of that. Now, with portable devices dwarfing the power of his first few gaming consoles, John mostly sticks to the PC and mobile worlds and has a particular fondness for retro-themed indie games. That, and Borderlands! Over the past decade John has written for more than a dozen gaming sites, covering everything from browser to mainstream games. Once the day's work has been done, he can usually be found with his nose in some ancient history or philosophy book. Next stop: publishing another game script, or maybe a regular old work of fiction!
When not writing or gaming, John has a summer home on Arrakis where he spends his leisure time wrestling sandworms.
Taylor began gaming as soon as his hands could fit around a NES controller. Gaming has been a part of his life since he can remember, and he has enjoyed watching the medium grow with him. He attended school at the University of Tennessee and received a BA in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. While he primarily jammed on single player experiences back in his youth, he has since amassed a trusted crew of allies to tackle any multiplayer challenges that arise. Taylor enjoys cooking and brewing/drinking beer, but is a really terrible rapper. When he isn't waxing about how best to "keep it hood," he is probably cracking some dumb joke that only he finds funny, and has an intense aversion to taking things seriously.
Depending on who you ask, Enoch Starnes began his hobby in gaming with either Tiger Electronics' Madden Football 95 or Link's Awakening for the Game Boy Pocket. It was soon after this that the tendrils of co-op gaming sank deep into him via extensive sessions of Zombies Ate My Neighbors on the SNES. Since then, he has spent countless hours in co-op gaming with friends both online and local. Be it the Tales series, Civilization, FIFA, or Gauntlet, he has searched constantly for games that allow he and his friends to goof off, work together, and tell each other really dumb jokes. He's immensely proud to be able to channel this passion on Co-Optimus and hopes that his love for the genre will extend to you too.