I'm a gamer, through and through. I could tell you the story of my childhood, where I would go to my best friend's house and we would pick a game to beat and play it until our eyes bled, we couldn't bend our fingers or we fell asleep at 4 a.m.

Sometimes it would take hours, sometimes a day, but we beat them.

Marathon gaming is always a good idea...mostly.

We played single player games where we would have to switch on and off. We played dozens of cooperative or multiplayer games where we could work together or pin our wits against each other. We played shooters, strategy games, fluff games, RPGs: you name it.

We survived the Middle East in "Conflict: Desert Storm"; we saved Hyrule with the help of Link and his ocarina in "The Legend of Zelda" too many times to count; we won the love of Princess Peach with Mario's antics in several of the "Mario" titles out there; we slaughtered zombies and lived through the apocalypse in "House of Dead"; we battled the Horde in "Gears of War"; we staved off an alien invasion in "Alien Hominid"; we fixed the time rift in "Time Splitters"; we pillaged villages and saved the lives of innocents in "Fable"; we visited the settings of Disney movies while sealing the keyholes in "Kingdom Hearts"; we won the BCS championship game in "NCAA"; we toyed with the weapons in "Ratchet and Clank"; we mastered the strategy of games like "Civilization" and "Fire Emblem"; we saved the fate of the military in "Army of Two"; and...well, you get the point.

Only one of the few joys that can be experienced together.

We played just the two of us, sometimes more, and played more often times than not for whoever had plopped down in the chair next to us just to watch.

 We would come up with obscure ways to re-beat games for a new thrill. For "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess," one of us would hold the nunchuck and the other the wiimote. We once tried to beat "Kingdom Hearts" again by dragging the TV and PS2 outside and playing it entirely with the wind at our backs.

We traversed all systems: N64, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, Gamecube, Wii.

 With everything we did in our time together, I'd say we became well versed in almost every genre, system, and style of games that is out there. One thing never changed though, and that's the fact that we always played together.

I think this is exactly what games should be: social. Even if the game isn't meant to be social, as in a single player game, you can make it social.

This is my mantra, friends.

All this being said, I am disappointed in the lack of locally cooperative games that are on the market. Instead, the experiences that I grew up to love are being replaced by competitive online gameplay.

I understand that I can still revel in the cooperative experience of many games through online interactions with random 12-year-olds that are still better than me (but not by much). But this experience defeats the purpose of growing through working towards a common goal with people you actually know. Sometimes I like to just hang out and game with my friends when we don't have to pass around one controller each time the level changes.

There have been a few strides in the local cooperative direction, namely "Army of Two." This brilliant game still allows you to play with random 12-year-olds if you must have that headset experience, but it also gives you the option of playing cooperatively locally. Was that really so hard?

There are plenty of games where cooperative gameplay would easily make sense, such as the "Uncharted" franchise. In the first game, you are with Sully or Elena 90% of the gameplay.  How difficult would it have been to let someone control this otherwise useless AI? The same goes for "Uncharted 2" and "Uncharted 3," whether it's Chloe, Elena, or some random Sherpa or Arab you meet along the way, someone could more than easily jump into this position. 

Case and point.

If producers and developers think it is the storyline that would suffer because actions would be confined to purely two people being together at all times, I can see their point. To bring up "Uncharted" again, there are instances when Drake has to play hero and save his companion, or since Drake is the brawny man that he is, a task that only he could do when second player would just have to sit and wait. 

And here is what I have to say to them-I don't care. Let me play local cooperative. This kind of restricted storyline would give a new twist to those games where typically any task is available to any player for completion. Let Drake take care of his manly needs by scaling a cliff and dragging unconscious bad guys out of the way, but throw a second player a bone and give them a task that only they can do. Yes, at some times players may need to do nothing except wait, but let me tell you, we would be doing that anyway when we have to switch off during single player games.

Replace "Real Life!" with "Horribly Implemented Local Co-op!"

I'm not asking for poorly implemented cooperative. I've played enough games where the second player doesn't add anything to the overall plot (think "The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker" and playing as Tingle). I've also played plenty of multiplayer games that are static, but I'd still prefer those to no multiplayer at all. Producers and developers can still keep all the elements they have now as far as online and competitive, but just add in an option where two or more people can complete the storyline while sitting in the same room.

I realize that the market for this type of gaming is smaller than that of MMO games and so producers may not see any value in catering to the needs of the few. But I guarantee you that more people than you realize are upset at the lack of locally cooperative games.

Games can be played alone and you can still marvel at the intensity and depth of the gameplay, but if you have no one to tell that experience to or share it with, what are you really getting out of playing that game?

I can appreciate the brilliant faculties of a game as much as the next person. I get that a game might be like totally awesome and you don't need someone to tell that to in order to appreciate it.

And this is why I avoid it.

But I do. I'm a social gamer. To me, it is exactly what builds our gaming community. It's when we can die from some *** who camps at a spawn point in "Call of Duty," or we just managed to put 40 hours of gameplay into an RPG and come out victorious, and we can share that experience with those who went through the trials and tribulations with us.

If nothing else, put on your Turtle Beach headset and act like you have friends.


[Disclaimer] Some of these ideas may sound familiar, and it's because I've taken two of my shorter, more poorly written blogs and combined them in a more concise and presentable argument that really got the point I wanted to make across. Also, I was about level 1 on GIO when I wrote them, so probably no one read them anyway.