My partner is the most patient man I've ever met. It's one of the things I appreciate about him the most — especially since I'm the opposite. He's the Lawful Good to my Chaotic Neutral. I'm a cyclone and he's calm waters. Opposites attract, right?
For most of our relationship, this dynamic — his patience, combined with my spontaneity — has made us a pretty great team, able to support each other in exactly the ways that we ourselves are lacking.
At least, until we boot up a co-op game.
I play games pretty chaotically, I'll admit. Long cutscenes bore me — I'd much rather live a story than have it slowly injected into my eyes — and I tend to gravitate towards playing light-fingered characters, because the rush of adrenaline you get from pilfering a sword out of someone's pockets is something I'll never get in real life. My partner, on the other hand, is the kind of person who will read everything carefully to make sure he understands it. He will play characters that behave, you know, like real people — not the weird little thief gremlins I play, who are constantly crouching and putting buckets on people's heads.
I know. I'm awful. But the thing is, when I'm playing solo games, it doesn't bother anyone else and I have a lot more fun doing things my way. It gets things done faster, and that's just how I like it. And most of the time, it doesn't matter.
But when we played Divinity: Original Sin 2, a game that I had already played a fair bit of on my own, that changed. Suddenly, my propensity to mash A through long dialogue to get to the meat of the adventure meant that he had no idea what was going on. My tendency to rifle through someone's belongings while they look the other way kept getting us into battles that we couldn't possibly win. I was like a feral toddler with sticky fingers, and he was just trying to keep the peace. And the less said about my overwhelming need to do my inventory management just so — which was complicated by the fact that I could see his differently-organised (not wrong, just different) inventory on the same screen as mine — the better.
We didn't finish the game, and that was a shame, but it made sense. Our playstyles are fine on their own, but they just don't mesh together well, because I am a monster.
But lately, I've been wanting to play Stardew Valley co-op again. And, more specifically, I want to play Stardew Valley with him. I've played hundreds of hours, and he's never even touched the game, so I knew it would be tricky to stamp down my instincts to take control. After all, Stardew Valley is exactly the kind of game that you can min-max, using each passing day in the most efficient manner to get maximum profits, and that's how I've always played it on my own — as a challenge to myself to be the best farmer that's ever farmed, with a beautiful, organised farm and a series of colour-coded chests full of at least one of everything I'll ever need.
But when you share something with someone, you necessarily have to cede control to at least half of it, or it's not really sharing. It wouldn't be very co-op of me to insist that I'm in charge of the storage system, because then it wouldn't be our storage system, and a storage system you don't understand is really hard to use.
So, instead of letting my chaotic feral inner toddler run rampant without checks as I usually do, I am channelling that energy into being in the background, doing what I can to give him a leg-up, because lord knows those first two seasons in the game can be slow. I am using my wiki's worth of knowledge to help, not hinder.
That means taking items to the community center so we can unlock the shortcuts and features that make the game more fun. It means going mining to get bug meat to make into bait for him, so he can fish all he likes, which is what he enjoys most in the game so far. I don't want to smooth out all the game's lumps and bumps — I just want to make sure that he has a good time without too much friction, you know?
I'm... I'm min-maxing again. I'm min-maxing his enjoyment.
Oh god. I'm still a monster. I'M STILL A MONSTEEEEEEEEER
Postscript: I made him read this article and he said "I don't think you're a monster!" and then told me I had to add this to the end of the article so everyone knows that he doesn't think I am a monster. He's wrong, but I appreciate it.
What are your terrible co-op habits? Have you ever broken up a relationship over your gremlin-like playstyle? Let me know in the comments!
Yeah I pretty much avoid playing online unless it is structured like a racing game or fighting game because it is not worth the hassle of folks that wanna goof off or the internet psychos. I’m a member of a fighting game group for IRL gaming but no goofing is allowed there.
I like to play at my own pace. Which is why my brother does my head in and we can never actually finish a game together like Borderlands or Divinity.
Hey, every game has a meta. Most Effective Tactic. There's playing a game casually (potentially the wrong way) and then there's playing the right way.
I’m amazing to play games with. I am sure of it. Well, i’m pretty sure. I suppose i could ask…
Yeah, #%*! that.
I’ll just continue to exist in bliss.
When showing someone a game that I am very familiar with, I do go into "putting on a show" mode...
