CO-OP Live 0101 -- Mass Effect 2, Jonathan Mann, and YOU

Well, at least WE think it was a success. What do you think? What could have been improved? What actually worked really well? Any suggestions for new stuff we can try out? As for all of you that were worried there would be no “recorded” or archived version of the show, here it is! From what I hear, the flash-embedded version was up only an hour or so after the live broadcast finished. The download links went up only a few hours later, so from now on I’ll be doing these blog posts Tuesday evening when everything is up and live and available to download. More after the show:

Yes, there’s a lot of Mass Effect 2 in this show. We’ve wanted to spill our guts on this game for weeks and we figured for our first live show it would be best to focus on a single title and make that critique as high quality as possible rather than take on too much and have a weak premiere. Ryan, JayFresh, and myself put the game through its paces and find ourselves in eager anticipation of the end of the trilogy.

Our new format opens up all kinds of possibilities, not the least of which is the ability to have musical guests! We were able to bring in Jonathan Mann, famous video game musician, co-creator of the original CO-OP theme and unbelievably prolific musician thanks to his Song-A-Day project. Thanks for coming by and being such an integral part of the premiere, Mr. Mann!

And, of course, this is the first time we’ve been able to respond directly to you, the fans! We’re pretty candid as to why the change to live, how the new format comes together and, of course, what the hell happened to Rob??


How you can participate in CO-OP Live! Or: CO-OP Live Premieres TODAY at 4PM PST/7PM EST

You know how people on the freeway always seem to let their foot off the gas as they drive by an accident as though they were in some morbid, cinematic slow-mo; trying to catch a glimpse of whatever carnage ensued moments before? “A few minutes earlier and it could have been me,” some of them must be saying to themselves, drifting slowly by, craning their necks like carrion birds…

This is NOT how CO-OP Live plans to begin its life. There are a million moving pieces to a live production and we’ve been rehearsing them all until they’re as solidly integrated as the blocks of the fucking pyramids. Things will still go wrong, but we can guarantee you that what you won’t be getting is some dues sitting on a couch talking at the camera for an hour. Yes, there will be some dudes sitting on the cough talking about video games, but bear with us, it’s not what you think.

So where do you come in? We’re going to have dedicated fan segments that are going to come near the end of our show or at specifically planned times. In order to keep things snappy, we’re going to be tied to a schedule with someone yelling in our ears (no, really, we’ll have things in our ears like TV anchor people, how groovy is that?) when our time to yap about a game is up. We’ll bring you in afterward to agree or disagree with us, so write down those thoughts ahead of time.

For our first show (SPOILER), we’re going to have a special musical guest. After the first performance, we’re going to sit down with said guest and have a quick fan segment where you can ask him questions. He’ll do another song to play himself out and then we’ll come back to a full fan segment where everything is fair game. Just don’t ask Ryan to dance. Ryan doesn’t dance. Unless he’s drunk. Then he dances AWESOME. If you’re not already, follow @COOP_live on Twitter. You don’t really have to follow our show Twitter to participate, though. Just use @COOP_live anywhere in your Twitter post and we’ll see it! Our hope is that Twitter will be easier to manage than a chat room and that since we can control the flow on the page we won’t have to worry about stuff scrolling off the page before we get a chance to read it. Be patient with us, though, as there was no way to test this part of the show beforehand to any real capacity and it’s going to take us some time to get it running all swimmingly. All question and comments are welcome, but lame ones will be ignored.

Here’s a summary of the details”
- Bookmark
- The show starts at 4PM PST/7PM EST SHARP!
- Tweet to @COOP_live during our fan segments to get in on the act
- If you miss the show, it will be recorded and put out on the regular iTunes feed later tonight.

Lastly but not least-ly, we’re going to need your help! We hate lame shit as much as you do and CO-OP Live CANNOT be lame shit! Tell us what you think is awesome and want more of and what you think is terrible and want less of. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you and without you there’s no future for our show. Thank you, and enjoy (*crosses fingers*)!


CO-OP LIVE Starting February 9th, 4PM PST/7PM EST -- Follow coop_live on Twitter to join in!

You may have seen this announcement already, but here’s the post where we spill our guts on all the details. Can we do this?? YES! Can we do it without screwing up, live, for the world to see? Probably not. That’s the theme of this announcement video. Watch it, first, and then read below for how you can be a part of the show!

