Important-looking people with jumbles of mostly inscrutable letters appended to their names would have us believe that, generally speaking at least, women are much more inclined to playing co-operative games. Whether it’s social conditioning and/or some evolutionarily determined byproduct of biology and/or prevailing ratios of red blood cells to double chocolate ice-cream, women are simply not as competitive as men when it comes to just about everything except maybe shoe sales*.
Whatever the reason then**, I do love me a good co-op game, and – the evidence would seem to show – so do most of my double-breasted sister-brethren***. Now, statistically, almost half of all gamers these days fall into this category, so why is it, I wonder, that good co-op games are so few and far between?
If you suspected this was nothing much more than a prelude to a big girly gush about Gears of War 3, you’re only mostly right.
Actually, my torrid love affair with co-op games goes back to the original game, which I played with my identical twin sister shortly after launch in 2006, and in doing so, discovered a brave new world of multiplayer gaming – and, significantly, one in which my erratic twitch-Instagib skills were almost entirely inconsequential.
Our genetically-powered monozygotic hivemind notwithstanding, here was a game that actually required us to work together as a team, instead of pop-shotting each other from the top of that table by the window on the Winter Chalet map in Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear to hysterical shrieks of “I TOTALLY KNEW YOU WERE THERE!” and “I TOTALLY KNOW!” and “I TOTALLY KNEW THAT YOU TOTALLY KNEW!”. We’d finally found a video game**** that let us do what we do best – thinking and playing as a united force of intergalactic justice.
Since then, we’ve 2-, 3-, and 4-upped in a bunch of games, including Halo 3, Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, Army of Two, and of course, both Gears of War sequels.
With the addition of 4-player campaign co-op, as well as the Horde and new Beast modes in Gears of War 3, the series has perhaps finally realised its greatest potential in offering more socially-oriented gamers – including women! – a very substantial and fully-featured “hardcore” experience.
One of the big questions in the gaming industry these days is “What do women want?” Gears of War 3 has nailed it, and without subscribing to obvious and stupid gender-based contrivances, instead presenting a superb game that almost coincidentally happens to have tremendous appeal to women.
… Okay, okay, and the neon pink weapon skins are pretty cool too. Which isn’t an obvious and stupid gender-based contrivance, just sexy style.
* Get between me and the only size 6, and I swear it, there’s going to be an Ion Painter pointed at your car from close orbit when you leave this mall.
** And it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I’m mostly kind of rubbish at versus multiplayer.
*** Distinguished from my double-breasted brethren-brethren, if we’re going with gamer demographic stereotypes. Derp.
**** As opposed to a board game. We’d been previously thwarted on the board game front after our friends made the controversial “The twins aren’t allowed on the same team in 30 Seconds” ruling of 2004.