Video games have long encouraged collaboration and cooperation. Even from my early days of playing on the SNES, I much preferred the multiplayer games where you got to work together with someone else to fight the big bad bosses. I would always volunteer to play the helper role in Kirby (partly for the teamwork aspect, but partly because it wouldn’t matter too much if I died repeatedly).
Huddle compiled a nice collection of some of the greatest duos of video games, from Banjo and Kazooie to the characters from Contra, which illustrates how well received teamwork in gaming can be. Even though players are working towards their own high scores, these games encourage cooperation through superordinate goals, i.e. the baddies (Thank you, PSYC101!).
(Image Source: Kapuchu)
To add to the greatness of teamwork, studies have suggested that the awesome efforts of virtual collaboration in fact carry over to real life tasks. An experiment by Qie and team found that participants performed better in a real world collaborative problem-solving task after having played a video game as a team compared to those that participated a single player video game (Qiu et al, 2009). If anyone is interested, you can read the full study here.
My partner is involved in a lot of teamwork with his games, his work, as well as his other hobbies (he’s quite an impressive soccer player). It kinda makes me wonder how much of his team skills developed from his sports translate to his gaming, and vice versa..?
The only time I have seen my partner truly suck at the teamwork thing is when we have been playing multiplayer Super Mario Bros together on the Wii. With this version of Mario, you pick up another player and carry/throw them, which can be a very good tactic to defeat baddies. My partner, however, knowing that I often lack the coordination to get past the lava pits and other tricky obstacles, prefers to use this function to pick me up and complete the rest of the level with me on his shoulders so I don’t hold him up. That, or he picks me up and throws me off the edge or into the jaws of a baddie to amuse himself. Hmmm yeah, I’m, uh… taking one for the team.