If there's any type of game that I can get behind, it's a cooperative title. These games are great if you've got a special someone to play with. For my gaming dad, it's his brother who moved away. For me, it's my best friends who live in different locations across the globe. If we're talking couch cooperative, then it's my boyfriend (when I can convince him to game with me). The magic of cooperative games, whether they be online or side-by-side, is that they can bring people closer together, be they friends who we love spending time with or family members that we might not see enough of. They're great. But there's another type of game that brings people together in a different way: competitive ones. Each have their positives and negatives.
First off, there are all the great things I already mentioned about co-op. It's a wonderful way to bring you closer together with friends and family. It allows you to build on relationships. For example, my sister and I didn't always get along growing up, but as adults we do! I think gaming together changed things. Perhaps you've fallen out with a parent, but they pick up gaming. This is a new way to try to reconnect with them. Maybe you work in a place where a lot of coworkers love to play video games? Cooperative play can bolster the sense of teamwork that is so important during your downtime.
Cooperative games also force you to think a little differently than you would if you were playing solo. You know that big ammo cache you just picked up in Far Cry 5? Maybe your friend needs that for their weapon. You have to share the resources in cooperative games. This forces you to think a little more selflessly than you might otherwise. Perhaps a puzzle can't be solved without working in close collaboration with your co-op partner. Strategies abound, and it's one of the best parts. Working with others brings something new to a game, and that's always wonderful.
If there's any drawback to cooperative play, it's the fact that you can't always continue playing a game without your partner in crime. Far Cry 5 has made it so you can keep playing whenever you want, co-op player or no. But if you're looking to play the game entirely together, experiencing all the quests, you'll have to wait for player numero dos. The same is true for a game like A Way Out. You'll want to wait for that second person to continue playing. This is a pretty minor complaint, especially if you set out to play a game with another person all the way through from the beginning.
So what about versus or player versus player games, like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds? This example does have some cooperative elements to it, but at its heart is an every man for himself type. These are great for lone wolf types. We all know them. They might be fine people in person, but when it comes to gaming, they just want to go it alone. Maybe they have social anxiety or they spent all day around other people and just want some alone time. No matter the reason, player versus player games are perfect for those types of people, and for those kinds of days. We can do our own thing and take over the world single-handedly.
The other great thing about PvP is the fact that it's a great way to take out some aggression. Have an argument with a sibling or a coworker? Just invite them to play and annihilate them for some sweet revenge. The same is true playing against random people. If you've had a stressful day, there's nothing like taking it out on people you don't know with virtual violence. I'd wager it's the reason many of us haven't snapped and screamed at a customer when we just couldn't take it anymore.
As far as a negative for versus and player versus player gameplay, I'd say it's the loss of, well, cooperation. There's something special about working with other people to achieve a common goal. Humans are social creatures after all. And much as we like beating the crap out of other people in competitive games, sometimes we just want to play nice.
That's why it's great that we have all kinds of options in the video game industry! What's your favorite play style? Do you love a good co-op title, or are you more of a lone wolf type? Let me know in the comments!