Where's The Co-op?!

Welcome to the game rental store of your choice...probably blockbuster. You walk in, look around, find the gaming section, and move directly to it. As you approach the racks of games, you start to be overwhelmed with the selection (at least at some blockbusters). But as you begin to pick up boxes, judging them by their covers of course, you realize that almost all of these games can either be played by yourself or on the Internet. "Damnit, I am having three other friends over. We can't all just watch one person play Splinter Cell" you say to yourself. Then it dawns on you, "Where the hell are all the co-op games?"

Co-op never will or has gotten old. So why do companies ignore this crucial feature so much?! I know there are some games out there that allow co-op, but I can't even wrap my mind around why co-op isn't an industry standard for all games.

My buddy and I were sitting around the other day playing on my Xbox. I have two controllers, so I thought we could have some fun. But then, when I started opening games and trying to get online with them it came to my attention that most games don't allow split-screen in multiplayer either. "WTF?!" I said to myself.

Co-op isn't even about just playing through a campaign with a friend. Yes, that is an AWESOME feature (thank you Halo and Gears), but the simple fact of being able to share a split screen with a friend online is just as cool. You would think that would also be an industry standard, but it's not.

Consoles are social machines. They are built for gaming with your friends, in your living room, on a huge TV. So why do games not reflect what the machine itself was built for? I have no answer for you, but this should change.

Everyone loves co-op. I don't think I have met a person who complained about being able to play through a game against the computer with friends. Games like Halo, Gears of War, Sven Co-op, Hunters, and Denied Ops all had the right idea. Granted Denied Ops kind of sucks, but just the simple ability to play a crap game with co-op didn't make it suck AS bad. In fact I would rather pop that in my Xbox than any Splinter Cell game. Side note about Splinter Cell: why would you buy a game that is centered around waiting?
Just a thought.

Another point to be made is that most all of the games that have embraced co-op have done amazing in stores. Even if you aren't a console gamer, I can say words like 'Halo' and 'Gears' and you know exactly what I am talking about. Now I am not saying that because they had co-op they did well, but I am saying that it is interesting that both of those very successful titles had substantial co-op features.

So what's the deal? Is it really that hard to add a co-op or split-screen feature to games? And why can us consumers see the trend that co-op sells, but giant gaming companies ignore it? Yes, I realize that there are a few titles that allow co-op and split-screen, but I challenge you to go to your local blockbuster and look around. Try and compare the number of games with split-screen / co-op to the number of games that only have singleplayer. Your eyes will be opened...I promise. Oh ya, and there is no spoon.

Who knows, maybe if we start buying those indie games with co-op instead of the big name singleplayer titles someone in the gaming industry will take the hint. I can't even promise that there are that many indie games with co-op. Sad face.

- Tyler Sanders (Chiko)

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