Rant Central #21:The Co-op Blues


Co-op is all the rage these days in the videogame world. It’s assumed that everything is better when you’re doing it with other people. Unfortunately, if you think playing with other people is always peaches and cream you’d be sadly mistaken. So, I’ll make this short and sweet. People suck! What’s that, you say. What a jerk? How dare he say that. Fine, let me say it again, people suck and here’s why.

And I wrong? It’s happened to you. I know it. It’s okay. I won’t tell.

Have you ever started to play a game with the intension of dropping in a few minutes before you stop to go do what you really want to do? Sure you have. Hence with seemingly any game of the current era with co-op in mind with over the net (LIVE) as an option. You’ll go about your business as intended BY YOURSELF, then it happens. Drop in-drop out Co-op bites you in the ass. You’ve now no longer entered into a relatively quick play session, you’ve now entered into a several hour play session because of one thing, obligation. But wait, can’t you just tell the other person you don’t want to play anymore? No, you can’t do that. You’re obligated to keep playing at this point. They’ve taken out the time to join your play session. At this point you’ve unwittingly been turned into a “pussy” by this so called friend and/or stranger.

Co-op is every f**king where. WTF! Whatever happen to being a lonely bastard playing a game by yourself? Sure, there’s some truth in that prior sentence for some out there, yet when a game is made with co-op always in mind you’ll inevitably create an alienating feeling for the lone gamer. Games like Resident Evil 5, Gears of War 2 (and 1), Army of Two, and Left 4 Dead beg you to play them with two or more players. Playing lone wolf in these games just isn’t the way they should be experienced yet so many people claim to want Co-op this and/or that with each and every release while failing to realize the reality of things. The overwhelming majority of people who will find them self sitting down to play a videogame at any given time will be doing it alone.

Forget all of the dumb and self-serving stereo-types created by those who don’t know what they’re missing. No one in there right mind can say that they always have another person just waiting in the wings to play a videogame with them. It just doesn’t work that way. I know it, you know, and so does the alien watching your every step from earth’s orbit everyday. Okay, that alien part is a stretch, but nevertheless why is it that we keep trying to convince ourselves that Co-op is the answer to all of our videogame needs?

Why compromise the majority for the well being of a few? If the Co-op experience is to be done right, the game has to be tailored to that Co-op experience. In the long run all that does is leave the single player chump they've now become underwhelmed and unsatisfied as they clumsily wrestle with what is almost always terrible AI (Artificial Intelligence) controlling the other character(s). Something that was supposedly going to be fixed this generation, AI controlled characters have yet to simulate an actual person to the levels needed for this entire article to turn into a mute point. Until then, keep your Co-op in some prototyping phase until you can get your AI right.

Mad props to the folks over at Co-optimus, but please let it be known that Co-op all of the time is not there yet. We may want it to be a world of Co-op bliss, unfortunately with the inclusion of people and the lack of brains for when people are unavailable Co-op needs to wait for its day to truly shine. The ridiculous amounts of fun with something like Crackdown is great, just hold your horses before you try to shoehorn that into every game.