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Throwback Thursday: My first Co-op

It’s a pretty well-known fact in the community that I am a big sucker for co-op games. I’ve written about how it is my preferred game mode and participated in numerous co-op commendation posts. And whenever some of the OMGeeks talk about a game in the Steam Chat Room, the first question I always ask is if the game has a co-op mode in it and if the answer is “yes”, I’m guaranteed to be interested. I'll never get tired look at this cartridge art

I would like to attribute my love of co-op games with one of my most vivid memories of playing an iconic game called Contra. For some reason, my father picked this game out for me so I had more games to play with the newly bought Famicom. His justification for buying the game was simple: the cartridge art had a lookalike of both Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, both action heroes of the 80’s, so it must be good! My young mind also bought into this reasoning and I excitedly inserted the cartridge and waited for the screen to come alive with the game menu. But instead of a simple game menu, I was greeted with the most badass 8-bit theme that my young ears ever heard. I was so pumped to play it and was about to mash start with my tiny thumb, but then I noticed that there was a 2-player option. And I screamed at my dad that we should play while pointing at the screen. Initially, I assumed the game mode would make us go one by one and take turns every time our electronic avatars would die. But I was pleasantly surprised that I saw both of our characters on the screen together and instinctively yelled with glee “Wow! Pwede pala 2 players sabay!” (Wow! We can play 2 players together!). And from then on, I would address co-op games as “2 players sabay” kind of games.

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As everybody knows, Contra is ruthless! And having my dad being the guy in red pants didn’t make it any easier. We tried our hardest to dodge bullets, while firing back at the enemy and at those chrome-finish turrets. I would excitedly yell at my dad to shoot the blimp thingys and get the power up. We would also try to coordinate and execute some sort strategy with either one us staying at the top most part of the level and the other staying in the water. This would ensure that each of us was covering a portion of the level. But me and my poor dad, with just 2 medals each (which represented our lives in-game), it was just too much for us. That evil metallic wall of death with guns mounted on it and enemies pouring out was too difficult to kill. Sadly, my dad was running late for the office and he had to put down the controller and told me that we will pick it up again in the evening. I felt really frustrated that we couldn't finish the level, but on the other hand, was feeling very elated with the brief, but eventful experience. Seeing me and my dad working together in one screen and shooting down enemies was a really new and exciting concept for me and I wanted more of it. Since my dad was a very busy businessman, we never did pick up the game again. My cousins had the pleasure of finishing Contra with me. Nevertheless, I will always and forever cherish that initial moment, when me and my dad were side-by-side, comrades-at-arms, shooting electronic bad guys and covering each other like in those action movies that he would surprisingly allow me to watch back then.

Bonding like this, but with guns instead

To this day, when playing co-op games with Jed and Mike or even with the folks in the community, I still get that wonderful, tingling feeling while playing and yelling victoriously or sighing collectively, depending on the outcome of the game. Regardless, playing cooperatively with friends or family is still, and always will be, the best feeling in the world.

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