One of the buzzwords for gaming nowadays is "co-op" multiplayer, whether it's 2 players in a room or (much more commonly) online.  Sometimes it's 2-player co-op, sometimes 4 (and sometimes even 3!).

It almost seems like a game has to come with co-op to be a big seller. Or, if it doesn't have this mode, the game designers talk in the press about the reasoning behind not including it, occasionally sounding like their afraid of the economic repercussions of not including it.  "We don't have co-op campaign play in the BowZone game, but it's only because we it just wouldn't work in a story like ours and and we did bow to you folks by creating a couple of separate maps just for co-op play and PLEASE DON'T HURT US AND PLEASE STILL BUY OUR GAME DESPITE THE FACT WE DON'T HAVE CO-OP!!!!!!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!! WE DON'T WANT TO GO UNDER!!!!!"

Ahem.  Anyway.

A post by worldsdirtiestbird173 called "Cheaters plague BORDERLANDS" inspired me to think a little more about co-op play.

To be honest, I have never played a game co-op in my life.  Obviously, I've played *against* people multiplayer, whether it was against my wife in Dr. Mario or CoD online.  But never co-op.  To me, playing a game co-op requires you to have friends who:

a) actually like you

and, more importantly...

b) play the same games as you.

It also helps to have a microphone so you can coordinate strategy and tactics (something that I don't have right now), I would assume.  It probably gets kind of boring to be doing co-op with no conversation, eh? (Yes, I am in Canada)

The Bird (I'm not typing all of that again) said:

"Within five minutes someone had joined my game and was spewing these cheap items out on to the ground. I then asked the player are these items legit or modded and he responded by telling me that they had been modded. That was all I needed to hear, because of that I then responded by taking Borderlands out and putting it back on the shelf."

(Incidentally, is there a "blockquote" function on GI?  I can't find it)

Anyway, when I read that, it boggled my mind.  I couldn't imagine playing co-op with a stranger.  Is that common?  I suppose it is, or it wouldn't be such a popular game mode, but it just seems alien to me.  You don't know these people.  They could be cheats, or liars, or as*holes. Another problem I've heard about in Borderlands is the fact that loot isn't distributed; it's every man/woman for him/herself.  So you could stumble upon a loot-thief too.

So, a couple of questions for you, reader (yes, you in the back, I mean you):

1) Is co-op play (or lack thereof) a part of your decision-making on whether you want to buy a game?

2) If it is, do you play with only friends or do you play with strangers as well?

Bonus question: for those of you who play Red Dead Redemption, when you're in Free Roam, can you get recruited into posses and stuff like that?  Or is that generally a bunch of friends who are gaming together?  And how badly do they react when they discover that you kind of suck?