Kwalee’s biggest co-op gamer, Steve Clark, tells us how gaming can be fun in relationships, even if one player is more experienced than the other!
I am a firm believer that playing computer games in couples is a great way to build your relationship, but there are certainly some pitfalls which need to be avoided!
If one partner is considerably better at playing games than another this can cause some friction. Fortunately my gaming partner has a similar ability to me (she routinely gets a higher score than me on Horde mode on Gears of War 3 and Left 4 Dead 2) but I have seen this cause problems. The trick is for the more skilled partner to be patient if the other player is less experienced. Try to remember what playing games for the first time is like.
Co-op gaming may not be the best place to start, so perhaps try a few versus matches at something simple like Peggle or Bejeweled to get things going. The next step might be a co-op game which allows each player to use a different difficulty level, such as Gears of War 3. The more advanced player using could use a harder difficulty setting than normal in order to balance things out. This will allow the less advanced player some time to get used to the mechanics of the game and still enjoy the experience.
Game selection can make a big difference when trying to warm your significant other to your pastime. For someone who has shown no interest in gaming, jumping into something really advanced is only going to put them off. Something simple and fun is a good way for them to realise how rewarding gaming can be. A co-op platformer like New Super Mario Bros. or LittleBigPlanet can be a good start, or taking turns to support each other in Super Mario Galaxy. One other thing to be aware of is that it isn’t a good idea to force someone to play a game they obviously don’t want to, it will just cause arguments! Although I’m still hopeful that my partner will someday play the Portal 2 co-op campaign with me!
I’m sure that there are other pitfalls waiting to be found, but playing computer games with your significant other can definitely help to build a relationship. Once you have spent some time together fighting through a zombie apocalypse, deciding what colour to paint your living room seems a lot less daunting!
Here are some thoughts on co-op gaming and relationships from other members of the Kwalee team.
Joe Barron – Community Evangelist
My girlfriend and I often play games together. She is really good at fighting games so we’ve had some seriously heated Tekken and Mortal Kombat sessions! We play a lot of Mario Kart and platformers too. She even enjoys watching me play through games with great narratives, sometimes enjoying them more than movies. Her favourites are GTA IV and the Uncharted series. Lately we’re playing a lot of Gobang Social and she’s absolutely destroying me!
Alexei Lundgard – Junior Artist
My girlfriend and I love to play horror games together. Particulary the Silent Hill series. She loves the stories and the atmosphere but she’s too afraid to play them on her own, so she watches me and helps out with the puzzles. We also played Heavy Rain, which was really cool cause it was like watching a movie thriller. She once tried to watch me play Skyrim but hated it because I’m such a completionist! It was not much fun for her to watch me exploring every bit of a dungeon for hours simply to make sure it was mapped properly in the journal! It’s difficult to find a game to play co-operatively since she rarely plays games at all.
Jay Lytwynenko – Artist
My best co-op games with my partner are Guitar Hero and Left for Dead 2. Both are really awesome multiplayer games but they get even better when you know the other player well. When I first started playing Guitar Hero, it was because my partner played on Expert and that made me want to get better. So when I finally got to the point where I was playing on Expert and winning, we started playing co-op. We sometimes fall out if we’re not doing well in a co-op mode, but its nothing that a cup of tea and a second try can’t solve!