I can't help it. I'm not going to pretend I don't already know the game, you know? And if it's a story game, I'm not going to spoil future parts of the game. So what else can you do?
Kate, I strongly recommend finding a local crew of 4 and playing Four Swords Adventures.
OK, your partner wants to make it clear that you're not a monster. But he is suspiciously silent on the other things you called yourself:
Weird Little Thief Gremlin
@Purgatorium Gremlin. She’s a weird little thief gremlin.
@Diogmites My bad. I'm not sure what the difference is. Gremlins sabotage airplane wings and goblins burn down your village to give you a tragic backstory?
@Purgatorium lol As far as i can tell you are keenly aware of what the difference is and may or may not have seen The Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors and Record of Lodoss War.
It doesn't sound like you're an annoying chaos gremlin all the time. You're just methodical about different things. A lot of people don't have the patience for inventory organization and min-maxing, for example. I'll watch every cutscene, complete every sidequest, and read every optional conversation and item description, but I don't usually bother maximizing efficiency or damage, and only start looking at upgrades and equipment when I get bored or hit a wall.
Gaming for me is a solitary pastime. More often than not others only ruin the escapism
It bothers me that the storage in her Stardew game isnt surrounding a crafting table. Its so good like that.
Or triforce heroes. That one can get even better because of the temptation to get a stack of people and then walk of the edge for the fun of it.
I have to watch my mouth when I'm gaming with my nephews because I tend to swear a lot. Because I'm not very good at video games.
I’m very similar when I play with my little brother. I just want to tell him all the secrets or help him with the parts that were hard when I was little, and the worst part is he wants me to do that too (tbf, I would always resort to auto mode on games like NSMBW when I was his age). I have to restrain myself a lot of times when I watch him play, to the point where I either just go do something else or suggest a multiplayer game.
My go to partner for co-ops has a very very similar playstyle to mine. Frighteningly similar. We are a mix of Kate and her partner. We will sit and patiently read and learn everything, then it's gloves off and min-max'ing cyclone of destruction
Funniest childhood memory was spending the night over a friend's house playing NES baseball. I got to watch him play against his older brother who was the worst sore loser that I've ever seen.
His brother went from a face red from anger to literally screaming in tears, after losing game after game (furiously demanding rematches and accusing my friend of cheating). He was older than we were, so I desperately tried not to laugh, but I've never seen anything like it.
@Purgatorium I asked him this and he said "well you are a weird little gremlin"
For my partner and I, it's about finding the right game that we can co-op together without ruining the experience with our different approaches to gaming. So far that's the survival crafting genre and open world action games. Anything else is him wanting to dilly dally and read every little detail, and that just doesn't work for me!
I’m just glad we’ve got Kate’s gremlin/goblin status clarified.
Nawh, this was pretty cute. My girlfriend and I play some games here and there too, but usually it comes down to me being better at video games than her and then having to carry her past certain points, but as long as she’s still having fun, so am I.
I think I'm two people when I play co-op with my partner.
Someone who wants to prove herself and try her best in something like children of morta, I don't want him to carry me.
Or someone who looks like she's never played a game in her life when it comes to games like overcooked XD
I just freeze in stress and forget how to do anything and when my partner rages that gets me more stressed... But I enjoy it... I enjoy his suffering, it quells this deep seeded evil in my heart that I bury so far down inside.
Some couples go on dates or go out and do things, but the perfect night in for me is making his face contort into painful, unnatural expressions as he tells me for the 17th time to chop tomatoes and I laugh (or cackle he calls it) manically and uncontrollably.
I also like to not help at all with problem solving, there is NOTHING more funny to me in this world than falling off as Ron over and over when we play Lego Harry potter while he's trying to figure out what to do.
Oh and as for playing against eachother I never sweat and shake so much, I absolutely have to win, I can't let him best me, the shame is unbearable... I mean we only really play rhythm games together but... That's not the point.
And get this! We've been together 11 years and he still loves me, I don't know why but I'm blessed ^-^
P.s I love this article so damn much😊
My wife isn't a gamer but the few times I've played with her made me question the strength of our marriage, and we've been together 30 years. She is extremely competitive and a self-proclaimed sore loser.
