My wife and I have been exploring Xbox Live Arcade games for several years now. Classic and simple gameplay elements, eye-pleasing graphics, and easy to pick-up-and-play, XBLA titles are just what the love doctor ordered at our house. Unfortunately, some developer at some point decided that it was a good idea - for difficulty's sake - that in their game the current mission would end if one player went down.
I understand that there is some strategic value in this, but I wonder how many game makers consider just who is playing these games together. It might be okay to force two lifelong friends to have to protect each other in-game, but when couples are playing (and specfically married couples) there is always the possibilty that one may have to continue on when the other is defeated. I dare say that households in which both partners are equally skilled are rare. It's not a stretch to acknowledge that one player may end up carrying both through the levels.
The Renegade Ops Life Insurance policy assures the beneficiary the ENTIRE SCREEN upon their spouse's death.
Games that allow one player to progress even after the other has been defeated are what I call "widowmakers". Renegade Ops is a "widowmaker", and kudos to Avalanche Software for it. Games that end the mission for both players when one goes down are what I call "Shakespearean tragedies". Yes, I am making these up as I go.
I can attest to the extreme frustration of having to restart at a checkpoint every time my wife runs out of lives. My wife can attest to the extreme frustration of being the one who holds back progress for both people. (Whomever came up with the phrase, "ol' ball and chain" must have played a lot of "Shakespearean tragedies".)
And so Renegade Ops has added itself to our library with a bit of flair, and over an obscure feature that could be considered less co-op friendly (as compared to a "revive" feature or shared lives).
"I will avenge you, my love (while you go make me a sandwich)!"
It's not so much a matter being separated as it is being a stronger element paired with a decidedly...uh, less strong element. Gaming with your high school football teammates - or your shopping buddies - and gaming with your spouse or date are totally different situations. Needless to say a mismatched gaming team like my wife and I are grateful for the accidental "couples friendliness" that many arcade-type games have when they allow us to each have our own playing style.
The surviving victim of a widowmaker should never be afraid to continue once their loved one has passed away, and should never be forced to quit under the same circumstances. Thank you, Renegade Ops, for giving me a reason to carry on.