Cooperative gameplay

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Cooperative gameplay (often abbreviated as co-op) is a feature in video games that allows players to work together as teammates, usually against one or more AI opponents. It is distinct from other multiplayer modes, such as competitive multiplayer modes like player versus player or deathmatch. Playing simultaneously allows players to assist one another in many ways: passing weapons or items, healing, providing covering fire in a firefight, and performing cooperative maneuvers such as boosting a teammate up and over obstacles.

A multiplayer video game is a video game in which more than one person can play in the same game environment at the same time, either locally or over the internet. During its early history, video games were often single-player-only activities, putting the player against preprogrammed challenges or AI-controlled opponents, which lack the flexibility of human thought. Multiplayer games allow players interaction with other individuals in partnership, competition or rivalry, providing them with social communication absent from single-player games. In multiplayer games, players may compete against one or more human contestants, work cooperatively with a human partner to achieve a common goal, supervise other players' activity, co-op. Multiplayer games usually require players to share the resources of a single game system or use networking technology to play together over a greater distance.

Player(s) versus player(s), better known as PvP, is a type of multiplayer interactive conflict within a game between two or more live participants. This is in contrast to games where players compete against computer-controlled opponents and/or players, which is referred to as player versus environment (PvE). The terms are most often used in games where both activities exist, particularly MMORPGs, MUDs, and other role-playing video games. PvP can be broadly used to describe any game, or aspect of a game, where players compete against each other. PvP is often controversial when used in role-playing games. In most cases, there are vast differences in abilities between experienced and novice players. PvP can even encourage experienced players to immediately attack and kill inexperienced players. PvP is sometimes called player killing.

Contents

In its most simple form, cooperative gameplay modifies the single player mode of a game, allowing additional players, and increasing the difficulty level to compensate for the additional players. More complex examples exist, however, with broader modifications to the story and gameplay. Some co-op games include a new ending when completed in co-op mode. This new ending is unlocked only when players work as a team to complete the game. For instance, Bubble Bobble features an ending that can only be accessed when two players survive co-op mode, as do some console beat 'em up games such as Double Dragon , Streets of Rage , and Die Hard Arcade .

A single-player video game is a video game where input from only one player is expected throughout the course of the gaming session. A single-player game is usually a game that can only be played by one person, while "single-player mode" is usually a game mode designed to be played by a single-player, though the game also contains multi-player modes.

<i>Bubble Bobble</i> 1986 video game for arcades and home computers

Bubble Bobble is a platform game by Taito, first released in arcades in 1986 and later ported to home systems. The game, starring the twin Bubble Dragons Bub and Bob, tasks players with travelling through one hundred stages, blowing and bursting bubbles, jumping on and off blown bubbles to navigate level obstacles, dodging and eliminating enemies, and collecting a variety of items including some that carry power-ups and significant bonuses. For example, the red shoe allows Bub and Bob to move faster, while wrapped candies cause Bub and Bob to blow bubbles faster, and blow bubbles at greater distances. Other items, such as umbrellas, allow to skip numerous levels, moving closer to the final level. The game became popular and led to a long series of sequels and spin-offs. The main goal of the game is to rescue Bub and Bob's girlfriends from the Cave of Monsters. The game has multiple endings, which depend on the player's performance and discovery of secrets.

Beat 'em up is a video game genre featuring hand-to-hand combat between the protagonist and an improbably large number of opponents. Traditional beat 'em ups take place in scrolling, two-dimensional (2D) levels, though some later games feature more open three-dimensional (3D) environments with yet larger numbers of enemies. These games are noted for their simple gameplay, a source of both critical acclaim and derision. Two-player cooperative gameplay and multiple player characters are also hallmarks of the genre. Most of these games take place in urban settings and feature crime-fighting and revenge-based plots, though some games may employ historical, science fiction or fantasy themes.

