Game Riding Shotgun

What hap­pens when you’ve got two gamers (me and my wife) who can’t play a game togeth­er, but you both want to play? Some­one rides shot­gun. This can be due to the game being sin­gle-play­er, or more recent­ly, due to the need for some­one to hold an infant.

The per­son who rides shot­gun does­n’t have to focus on con­trols or the repet­i­tive tasks that take up a lot of time on gam­ing. They focus on the big pic­ture, missed details, and so on. If the game is some­thing you’re both inter­est­ed in, you com­bine to become some­thing of a super­play­er. For exam­ple, I can’t spot those hid­den flags in Assas­s­in’s Creed for the life of me, but she’ll pick out one that’s under a pile of hay, which is itself under a tarp… three miles away, through dense fog, around the cor­ner. She spots the tiny cor­ner of that flag, and we get clos­er to com­plet­ing the game. In Pix­eljunk Mon­sters, I point out that she tends to stand next to mobs, wait­ing for them to die, when she could be three steps away, upgrad­ing a tow­er while she wait­ed. And we get clos­er to get­ting a rain­bow on that lev­el. (Yes, you can play PJM with two players–and we often do–but when I get home from work and she’s play­ing, I don’t say, “Drop that and let’s play togeth­er.” I fix myself a drink.)

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Hellgate London sucks

There was a time in the last six months when my wife and I need­ed a break from the World of War­craft. I keep up on the gam­ing inter­nets and came across news that a for­mer project leader (Bill Rop­er) had left Bliz­zard and went to found his own com­pa­ny (Flag­ship Stu­dios). This com­pa­ny’s first game is Hell­gate Lon­don (HGL), a top-tier online mul­ti­play­er game in the spir­it of Dia­blo, by the pro­duc­er of Dia­blo. It’s post-apoc­a­lyp­tic, mag­ic-using, gun-shoot­ing, demon-fight­ing. It’s lev­el­ing up and get­ting bet­ter gear. When I list it here, it STILL sounds like a no-lose prospect.

After try­ing the beta, we were skep­ti­cal due to the amount of bugs. We did­n’t have a lot of expe­ri­ence with beta ver­sions, so we believed the com­pa­ny’s con­stant reas­sur­ances that they were iron­ing those bugs out. We fig­ured this must be how it’s done. So my wife and I each got the Col­lec­tor’s Edi­tion of HGL, because the CE came with a minipet and we’re suck­ers for minipets. My best friend did, too. We’re all gamers, we were look­ing for­ward to dive into a new game that we could all play togeth­er.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, HGL sucked.

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Cooperative multiplayer overview

My wife loves games as much as I do, and luck­i­ly we love play­ing games togeth­er. We laugh and cheer when we do well, we groan when we can’t get past a cer­tain point. Play­ing togeth­er is the most fun part of video games. It’s a great social thing that we can do.

Con­tin­ue read­ing Coop­er­a­tive mul­ti­play­er overview