As technology improves, so do our lives — yet we sometimes lose the interpersonal interactions. And gaming is no exception.
For years gamers have enjoyed cooperative play, commonly referred to as co-op. But with advancing technology, it is being used less and less.
When the Atari first came out, gamers were able to come together and play hours of “Pong” against one another.
As games developed, people were able to add more players, allowing for people to get together at their friends’ houses for a night of fun.
Gamers could stay up all night playing together to save the world, play in a band, or race cars.
With the Nintendo 64, four controller spots enabled people to play together, enjoying not only the game, but also each other’s company.
These games allowed us to forge bonds and create friendships through friendly competition and epic missions to save the world.
This all changed in the mid-2000s, with the launch of the Xbox and the Playstation 2.
Both would sow the seeds that would begin the downfall of couch co-op. Xbox introduced “Halo,” which revolutionized the internet functions (and first person shooters) on home consoles.
This allowed gamers from all over the world to play together — a player in the United States could compete with a player from Japan or the United Kingdom.
However, “Halo” still offered a four person co-op campaign option that could still bring together gamers in the comfort of their own home for a good time.
It wasn’t until recently that couch co-op became endangered.
With games like “Titanfall” and “Destiny” being considered the future of co-op games, it is only a matter of time until all those fond memories of going over to a friend’s house to play the latest game together is just a memory.
“Titanfall” and “Destiny” completely eliminate the couch co-op factor, making them strictly online games, and “Titanfall” even goes so far as to get rid of any real campaign or co-op story.
Developers are creating more games without split screen capability.
There is, however, still one glimmer of hope in the fall of the couch co-op: Gaming giant Nintendo.
With the recent release of “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U,” Nintendo is using its handheld gaming devices to expand couch co-op by taking the traditional four-person co-op and doubling it to create a hectic, enjoyable eight-person brawl.
The slogan “#SettleItInSmash” is used for its ad campaign, and the hashtag can be seen on its Facebook page and in TV commercials.
They show photos such as a Coke and Pepsi side-by-side and have their hashtag underneath, encouraging gamers to decide which is better through a match of “Smash.” This encourages players to once again go to each others houses and enjoy each others company.
Nintendo’s campaign may not be enough, however.
Every month, several new games are released, each following the “Destiny” and “Titanfall” methods of gaming. If this trend continues, we will see the total extinction of the couch co-op in all games, even sports titles such as “Madden” or “NBA 2K.”