Co-op gaming can operate either locally—with players sharing input devices or using multiple controllers connected to a single console—or over a network, with co-op players joining an existing game running on a game server via a local area networks or wide area networks. Due to the complexity of video game coding, co-op games rarely allow network players and local players to mix. Exceptions do exist, however, such as Mario Kart Wii or Call of Duty Black Ops , which allows two players from the same console to play with others online.

Local area network computer network that connects devices over a small area

A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school, laboratory, university campus or office building. By contrast, a wide area network (WAN) not only covers a larger geographic distance, but also generally involves leased telecommunication circuits.

<i>Mario Kart Wii</i> racing video game

Mario Kart Wii is a racing video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii. It is the sixth installment in the Mario Kart series, and was released worldwide on April 27, 2008.

Co-op gameplay has been gaining popularity in video games in recent years, [1] as controller and networking technology has developed. On PCs and consoles, cooperative games have become increasingly common, and many genres of game—including shooter games, sports games, real-time strategy games, and massively multiplayer online games—include co-op modes.

Personal computer Computer intended for use by an individual person

A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large costly minicomputer and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time is not used with personal computers.

Shooter games are a subgenre of action game, which often test the player's speed and reaction time. It includes many subgenres that have the commonality of focusing on the actions of the avatar using some sort of weapons. Usually this weapon is a gun or some other long-range weapon. A common resource found in many shooter games is ammunition. Most commonly, the purpose of a shooter game is to shoot opponents and proceed through missions without the player character being killed or dying. A shooting game is a genre of video game where the player has limited spatial control of his or her character, and the focus is almost entirely on the defeat of the character's enemies using weaponry.

A sports game is a video game genre that simulates the practice of sports. Most sports have been recreated with a game, including team sports, track and field, extreme sports and combat sports. Some games emphasize actually playing the sport, whilst others emphasize strategy and sport management. Some, such as Need for Speed, Arch Rivals and Punch-Out!!, satirize the sport for comic effect. This genre has been popular throughout the history of video games and is competitive, just like real-world sports. A number of game series feature the names and characteristics of real teams and players, and are updated annually to reflect real-world changes. Sports genre is one of the oldest genres in gaming history.

Co-op gaming can also exist in single player format, where the player works alongside their previous plays in order to complete an objective.

History of arcade co-op gaming

Atari, Inc.'s '1978 coin-op Fire Truck is widely believed to be the first arcade coin-op to feature co-op play. [2] As its title suggests the game involves a large fire truck, and in two-player mode both players are required to cooperatively steer the vehicle along a winding road, with one driving and steering the tractor of the truck and the other steering the tiller for the rear wheels, controlling the swing of the trailer.

Atari, Inc. Defunct American video game and home computer company

Atari, Inc. was an American video game developer and home computer company founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Primarily responsible for the formation of the video arcade and modern video game industries, the company was closed and its assets split in 1984 as a direct result of the North American video game crash of 1983.

<i>Fire Truck</i> (video game) 1978 video game

Fire Truck is a black-and-white 1978 arcade game. It was developed and published by Atari, Inc.. According to GamesRadar, it was the earliest video game with cooperative gameplay where two players were forced to work together. A one-player version of the game, called Smokey Joe was also released. This was internally identical to Fire Truck.

Fire engine emergency vehicle intendend to put out fires

A fire engine is a vehicle designed primarily for firefighting operations. The terms "fire engine" and "fire truck" are often used interchangeably; however in some fire departments/fire services they refer to separate and specific types of vehicle.

