Whenever I find myself jonsing to play a local cooperative game, or couch co-op, I typically have only the past to look back on rather than the present; much less the future. Local or couch co-op is a dying feature in the video game world and it bums me out since it is something I really enjoy. It wasn’t too long ago that most games which featured a multiplayer mode of some sort would have a local co-op mode. Look back on the Halo franchise or the Borderlands series, for example, proves that not only can this be true cooperative play (Borderlands) but it can also be competitive (Halo), all the while allowing two or more people to share a screen in the same room. You know, being extra social and whatnot – it can also be dangerous as the people get pretty sassy when I win in Halo, which is most of the time.
I’ve often wondered why this is so rare nowadays. When I was younger my brother and I would always play games together, whether it was Super Mario World or Turok, we always thought it was the best way for both of us to play at the same time without arguing or having to take turns. Now I enjoy playing games while sitting next to my fiance, but it’s hard to find games that allow for that. In my opinion, part of the issue is of course developers or publishers wanting to cash in; it’s more profitable to sell two copies of a game than one for people to share. On the other hand I think it’s also typically left out due to a supposed lack of popularity thanks to online gaming. Most people, myself included, make due with playing games online with their friends instead of sitting in the same room and sharing a screen; sometimes out of necessity as most friends of mine life in different states. In both cases it makes sense to leave out a local co-op mode, though people like me are still left without the ability to share some one-on-one time with our friends and family while gaming.
You can find local co-op easily in most Nintendo franchise games, pretty much every game with Mario’s name in the title allows for local co-op, but what about non-Nintendo exclusive games? Couch co-op seems to be dying out there big time while the feature strives in Nintendo games. Maybe that’s because a lot of Nintendo exclusives are marketed towards families, but what about those of us who just want to play a game like Battlefield 4 while split-screening with a buddy? Games like 007: Goldeneye or Mario Party are also fun, folks can share a screen but still be competitive. I’d like to say it’s good to be more social but who am I kidding? I typically play all by myself and rarely even play co-op games on my Wii U with anyone else. Still, it’s nice to get together with friend and have a few drinks while playing Super Mario 3D world, I just wish that there were more games on other consoles that allowed for that type of gameplay.
It’s entirely possible that I’m part of a super niche crowd who loves couch co-op and therefore most people don’t even notice or care about its absence, but I don’t really want to believe that. Regardless of the reasons, I’d simply like to see a little more effort put forth into featuring local co-op and not just from Nintendo. I think it’s a huge bummer that this is actually a nostalgia topic, but sadly so few games allow for couch co-op these days that it fits the category.
What are your thoughts on couch co-op? Do you miss it or did you never even use it? What were/are some of your favorite local co-op games? Do you have any fun memories of couch co-op? Also, if you know of any, what are some games coming out in the future that have a local co-op feature?