Before I begin, I just want to thank everyone at Destructoid who wished me, Supermonk, and Jesse luck in the Kmart E3 contest. Sadly none of us won -- my thoughts are here if anyone is interested.
Recently I was talking with my co-op buddy about Portal 2. I wish I had saved the transcript because it was pretty interesting, but essentially we ended up having a conversation much like being in a relationship...but with video games.
He asked which platform I bought Portal 2 for, and when I told him that in addition to Steam I got it for PS3 he recoiled -- he was never a big fan of the PS3. When I explained that the PS3 copy was for co-op I could picture his face drop through the chat window. “Why with someone else?” he essentially said. “We’re co-op buddies…right?”
I elaborated and said that because Ed (my boyfriend) and I share almost everything, including a Steam account, that we needed to consider another co-op option for Portal 2 and the PS3 fit the bill. He immediately brightened up and e-breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, your boyfriend, I was worried it was someone else,” as if I were cheating on him with another co-op partner. He wanted to save his Portal 2 co-op virginity for me, and made me promise that I’d do the same for him – that after Ed I would "save" myself for him.
The concept of co-op virginity has never really popped into my head before. I’m familiar with “saving” myself for other means of entertainment, like promising a friend that I’ll go see a specific movie with them – but I’ve never really thought too hard about first time experiences with co-op games.
To be honest, I have had really bad first experiences with some co-op games. One of my friends took it too fast – he had been extremely experienced with the game before I met him, and I was all bright eyed and bushy-tailed wanting to soak everything in. He sped through as I was trying to read the background materials, get a feel for the characters, and understand the plot. It eventually got to the point where we had to stop playing – he was tired of waiting on me, and I was sick of him pushing me.
Then again, I’ve had some great first co-op experiences, especially when the other person is a “virgin” as well. And with some of my friends, it feels natural to play co-op with them even if it’s not their first time. Sometimes it’s worth waiting for the right partner before you play the game.
I think it’s funny that my happiness with a co-op game rides completely on the experiences and personalities of those I’m playing with. It is in fact a relationship of its own – there’s jealousy when the other person is playing with someone else instead of you, there’s longing with they’re busy with another game, and there’s happiness when you accomplish something together.
A good co-op game will provide entertainment; a fantastic co-op game will give you a relationship.