Several early 80s arcade coin-op games allowed for co-op play, but typically as an option. Wizard of Wor offered solo, competitive two-player, or cooperative two-player gaming., [3] while Williams Electronics' Joust encouraged players to alternatively compete and cooperate by awarding bonus points for co-op play in some rounds (Survival Waves) while alternatively awarding bonuses for attacking the other player (Gladiator Waves). Two-player games of Nintendo's Mario Bros. could be played as competitively or cooperatively depending on the players' whims. Beat 'em up games like Final Fight in 1989 and Double Dragon in 1987 introduced a type of game where both players would work in tandem to clear out all of the enemies and proceed to the next area and ultimately the final boss. In 1998 Time Crisis 2 launched as the first in the series as a 2 player arcade rail shooter where two players would go through levels with slight differences allowing each player to cover each other and utilize the environment to create cover. In 2009 Konami and Activision put out Guitar Hero Arcade, a co-op rhythm game which allowed players to work together to complete a song of their choosing or the two players could fight each other in the battle mode with each guitarist striving for a higher score.

<i>Wizard of Wor</i> video game

Wizard of Wor is an arcade game released in 1980 by Midway. Up to two players fight together in a series of monster-infested mazes, clearing each maze by shooting the creatures. The game was ported to the Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, Atari 2600, and Atari 5200 and renamed to The Incredible Wizard for the Bally Astrocade. The original cartridge came with a cash prize offer to the first person to solve the maze and win the game.

WMS Industries, Inc. is an American electronic gaming and amusement manufacturer in Enterprise, Nevada. WMS traces its roots to 1943, to the Williams Manufacturing Company, founded by Harry E. Williams. However, the company that became WMS Industries was formally founded in 1974 as Williams Electronics, Inc.

<i>Joust</i> (video game) 1982 video game

Joust is an arcade game developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982. While not the first game to feature two-player cooperative play, Joust was more successful than its predecessors and popularized the concept. The player uses a button and joystick to control a knight riding a flying ostrich. The objective is to progress through levels by defeating groups of enemy knights riding buzzards.

History of console co-op gaming

Early-generation home consoles typically did not offer co-op options, due to technical limitations which hindered the increased graphics required for simultaneous co-op play. Though consoles from the second generation of video games onward typically had controller ports for two-player games, most systems did not have the computing or graphical power for simultaneous play, leading most games that billed "2-player gameplay" as a feature to merely be the single player game with alternating players.

During this early era, many video games which featured co-op play (including beat 'em ups such as Double Dragon ) were ported to less advanced home systems. Alternating play replaced the arcade's co-op play in the NES version (although Double Dragon II and III , for the same system, did retain their co-op gameplay). Most other titles featuring 2-player were head-to-head sports titles. Though most of the console beat 'em ups were arcade ports, original franchises such as Streets of Rage and River City Ransom also became popular.

The run and gun genre was also popular for co-op games. Contra , for instance, was far more successful in its NES incarnation than it was in the arcade, and is now considered one of the most popular co-op games ever. Gunstar Heroes for the Sega Genesis and the Metal Slug series for the Neo Geo were also well-received titles.

Gauntlet (1985) and Quartet (1986) introduced co-op 4-player gaming to the arcades. The games had broader consoles to allow for four sets of controls.

Electronic Arts has produced key co-op sports games, including the original NHL Hockey (1991) and Madden NFL (1990) installments on the Sega Genesis. These games allowed two players or more to play against the CPU. These franchises are arguably the most successful co-op sports games. [4]

Due to the lack of online multiplayer, co-op games in the RPG genre have generally been less common on console systems than on PCs. Nevertheless, some of the earliest co-op action RPGs were console titles, including the TurboGrafx-16 game Dungeon Explorer (1989) [5] by Atlus which allowed up to five players to play simultaneously, [6] and Square's Secret of Mana (1993) for the Super NES which offered two- and three-player action once the main character had acquired his party members. Secret of Mana's co-op gameplay was considered innovative in its time, [7] as it allowed the second or third players to drop in and out of the game at any time rather than players having to join the game at the same time, which has remained influential on titles as recent as the upcoming Dungeon Siege III . [8] Final Fantasy VI (1994) offered a form of alternating co-op play for its battles, with the second player taking control of half of the characters in the party. Namco's Tales series allowed multiple players to take control of individual members in its real-time battles in some of the titles, such as Tales of Symphonia , while the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance games replicated the Diablo formula for consoles, offering two-player simultaneous play through the game's campaign.

