For generations gamers have been completely enticed and utterly absorbed in the virtual worlds they have grown so fond of and gamers have always had the privilege to share experiences with friends and family. There is a strange satisfaction behind being able to conquer challenges presented to them that seems to amplify itself whenever they are able to do so with loved ones.
From “Super Mario Bros.” to “Left 4 Dead”, working with a friend to overcome the mountainous challenges in front of us has always had its rewards. Unfortunately, it seems that era may be passing by. The list of cooperative games is shrinking as time goes by, according to Complex Gaming, Gamespot, and even Nintendo archives, the amount of 2-player triple A title games produced yearly is 60% of what it used to be through the 1990’s. Even when triple A co op titles have been released the sales they show are shockingly low to some.
It once felt like every other game was in one way or another playable with a friend at home, and when games were created they were made with the idea of socializing in mind. Looking at the highest rated video games of the 2000’s and 2010’s and comparing them to just the 1990’s, there is a drastically smaller amount of cooperative games. It seems gamers can rarely invite a friend over to sit next to and play a game with anymore.
“Not being able to invite friends over as much is kind of a bummer because it’s really nice to have that face-to-face experience,” says an anonymous gamer by the alias of, Tassels.
There has been a noticeable drop in the amount of cooperative couch play games in the last decade or so, and all generations of gamers young, old, or in between have grown accustomed to it. Gamers seem to be rarely influential in the design of the games, despite being the consumer. Even the iconic Bungie studios (known for their cooperative design) no longer has co-op couch play in their newest title.
Gamers have online play available to them and many love that this is accessible to us as a community. Despite online play being conveniently available, many also long for the days of having a reason to invite friends over for an afternoon of stressful relaxation.
Senior Devon Fullbright, senior Devin Garner, and Tassels all share a relatively similar opinion. They feel that there is a fair amount of cooperative games accessible through online play, but that there is a lack of couch co-op games.
Fullbright says, “The gaming community is heading into a great era for cooperative games, however the thrill of inviting friends over to play with you so you can all experience it together is fading”.
Devin Garner says, “There aren’t as many couch play co op games as there used to be, reasonably because it has died down in popularity but I do miss those type of games.”
The lack of co-op games is believed to be for the bettering of the experience and for profit as well. They miss the days where they could interact face-to-face, and they find the direction the gaming community is heading to be both positive and negative.
Tassels states, “It kind of sucks not being able to play with friends quite as much and though it does suck there’s advantages. We may be growing apart by means of physical presence, but we can easily still maintain contact through Discord or Skype. Some of these great games can’t support cooperative the way we like so it’s something as consumers we have to give up.”
The convenience of online play is nice, but the isolation is a concern for some. For the gaming community there is a positive outlook on its future with all the great games capable of being created now. Even though they are growing apart by means of physical presence, it is something they are willing to deal with.