Co-op gameplay has become an integral component of games, thanks to the current console generation

You may have bought a game for its solid singleplayer campaign, superbly scripted story, graphics engine or atmospheric sound effects. Why, you might have spent your hard-earned money on an online multiplayer alone, but have you, at any point purchased a game for the joy of playing it co-operatively with friends, family or a stranger? If you haven't, you should, since co-op, an art once lost, has been resurrected by the current console generation. Co-op gameplay has become an integral component of games on the Wii, PS3, X360, PSP, DS and even the PC, be it local network, ‘hot seat' or online.

‘Platformers’ (gameplay involves environmental/jumping puzzles) such as LittleBigPlanet (PS3) and Super Mario Bros. Wii have been great at incorporating co-operative gameplay into their core experience. LBP in particular has been fantastic, thanks to a variety of customisation options for players' ‘sackboys' (in-game avatars). Skill-parity isn't a necessity as well; since players with inferior platforming skills can simply choose to cling on to better players who can do all the hard work. Super Mario Bros. Wii, on the other hand, sports a co-op feature that is not necessarily in the true spirit of co-op. But that doesn't make it any less fun. Like LBP, Super Mario Bros. Wii also sports four-player offline co-operative play. Sure, you can play nice and help each other out, or have the others playing catch up, bump them off and cause a not-necessarily-gruesome videogame death. Also in the casual gaming space are the LEGO series of games, including Lego Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman and more recently, Harry Potter — and you can find them literally on every platform out there. The games themselves are comical takes on the franchises they are based on, with hilarious cinematics that feature no voices and gameplay that is often so silly and ridiculous you can't help but laugh for the entire duration of time spent in front of the television set. Dying is hard and it's near impossible to have a ‘game over' screen flash in front of you, but that doesn't mean the games are not challenging. They combine platforming elements with action and even boss fights! The LEGO games also feature classic cinema moments such as Indiana Jones fleeing from a giant rolling boulder and Luke Skywalker's epic lightsaber duel with Darth Vader.

For more serious gamers, co-op means more enemies, higher difficulty, and several additional reasons to violently mock the poor skills of the noob on your team. There are games that cater to this very demographic, including Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead and the now world-famous Nazi Zombies of the Call of Duty games. In fact, the EA's FIFA series has gone one step ahead with FIFA 11 which allows 11 vs. 11 play online. What's next? A 10,000 vs. 10,000 space battle in Star Wars: The Old Republic? Fingers crossed.

(Courtesy: Blur)

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