Co-Op Talk: Head-to-Head Lovematch

By Tyler Grant

This Co-op talk asked the age old question: what is the greatest game of all time? Not based just on nostalgia but actual, meritable mechanics that shot the game amongst the stars. While many great titles were proposed as the greatest game ever, the greater story lies in what the greatest game gives us as players.

The discussion began with the proposal of Mario 64, the first true 3D game for nintendo. The ability to play Mario in a 3D world was the highlight for one member, with it ruining many of the subsequent 3D games made for the Nintendo64 by comparison. This led to the discussion of side scrollers and the effect of the classic side scroller, Mario, moving away from the genre. While it was not the death of sidescrollers, we are finally seeing them reintroduced in indie games. Zelda was also put forward as a contender, and given a nod by all around the table as one of the greats that has also withstood the test of time.

Psychonauts and Kingdom Hearts give a glimpse into a slightly darker narrative games can provide, even if they appear childlike at first glance. Journey, Mass Effect, Gone Home, and the Metal Gear series were also thrown into the great narrative mix. These story lines are deep and give you something to invest yourself in emotionally. Rhythm Heaven, on the other hand, was mentioned because it’s great for a short attention span or just enjoying a quick break.

The conversation then moved to other variables affecting our choices of favorite games. For example, customizable characters give players a greater sense of ownership of the games that they play. The platform games are played on, or even just available on, can be make it or break it for a game. Some said they enjoyed keyboards over controllers and are limited from console exclusive games because of it. Others said they found joy in older games because they have been reintroduced on newer systems where the controls make more sense or the new content was enjoyable.

Portal 2 launched the discussion into the deeper essence that great games possess. Great puzzles, non-repetitive play, and emotional connections with a potato all made the list of priceless features of the game but the most appreciated feature noted is the social experience Portal 2 created. The game setup playful competition while keeping teammates working towards goals and playing through the story line.

Super Smash Bros. was also mentioned in the same vein, as a great game for a wide range of players. The mechanics are simple enough to learn easily and play in a party type setting but still allow for experienced players to have clash-of-the-titan level battles. The game gives great cameo opportunities for characters of other favorites while keeping some quality, staple heroes around.

So from the times of square controllers and the subsequent “gamer claw” to the virtual reality and future of gaming, the greatest games generate a strong connection with their players. We came to the conclusion that while you can find you own personal best game ever, none of the games discussed could take be “best game ever” in everyone’s eyes.