So I love playing games. Anyone who has read more than two articles here has probably seen me update about some new shiny bit of code that you simply must try. I’m at least half responsible for the success of Minecraft, but I’m too generous to push the issue of payment.
One of the things I most enjoy about playing games, though, is the opportunity to have fun with friends. I cut my teeth being beaten to death in Street Fighter, losing constantly in Mario Kart, and accidentally killing myself with rockets in Quake. I played Gears of War 1 and 2 three times a piece. I don’t even think Gears of War is particularly amazing, I just loved being able to cut a swathe through Bad Dudes with a pal. It’s also nice that in general playing something cooperatively means that you can bring a person who isn’t particularly “into” games along for the ride instead of telling them to hit the road or just watch you have fun. I like that co-op allows you to include people in your hobby.
It’s not that I mind playing a game alone, to see a story or challenge myself to get through an entertainingly difficult experience. It’s just that at a certain point it starts to feel like going to the movies alone.
Particularly as friends age, and you get into relationships more complicated than “our parents know each other/you have an SNES”, it’s difficult to keep that sort of constant contact and shared knowledge that allows you to play together easily. I mean, I posted a few times about being excited for “Brink” – and I am – but what are the odds that 5-6 of my friends will plunk down $60 as well? What are the odds that if they aren’t really excited by it as well, they’ll spend money on it simply so that they can get in a couple hours of play time a couple times a week? It’s like trying to play pick-up basketball only everyone needs to bring their own ball and balls cost $60. It is a difficult situation to manage.
That is why I’m a big fan of Co-Optimus! It is a website dedicated to co-op games, particularly ones that let you play together without competing. It’s a great compendium of games that will allow you and anyone else you know have fun. The list can be easily sorted by type, rating, system, local or online, whatever you might need. I heartily recommend checking it out, and seeing which games you can play with other people! There’s no reason you should allow goddamn Monopoly to be the only game you’ve enjoyed with your friends. That’s just a crime.