First off, a lot of people have wanted to know what’s going to happen to their CO-OP iTunes feed. You won’t have to subscribe to a new feed as CO-OP Live will go right into the same CO-OP feed you’ve been using. While we’ll be recording live, once we’re done the show will be re-compressed and uploaded as per the norm and those of you unable to watch the shenanigans (oh, and there will be shenanigans) as they happen will still get the full show delivered to you later Tuesday night. The same series of download links will also be available.

Big thanks to Dylan Kenney for the new theme song we’re going to be using starting next Tuesday! He’s a fantastically talented musician and his music fits the soul of our new show and the new/old logo perfectly! Why is this logo new/old instead of just new? Because it’s what indie game designer Phil Fish originally came up with wa-hay back in the day when we were first slapping our show and our business together! He’s also the creator of the upcoming game Fez and the creator of the Area 5 logo at the top of this page.

That original CO-OP logo was deemed by some powers that be that it wasn’t “gamer” enough, but we’ve always had a soft spot in our collective heart for it and with the launch of a show that will hopefully involve you as much as it does us, it honestly felt more fitting. CO-OP Live should eventually become truly, er, cooperative. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you and now it’s time to bring you into the act. Make sure to follow coop_live on Twitter and during certain times of the show we’ll be using that to talk directly with you. Revision3 apparently has some kind of live chat-room software that could possibly be up by next Tuesday, so keep an eye out for that as well on the Revision3 CO-OP page, though I don’t have the details yet as to how/if it’s going to work.

Essentially, the course of our new show is thus: we’re going to shoot and mix game review/preview, interview and—a first for us—game demo segments live on the show. We’ll have as many guests on as we can as per the CO-OP norm and once a conversation is over, we’ll bring in you, the audience, for your thoughts on what was just said. Now’s your change to tell Ryan and I, directly, that we’re idiots for not liking Demon’s Souls. Also, you’ll have your chance to make fun of us to our virtual faces for making extremely hyperbolic claims or badly forming our sentences as we’re not going to be able to edit them out like we normally do. What, you thought we only edited around gameplay footage? Oh ho ho, if you only really knew the kind of shit that’s hit the cutting room floor… Well, I guess now you will.

We have a lot of plans for other kinds of segments we can introduce thanks to this new format, and most of them would have been impossible in the original CO-OP format (can you say: musical guest?). Still, our goal is to keep as much of our style as we can. We want conversations, not talking heads. Criticism, not just score run-downs and we want to shoot the show in a way that isn’t just static cameras locked to some people in the center of the screen. Our goal is to make the Area 5 mark on the live format and apply as much of our style to it as we can, even though we’re going to be on a regular set instead of shooting guerilla-style about San Francisco as we normally do.

But that’s not to say that pre-edited work is going to go away! We’re actually hoping that the live format saves us enough time that we can go back to making Area 5 Snacks and other shorts. We’re going to have to work up to that, though, so please be patient with us as we work out the kinks in our live show and really spit-polish it to that sheen that we’ve all come to know and love in our more traditional work.

So what about CO-OP? Technically, CO-OP is a separate IP and we’re signing a separate contract with Revision3 for CO-OP Live. That means it could, technically, come back. Will it? Not soon, no. Not unless someone wants to sign a deal with us to do it again, but we’re still very open to the possibility. Our work with the new, resurgent, so-cutting-edge-that-it-practically-bleeds Electronic Gaming Monthly will be the most immediate place you’ll have to see our edited work. So far all we’ve done for EGM is gameplay clips, but that’s going to change, and soon. You’re going to like what we/they have in store :)

Our hope, though, is that CO-OP Live can be even more important to your gaming entertainment life than even CO-OP was! So come back every week. Chat with us directly, comment here or on the Revision3 forums and let us know how we can improve the show. Our new format is going to make us more versatile than ever and more able to quickly adapt to changes and suggestions and while we’re definitely going to need your patience while we get things running smoothly (we think it’ll take us several shows), we’re also going to need your help in making it its very best!


