When I think back on the times that define my life as a gamer, the moments that stick out to me typically involve other people. Sure there are those fantastic single player experiences like Mario 64 or Final Fantasy VII that will always stand out in my mind, but something about playing a game together with others seems particularly memorable.
To be honest, I think this love affair for me with multiplayer began in the days of the Nintendo 64, the first system that brought that LAN party feel to the console realm. I remember after school, several of us would play through 4 player titles like Goldeneye, Conkers and Wrestlemania 2000 for hours on end. We’d make characters, perfect taunts, and listen to the Bond theme play endlessley while my brother mowed us down with the RPC 90.
Now that the console systems are becoming increasingly immersed in online play, save for a few latecomers (cough, Nintendo), experiencing multiplayer gaming on a regular basis is possible in a way that it never was before, beyond even the PC. While gaming online on the PC has been incredible for years, something about sitting on my couch and talking trash to my friends while teabagging them hits that special spot in my soul.
But recently, something has started to shift in the industry’s approach to multiplayer, and I find that as I get older, my tastes are shifting as well. I can’t help but wonder: is all of this fragging becoming old hat? Sure, it’s fun to dominate an opponent who told you in the pre-game lobby about the sexy things he did to your mom last night, but it’s all becoming same old same old:
Kill. Reload. Die. Respawn. Spawn killed. Anger. Repeat.
For me, I’m finding that I’m starting to have a better time engaging in co-op multiplayer games instead of just versus all the time. It’s a way to battle the monotony, to experience a new story or just goof around with your friends online or on the couch in a non-pressure situation.
What’s interesting is that a look back at some of my favorite gaming memories has revealed that this might not be a new thing, but rather, something that just wasn’t impossible in the gaming days of yore.
Here are some of my favorite co-op gaming moments:
Diablo II Co-Op LAN party. Nerdy, I know, but playing this game with a few friends late one Friday night is maybe the most fun I’ve ever had playing a game. The best part of the night? When Nick realized how nerdy he sounded shouting for one of us to give him a scroll of town portal.
Splinter Cell Chaos Theory. If you’ve never played the co-op mode on this, you’re missing out. I remember spending late nights in college playing this with my roommate, to the point where we mastered the 4 scenarios. There’s something uber-satisfying about pulling off headshots in the dark in a room full of enemies.
Halo 3. I know it’s the cheesy thing to say, but playing this over XBox Live on the night of its release with my brother was some of the most fun i’ve had gaming. The highlight of the night was trying to jump our warthog onto the scarab in the Ark level, only to be blasted over the edge by his crazy green beams.
Champions of Norrath. This PS2 game required a multi-tap to even play, but man was it worth it. Yelling about loot whores and randomly generated weapon drops is a good time.
Like I said, I’ve got a lot of great gaming memories, but some of the best ones always tend to be multiplayer-related, but more specifically, playing co-operatively with others. I don’t think that’s just a coincidence.
So how do you guys see this? Would you prefer co-op in a game, or versus? Or do you even care, and love them both equally. I really think that co-op is starting to become the new standard, as more and more games seem to go out of their way to deliver excellent co-op experiences.
Feel free to join in on the discussion and drop some of your favorite multiplayer moments as well!