It was 2008. George Bush was president, banks were being bailed out, the Xbox 360 was the dominate console despite a red ringed crisis, and co-op gaming was getting a resurgence thanks to the mainstream adoption of online services like Xbox Live. The same year we launched Co-Optimus, an idea I had while struggling to find co-op games to play with my best friend who lived a handful of states away. A lot happens in 10 years, and the industry has definitely changed. But Co-Optimus is still here to bring you dedicated information about co-op games so you can enjoy a session with your family and friends.
To put it in perspective how far we’ve come, here are some numbers.
- 180 Million page views (our first year we did 200,000)
- 40 Million unique users (our first year we did 18,000)
- 4200 Co-Op Games (when we launched our database had 173 games in it, by the end of 2008 almost 500)
- 15000 News Articles (our first year we posted 1000 articles)
- 750 Reviews (our first year we posted 44)
- 750 Editorials and Interviews
- Our Steam Curator group has over 36,000 followers
- 1.6 Million Video views on YouTube
- 6000 subscribers on video channels
- Our most popular co-op game of all time is Diablo 3 with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Dying Light running a closed 2nd and 3rd.
- Our most popular article is our Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Co-Op FAQ, with our Dead Island FAQ and Dark Souls How To Access DLC 2nd and 3rd.
I’m absolutely humbled by the community and reach Co-Optimus has achieved. There have been so many great moments throughout this site for me. I was always thankful for getting to attend shows like E3 and PAX - and share that experience with the Co-Optimus staff. But it was the people and friends I made in the industry I cherish the most. I met so many like minded folks from other sites, podcasts, and forums. Every event I attended I was equally as excited about the video games as I was about seeing my friends. As my life has gotten busier and I’ve stepped away from most of the site duties, it’s the friendships I miss the most.
There really have been so many highlights it’s hard to narrow it down to one thing I’m most proud of. I absolutely loved our Xbox Co-Op nights, being one of the first communities featured on the Xbox Dashboard. It was amazing to be featured as part of a video game, and the site helped me springboard my own co-op game. E3 2012 was perhaps the pinnacle for the site as we hit the show with a full video crew and interviewed so many great developers, a personal highlight was our Randy Pitchford interview. Perhaps my favorite moment was talking to a developer at PAX and him telling me the story of how the entire team utilized the information on Co-Optimus to become inspired and build a dedicated co-op mode in AAA franchise. That was a humbling moment.
Of course Co-Optimus wouldn’t be where it was if it wasn’t for the awesome staff over the years. At first everyone was just a volunteer, pouring their heart and soul into researching co-op games and spreading the word. Eventually the site did well enough that I was able to send people games for free and not long after we actually had our first paid position. I have to give an extra special thanks to Andrew Gaskill who helped carry the torch from 2011-2013 and Jason Love who’s currently running the site since 2016. Of course we have some OG’s too. Mike Katsufrakis helped build the site with me back in 2008 - doing all the web design and graphics work as well as providing input on direction. Over the years Mike has poured hours upon hours into redesigns and site skins as well as being a dedicated co-host on the Co-Opticast for a number of years. Marc Allie joined the site right after launch and while he doesn’t write much anymore, he’s contributed to some of our most interesting content like Co-Op Classics and has gone on two write several books!
To celebrate our 10 years, we've started something new. Utilizing Discord we're hoping to bring even more co-op gamers together.
The staff, past and present, have shared some of their favorite memories of the site below...
“...my favorite memory was PAX 2009, because it was my first opportunity to meet some of the staff, in person. Recording the Co-Opticast in a hotel room, together...exhausted, but still having a laugh...that was special. I'd take the whole page if I were to write about all the other great memories. It will have to suffice to say that Co-Optimus's founder, crew, and readers are just what the world needs more of.” - Jim McLaughlin [Editor, 2008-2011]
“I got to check out a ton of unique co-op indie releases over the years, games that still make me question my sanity in the wee hours of the night. As crazy as some of those titles were, though, the most memorable piece would have to be Old Co-Op Games We Practically Forgot About. For this article I buried my face in the early days of computing, researching BBS systems and reading stories about nerds in the 1970s networking their 5 kb ASCII games and playing for 50 hours straight. Something about that image encapsulates all the best things co-op gaming has to offer. They didn't have 60 FPS 3D visuals or endless DLC expansions, just an unknown world to explore and each other's smelly pizza breath to keep them company.” - John Bardinelli [Editor, 2013-2017]
“Wow...10 years, seems like yesterday. My favorite memory was honestly continuing our working relationship and friendship. I was happy to help you with Co-Optimus doing the Beyond Co-op weekend piece and some reviews here and there when needed”
Loren Halek [News Editor, 2008-2011]
“I was the original family man on the staff, and so most of my favorite articles deal with playing with my kids.
