From Pong to Super Street Fighter II HD, Mario Bros. to Gears of War 2, the role of the second player has been as competitor and teammate. Grounded in our primal ape instincts, competition is inherent in every aspect of our lives, whether it is pick-up basketball, pen and paper role playing, or just keeping up with the Jones'. Additionally, the need for a witness in a person's victory can only be matched by the exhilaration of wallowing in a competitor's defeat. On the other side of the coin is the shared joy in reveling in mutual victory through cooperation. And so, we have certainly evolved from rescuing the princess in another castle to the saving of the world from the Locust, side by side, guns blazing with tactical precision.
The second player, either through competition or cooperation has indeed changed the face of gaming. The make up of the player determines whether the experience is a good one or a bad one. And regardless of the experience at the end, working together because its fun or killing each other because you're the best and need to prove it helps to extend play on a game that without these options, would no longer be played, and we are all the better because of that.