Seriously, What Happened to Co-op?


Does anyone else look back and reminisce about co-op? I have such fond memories, having a friend or two over and turning on the Xbox and working together, exploring worlds together, rather than simply racing or fighting or shooting one another. Why is co-op so rare now a days? Does no one else enjoy playing with someone rather than against them? The only game I can think of that has come out recently is Diablo that offers a co-op experience. The focus of multiplayer has changed to competitive, pitting players against each other. Don’t get me wrong, I have zero problem with this, I thoroughly enjoy games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Titanfall, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy co-op.

Dorkly’s – The Age of Multiplayer

Why are developers ignoring co-op? A game like Assassins Creed seems like a perfect co-op type game to me, there is a multiplayer aspect to it as is, it seems to me, it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to include a co-operative section to the game. The most recent installment, Black Flag could have been especially interesting, imagine traversing the vast open ocean and coming across a fellow player’s pirate ship only to team up and begin pillaging the high seas together! Sounds f**king awesome no?

UPDATE: AC Unity will have co-op, apparently Ubisoft realized how right I was, and decided to include it in their most recent addition to the massive franchise. Which reinforces this idea of co-op being a good thing, which we need more of.

Some of my favourite co-op games include, Gears of War, Borderlands, Minecraft and Diablo. These games all do co-op well and it never feels shoe-horned in, which is definitely important. There are however many games which co-op could be included and it would add to the experience rather than take away. I used to consider myself a lone-wolf type of gamer, especially with shooters, however last year I began to play in a group, five or six of us would play together fairly regularly and it was so much more fun. I had no idea what I was missing out on. Now I almost always play with at least someone else because it’s just so much better. I love playing with a couple friends, why not make it so that we can work together?

Diablo 3’s main characters

Borderlands 2, 4 main characters

Borderlands both 1 and 2 did a great job of making co-op easy and awesome, similar to Diablo. Playing with people was not only more enjoyable but it helped your character, you gained experience faster and had a better chance of finding upper tier items. Why these types of games are not more common baffles me, hopefully in the coming months and years we will see more games like this or at least including a form of this. Games like Assassins Creed and Battlefield and even Skyrim could become even better with an inclusion of co-op.

Online multiplayer seems to be the main culprit for the decline in couch gaming (playing with friends on the same couch). The rise of online gaming should not mean that splitscreen or local multiplayer is not important. My favourite gaming experiences often involve a group of my friends and I playing together all on the same couch, whether it be against each other or working together. I think that co-op gaming online is good, however I don’t think it is as good as the local alternative. Too often online co-op is offered with no local option, this simply does not cut it. I don’t want to have to have multiple consoles and copies of a game in order to play with my friend, if they don’t have the console then we can’t play together.  Online co-op and the idea of playing together through the internet is basically what ended local multiplayer, I guess the idea being why bother leaving your couch to play on someone else’s. I see the appeal, but at the same time, it’s just not the same. There are singleplayer games and there are multiplayer games, social gaming has transformed from people being in the same room to no one playing in the same room. The social side of gaming is one of the best aspects of the pass time, I really hope games like Diablo 3 and others like it show developers it should not be done away with.

Diablo 3, 4 people one screen

Published!… sort of…


I recently started writing for the website Screenrobot.com, if you are interested in technology, film, tv or gaming I strongly recommend taking a look. It is a great site, with lots of talented writers, plus me. 

Here are two of my articles which were posted this past week.

http://screenrobot.com/halo-tv-show-last-thing-xbox-one-needs/

 
I plan on writing a lot more, both for this blog, Screenrobot and anywhere else that will have me.
 
Feel free to let me know what you think of the articles with comments!

The Wilds of A Wood


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My daily walks take me deep into the forest, and for some reason I have decided to go off the path today. The trees here seem taller, older, the forest talks to itself, creaking and whispering amongst each other. Limbs hang everywhere, moss draped over most of the branches, blanketing them for the winter. The air seems heavy and still, I try to continue but the silence becomes deafening and every step seems to echo between the trees.  The gnarled and aged bark glowers at me as I pass each tree, every trunk covered in with texture, so much life, they have seen so much, so many years. I wonder as I stroll, the thoughts of the trees as yet another intruder walks among them. They seem so wise.

The stiff, crisp snow crunches beneath my feet, spring is coming. The days have grown warmer and the melt has caused the snow to become icy. I walk slowly, trying to take in the forest, breathing the clean crisp air, enjoying the rich smells of maple and oak, listening to the whispers of the forest. Life seems so far away here, I wish I could stay, never go back. Back to the world, it scares me, stress and uncertainty haunt me. The dark clouds of responsibility hang over me, the daily routines make my life dry, like a field parched and wishing for rain. Work is dull and grey, love is gone from my life only grief and sadness remains of a soul taken too soon from the world. Even co-workers seem distant and uncaring, worries often overwhelm and I struggle more days than I like. Here in the forest I am free, I do not feel the burdens. The walking relaxes me, calms me.

