In favor of cooperation in games
Chris Bateman has an interesting post in his blog about the fact that cooperation is often overlooked in the video game industry. This is fact I fully acknowledge because part of my work is devoted to the study of sociocognitive processes involved in cooperation/collaboration (related to technological artifacts) and another part is about doing "user experience" R&D for video-game companies. Bateman's feeling is really what i felt when talking to some game designers. He tries to promote new game design concepts that would take this dimension into account:
The most basic form of this kind of play is the team game. A typical team game is based around each player having the same capabilities; in essence, the game provides multiple avatars, one for each player... Gauntlet (...) Mostly, we see two player team games which we could term partner games - like the co-op mode in Halo, the two player rampages in San Andreas. In a partner game, it is usually possible for the players to play independently, co-operating only when a particularly difficult problem blocks their path. Some partner games take this further, usually by exploiting some measure of asymmetry to define separate roles. (...) upport play. The main player does all the work, but the second player has the potential to contribute support to the main play. (...) tutor play. It is often the case when a player comes to a game for the first time that they will be taught to play be a second player.
Why do I blog this? I definitely agree with what he describes and it's very interesting to see how a practitioner reach the same conclusion (in terms of cooperation types) as coordination/collaboration theorists. Variables like partners asymetry/roles, tutor roles, players' contribution are very often cited in this literature.