CO-OP 0315 -- Reflections 2009: Part 2 -- Borderlands, Flower, Dragon Age, Street Fighter IV, and Many More

It’s the second part of our epic, 2009 year-in-review special! We assembled a crew of the finest CO-OP regulars to share what their favorite games of 2009 wound up to be. This isn’t a “Game of the Year” rank-a-thon, but rather a recollection of what made 2009 such a freakin’ awesome year for gamers! More after the show:

Since this is a part 2, obviously we’ve got the same, awesome crew of CO-OP friends on hand!
- From Bitmob, Dan Hsu.
- Tyler Barber of RebelFM fame and as well as regular work for GameSpy.
- Kat Bailey, a frequent, favorite guest of ours and a freelancer at large.
- Long-time blogger Tiff Chow.
- Justin Haywald and David Ellis from

This week we reminisce fondly about Borderlands, Flower, Street Fighter 4, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Mad World, Demon’s Souls, Dragon Age, HALO: ODST, ‘Splosion Man, Spelunky, and more! We loved 2009. You loved 2009! Holy crap-face was it a good year to be a gamer!


CO-OP 0314 -- Reflections 2009: Part 1 -- Batman, Uncharted 2, Red Faction, Infamous, & Many More

2009 was a very good year—for video games. While much of the rest of the world is suffering an “economic downturn,” to put it politely, the creators of gaming goodness out there haven’t seemed to notice. We gather a bunch of CO-OP regulars for a giant, two-parter round table that delves into what was truly an epic year for the greatest medium ever invented by humankind. More after the show:

Our 2009 retrospective was too big and too long to fit into a single episode, so our crew and friends agreed to hang around for over three hours of filming so that we’d have plenty of time to go into what was such a huge, packed year for gaming.

We’ve been hugely thankful for all the amazing guests we’ve had on CO-OP throughout 2009, and we’re doubly grateful to have so many of them show up for this show.
- From Bitmob, Dan Hsu.
- Tyler Barber of RebelFM fame and as well as regular work for GameSpy.
- Kat Bailey, a frequent, favorite guest of ours and a freelancer at large.
- Long-time blogger Tiff Chow.
- Justin Haywald and David Ellis from

Of course we talked about all of our favorites and, hopefully, some of yours, including: Uncharted 2, Killzone 2, Assassin’s Creed 2 (seeing a lot of 2’s), Batman: Arkham Asylum, Shadow Complex, Fat Princess, Infamous, Red Faction, Trine, Plants vs. Zombies and, yes, MORE! Your favorite not in this episode? Come back next week and you’ll likely see it there.


CO-OP 0313 -- Time Capsule -- Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, Saboteur

Do you remember what your gamer self was doing in 2000? Neither did we, but that’s why we made a time capsule. What would have been important enough to us at the time to put in it? More after the show:

Ryan, JayFresh, and Cesar are all huge fans of Capy Games’ new gem, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. It’s an amazing new puzzle/tactical-RPG almagamation of awesome. They dive into why this absolutely should be part of your DS library.

Exploring an open-world game as a WWII terrorist intent on giving Nazi’s a bad time in Paris may, on the surface, seem like a rippin’ good time, and it is! Of course every open-world experience seems to have its share of quirks and Saboteur is no different. The much-vaunted “boobies experience” actually takes quite the back seat to the slightly marred gameplay of the rest of the game world.


CO-OP 0312 -- Snack Time -- Digital Shorts Special

We’re on vacation this week, but we still wanted to get something out there to help fill up all that extra hard drive space you’ve got lying around. Yeah, this week’s show is really short, but we hope the quality makes up for the quantity! If you’ve been following us since the beginning (meaning even before CO-OP showed up on Revision3), you might be familiar with “Area 5 Snacks.” They’re digital shorts that we were putting together in the early days before we found out we needed to make money to stay in business. Here’s all four of them in a row. We would disavow these if we could, but we’ve all got our legacies to live up (or down, as the case may be). More after the show:

These are fun for us. It gives us a chance to flex our filmmaking muscles while being quick to put together. We’re hoping we can get back into doing more of these in the future, but we’re going to have to find a way to expand our asset base, first. Whoa, look at that! I can talk like a business guy! Anyway, let us know what you think. Would you like to see more of this kind of thing or should we stick to game reviews/previews?


CO-OP 0311 -- 10,000 Deaths by 1,000,000 Bullets -- Multiplayer Shooter Special

First of all, Jason makes a fashion statement in this show I think we’re destined to see become a gamer standard. Comfort being key and all.

