Cooperating With The Locals

I’ve picked up an extra controller just now, and got upsold to a package deal with Viva Pinata 2 and the latest Banjo Kazooie, both of which seem more like the sort of games you can play in front of an infant than Bioshock, Mass Effect or Halo 3. Eventually (like most responsible parents in this day and age) I’ll expect Maya to know how to beat somebody down with the butt end of a sniper rifle, but I think I should teach her how to walk and read first.

I haven’t played VP2 yet, but Banjo Kazooie is well, it’s Donkey Kong 64 in HD. Same physics, same knuckle-dragging-gorilla character loping about in precisely the same way. Bananas are now musical notes, golden bananas are now golden puzzle pieces, so forth. The environments are larger and far more more lush, as befits this wondrous age of modern hardware, but as far as I can tell I’ve played through this game before.

We’ll see how Viva plays out.

A friend in a different forum notes:

“Online gaming is great, but it’s really taken the wind out of same-couch’s sails.”

So, that’s my question. What two-player-co-op games can you play on the same couch, with with a child involved or with one in the room? Ideally, quest games, but preferably no shooters if that can be managed.


  1. Posted May 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Whoa, hold on. Are you playing the Banjo-Kazooie Nuts ‘n’ Bolts game? Because that’s nothing like DK64 or the classic Rare platformers — it’s a vehicle customization game, and the entire thing is all about making awesome vehicles with Lego pieces. Read the game diaries on Fidgit to see what you’re missing, if you’re writing it off as generic Collection Quest.

    (Kameo, on the other hand, pretty much is a generic Rare platformer, only without all the collecting. I like it well enough, but it’s missing a bit of soul.)

    And ALSO, of course, the original Banjo-Kazooie predates DK64 and is a vastly better game, arguably the best 3D platformer ever created.

    VP2 is pretty much exactly like the original Viva Pinata. I find the games thoroughly unattractive, but that’s because I hate all RTS-type games. Anne loves it, though.

  2. mhoye
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Ok, I’ve only played through the first two or three quests – I’ll keep going. (I never played the original Banjo Kazooie, sadly)

  3. Posted May 11, 2009 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    The game will let you play it badly, by using the default vehicles, but you really don’t want to do that. It’s very much a game where you have to make your own fun, like people thought Spore was going to be before it turned out that they forgot to put a game into Spore.

    The original Banjo-Kazooie is on XBLA, but… well, old games are basically a novelty, I’m afraid. They just don’t hold up well compared to modern game design. (Except for Joust, which, hey, is also single-couch co-op. To begin with.)

  4. Posted May 12, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I’m going to pick up VF5 this weekend I think, so the kiddo and I can beat the snot out of each other from the same couch. Usually we’re chasing each other around with the swords in Halo 3, but I really hate split screen games, and I think he’ll get a kick out of VF and it’s considerably less violent than its siblings in the genre (at least it was back in the day, I haven’t played VF sine the mid 90s PC version).

  5. deb
    Posted May 12, 2009 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Which console? Xbox360?

  6. Posted May 12, 2009 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Should be easy to find kid-friendly games for the Wii, since it comes with the kid gloves permanently attached.

    The Lego series are a solid bet, especially once children have started playing with Duplo and are aware how such things work. They probably wouldn’t be able to hold the controller much before that anyway. Will had a go at Lego Star Wars back in the autumn and he sort of liked it. Having things explode in a rain of Lego pieces instead blood when things go wrong is always good. Attention span for anything is still an issue, but I’d rather not have him turn into a drooling game addict (like his father) just yet anyway.

    Ironically, Will’s favorite game so far is the zen meditation game from Wii sports where the goal is to sit still and just stare at the candle. Pure escapism! ;)

  7. mhoye
    Posted May 12, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, the 360. I’ve been avoiding the Wii – there’s nothing there for me, really, aside from the last Metroid Prime and maybe Super Mario Galaxy.

  8. Posted May 12, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, the Lego games on the 360 are co-op, and very forgiving co-op at that.

  9. Posted May 12, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    But you’ve probably played all of them on your DS already…

  10. Mike Hoye
    Posted May 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, I haven’t played those on my DS. I’ve been avoiding them, hearing that the DS versions are buggy.

  11. Darcy
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I don’t know why I’m chiming on a Gaming conversation, except that Cate and I regularly compete in Forza. Our driving skills on the 360 are about at par, except that unlike her, I restrain myself from rotating the remote sideways in an effort to stop the car crashing into the wall.

  12. mhoye
    Posted May 29, 2009 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Darcy: That is _awesome_.

  13. Jamie
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Wait wait, you have to give up Bioshock when you have kids? Did no one send me the memo? :)

    On the subject at hand, I agree that the Lego games are the way to go. Plus, it involves Star Wars and Indiana Jones, which is already win from the start.