Waiting to Respawn: The Five Tenets of Most Excellent Co-Op

Friends and loved ones, we have gathered here today to celebrate the joining of Player 1 and Player 2 in the bonds of broly matrimony. In these days of online games and randomly assigned partners, this agreement to enter co-op is not to be taken lightly. The choice of partner can mean the difference between a perfect run and lying broken on the rocks of Legendary difficulty.

But like anything worth having, this sacred bond requires effort to maintain. Both sides need the utmost devotion to uphold the basic tenets of Enjoyment, Completeness, Protection, Expression, and Fruitfulness created in the hallowed halls of 1980s arcades, or else suffer ostracism and labeling as a “total wanker.”

Come, faithful. Take heed of the words in the Holy Instruction Manual and understand what these tenets truly mean.

Rochelle and Ellis fighting in Left 4 Dead 2

Enjoyment – Rejoice in the highs and lows that the experience brings, for they are yours and yours alone. Though many others may hunt demons along these bloody paths, each journey is a unique creature given life through inside jokes and that time Player 2 looked at the wrong screen and was almost eaten by zombies (that idiot).

Ignore the mistakes. Try not to get mad at each other when someone has trouble with a certain segment. This is a game, you should be having fun.

Completeness – One plus one equals one. Though each player may be the fabled hero of ultimate destined legend on their own, together they form an entirely new entity. Don’t be fooled into believing your own mythos. Double the guns, brains, and jumping ability means the challenges grow in strength.

Often, the adventure cannot be completed without your co-op spouse’s help. Be grateful that you have a trusted ally rather than some kid you found online running between corpses furiously teabagging and screaming obscenities. Unless that’s what you want, in which case online matchmaking might work out sometimes.

Double Dragon NES cover

Protection – Be prepared to lay down your life for your partner and expect the same in return. The union weakens when a selfish player thinks only of themselves, devouring health packs and leaving their friends to the mercy of zombie hordes.

Likewise, remember that symbolic sacrifice never really means anything. If you know that a foolhardy rescue attempt can only end in restarting at the last checkpoint, move on. It’s better that one person go on to cherish the departed’s memory and lock themselves in the safe room than for so much effort to be lost.

Expression – Both players must love the truth and freely communicate. If you need something, don’t expect your partner’s latent psychic abilities to manifest suddenly and impart the knowledge to them. Speak up.

Nothing ruins fun faster that silent suffering. Everyone will do things that incite rage, no matter how strong the bonds of friendship outside the virtual arena. To let those trivialities pile up, fester, and become a threat to the group’s cohesion is a disservice in the eyes of The Almighty Game.

Fruitfulness – No union of players can last forever. Go out and spread the seeds of healthy co-op when your partner is not available or has passed from this world (bless their digital souls). Bring these teachings to others lost in the darkness of bowling alley arcades and late night raids, for it is the only way that they can learn.

In the name of the PC, the console, and the holy handheld, amen.


  1. The_DFC

    @DrydenGG Nice article! Co-op keeps me in touch with some of my best long distance friends. My favorite part of gaming probably.

    • DrydenGG

      @The_DFC I definitely agree. Playing with someone has always been the most fun for me, too.