With the release of the Nintendo 64 (1996, 1997), having four controller ports started to become a standard feature in consoles, as the Dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube and Xbox all later featured them. As larger multiplayer games became feasible, cooperative gameplay also became more available. The 7th and current generations of video game consoles all feature wireless controllers, removing port-based local player limits. However, its effect on multiplayer is probably less pronounced than the advancement of console internet capabilities.

History of PC co-op gaming

First-person shooters

The release of Doom in 1993 was a breakthrough in network gaming. Though arguably deathmatch was both the most influential and most popular mode,[ citation needed ]Doom's co-op gameplay was also significant. Up to four players could travel through the entire game together, playing on separate computers over a LAN. The game's campaign mode was designed primarily for single player, but the difficulty was tweaked to compensate for extra human players. The following three games produced by id Software ( Doom II , Quake and Quake II ) all featured co-op modes. Some of these first-person shooters employ cooperative gameplay, where many players are joined to reach a common goal. However, some first person shooters do not make use of cooperative gameplay. [9]

Starting from the early 2000s, however, many FPS developers have forsaken co-op campaign play, opting to focus more purely on either a more detailed and in-depth single player experience or a purely multiplayer game.[ citation needed ] Epic's Unreal Tournament series had shifted almost entirely towards deathmatch modes, and significant FPS releases such as Doom 3 , Quake 4 , and both Half-Life titles shipped without cooperative gameplay modes. However, with the Gears of War franchise introducing the "Horde" four-player cooperative mode, it has undergone a resurgence, starting a trend which included Halo 3: ODST 's "Firefight" mode and Call of Duty: World at War 's "Nazi Zombies" mode.

Role-playing games

Most early role-playing video games were inspired by Dungeons & Dragons , but were restricted to single player due to the technology of the era. The earliest RPGs featuring something resembling co-op play were MUDs, which would later evolve into the MMOG genre.

Later PC RPGs became more powerful and flexible in simulating the shared real life RPG experience,[ citation needed ] allowing players to collaborate in games over the Internet. Blizzard Entertainment's immensely successful Diablo (1996), which incorporated Blizzard's online matchmaking service, battle.net, allowing the game's players to play through the entire single player campaign together. The D&D-sanctioned Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale games, released in 1998 and 2000, respectively, allowed up to six players to play through the campaign mode over a network. Atari's Neverwinter Nights (2002) was an official and comprehensive D&D simulator, featuring even more robust game-creation tools and developing a sizable online community. It allowed one player to serve as a Dungeon Master, shaping and altering the game world against a party of human-controlled players, playing cooperatively. (An earlier game, Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption (2000) was the earliest CRPG to feature this sort of "storyteller" mode.[ citation needed ])

Contemporary MMORPGs such as Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft feature a mixture of single-player goals ("quests") and larger end-game challenges that can only be completed via intensive co-op play, [10] of up to twenty-five (formerly forty) players in end-game raids, [11] and up to forty versus forty in battlegrounds.

Gameplay characteristics

Couch co-op & online co-op modes

Cooperative games designed to be played by multiple players on the same display screen have come to be known as "couch co-op", "local co-op" or "single-player co-op" games. Cooperative games in which players each use their own display system are known as "online co-op", "network co-op" or "multiplayer co-op" games due to the majority of such systems utilizing telecommunications networks to synchronize game state among the players. Games have also been brought to market in which both modes can be combined—accommodating more than one display with each display accommodating one or more players.

Display features

Many video games support split screen displays in order to show two or more players in different regions of the game. Split screen displays would usually split the main screen into either two or four sub-regions so that 2–4 players can roam freely within the game world. Many first-person and third-person shooter games use this technique when played in multiplayer co-op mode, such as the console versions of games in the Rainbow Six series, the Halo series or the fifth installment of the Call of Duty series, Call of Duty: World at War .