I'm very proud of the Co-Op Classics series, I think we covered most of the major co-op titles from the older generations. The videos, in particular, were fun to put together, though I'm just an amateur.
Some of the articles I'm the proudest of:
But the best part really is getting to know you and all the other staff members so well over the years. I had a great time on the staff co-op nights. Even though I've not met most, I feel like they are my friends!“ - Marc Allie [Features Editor, 2008 - Current]
“It's hard to imagine that we've been at this for ten years. Nick and I met though another site we were both regulars at. We had been working together for a while when he asked me if I was interested in helping him build something new, and as it turns out I am also incredibly passionate about co-op gaming. Fast forward several months and my life had changed significantly - I had just returned from my honeymoon and on January 28th, 2008, we gave Co-Optimus to the world.
I had flirted with covering the games industry at a few outlets prior to Co-Optimus, but this was my first opportunity that stuck. While I mostly work on features, streams and developing future iterations of the site these days, I would say that my favorite memories are from doing our old podcast, The Co-Opticast. While I don't think we ever really got audience or participation I wanted, I always had a good time doing it, and I'd love to take another stab at podcasting in the future.
Covering events like various PAXes and E3 as Media was always a good time, despite the incredible amount of work it took to pull off. Nowadays, it's simply easier for us to react to the livestreamed press conferences rather than travel to LA for ourselves, but I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend.
There are a ton of things that I'd love to talk about, and maybe we'll have more to say on them in the future, but for now, I think I want to step back and admire our most beautiful creation:
“ - Mike Katsufrakis [Artist, Podcast Co-Host, Editor, 2008 - Current]
“If I had to choose (a favorite memory), it'd be the many seasons of Shrimpers Forever or our preview of Sword Coast Legends!” - Enoch Starnes [Editor, 2014-Current]
“My favorite part about working at Co-Optimus has been all the awesome people I've had the chance to meet. Talking to developers about their games is always an amazing experience because I get to see the games through their eyes and see all the things that makes theor games unique and special. As great as that is, though, the Co-Optimus staff are the people I want to talk about today.
I have always felt supported, encouraged, and welcomed by the staff here. They've been there for me as a group of colleagues to assist me with my site work, as a group of fellow gamers to talk about the latest games, and as a group of friends to lend a sympathetic ear during the tough times. They're the real deal and I feel truly lucky for stumbling into the family that is Co-Optimus. Happy 10th Birthday, Co-Optimus! “ - Tally Callahan [Editor, Contributor, 2010-Current]
Co-Optimus represented a lot of different things over my time here. My very first review involved plunging in the deep, dark waters of the delightful Drox Operative, and the eternal saga of Shrimpers Forever stick with me years later. Yet, I keep coming back to the Inglenook boys and their still yet-to-be-released game, Witchmarsh. Interviewing them was insightful beyond my original hopes, and Luciano was a great participant. Very rarely do we get insight on the often grim development cycle, and Inglenook was a willing participant in showing us how the sausage is made. Never has a piece made me want a game as much as Witchmarsh. Of course, the interview went up back in 2014, and the game still isn't out. That doesn't keep me from thinking about the Jazz-Age RPG on a regular basis, or whistling the trailer music out of nowhere. When Witchmarsh hits virtual shelves, I'll be first in line. - Taylor Killian [Editor, 2013-2016]
“I have many fond memories with Co-Optimus including hosting my first co-op night that was featured on Xbox Live, playing GRAW2 with a team of experts from the forums, streaming the first episode of F.A.L.C.O. with very little experience, and countless nights playing Halo 3 ODST Firefight, Gears of War 2 Horde Mode, Monaco, or Dungeon Defenders. Those memories are also flanked with not so good memories, like the day the forums died, or when one of our most outspoken community members passed (RIP Macro), and, most recently, when my friend Baldy's house was overtaken by the floods following Hurricane Harvey.
