Couch co-op games are making a comeback, as they should. Gone are the games where you had to be sitting to the players next to you to play. I know what you’re going to say, don’t need to! We have the internet now!
I love online multiplayer just as much as the next person, it is an amazing technological feat to be able to play a game with a friend in real time that is on their own couch half way across the world. I don’t want to put a damper on that at all, but I do want to shed light on what we need more of, couch co-ops. We all remember the days of playing Goldeneye 007 next to our friends, yelling laughing and making memories. How about any Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart or Halo lan parties?! Granted none of those are couch co-ops….. But all these games when played next to each other provided an enhanced game play experience
Many games now have almost a strict online only multiplayer experience. Which makes Co-op for the most part, an untapped market in gaming, even more untouched in this world of everything online is couch co-op. I was reminded of the beauty of playing video games next to someone recently, when I bought Mario Kart 8 deluxe. I waited to play it with my girlfriend, which for those who don’t know is a very patient person with a stressful and demanding job as a nurse who actually rarely plays video games. This means a lot of things don’t phase her like most people. Except Mario Kart. Mario Kart affects everyone. The thing is I have never seen her yell and curse at anything, let alone a game, the way she did when she was pummeled by a red shell, then a green shell, then a computer player with a star, which resulted in her going from 2nd place to 9th place in less than ten seconds. “Did you see that! You gotta be f****** kidding me, that’s ridiculous! This is bull****.” It was both hilarious and eye opening, mainly the couch game/co-op potential, but also that Mario Kart can bring out the crazy in just about any of us.
Keep in mind I have no desire to take away from online multiplayer, I simply want to make co-op an added on more focused feature right next to online multiplayer. If there are some ambitious developers that want to get really crazy and throw down a game that is mainly co-op, such as the recently announced co-op only game showcased at E3, A Way Out, then so be it. This game is going to be unlike any we have seen in a very long time, it is built purely for co-op, that’s right, you can’t play it by yourself. It is a prison escape game with a lot of depth that involves two main characters that are playing at the same time. You can play it online cooperatively with a friend, however to get the most enjoyment out of it the developer strongly suggests you be sitting next to the person you are playing with. I can’t remember the last game that came out suited mainly for co-op, let alone requiring it. I think this is a bold move, but in all the right ways. I can’t wait to see what this game has to offer and I apologize in advance for whomever I force to play it with me (poor girlfriend).
The hilarity and the interaction that results from couch co-op is something that can’t be replicated in any other way. There is just something about sitting next to another person while playing a game that enhances everything. Although A Way Out is taking a big risk requiring co-op play, I hope it makes other developers take notice. Doesn’t always have to be that extreme of a measure, but surely more games with co-op campaigns can’t be that hard to make and maybe, just maybe, more co-op will bring us gamer’s a little closer together (oh the cheesy feelings)!