8. Nana - “Ice Climbers”
Being a girl was either amazing (because you were a girl and yay!) or awful (because you were a boy and ewww cooties!) but either way there was something cathartic about clubbing your way through baby seals, yetis and polar bears to get your eggplant back from that thieving bird.
Plus this was no cooperative game, more of a blood sport.
Oh sure, you could work together for the greater good, but like any great forced alliance, eventually one of you must die for there is only enough eggplant on this mountain for one.
7. Zitz - “Battletoads”
While a difficult game in its own right, Battletoads became nigh on impossible once the second player joined in. At first, one of you would accidentally kill the other one, then “accidentally,” then all hell broke loose and it became a free-for-all of backstabbing.
Until you got to this level.
And then you turned the game off because two hours of rage-filled bike crashes are about all a human child can take.
6. Diddy Kong - “Donkey Kong Country”
Donkey Kong might have the brawn, but Diddy had the brains. Cartwheeling around to kill enemies like the world’s deadliest circus performer, Diddy could also out jump the lumbering larger Kong and, being the smart one, Diddy utilizes a Jetpack and a gun (of the peanut ammo variety).
And if your friends knew how to share, you could switch who was playing.
If they didn’t share well, you just silently willed them to die horribly so Diddy could complete the level and show them who should really be in control of the player one controller.
5. Earl - “ToeJam & Earl”
A co-operative game that shares a screen when players are close and splits into two when they’re not instead of forcing you to stay together to keep the screen moving? Yes please. And playing with a friend unlocked secret, hilarious dialogue never to be heard by the poor friendless only children? Huzzah!
4. Tails - “Sonic” Franchise
Why would you want to speed along the ground, crashing into spikes and enemies and losing rings willy-nilly when you could fly? Oh right, you wouldn’t. The Sonic series is one of the few games where kids got into arguments over who got to play the sidekick.
Plus, you could do this.
There’s no joy so exquisite than the cry of despair as Player One realizes they can’t go forward on the map until you’re ready to go.
3. The Turtles - “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
A true multi-player game, complete with more than two choices of character and no benefit to being the first player. Sure everyone was going to fight about being Donatello because of the insane range on his staff, but once that was settled it was time to kick Foot Solider butt and eat pizza while yelling “RADICAL!”
Besides, did you ever try to beat this game alone?
2. Red Pants - “Contra”
An adrenaline fueled co-operative game where a single hit kills you dead but you can jump around the screen like a caffeinated ninja all while firing machine guns and LASERS with unlimited ammo? What’s not to love.
Just look at this majestic co-operative play.
Look. At. It.
1. Luigi - “Super Mario Bros.” Franchise
Everyone loves an underdog. Luigi can do anything Mario can do, only in green and without the reward of a Princess at the end of the day. He was so loved, he actually made the rare leap from “player two” character to “main character” in his Luigi’s Mansion spin-off games.
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