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Pass the Sticks, Remembering Old School Co-op - Destructoid

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A relatively new dad telling tales on what life is like as a gamer and a father.

- I'm the youngest of two children with one older sister.

- I'm first generation American as my parents were born in Italy.

- Married to a wonderful wife and have an amazing daughter who makes me laugh and smile every day.

- Hobbies include exercise, reading, writing, sci-fi, film, and of course, video games.


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Over the holidays, my wife, daughter, in-laws, and I took a vacation to Disney World to help get our minds off a very long and trying year. Im being completely transparent when I say that I wasnt necessarily thrilled to be away during the holidays, but when youre married, you learn to compromise and make sacrifices, or some shit like that.

Not to sound like a spoiled brat, but one of the things that I look forward to most during the holidays, is getting some much needed time off from work, spending time with my family, and getting to play some shiny new games. Going to the Magic Kingdom was going to take some much deserved videogame time away from me, or so I thought.

Lets get something out of the way, Im not complaining, but the only thing magic about the Magic Kingdom, is the ability to make my money magically disappear. Also, when did the rules for getting a motorized scooter become so lax? Last time I was in Disney, seeing a Rascal scooter was a rarity, reserved for the incredibly old, infirm, or someone sans appendage. Now, apparently, you just need to be lazy, and fat. Very, very, fat. Do you know that you can pay $10 up front when you arrive at Disney to get a massive plastic cup of soda with unlimited refills? No one needs to drink that much soda. NO ONE! However, every motorized blob had their 30-ounce jug of Mr. Pibb. Apparently, running over my toes and terrifying small children really makes you thirsty. Next year, Im returning to Disney with my own Rascal, equipped with scythes, then well see whos the boss you lazy motherfucker.


A dream is a wish your heart makes.

Boy, that was a digression. Anyhow, one evening, after dinner, we decided to buy some cigars, find a smoking section outside, get some beers and relax. Actually, I got a beer, my father-in-law got a glass of Johnny Walker Blue on the rocks. FANCY! All he needed was a top hat and monocle and he could have shooed the street urchins away while menacingly shaking his walking stick.


File photo of my father-in-law giving street urchins the business.

Also sitting with us was my father-in-laws stepson. Hes an okay kid, even though after all these years, I would say that I know very little about him. Hes much younger than me, a senior in high school, light years apart in terms of being able to relate. Hes into videogames, of course, but his tastes were very much different than mine.

As the conversation meandered, we got on the topic of videogames. Thats when I realized that this kid had grown up quite a bit. We actually had much more in common now. Not just about games, but sports, cars, movies, and most importantly, dealing with my father-in-law / his step dad. His strategy is to ignore him. Mine is booze.


Beer. Helping you to tolerate the in-laws since 4300 BC

Then he said something that brought a massive shit-eating grin to my face. He told me that he brought down his Xbox One and a few games from home, an early Christmas gift from his folks, and his plan was to set it up when we got back to the house in south Florida for our second leg of the trip.

The next night, we got to the house in Boca Raton late, after a tiring drive down the Florida Turnpike. After the bags were brought in and the kids, wives and parents were off to bed, we hooked up the Xbox One and fired up Dead Rising 3, a game that I was still on the fence about picking up for myself.

Since it was his system and game I let my father-in-laws stepson take the honors. He started from scratch so that I can follow the story from the beginning and learn the setup. It was then that I got to experience something that I have done in a long time.

With the difficulty level cranked up, we began to trudge our way through the game. When my partner died in an area, he passed the controller to me and I took a stab at it. We did this for hours. Trying different strategies and weapon combinations, calling out enemies and giving feedback and guidance during the boss sequences. We played into the early morning hours, before I realized how late it was. I simply lost track of the time as I was having so much fun.

The next morning, exhausted from such a late night of old timey co-op, I realized that I have not played a game in this way for a long time. Yes, Ive gotten older as have my friends. Some have stopped gaming altogether, the others that still do; we play online, never together in person sitting on the same couch. That late gaming session brought me back to my childhood, playing a tough as nails side-scroller on our NES, SNES or Genesis, passing the controller around, hooting and hollering and giving each other grief.

Not to sound like an old fart, but does anyone play games like that anymore? Gaming used to be such a social pastime. With the advent of technology, they have become even more social, in a way, but lost that personal aspect. Now, instead of playing a game in person, with a few close friends by your side, were playing online, with hundreds of strangers. In a way, I miss the old way. Im not going to say that the old way was better; it was just a different kind of fun.


Memories.

So for a short time, while away on vacation, I got to have a bit of fun, got to know someone better, and remember how it was to play a game when I was a kid, passing the sticks back and forth, in a way, true old school co-op gaming. When I got home, I picked up my own copy of Dead Rising 3, and play online co-op, with strangers. Its wickedly fun, but not the same with someone in the room with you, passing the sticks and calling each other names.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Anyone have any good co-op and or in-person gaming moments, past or present that you would like to share? Lets hear them.
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