I press on, deeper into the forest and the silence is penetrating, I stop, I feel eyes on me. I look all around, examining every tree and rock, looking for a culprit. I have never before felt uneasy in this forest. It has always comforted me. My life invades my mind, burdens seem to return, and their weight pulls me down. This uneasy feeling presses on me, I want to turn and run, to get out of this place. I walk a little farther, hoping the movement will alleviate my troubles, but they only seem to get worse. I feel eyes again, I cannot shake the feeling I am being watched.

Suddenly off in the distance I see a dark shadow, still, still as the trees. Curiosity overwhelms my senses and I am forced to creep forward. The snow hindering my steps, I crunch on the icy ground; every step causes a shiver to run through me as I edge nearer. The stillness of the forest is abruptly torn away by a gust of wind, the tree tops sway and creak, their trunks screeching under the strain, their cries reverberating throughout the forest. I move as swiftly and quietly as I can, aided by the winds frightful presence. I move closer and closer, nearer and nearer. The form takes the shape of a man, still draped in shadow, the shape is not very tall, and seems to be bearded. As I get close enough to observe, It doesn’t seem to be wearing any clothes, I realize I am shaking, sweat dripping. Strangest of all, his skin seems the wrong colour, it is not pale as it should be. The statuesque shadow moves ever so slightly, it breathed. My muscles begin to cramp, nervous energy coursing through me.

I lean heavily on the gnarled trunk in front of me, peering carefully.  I am tense, my whole body ready, adrenaline coursing through me. A metallic smell drifts into my nostrils. My skin crawls as realization slams into me, the air in my lungs suddenly disappears causing me to gasp and hold my breath simultaneously. His skin is red, dark red, blood red. He still does not seem to notice my stare. Crimson drips from his fingertips onto the crisp white snow, staining it. There is nothing else around we are completely alone among ancient statues of the forest. Time seems to have slowed, the forest stilled, silence has returned. My heart slamming into my ribcage, it’s pounding echoing in my ears. Then he turns, I see into his cold gray eyes, they pierce into me. I am frozen still, gripped with fear. I want to scream, to run, to get away, I have to escape.

Am I Alone in These Thoughts…


I am kept awake by thoughts of you, my dreams filled with your touch. Even moments we are near I am invisible, your eyes take no notice of me. How is it you are on my mind constantly yet I am never on yours? I must act, but will you?

The Search


I stare at the blank white,

Waiting and wishing for something to write,

Suddenly it comes to me,

My mind is illuminated as a

Epiphany is my saviour,

Words flow freely with fervour.

The curse is broken,

My mind is awoken.

Foot steps


My footfalls the only sounds, the forest is quiet, the leaves rustle under my feet. The light of day fades, orange and red scar the sky above the canopy. Darkness is coming, the night brings terrors. I move faster, my destination is not far. I listen, something’s footsteps closing in.

The Best of Friends


I step in the door and she is waiting, her whines and cries warm my heart. She is always there for me, I tell her about my day and she listens patiently, her eyes staring at me. We go walking and play in the grass and trees, running and chasing.

Haunting Cries


Eyelids droop, head heavy, breathing slowing. Sleep calls to me, it taunts me, I am struggling against it, I want it, with every fibre of my being I want to give in to its haunting calls. I have been walking for so long, however my journey is not ending yet.

Waiting…


I’m waiting, seconds slowly pass. My mind wanders, thoughts of her fill my mind once again, I shake, I don’t want these feelings, these thoughts anymore. I am tormented constantly. Why can I not escape, she has gone, but my mind refuses to let her go, she was my forever.

Rational?


 

Routine, rummage roughly, rest, realization.

Reality reckons, routine ruined, remember, reason.

Rise.

 

Weekly Writing Challenge: Time For Poetry

I tried something new here, I have never attempted a poem that uses the same starting letter, but I used this weeks challenge as an opportunity to try something new.

A Monumental Tree


Photo Challenge: Monument

In Northern Canada there used to be forests filled with giant white pine trees, now however over the years loggers have cut many of them down. There is one still standing not far from my house, it is easy to spot because it stands 30m higher than everything else. Nicknamed “The Big Tree”, it has become a monument to all who live on the lake, people have even put several plaques in remembrance for those who lived and died while living on the lake’s banks. The Big Tree is our monument.

A 200 year old white pine, nicknamed "The Big Tree "

A 200 year old white pine, nicknamed “The Big Tree “