Split screen modes have also been combined with 3D Television technology by hobbyists, using alternate-frame sequencing for the purpose of presenting each of two couch co-op players with their own 2D full-screen image on the same display, rather than for stereoscopy. Due to the complexity involved in correcting the resulting aspect ratios, and that in obtaining 3D glasses which allowed both lenses to synchronize to the same eye-frame, this remained the purview of enthusiasts until 2011, when Sony Computer Entertainment America began to market a 3D display product for their consoles. This display system supported this practice under the trademark SimulView. While the SimulView feature set was designed to work only with the Sony 3D monitor, the move renewed interest in this technology, and it was not long before the gaming community circumvented this vendor lock-in gambit, allowing SimulView-supporting games to utilize the feature on third-party 3DTV equipment. [12]

Guacamelee is a brawler-based platform game that features cooperative play, allowing the two luchador characters to coordinate their actions for more effective combat Guacamelee! screenshot M.jpg
Guacamelee is a brawler-based platform game that features cooperative play, allowing the two luchador characters to coordinate their actions for more effective combat

By contrast, in cooperative platform games, both players typically occupy the same screen and must coordinate their actions, particularly with regard to the scrolling. If the scrolling is limited to a forward direction only, players can potentially kill each other. For example, one player lagging behind could cause problems for his partner, as the screen will not scroll onward. If a player was attempting to complete a jump over a chasm, the "safe" surface on the far side of the chasm could be prevented from scrolling into view by a slow player.

Developers have attempted to counter these frustrations by using a camera that can zoom in and out over an entire level as needed, keeping both players within the scope of the camera. This type of camera was used to enable the display of four player cooperative gameplay in New Super Mario Bros. Wii . Another strategy allows player screens to be split when the player characters are far apart, but combine into one full-screen image when player characters are close enough together. The 2005 video game The Warriors is considered notable for attempting this in a 3D third-person perspective format.

Resource management

A common concept in cooperative games is the sharing of resources between players. For example, two players managing one team in a real-time strategy game, such as StarCraft , will often have to draw off the same pool of resources to build and upgrade their units and buildings. The sharing of resources, however, can be as simple as the system used in the Contra games (and other shoot-'em-up/beat-'em-up games) where a player who is out of spare lives could "steal" a life from the other player so both players could continue to play at the same time.

Role of the second player

The role that the second player takes upon joining a game differs from game to game. Most co-op games have the second player directly take control of another character that is usually subject to the same rules as the first player (i.e., a separate health bar). Some games, like Super Mario Galaxy , the Wii version of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and some versions of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen , however, limit the second player to an omniscient, invulnerable (and sometimes disembodied) helper role, who then moves along with and assists the first player with abilities that he/she usually lacks. This may include the ability to attack enemies within the first player's view, typically via a targeting reticle.

Video games with co-op mode

Asynchronous co-op mode

Asynchronous co-op games are becoming prevalent among mobile platforms like smartphones and tablets due to their low bandwidth requirement. Examples include Glu Mobile's Gun Bros and Gamevil's Zenonia 3. Asynchronous cooperative games upload only the character details to the server. During co-op gameplay, the server sends another player's character details, which are then controlled by the local AI.

Related Research Articles

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are a combination of role-playing video games and massively multiplayer online games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual world.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to video games:

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

<i>Pac-Man Collection</i> video game compilation

Pac-Man Collection is a compilation of four Pac-Man games, released in 2001 and 2002 for the Game Boy Advance: Pac-Man, Pac-Mania and Pac-Man Arrangement, all ports of arcade games which follow the essence of classic Pac-Man gameplay; and Pac-Attack, a falling-block puzzle game akin to Tetris originally released on the Sega Genesis and Super NES.

<i>Heavy Weapon</i> side-scrolling shoot em up video game

Heavy Weapon is a side-scrolling shoot 'em up video game developed by PopCap Games and released in 2005.

