Asking "what was the first co-op game?" we need to clarify what exactly we mean by cooperative play. In this particular case, USGamer defines it as the first interactive entertainment that can be played together. And the first cooperative game can be called Fire Truck.
The first video games appeared in the 1970s. Rather, the video games as we know them today appeared. Not only technical programs created "for fun" by amateur technicians and reproduced on vector monitors in the 1950s, but full-featured entertainment for the general public. From Atari to Taito, arcade classics like Pong and Asteroids have emerged, challenging players to battle each other or the computer. This was until the late 1970s, when the developers came up with the idea to unite players into teams.
Finding the first real co-op game turned out to be much more difficult than it seemed at first. Since it was necessary to take into account the existence of MUD [multiplayer text online game] phenomenon, which is described in the work "Friendly Orange Glow: The Story", devoted to the PLATO system and proto-games in the 1950s and 1960s.
The very first co-op game remains a rather mysterious thing. But there seems to be one Atari game that most people cite as at least one of the very first co-op games that can be played together - Fire Truck.
Atari Fire Truck was a two-player arcade machine released in 1978, and it may just be the first true two-player game. The Fire Truck, based on Atari's Super Bug released in the arcades a year earlier, is a race, but it has no opponents. Instead, two players work together to drive the fire truck - one player in the front and the other in the back, and they try not to crash while driving the long truck. Fire trucks are notoriously difficult to drive in real life, so at the very least this is not a race, but a driving game about trying not to crash.
As you might guess, everything happens on a black-and-white display, where a street and a pixel machine are drawn. The player in front controls the gas, brake and steering of the fire truck, while the player in the rear controls and controls the rear of the truck. The first player has a beep and the second has a bell, but this is not necessary for the gameplay. It's just a silly way to piss each other off. The roads twist and twist, making it difficult to drive - but that's the point!
In an interview with DigitPress, programmer Howard Delman, who has worked on games like Snake Pit, Asteroids and Fire Truck, says the idea for a truly cooperative project came naturally.
“The game came about as a result of a brain storm in which someone asked:“ Why aren't there two player racing games? “I think the reason was that no one could understand what it would be. But someone remembered that fire trucks needed two cooperating drivers, and so the game was born. I can't remember how Fire Truck came to be a sequel to Super Bug, but it was, ”Delman said of Fire Tuck.
There was also a single player version of Fire Truck called Smokey Joe. Delman described creating a single-player game as one of the most challenging aspects of its development, as he had to program computer intelligence that could control the front or back of a truck instead of another player.
“I did it, but it took a lot of tweaking to get something that could feel normal, without feeling like the AI was doing nothing,” Delman said.
Fire Truck and ultra-niche RPGs are the only things for players who want to play together.
This was the era spawned by the iconic 1972 Pong, when players hit a simple ball back and forth in a virtual tennis game. Games like this were intense and fun, while most competitive games lacked the spirit to give both players an equal dose of fun. Arcade games in general were often solitary in those days. The Fire Truck was one of a kind.
The use of the Fire Truck co-op paved the way for other arcade games for two, such as Midway projects like Wizard of Wor or Williams Electronics Joust. Joust, in particular, was a watershed moment for arcade games. It was neither science fiction nor fantasy like most arcade games of the era. Instead, he had a humorous medieval style, where one or two players controlled a knight on a stork or ostrich, battling enemies on screen.
Looking back at Fire Truck's damn simple vanity, it's easy to see its roots in modern co-op games today. In Overcooked, an equally challenging but fun co-op game, multiple players play together to prepare meals for customers. In Archon mode in StarCraft 2, players work together to create a unified base. This year in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, even single Nintendo Switch families can share an island, working together to share goals. As with Fire Truck, this isn't always fun. In the same way that reversing a truck can cause a fire engine to crash into a wall, today it's burnt food in Overcooked, squabbles during base construction in StarCraft 2, or materials management in New Horizons.
Meanwhile, the definition of a cooperative has steadily become increasingly perverted over time. Games like Left 4 Dead and Gears of War have popularized what is most perceived as modern co-op: a team of players facing hordes of computer-controlled opponents. But there are many other varieties of co-op, including MMORPGs, online survival games, and rhythm games like Rock Band. Whatever form she is in, teamwork is the key to good play together; not just play with someone, but collaborate.
The Topic of Article: What was the first co-op game?.