The Slow Death of Local Co-op.

3 min

Splinter Cell Conviction does Co-op properly. No need for an internet connection, you just get a pal to sit next to you and you’re ready.

Couch co-op is one of the greatest creations in gaming. You can stick to your 16 player online multi-player, because sometimes there is nothing better in the world than playing games with a mate in the same room whilst kicking ass. So why is it that this superb creation is slowly becoming more and more neglected by developers?

Well first up let us discuss why couch co-op is such a good thing. The main reason is that it is possibly the best way to introduce someone new to gaming. Personally I had great times playing through the Halo trilogy with my girlfriend sitting on the couch shouting and screaming at the TV as we watched each other’s backs and gave covering fire while the other runs out to take out a wraith or turret pinning us down. I’ve just recently finished playing through Halo: Anniversary with my younger brother and it was another great experience. Games are best when shared with friends and even better when you can clink beer cans together after a well-played game . And let us not forget some of the secret moves of gaming. The “accidental” nudge in the elbow as your mate takes a corner in Forza or Mario Kart or the celebratory dance round the room when you humiliate a mate in a round of Street Fighter or Smash Bros, only then to have it thrown back in your face as he flawlessly beats your two games in a row. These are not things any teenager should miss out on because of Online Gaming.

I sometimes think the onset of online has ruined much of the fun of gaming. I remember way back when Silent Hill first came out on the PS1. I bought the game and greatly enjoyed it, and I was certainly not surprised by the lack of Multiplayer. But a few days later myself and a few mates rented it for a night from the local video store (remember them!?!) and we spent the entire night drinking, smoking and genuinely being freaked out as we worked together as a team to solve the puzzles and complete the game. Even now this is one of my fondest gaming memories as it was just an awesome night.

Who hasn’t had a memory of Time Splitters, Mario Kart, Golden Eye, WWF games or classic beat-em ups such as Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Double Dragon and the mighty Killer Instinct? These are some of the most fondly remembered games in gaming and with the recent re-releases of the many of these it’s safe to say that those are not rose-tinted lenses we’re looking back through. These games still play well now!

But all this has been forgotten. True it can still be fun playing online with people but it’s just not the same. You can’t suddenly go out and order pizza and some extra beers as the quick game you planned to play has turned into an all-nighter. It’s too easy to make an excuse and go to bed as you don’t have to leave your own house. It’s a truly sad state of affairs and I miss those days immensely.

Lost planet two was another fantastic split screen game, bringing both a challenge and great gameplay.

But what choice do you have nowadays. Most Retail titles only support online co-op and many don’t even offer anything MP based unless its shooters. In fact the only real title which jumps to mind and isn’t a shooter is the woefully underrated title Rayman Origins. If you have young kids or younger siblings and want to introduce them to proper gaming with a steady but progressive difficulty curve, you should buy that game, and if you have neither a child nor sibling just buy the game anyway, it’s fantastic!

Thankfully I’m here and I’m keeping the couch co-op alive. Maybe it’s because these titles are often homages to the classic era of gaming on SNES, Megadrive, N64 and Dreamcasts where MP was only available when your mates came round but they are carrying the banner high with titles like Castle Crashers, Raskulls and Splosion Man showing off the variety in MP fun available as well of course as the recent onslaught of re-releases, many courtesy of SEGA!

So please if your relatively new to gaming and never got to experience a good night of gaming with friends, get some beers and food in, grab some friends sit down and have an evening of Castle Crashers, Splosion man, go old school and play some Bomberman, trust me it will be a great night with plenty of laughs!

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