As our child has gotten older we’ve tried to include her in the gaming experience as well. Research has underscored that kids grow up healthier and better adjusted when their parents spend time playing and interacting with them…and co-op gaming provides one outlet for that interaction. Yes, we will confess to many a guilt-ridden occasion of frantically pleading to our exasperated child to hold off her interruption for just a few more seconds; disappointment filling her sad little face as she stands by with taxed patience while mommy and daddy urgently button mash some level-ending menace. A stern lecture of why not to ever rush into the room when elders are down to 5% health will surely follow. (…Wo’ be it upon the impatient toddler who causes their parents to respawn.) Such angst is afterward soothed by playing something together as a family. In which case, any dysfunctional traumas that then arise will merely be over just who exactly caused whom to blow a high score.
But all this places us in a niche as gamers, one outside of the usual lone youth vicariously looking for online opponents or playing exclusively with a small cadre of friends. Unfortunately, for people like us, so many of the best games are made—quite understandably—as exclusively one-player experiences or, at the least, only offer online multiplayer co-op (i.e., not with another person in the same room on the same system). There are only very rare exceptions to this, such as Drake’s Fortune, which has such an unprecedented spectator component that we greedily traded the controller back and forth at different junctures like the witches sharing the eye in Clash of the Titans.
Lately however, our frustration level has maxed out over how games and gaming websites both neglect the interests of real couples, parents, and friends wanting to play in the same room together with other living beings. One of the most difficult elements to learn about for a newly announced title in discerning whether or not there will be a local co-op feature. It’s neglected by most news put out by developers and is an after thought for most reviewers (if given any thought at all). After years of having to hunt and dig for info on both existing and forthcoming titles that had full cooperative campaign play and in the process discovering countless of other couples just like us, we are here to say duos wanting local co-op are a significant market share. Thus, our battle cry: “Co-Op couples of the World Unite!”