Gamer Couples on One Controller

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January 21, 2013 by mattjozanovic

Attentive couple playing video game together in the living room  Stock Photo - 10172174There are some pretty awesome games out there for gamer couples. Unfortunately, there are a lot of couples out there who only have one gamer in their party. What do you do when your non-gaming, significant other wants to watch a movie or a TV show? Games are becoming increasingly cinematic, which is perfect for the gaming odd couple. The following ten games can be, and have been, enjoyed both as superb games and very entertaining stories.

Alan Wake

This game revolves around a writer who is living out a novel he doesn’t remember writing. This is a very creepy story where you are never quite sure whether what is going on is happening in Alan’s head or is in fact real. This game also has good characters and a lot of action. Alan Wake is composed of six main episodes and two DLC episodes. Each episode takes about an hour to complete, which makes it pretty much like watching a TV show. Each episode is introduced by a very television-like “Previously on Alan Wake…” recap of the last episode.

Great for: people who liked watching Lost or Twin Peaks.
Terrible for: people who are afraid of the dark.

The Walking Dead: Season 1

One of the best games of 2013 is also one of the most compelling and watchable stories. Like Alan Wake, the story is broken up into five episodic parts and also has a “previously on” section. The special part about The Walking Dead is that all of the decisions actually change the ‘season’ that plays out. Characters who die do not carry over into the remaining episodes. The story revolves around escaped convict Lee as he goes to great lengths to keep a little girl safe. The player and audience becomes emotionally attached to these characters, which are some of the most well-written and believable in gaming history. Having to decide who will live and who will die is as gut-wrenching and compelling as it sounds.

Great for: people who like The Walking Dead TV series.
Terrible for: people who hate cel shade animation.

Uncharted Golden Abyss 06 Review   |   Uncharted: Golden AbyssThe Uncharted Series

As Karyn mentioned before, the Uncharted games are great for couples. The amazing graphics, the well-written characters, and the superb action sequences will leave the player and audience at the edge of their seats. This is the sort of stuff that big-budget blockbusters want to be. Naughty Dog manages to maintain this sort of experience over several games is nothing short of astonishing.

Great for: people who like Indiana Jones.
Terrible for: people who hate guns, shoot outs, and explosions.

Heavy RainHeavy Rain

There is so much that makes Quantic Dream’s ambitious serial killer opera a special game. There are four main characters in the game, and the player takes turns playing as each one of them as their paths interweave into a magnificent achievement in video game storytelling. Any one of the four characters can die, but the game continues without them: the story moves on through the remaining characters. Each play through is a unique experience, and it’s also possible that any one of the characters you play as can turn out to be the villain, the infamous Origami Killer. Combining the multiple story arcs with gorgeous visuals, meaningful decision making, and really intense action sequences, Heavy Rain offers an immensely entertaining experience for both the player and the audience.

Great for: people who like Seven, The Cell, and Saw (the original).
Terrible for: people who are uncomfortable with graphic violence and adult situations.

L.A. Noire

What makes this game as much fun to watch as it does to play is that the couple can work together in search of clues, investigate witnesses, and are rewarded by cracking cases. The game is broken up on a case-by-case basis, and is a lot like watching a TV show in that regard. The facial animations are fantastic and really make you feel like the characters seem like real people with real problems. This game is not for the squeamish as it doesn’t shy away from extreme violence or nudity in depicting the crime victims.

Great for: people who like L.A. Confidential or Chinatown.
Terrible for: people who hate 50’s noire.

BioShock

Take a journey to Rapture. What was once intended as an underwater utopia offering objectivism in a world of capitalists and communists has instead turned into a nightmarish city in turmoil. This game explores what happens to a society when nonexistent morality meets unfathomable power. Bioshock is a treat to view, showing us never before seen visuals like a functional city under the Atlantic Ocean and a retro-futuristic art-deco aesthetic. This game is over seven years old and is still a beautiful game. The story is enjoyable for the player and the audience because it encourages intelligent discourse, explores the player’s moral choices, and has a very twisted story. BioShock Infinite is right around the corner.

Great for: people who like suspense, scares, and breathtaking visuals.
Terrible for: people who don’t like sci-fi.

Halflife 2_1Half-Life 2

Imagine a world where an alien force has conquered earth and is slowly and calmly subjugating humanity into docile slaves (or worse). The few pockets of resistance are swiftly removed. Only Gordon Freeman is qualified to liberate Earth. Not because you are stronger, but because you are smarter. Great voice acting and exciting, action packed sequences make this an enjoyable ride for both the player and their partner.

Great for: people who like zombies, aliens, action, and sci-fi.
Terrible for: people who don’t like mixed genres.

Portal 2

Portal 2 multiplayer is a great game for couples, but the single player is just as enjoyable for two people. This game has three of the most memorable and funny characters in all of video games: GLaDOS, Wheatley, and Cave Johnson. When I say funny, I mean genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. Throw in some impressively challenging puzzles — where a second set of eyes are appreciated — and you have a recipe for a great night.

Great for: Sci-fi fans and people who like the Half-Life series.
Terrible for: people who hate puzzles.

Shadow of the Colossus

This is one of the most acclaimed and well-regarded games of the last console generation. Playing and watching this game is both a melancholy and meditative experience. It has a very minimalistic approach that plays well into being a watchable experience. There are only 16 enemies total, but those enemies provide some of the most tense and thrilling combat ever. All in all, this emotional journey can be very enjoyable for the open-minded and artistically inclined couple.

Great for: people who want to partake in a unique, artistic experience.
Terrible for: a person whose significant other is terrible at platform gaming.

Red Dead Redemption

This game provides, what is thus far, the most authentic western gaming experience ever, which is the very reason why it is so fun to play. Red Dead Redemption lets you tame wild horses, duel bandits, engage in shootouts, save distressed maidens, meet unique and bona-fide characters, play Texas Hold-em, and hunt bounties. All of that is wrapped up in a heartfelt and easy to follow story of man trying to save family.

Great for: people who like Deadwood or The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Terrible to watch when: it comes to traveling long-distances on a horse.

2 thoughts on “Gamer Couples on One Controller

  1. I’m at a loss as to why ‘Portal 2′ was included over ‘Enslaved: Odyssey to the West’.

    • Enslaved is a great game. Don’t get me wrong. But considering Enslaved is very combat heavy in parts, I doubt a partner would enjoy those sections. At least Portal 2 is consistently hilarious, and when there is no dialogue there are mind-bending puzzles to be solved, where another person can offer input, ideas, and solutions. And I wanted to keep the list to 10, which was tough, because there obviously are a lot of good games.

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