I once handed a partner the controller while I went to cook. She liked a town in red dead redemption 2 and wanted to walk around, she had never played it. I said, “Just don’t press R2”
Thirty seconds later - “R2?” BOOM
She “accidentally” executed an old woman on her own porch and laughed as I ran to take the controller and kill a dozen more innocent people fleeing the scene. I was a white-hat good guy damn it.
@Diogmites lol, I guess I am. Never heard of Record of Lodoss War. I think 'goblins killed my parents' is just a typical tragic backstory. I've been in more than one unnamed tabletop fantasy role playing game with characters using that backstory.
@KateGray That's love right there.
I've played games with my brother for years and we get super competitive. We have yelled at each other over a round of Smash and Mario Kart. I've played games with my partner and while I try to quell this demon... They figure it out and we go back to reading and other activities... I'm a monster too!
@Purgatorium Lodoss War was an early fantasy Japanese OVA that made it over to the States. It was based on a dungeons and dragon’s campaign that had a unique setting. Later, I believe Lodoss was released as its own rpg.
In the OVA the protagonist’s village is attacked and burnt by goblins.
Amusingly, the protag is then exiled from the village (he is accused of provoking the attack) and in a perplexing show of commitment, burns down his own house (it lay at the outskirts of the village and was therefore not put to torch during the attack)before embarking on a quest to become a knight.
This is great. And it's nice to see people playing couch together and learning to adjust to each other's styles. And admitting that you're a sticky fingered feral gremlin. XD
I usually don't enjoy playing co-op games because I end up being the guy that just turns my brain off and follows the other person like a younger sibling. Inevitably, I get bored or I just start to eff around because I'm bored. It's odd because I don't ever do this when I play solo, just when I'm playing games with other people.
The only exception to this was It Takes Two. That game makes you work together and it was perfect.
@KateGray I love this piece so very much, and yes, you are a monster. But who among us can say they're not?
My wife insists on starting one quest and finishing that quest, because she loses track of what she's doing otherwise (even with a quest tracker). I insist on picking up every quest I see so that I can complete it whenever it's convenient, and I don't forget to go back and pick it up later. Also she's not good with maps, so I have to make sure I stay on her screen at all time so she can follow me.
We don't play games together anymore.
My wife is not really a gamer but she grew up with SNES and I play super mario u deluxe with her occasionally along with a few other games. I mostly play RPGs which are not her thing. It all works out. She's a little better at mario than me so I let her play the ghost levels.
Had a younger cousin and he kept asking to play a game with me so I just told him to just keep tapping A on a controller that wasn't plugged in
Since I am a neutral third party, I can definitely say that if your partner does inventory differently they are most certainly wrong. Whether you need to reevaluate your future together is a more personal call 😀
as a kid there was a girl I played Mario with...once. she couldn't handle waiting her turn so she would pause me every 3 seconds not caring that this took me longer...if I didn't die first. me on the other hand, like in the article, I play to get the job done. I do let the other player see the cutscenes or read the info but when it's time to play let's go. that's why I like playing things like lego, beat'em up, or party games that allow us to do our own thing.
as been said many times, to imagine what a game like Breath of the Wild(or Tears) would be like as a co-op.
Co op is just not for me. I live overseas to my oldest friend, and last year we started playing Minecraft together. I say "together", by which I mean we are technically on the same server. We spawned together, he and his wife started building a base... And then as soon as I had the core inventory I needed, I set sail for 10,000 blocks away to build my own base.
Sometimes we visit each other, it's fun!
I'm a lucky man.
My wife DOES NOT like RPGs and SLOW games.
She loves FRENETIC games.
She competitively plays any fighting game.
I attended World Cyber Gaming 1996, sponsored by Samsung, to play Street Fighter in a worldwide tournament.
My wife beats me at Street Fighter 50/50. We have 4230 hours playing together Street Fighter V.
She does infinite combo on Guilty Gear XX...she's a Terror playing The King of Fighters 2002...plays better than me, does combos that demand technical perfection.
But what I like most about her is that she doesn't like games full of animations...or easy games.
She is close to completing all 637 achievements in Binding of Isaac Repentance, a super hard game.
She plays Gears 5 with me (Gears of War).
She plays SHMUPS very well. We love games like R-Type, Pulstar, Raiden Project, and she plays better than me.
Recently she made all Horizon Chase achievements + DLCs on her Steam account.
I'm very lucky.
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