Co-Op Games

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Co-Op Games FAQ

What are co-op games?

Co-op games, also known as cooperative games, are video games where two or more people play together as a team. Players could be fighting against AI opponents in fighting games or shooters, solving problems in puzzle games, or exploring a game world together in an RPG.
Co-op games have their basis in arcade games in the 1970s, where players would stand at the same games cabinet and fight side-by-side. Most side-scrolling fighting games or top-down shooters in arcades would allow two players to advance through the game together. In the 1980s, four-player co-op games were huge draws in arcades, letting players explore dungeons together and battle an onslaught of enemies. This meant four people were all crammed together around an arcade machine.
Because game consoles were essentially aiming to be home-based arcades, co-op games were supported by hardware that allowed for multiple controllers to be connected to a single system. PC multiplayer co-op could be played online, via a modem, or together in LAN parties, where a number of PCs would connect together on the same network and play the same game.
There aren’t a lot of exclusively cooperative games, with the majority of modern titles including co-op as an additional multiplayer mode. This could be players teaming up together to play the campaign, with one player helping the other progress through the story or sharing progress as they play. It’s usually fun for players with different skill sets to play together to see how character classes can combine in fun and exciting ways. If one player is a particularly good shot, they could be a sniper class, sitting off the main battlefield while taking aim while a more aggressive partner is in the middle of the fight. This requires some coordination between the players. Shouting is encouraged.
Another simple co-op multiplayer mode is called horde mode. It pits players against waves of respawning AI enemies. They constantly attack, forcing the players to work together to keep them at bay. It’s simple, but effective, and it’s one of the few scenarios where losing is fun because you’ll have lost together in battle.
RPGs, in particular, will often have complex cooperative campaigns. They have their basis in tabletop games, where the stories and systems are designed for multiple people to join together. A lot of RPGs will allow spells and powers to combine together, creating an attack or effect that could not be performed by a solo player. Most MMORPGs have strong cooperative elements, allowing dozens of players to take part in battles against bosses or to raid dungeons together.
A recent trend has seen the release of cooperative puzzle games, where two or more players join up to solve problems. These are usually the most involved co-op games, with complementary skills and powers being designed for elaborate puzzles. In some cases, players will share the same skill set and combine them to progress, but there are games with asymmetrical player characters that give players vastly different abilities and viewpoints, such as one player in first-person running around the level while the other player is a giant looking down and watching the smaller player move.

Can you play co-op games online?

Yes. Most co-op games on the PC will be playable online.

Can you play co-op games offline?

Yes. Though this mode is slightly rarer than an online mode. This is often called couch gaming or split screen gaming, where two or more players connect to a single machine and share the screen to play together. The game will create two viewpoints, one for each player, on one screen, split horizontally or vertically.