When you think about multiplayer gaming, online shooters and MMORPGs generally come to mind. However, these games largely require you to connect to servers or other players to enjoy their multiplayer components.
Very rarely when developers refer to multiplayer games do they mean local multiplayer anymore, colloquially referred to as "couch co-op". Previously a feature that came standard with most new games, couch co-op has seemingly fallen by the wayside to the untrained eye. But assuming that it's gone the way of the dinosaur would be making a huge mistake. Couch co-op is still alive and thriving in a big way. Some could even say it's making a comeback, according to recent industry trends. Down? Sure. But co-op gaming is absolutely not out.
In a world where the internet is essentially required for just about any basic function when it comes to modern games, couch co-op can be a boon for players who just want to hang out with friends or family in their living room and enjoy a good, old-fashioned game without having to connect with strangers or rely on their internet to stay connected while trying to game.
With the popularity of the Nintendo Switch and gaming having become more of a mainstream hobby than ever before, it's also attracted a more wide variety of players -- many of whom don't want to pay for the highest tier of internet speeds, and many who would prefer to keep their gaming hobbies localized to their immediate friends and family to avoid trolls, griefing, and the other unpleasantries that can come with gaming online.
It's easy to understand why. Not only have players mostly been forced to remain indoors for the past couple of years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the current world climate isn't exactly the safest to put yourself out there and meet new people. It can feel cold and uncaring -- which can drive players to want to look inward to the people they're living with or feel safe around for their regular activities, including gaming.
And you don't need to look far to see proof. Hazelight Studios' It Takes Two is an action-adventure platformer that relies on two players to make its co-op action work. You can play online with a friend, of course, but much of the draw has been from husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, boyfriends and girlfriends, or close friends playing in person together. If there's a viable example of how important couch co-op can still be, this game is it.