Cooperative: adjective – co-operative
“involving mutual assistance in working towards a common goal”
– Every player has a clearly defined task during a cooperative campaign.
Co-op. Combined. Collaborative. Communal. CoWap.
So that’s what the dictionary tells us. But to us what does cooperative really mean? What does it mean to you.
I think every gamer will have his or her own idea of what co-op means to them. Every gamer has his or her own unique traits, their little qwerks, their own preferences on everything, from what controller they use, where they sit when they play to how co-op is for them. So I’m here to inform you of how I, but more importantly how CoWap bros have done it from day one. So sit back, find your Buddy and prepare to get pumped up to play… CoWap Style.
Ok, firstly co-op is not something that is done online, nor is it something which is done in seperate rooms. The true essence of co-op gaming is being right next to ‘Buddy’ while proverbial shit hits the fan. (Literal shit depending where you play.)
It begins when Buddy enters the room and you suss out exactly how the next few hours, days or even in some cases week(s) may play out for the two of you. When you both look at the game, look at each other and make a conscious decision together to kick this games ass. From you insert the disc or cartridge into your console of choice and the first loading screen commences the onslaught, till its been several days, you haven’t slept, your hands are sweaty with palm jam, and your thumb-sticks are caked thick with Doritos dust. This, my friends is all the true essence of cooperative gaming.
Its surrounding yourself, immersing yourself into a game or situation so bloody deep that all that matters is getting through the next game, next race, next ten minutes alive with Buddy by your side. All of the ‘real world’ problems right then cease to exist. Its experiencing every single trigger pull, grenade explosion, goal score, starting gun, boss battle, button mashing, nail biting, butt clenching moment together, side by side, sitting merely feet apart. So close you can smell the fear, hear the hard swallow, and witness the glassy-eyes through the emotional fucking whirlwind that is co-op.
Too many times have I been subject to an online, (and I really hate to use this word here) ‘team’ where you’re only there to make up numbers. Where you go through the emotions alone, while listening, through a headset to some douchebag sitting across the water rant on and on making racist comments and inappropriate jokes, much to the joys of… well nobody all the while, I’ll admit, I pray his headset spontaneously combusts.
No, never again will I subject myself to these horrors pretending to be co-operative game play. I’d actually rather not game, that game like that. Now don’t get me wrong I was once partial to a little online gaming. Caught up in the Call of Duty hype years ago, I too would enjoy some Modern Warfare 2, still played at Buddys house though, we’d take it game at a time always trying to have a better KDR than each other and those nights produced not only some of our greatest games, but some of the best memories.
Some things just don’t change.
But here we are. Its 2017. Sure, internet connectivity has taken over the world of gaming. Sure there are more and more games exclusive to online play. But how many games in the past 5 years have been centered around having a really good co-op Buddy by your side while you tackle the game together? Even one of my favourite Co-op franchises, Halo, made Halo 5 online co-op only despite the fact every Halo game prior to it had been a really commanding couch co-op experience. No, games like this just aren’t as available to us no more, so let me point out for you some of the best.
Now in my time I’ve played my fair share of fantastic and some not so fantastic co-operative games so narrowing the list down was quite difficult I must say. (I may well just include a blog post of ALL of the games I’ve played this way). But for now, here are my top five, in no order either, just the top five co-operative games offering the best game play, story, intense moments or just great memory makers.
1. Gears of War Series. – This game just holds up as simply one of the best couch co-op games I’ve ever experienced. With a superb campaign that only increases with each title, intense boss battles and cut-scenes that will see you, laugh, cry and cheer, it really is an immersive experience to behold. Gears 3 also offers a four player campaign option through LAN, but the real Gears experience is, to this day, split screen co-op. Should you beat all three campaigns and still have room for more. Gears 2 and 3 also offer the ridiculously addictive Horde mode, which sees you and up-to 3 or 4 other Buddys pitted against increasingly difficult waves of the Locust Horde. Build a base, keep your nerve and make some truly outstanding memories here.
2. Halo Series (until Halo 5) – The halo series is another outstanding example of how couch co-op should be done. A fast paced first person experience see you and Buddy fight your way through masses of Alien opposition known as Covenant and The Flood throughout Halo 1-4. Team up with Buddy, slap on Legendary difficult, because its really the only way to do it and give yourself some serious time to complete. A challenge even for the most experienced of gamers but its definitely one for the resume. You’ll thank me in the end.
3. Timesplitters Future Perfect – Without doubt the best of the Timesplitters series. More weapons, more characters, more maps, more madness. Team up with Buddy making your way through the notoriously fast paced campaign or stick on the arcade modes where you and Buddy have to complete certain tasks on certain maps to unlock now playable characters, new weapons etc. The joys of unlocking something basically every time the clock stops is enough to keep you playing, but the fast paced lunacy that is multiplayer is enough to keep you hooked for days. Literally days. Plug in another two controllers for four person split screen for the ultimate lesson in how split screen should be played.
4. Super Smash Bros Melee/Brawl – Now I admit I had ‘Melee’ in my mind when I included Super Smash in this list, purely down to all the wonderful memories I have of clocking Kirby with a mallet. However, Brawl also holds a place dear in my heart. So instead of only choosing one, here’s two. Team up with up-to three others on one screen (which isn’t split screen) and basically, kick the shit out of each other. Only here will you witness Mario use a Pokeball against Pikachu, or Link, our hero from the Zelda series be knocked senseless by two juvenile ice climbers. Hilarity ensues in these classic titles. Their just too fun not to play.
5. Portal 2 – This game was pretty much designed for you and Buddy sitting there on the couch together. An absolute gem, the campaign sees you and buddy take control of two robots if you like, Atlas and P-Body as you must team up and take on room after room of increasingly difficult puzzles. Both you and Buddy will need to be on top form the day you decide to take on this amazing sequel, but the real fun comes from actually figuring our the puzzle. Too many times will you be left a broken sparking pile of robotic remains as your frustration levels reach a new all time high. However the satisfaction received after completing a difficult task is enough to keep you and Buddy on talking terms at least as you plow your way to the end. This is a must for any Buddy and Co. who thinks they be worth their salt.
Honorable mentions: I couldn’t not mention some of the others which have provided me with hours of insane fun, CoWap style:
⦁ Resident Evil 5
⦁ Mario Kart Double Dash
⦁ Unreal Tournament
⦁ Left For Dead 1+2
So now that you have your games, your Buddy and your location its time to do this right. In order to do so, you may wish to read Part 2 of this blog Titled “THE DAY”.
If you do not wish to do so, I salute you, and may your cooperative escapades be as fun and memorable as mine were. Just remember, a Buddy is for life, not just for coop.
God Speed fellow gamers.