In response to "Real-Life Sidekick" from The Escapist Forum: The co-op experience in SMG (I've only played 1 so far) is the only co-op experience I have ever enjoyed.

Years ago, I played as the "passive" helper when my then-boyfriend was making his first trek through Super Mario Galaxy, and I was delighted that I could be involved in gaming with him without actually being responsible for screwing up his plans, since he was a much more experienced gamer than I was.

Now, I'm a moderately experienced gamer, and I'm playing through Super Mario Galaxy with a friend. This time I'm playing as Mario, and my friend is the sidekick, and though I offer to switch with him every time, he insists that he enjoys the lower-pressure experience. When he was playing Portal, I sat next to him and was essentially the unequal sidekick, helping him solve puzzles while he handled the timing and maneuvers.

If anything, I think these sorts of co-op experiences are the gateway drugs that can lead newbie gamers in deeper.

And one more reason to love unequal co-op: Since the game can be played without the helper partner, there's no pressure to wait for the helper to feel like playing the game/be available to play/whatever. The helper can drift in and out of the game hour-by-hour or session-by-session without screwing over their partner.

- affabletoaster

This, oddly enough, reminds me of my experience with Kingdom Hearts and KH2.

This may take a little explaining. I tried PLAYING both games, but found them too simplistic for my liking. I enjoy watching them though, and my flatmate adores them with a passion.

Then one day, while watching her in a Gummi Ship section of KH1, I noticed she only ever used unlocked blueprints, and never bothered to make her own ships "It's too complicated - I can't be bothered with it"

So I became her mechanic, designing and building Gummi Ships for her to fly. It gave me more enjoyment in the game, and I share a measure of her success when a new high score is achieved.

In KH2, I've designed more ships than I did for KH1, mainly because my KH1 ship design just got upgrades when more advanced parts became available, whereas KH2 inspired more diversity in the design process.

Kind of the reverse situation, really. I'm more the hardcore gamer, and she's the casual player, but I'm her sidekick for a game we can both enjoy.

- obliviondoll

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In response to "A Paean to Floyd" from The Escapist Forum: There was something about text-based games. They require more creativity, both on the side of the developer and the player. They give the opportunity to provide more variety than almost anything else.

Above all, they demonstrate the power of good writing and the involvement you feel when you interact with a story. It's much like a good horror movie/game, like in last weeks Extra Credits: The unknown is scary, because your mind can conjure up much more horrible images than, well, actual images. What some people might not realize is this applies to everything. The human imagination is a powerful thing!

- aldowyn

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