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Are Couch Co-Op Games a Thing of the Past?

Are local co-op games a thing of the past?

Playing games online with your friends is the standard these days. Internet connectivity drastically changed how players interact with other players, and this change opened the door to many possibilities. Many different online forms of cooperative gaming are now available, from massive shared worlds to simple two-player experiences.

Gamers can play with others all over the world, which opens people up to so many more experiences that they may have not otherwise had without online gaming.

That being said, I have to say that I am nostalgic for the days when split screen co-op was more commonly implemented in games. My partner and I are both very interested in gaming, and as much as we love watching one another play games, we prefer playing games together.

As online gaming becomes the norm, I find it more and more difficult to find compelling local co-cop games.

Some shooters, platformers, and fighting games do still often have co-op, but I wonder why big budget narrative-focused games don't usually implement a local co-op experience, especially in games like The Last of Us, where there is already a secondary character that follows the playable character around throughout the game.

There is something sorely lacking when two gamers can't play a game together in the same room.

The fact that you need an online connection and two separate gaming systems in order to have a cooperative experience, is baffling to me. Playing games online with your friends, while brilliant in some respects, lacks the personable aspect of being able to play in one another's company.

For me, gaming has always been a social experience. I love playing games with people I'm close to, so much more than I like playing them on my own. It seems almost petty of developers to not include local co-op when there are NPCs just waiting for a user.

Games like Dead Space, Alien Isolation, Uncharted, and Grand Theft Auto all could have benefited from a cooperative option.

I realize that many of these games stick with exclusively single-player modes for the purpose of “immersion”, but I tend to think that that's just code for “boring”.

While many game developers choose not to implement co-op, I appreciate and applaud those who do.

What do you think, will and should local co-op games make a comeback? Let us know in the comments below!

Published May. 31st 2015
  • Landon Sommer
    Columnist
    I actually miss "hot seat" multiplayer for games such as Civilization.
  • topher339
    Local co-op needs a come back, scpecially 4 player local. Online is great when you are playing with lots of friends or friends who may live elsewhere but if you want to play with just one or two people, specially if those friends live close by, there is nothing like a splitscreen game. I enjoy playing online but it completely lacks the more personal touch of actually playing with someone in the same room. When you're playing with close friends you don't want to be talking to each other through a mike you want be able to actually talk to the person. And you can always pause the game and take a break, grab some snacks, go out and by some drinks.

    While I'm glad that most games we like to play still keep a 2 player local, the 4 player local really needs to come back. One of the things they talked about at the Xbox One release was its ability to link to up to 8 controllers, yet I have not played a single game, even shooters, that offer more than a 2 player local. Most all the fun I ever had was playing Halo, Battlefront, or CoD with a few of my friends all in one room, on one screen. That's gone now. Everything has dropped 4 player local and as powerful as these new consoles are I see no good excuse for that. I fear the day when local gaming is dropped all together.
  • TheBlaksamuraiX
    Contributor
    This has been a topic that I've been wanting to discuss for a while. I really do wonder why more big game developers don't have more couch co-op.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    I would love more local co-op, and a return of four-player splitscreen. When I have my friend and his wife over, I often have to pass on a fair number of action games because they only allow for 2 players, AT MOST.

    It seems like only first party games and indies bother with local co-op at all.
  • Jackson Ingram
    Contributor
    I won't touch online multiplayer, and not just because my Wi-Fi is spotty. It's just so much more fun to co-op with someone in the same room, sharing the same space and screen. It establishes a connection that I just don't feel online. Plus, snack breaks.

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