By far, my fondest memory was about halfway through our first Extra Life marathon. I was overwhelmed by so much that day. It was a combination of the generosity of so many donors, the eagerness of the Co-Optimus community (staff included) to be part of our team, and my realization that I was finally giving back to the hospital that saved my daughter's life. I'm normally not a very emotional person, but that day hit me right in the feels! I was fighting back tears of joy while gaming with some of my favorite Co-Optimus community members. You guys & gals are the best. I'll never forget it!” - Eric Murphy [Community Manager, 2009-Present]
“Some of my favorite memories of Co-Optimus were the Extra Life events I've participated in with Eric. I don't think I'll ever try to attempt anything longer than 24 hours straight of gaming ever again. Also, I really enjoyed my opportunity with Nick to meet with Xbox and Nintendo representatives to look at upcoming game titles. It was my first time interviewing people connected to the companies I've always dreamed of working for as a kid, so the experience was sort of surreal for me.
Finally, I am really glad I got to meet Nick in person and be invited to his home to test out his now published game, SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance. It was an honor to bring him some feedback and hang out with him and his wonderful family.” - Chris Metz [News Editor, 2012-2015]
“I was always captivated by everything E3 had to offer; the press conferences, new game announcements, interviews with industry icons, and show floor booths so mammoth in size they rivaled an amusement park left me in near delirium as I watched it all unfold from my laptop across the country. For the first time ever, I finally went in person while working at Co-Optimus. "The hype is real, Nick! It's real!"
It was a week of interviews with developers, hands-on with unreleased titles, terrible convention food, and oh so many selfies. Finally sitting in the audience at the press briefings where the biggest headlines are born was an exhilarating experience, and one I look forward to every year I return. That E3 kicked off a lot for me. A few months later I landed my first role on the inside of the industry. Sadly, that meant I had to leave the Co-Optimus crew, but it was a lot easier when I realized Justin Reynolds never worked at Co-Optimus at all. It was always Justin Ross.
Thanks to Nick and the entire crew at Co-Optimus for the incredible memories. Happy 10 years, and here's to 10 more. “ - Justin “Ross” Reynolds [Editor, 2013-2014]
“10 years ago, I was working for a government contractor and starting to realise that that wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to something within the games industry, but I just didn’t know what, exactly. Mike, a friend I’ve known for going on 25 years now, told me about a website he and this other guy (Nick) started up called ‘Co-Optimus.’ ‘That’s cool, I’ll have to check it out.’
One year later, 1Up.com, my favorite gaming website at the time, was effectively shuttered. It was, to put it mildly, a bummer. I spent my time during the day listening to old podcasts and my evenings using some Windows video editing software and whatever other free editing software I could get in order to put together a tribute video. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I realized that the thing I wanted to do was write about video games. I didn’t know where or how to do that, but I at least had a goal in mind.
Fast forward to September 2009 and I’m attending my first PAX. Mike was there and while we were catching up, he introduced me to Nick. I mentioned my interest in writing, we spoke a bit more about it, and next thing I knew, I was writing for Co-Optimus!
In the years since, I met my wife, got married, and just this past year, welcomed a child into the world. Throughout it all, the Co-Opticrew has been there; as gaming buddies, colleagues, and family. I cannot picture my life today without all the wonderful and great folks that have been a part of the site these past 10 years, and the memories I’ve made with so many of them. Going to another PAX with Kat, Mike, and Nick, staying in a hotel in a rather… interesting part of Los Angeles for E3, and getting to meet so many people within the industry that are just as passionate about making games as they are about playing them. It’s been a wild ride these past 10 years, and I look forward to seeing how much Co-Optimus will continue to grow for another 10. Thank you all for being a part of this site and for helping us do this every day!” - Jason Love [Editor/Contributor 2009 - 2016, Lead Editor 2016 - present]
One of my fondest memories of Co-Optimus is my induction into it. After emailing about it, Nick and I continued discussing my joining the site while playing Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. Not a good game (especially compared to the rest of the series), but it was such a cool way to get to know my new boss and show him my co-op bonafides.
Other than that, I've really enjoyed getting to cover Double Dragon games in detail for an audience that likely shares some of my emotional attachment, as well as writing about obscure co-op games in my Co-Op International column. Co-Optimus has always provided a valuable resource and perspective for cooperative-minded gamers. I'm proud to have been a part of it, and I still pitch in when I can. - Paul Acevedo [Editor, 2011-2012]
I think my best memory about Co-Optimus is the sense of community. A bunch of North American types allowed a Brit to help write up news and articles, even if some of them were about obscure European things like old Spectrum games. - Sam Tyler [News Editor, 2010-Current]
If Co-Optimus helped you find a co-op game or you have a memory you'd like to share, feel free to post it below!