Multiplayer shooters can have an incredibly long tail if done correctly and maintained well by the developer. We assemble a roundtable to talk about our favorites. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Team Fortress 2, Uncharted 2, Killzone 2 Battlefield 1943, HALO, are just the more modern offerings that make an appearance. We even delve into some classics like Quake! More after the show:

And who’s on this week’s multiplayer shooter panel? Why that would be Dan Hsu and Brett Bates from, Kat Baily, RebelFM and badass Tyler Barber, and representing Area 5: Myself and Ryan. Yes, we know Left 4 Dead 2 didn’t make it into this week’s show. Originally we had planned on it being featured, but the natural flow of the conversation kept it from getting hte full coverage it deserves, so it will get its own, proper segment in our second show in January. I know I’ve been promising it for weeks now in our comments, but I think you’ll agree that it’s better to give it its due.

What are some of your favorite multiplayer shooters? What do you continue to go back to month after month, or even year after year? For my money it’s Tribes 2, kept up and moving thanks to the fantastic community of TribesNext. I installed it to capture the few minutes of footage we needed for this week’s show and I haven’t stopped playing it since!


CO-OP 0310 -- Android Vs. iPhone. FIGHT! -- Mass Effect 2, James Cameron's Avatar: The Game, LittleBigPlanet (PSP)

Android or iPhone? Perhaps not a nerd debate to be decided in a single episode, but that didn’t stop Cesar and Rob from taking some … extreme measures. Fortunately their adorable little feud didn’t harm our interview with Mass Effect 2 producer Adrien Cho when we got to go check out the game last week. More after the show:

LittleBigPlanet rightly made an impact upon gamers worldwide when it hit last year. Strange, then, that except for some television commercials almost no one is talking about the PSP version. In perhaps one of the closest handheld-to-console experiences to date, the online, creator-mixmaster nature of LittleBigPlanet isn’t one you’d expect to be so excellently made for a handheld system. Ryan and I talk about why this mostly-overlooked gem shouldn’t be overlooked.

A huge thanks to Adrien Cho, a producer on Mass Effect 2, for taking the time to talk to us during the Mass Effect 2 preview event last week. JayFresh was the lucky bastard that got to represent Area 5 and play the game for a few hours, but these big-game preview events are always a reunion of sorts for us in games media and our friends Jeff Cannata of some show that I hear is both Totally and Rad stuck around to talk with him and Demian Linn and Brett Bates, both of BitMob, about why ME2 is looking (surprise surprise) like yet another BioWare success story.

Biggest movie of the holiday season? Almost definitely. Biggest game of the holiday season? It’ll undoubtedly do well in terms of game sales, but Ryan, myself and 1UP’s Justin Haywald all agree that “meh” is the best, one-word descriptor you can give James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game. It’s not bad, it’s just altogether a mediocre experience. Which, with movie-licensed games, as we all know, is practically a ringing endorsement. Still, if you’re one of the lucky few who has the hardware necessary to play the game as it’s meant to be played—in 3D—then you likely won’t be disappointed. Superfans of the movie may find a lot to like here as well, but as game design goes the bar has been raised so high this year that it probably never had a chance at being a stand-out experience.


CO-OP 0309 -- Santa Cruzin' -- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, PixelJunk Shooter, Super Meat boy!

Is December really the best time to be going to the beach in Northern California? No. What kind of idiot would think that’s a good idea? Santa Cruz idiot native Cesar Quintero would, apparently. Although, there was a method to his madness … Special thanks to 8-bit Vintners for providing our delicious beverage beside the fire! More after the show:

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is the best Zelda to come out in some time. Our good friend Kat Bailey came by to talk with Ryan and Fresh about the many ways this adventure is leagues ahead of Phantom Hourglass in both story and gameplay execution.

Ryan, JayFresh, and I all sit around a warm fire, enjoying some wine kindly provided us by 8-bit Vintners and reminisce fondly about playing a game the previous eve in a way that you should only reminisce about something you’ve enjoyed for years. Q-Games and the PixelJunk series just have that effect and PixelJunk Shooter is no exception. If you’re even a little, kinda-sorta into the PixelJunk games, this one is a no-brainer.

Edmund McMillen invited us down to his apartment in Santa Cruz, California to see a super-early version of Super Meat boy!. You never get this kind of early look at games outside of the indie scene and we feel privileged to have had the opportunity. If you’ve never heard of Edmund before, you’re likely to now. Google him and go play one of the ton of free flash games he has up (including the original Meat boy and Time Fcuk), you’ll love ‘em all!

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