Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Games We Play: Cooperative Single Player?

So, if you've known me for any length of time, you probably know I like to play video games. Hunter and I played WoW for several years, and sometimes I still miss it, although I have no idea how I'd manage to play while having a kid in the house. We don't have a console, and since these days you actually need to own two copies of a game in order to play it together, we have been cooperatively playing some single-player games. How can two people play a one-player game? Well, it wouldn't work for everything. But here are some games we've played so far:

Myst-- If you are close to my age, you surely played this game as a kid. It's an exploring, puzzle-y game. There's no animation; you just navigate around different screens. I remember this game being impossibly hard; in reality the puzzles aren't that difficult, but you are just stuck in a game without really being told what to do. When we played this one, we took turns manning the controls and we both worked out the puzzles. We started Riven, the sequel, several times, but it was just too hard to really be fun. Each time we played we would maybe find one thing we hadn't found before.

King's Quest VI and VII-- I played the heck out of these games when I was younger; somehow Hunter missed out on them. With both of the games, Hunter did the controls and I gave hints as needed. With VI, I also made sure he wasn't doing anything that would cause him to lose and not be able to complete the game. There are a few ways this can happen, and even more in the previous games. I think it's a pretty bad design flaw, especially when you can't have THAT many save files. But old games didn't coddle you like they do today!

Tales of Monkey Island-- Neither Hunter nor I had played this one before. It has lots of puzzles in it, which it sometimes took both of our brains to solve. It also has lots of puns and goofy dialogue and references, as well as a fun story. This is the most recent (and possibly last) game in the series, and it really made me want to play the older titles as well.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent-- So far, all of the games have been pretty family-friendly, one might say lighthearted, even. Amnesia is a bit different. It's very atmospheric; you need oil and tinderboxes or you won't be able to see, there are monsters that you can't kill, just run from, weird noises, and some pretty disturbing imagery. There is no in-game map, so I helped both with the puzzles and with navigation. This game will be too intense for some people, but I loved it (even though it made it hard to go to the bathroom by myself at night).

Starflight-- This is another old game, but it holds up really well. Hunter played the heck out of this as a kid, and wanted me to see it. It's basically a space exploration game, where your home planet is going to be destroyed by a solar flare and you have to discover a way to stop it. You go around to a bunch of planets, unearth clues... and there is a twist at the end that I did not even see coming! We also played the sequel, which is focused more on interstellar trade but has similar graphics and gameplay. As you fly around, people tell you about different places to explore, which you pretty much have to write down, so we have just several sheets of paper where I recorded the coordinates of planets we had been to and whatnot. There aren't a ton of puzzles, but there are a few cryptic pieces of information you need to interpret. The Mass Effect games clearly took a lot of inspiration from this series, and I couldn't believe the first game was as old as I am!

Kentucky Route Zero-- I'm not totally sure how to describe this game. Do you like Gabriel Garcia Marquez? Kafka? Lynch? Then maybe you would like this game? I don't know. The art style is really cool and there is a story, but it's mostly just surreal things happening. There are dialogue options, but it isn't clear how much of a difference it makes which ones you choose. Only three out of the five acts have been released so far, so I'm almost hesitant to decide how I feel about this game. Of the ones I've listed so far, this one is the least game-like and the most "interactive-story-like."

So basically, the thing that makes a game good for us to play together is not needing to have the controls. With the exception of a little bit of combat in Starflight, none of these rely on reflexes or reactions; I feel like I got basically the same experience of playing the game as the person holding the controls. (The reason I let Hunter do the controls is that I'm typically knitting or otherwise crafting). I can help solve the puzzles without clicking the mouse or whatever. We do play a few multi-player games, which I will talk about in a future post.

So, does anyone who reads this play games? Any recommendations on similar games we could play? We own the Walking Dead game, which I've started but didn't play through very far. (Also any of the other Telltale Games that have come out recently would I think fit into this category).We also have some of the other King's Quest games, but they are notorious for being unwinnable if you do the wrong thing, and that can be frustrating. We aren't opposed to older games and they are generally harder, which I like. 

No comments:

Post a Comment