Good thing this community post came along because I was running out of ideas. Okay, so our first community post is about co-op. I thought I knew what this was, but just to be sure, I checked it out on Wikipedia (I am not big into multiplayer and thus am not overly familiar with all the terms). It appears my understanding was correct. Yay. Okay, co-op. Cooperative play. Unlike other forms of multiplayer, this does not involve trying to blow your friend’s brains out, but rather, working together. As fun as incinerating your friends sounds, co-op has its own appeal. Sometimes it can be quite fun to actually work together with other people to reach a common goal, instead of trying to prevent someone from achieving victory. (It’s also not fun when you’re like me, and your friends repeatedly wipe the floor with you.) Co-op can be quite fun indeed (and it’s the only way I can beat “Super Mario World”), and there is actually something I just realized not long ago about it. Co-op, in some cases, actually has the ability to make bad games good.
Take a SNES game you have likely never heard of called “Joe and Mac”. This game involves controlling this caveman or cavemen through a bunch of levels, killing dinosaurs and Neanderthals. The game can be pretty darn annoying, and it doesn’t help that there are no save points. Plus, some of the sound effects and creature designs were just plain creepy. (And I could just never get over the fact that Joe and/or Mac regain health from the meat left over by the Neanderthals. Isn’t that cannibalism?) Despite disliking the game, I’ve kept it because it is a good challenge. Nevertheless, I still really very much don’t like it at all.
But, this game also has the option of playing with another person, so one day, my mom (who also feels the game is creepy and very objectionable) and I decided to play through the game together. While the game still was disturbing, it was actually pretty fun playing with another person, and we even had quite a laugh over its quirks. There are also two 2-player modes, and we decided to try both to see what the differences were. In one, you can’t use the other player to get to high ledges, but you also can’t hurt the other player. In the other, you can help the other person up to unreachable ledges, but you can also injure the other person. We found this out the hard way when one of us accidentally whacked the other (I forgot who started the violence). Then, the victim retaliated and whacked the other one back. Then, we went into a full-out war where we started to smack the crap out of each other (I mean, the characters, not us, that would be abusive) until we decided it was time to stop. We opted for the 2-player mode where we can’t smack each other. And like I said, we ended up having quite a bit of fun. We even made it to the bizarre final boss, which I had only managed to reach once before. It’s still a terrible game, but we enjoyed ourselves, nonetheless.
And there’s one other game I talked about in an earlier post. “Hunter: The Reckoning”, a game where you fight zombies and other creepy things with guns, melee weapons, and some kind of powers similar to magic, but not. I first came upon this game at a friend’s house. He and another person had told me about it prior to visiting his house and had shown me the available characters to choose from in the manual, and I got quite excited. I was going to totally be the Martyr, and I would be quite awesome. I knew it. Once I came over, we got to playing, and I tried out my chosen character. We ended up having such a fun time working together through hordes of the undead and even got to laugh together at the horribly stupid evil giant teddy bear boss (Really?).
I actually came over many times to play that game over the coming weeks, and despite finally realizing I was playing my first ever M-rated game (I thought there was an unusually high amount of bloodshed in this one…), it didn’t matter. I was hooked. I ended up trying different characters out and dubbed the Judge as my official character forever, and we worked out different strategies for fighting the various monsters. We’d have different people responsible for different things, like healing and such, and when we were faced with a particularly large bunch of zombies, the Judge would go forth and smite them with his Word of Power that I had saved for just that occasion. Yes, I said smite! Every time I visited, for whatever reason, we’d start from the beginning, but each time, we’d also work ourselves farther and farther into the game as we improved on our mad, zombie-killing skills.
And then, I had to move far away, and I never saw them again. I bought “Hunter: the Reckoning”, along with its two sequels, and I played the games myself. And it just wasn’t the same. Not just because I missed playing with them, but because, playing alone, I realized the games are not really that good. They really aren’t. And it’s not as much fun facing hordes of zombies alone. Having no one to depend on for getting your butt out of trouble or who can depend on you to do the same. I played through the game’s not great story, with its not great characters, hacking at wave after wave of zombie alone, and even having to face that stupid giant bear, what the heck were they thinking, and it’s just not that fun anymore. It’s not the same game even. It was made for co-op. I still kept it because I just can’t get rid of those memories (not that the memories will be gone if I sell the games, but you know how it is), but they aren’t the great games I remember.
So while I usually would rather play alone, some games need others around to make it fun. Sometimes playing with other people, working alongside them, facing zombies and mutants and yes, even evil teddy bears, can be a blast. And when you try to do those same exact things on your own, it’s just not the same experience. So I suppose, “Hunter: The Reckoning” may not be a bad game, after all (“Joe and Mac”, however, still is). It just needs to be played with others. That’s where it shines. I can’t blame a game for being boring if I’m playing it all wrong. Sometimes the addition of other people working with you is the missing piece of the game. Like trying to play a handheld with no batteries. (Okay, I guess the new ones can be plugged into the wall. Fine, it’s like playing a DS with no battery OR power cable. There!) You can’t say it’s broken if it doesn’t work without power, and you can’t say certain games meant for co-op are bad if played alone. So if you ever find a game you don’t like, try it with co-op. That may be what it’s missing.
A Co-Operative Duck