How-To Geek

What You Said: Your Favorite Co-Op Games

While competitive gaming is fun, reader response to this week’s Ask the Readers question shows that good old beat-the-bad-guys-together cooperative gaming is as popular as ever. Read on to see what your fellow readers are playing.

By far the most popular nomination for favorite co-op game was an outright classic: 1987’s smash hit Contra. Originally released as an arcade game, it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. Contra was groundbreaking for the time as it featured simultaneous play for the two players–you and a friend could play side by side without waiting to take your turn. Clearly that kind of side-by-side play resonated with readers. RJ writes:

When my fiance and I played and beat Contra on the NES. I knew she was the one and we got married and its been great.

That’s no small feat; Contra was voted “Toughest Game to Beat” by readers. Even readers who had moved on to newer games still recall Contra fondly; Jami writes:

The Gears of War trilogy on 360 is my favorite co-op currently, although I do have fond memories of bonding with my brother playing some co-op Contra on the NES.

While Contra is, indisputably, one of the earliest and most influential co-op games, there was plenty of love for modern titles too. Elle writes:

From the old days on the NES we used to really enjoy Double Dragon and Contra. Currently we enjoy mostly PC games such as Diablo, Borderlands, Trine, Magicka…etc. So happy coop is catching up back again.

We’re so happy it’s becoming popular again, too. There’s a slew of games from the last few years both on the PC and on consoles that have brought the magic of working through a game side by side with a friend back.

For more entries to populate your co-op gaming wish list, hit up the full comment thread here.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/12/12

Comments (11)

  1. Jeremy


    It had to be said…

  2. vtzete0

    If we are talking Contra, then Life Force deserves a honorable mention.

  3. Psyduck

    If you odn’t use the cheat code, you cant win!!

  4. Srivatsan Venkatesh

    Lifeforce. Nuff said.

  5. Scott

    Hey How to Geek, I’ve visited your site for a long time, but I have a suggestion and it may even gain you more visitors. Try implementing a new commenting system like

    I think that’d it look much nicer and I know that it’s really easy to implement.

  6. r

    …I only play games with women

  7. Dark Reality


    The problem with every other co-op game mentioned thus far is that both players are doing the same thing. Nothing wrong with that, and some games have worked that advantage into the system well. Borderlands for example. It just doesn’t add anything.

    Rockband isn’t the best co-op game, but it’s pretty damn cool. Up to seven people (guitarist, bassist, drummer, keyboardist, and three singers) in Rockband 3 or up to four (guitarist, bassist, drummer, vocalist) in the others all working toward the same goal but with different jobs. While achieving the highest accuracy is your main goal, timing the Overdrive powerup with everybody, or balancing between score pursuit or helping a buddy get through a rough patch… it’s not easy, especially if pride gets in the way of selecting a difficulty lower than Expert. And good music is usually involved, so that always helps.

    And for the record, my brother and I beat Contra and Life Force, and many others, such as Bad Dudes, POW, Double Dragon, and Battletoads, on co-op. Usually he would last far longer than I did. I’ve never been that good (and some of those qualify as “NES hard” difficulty) but I held my own for a while. Life Force was my favorite of the lot, followed by POW and Bad Dudes. Contra, Double Dragon, and Battletoads were aggravatingly difficult.

  8. Justin

    I got my girlfriend addicted to Rock Band 3. I agree with Dark Reality, lots of fun with others. She even went out and bought the Beatles edition.

  9. adeel

    rolling thunder on SEGA!

  10. Jer

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game was what we played till our thumbs hurt.. but for us,the whole co-op thing started way earlier on the Atari 7800.. Asteroids was the joint my man!

    Can’t forget about Jackal though. Later on it was Secret of Mana and the rest is history..

  11. Stu

    Guys, and gals, let us not forget

    Gun – Freaking – Star – HEROS!!!

    Long game, awesome sound track, awesome sound effects, a nice story and just when you think you are done? BAM only half the game! No save states no easiness. Get a buddy do all your work done early and just go at all day!

    Same thing with Streets of Rage!

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