Side-scrolling video game video game genre

A side-scrolling game, side-scroller or 2D is a video game in which the gameplay action is viewed from a side-view camera angle, and the onscreen characters can generally only move to the left or right. These games make use of scrolling computer display technology. The move from single-screen or flip-screen graphics to scrolling graphics, during the golden age of video arcade games and during third-generation consoles, would prove to be a pivotal leap in game design, comparable to the move to 3D graphics during the fifth generation. Although side-scrolling games have been supplanted by 3D games, they continue to be produced, particularly for handheld devices or for digital-only releases.

Tower defense (TD) is a subgenre of strategy video game where the goal is to defend a player's territories or possessions by obstructing the enemy attackers, usually achieved by placing defensive structures on or along their path of attack. This typically means building a variety of different structures that serve to automatically block, impede, attack or destroy enemies. Tower defense is seen as a subgenre of real-time strategy video games, due to its real-time origins, though many modern tower defense games include aspects of turn-based strategy. Strategic choice and positioning of defensive elements is an essential strategy of the genre.

In video games, first person is any graphical perspective rendered from the viewpoint of the player's character, or a viewpoint from the cockpit or front seat of a vehicle driven by the character. Many genres incorporate first-person perspectives, among them adventure games, driving, sailing, and flight simulators. Most notable is the first-person shooter, in which the graphical perspective is an integral component of the gameplay.

<i>Neo Bomberman</i> video game

Neo Bomberman action-maze arcade video game developed by Produce! and published by Hudson Soft exclusively for the Neo Geo MVS on May 1, 1997. It is one of two games in the Bomberman franchise that was released for the Neo Geo platform, the first being Panic Bomber, and the only one to retain its traditional top-down gameplay. It was only released for the Neo Geo MVS (arcade) and has not received a home console release to date. It was also the last original Bomberman title to be released for arcades until Konami's Bombergirl in 2018.

Gun Buster, also known as Gunbuster (ガンバスター) and released in North America as Operation Gunbuster, is a first-person shooter video game developed by Taito and released for arcades in 1992. In contrast to on-rail light gun shooters at the time, this was one of the first arcade games to feature free-roaming FPS gameplay, the same year Wolfenstein 3D was released on personal computers.

Eastern role-playing video games (RPGs) are RPGs developed in East Asia. Most Eastern RPGs are Japanese role-playing video games (JRPGs), developed in Japan. RPGs are also developed in South Korea and in China.

<i>Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth</i> video game

Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth is a video game based on the "Secret Invasion" storyline in Marvel comic books. The game was developed by Ubisoft Quebec, for the Xbox 360 and the Wii U. The game was announced after the cancellation of the original The Avengers game based on the 2012 film of the same name, being developed by THQ. Battle for Earth was released in North America on October 30, 2012 for the Xbox 360, followed by the Wii U version on December 4, 2012. The game was also the only Marvel video game to be published by Ubisoft.

This is a glossary of video game terms which lists the general terms as commonly used in Wikipedia articles related to video games and its industry.

<i>Alienation</i> (video game) shooter and role-playing video game

Alienation is a shooter and role-playing video game developed by Housemarque and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was released in April 2016 for PlayStation 4. The game is an isometric twin-stick shooter in which one to four players defend themselves against an alien invasion on Earth through increasingly-difficult levels. Players can choose one of three character classes, each with its own abilities. Players can upgrade their weapons with collectables, known as upgrade cores.

<i>TrackMania Turbo</i> 2015 video game

TrackMania Turbo is a racing video game developed by Nadeo and published by Ubisoft. Announced at E3 2015, the title is the first TrackMania game that is to be released on consoles since 2009's TrackMania Wii. The game features support for virtual reality. The current world record holders for the Guinness World Record track is Thomas Hall and Alex Dunsmore achieving a time of 1 minute 00.78 seconds at Insomnia 63 in Birmingham, United Kingdom in August 2018. The game was originally set to be released on 3 November 2015, but was delayed to 22 March 2016 to give additional time to the development team to further polish the game.

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