Good video games where spectators can participate?
March 9, 2013 9:15 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I really enjoyed playing Walking Dead together. I controlled it, but she made all the dialogue choices and helped solve puzzles. What are some other games like that? She's not really a gamer and doesn't really get FPS controls (yet) so stuff like co-op portal and even minecraft is out. I'm going to try and see how it goes with Braid next, but are there any other games like Walking Dead where people who aren't actively controlling it can help make meaningful decisions or contributions? I was also thinking Heavy Rain, but I don't have a Playstation, only a pc and Xbox.
posted by empath to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Oh there's a fair number of adventure games like that, though you'll probably want the more classic adventure games. has a bunch of really good ones: Myst is obviously a classic, the Gabriel Knight series, The Longest Journey is one of my favorite games ever (Dreamfall, the sequel, is a little more actiony), The Last Express, Book of Unwritten Tales is a little newer but I'm told it's fantastic.

If she likes words and puzzle solving, perhaps the Choice of games from Choice of Games? They're text adventures and a lot of fun. She might also enjoy nosing around in something like Fallen London/Echo Bazaar.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:20 PM on March 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

I always used to do this with my friends when they played Zelda games. You could easily emulate Ocarina of Time. Any action RPG would work.
posted by vogon_poet at 9:30 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

The old Windows version of King of Dragon Pass seems to be just $3 at GOG. Great game, plenty of froo-frah in it to talk about, and it would hardly make a difference who controls it.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:45 PM on March 9, 2013

My fiancee and I alternated taking control when playing L.A. Noire. She controlled during the investigations and interrogations, I controlled during all the shooting.
posted by cali59 at 9:47 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm terrible with console game controllers, so I've started playing through the Mass Effect series with my husband. He manages combat, but I make all of the decisions.

Interesting note: He's played through the series already. So far in my game, I've created a Fem Shep that both looks and acts like his Fem Shep.
posted by MsVader at 9:51 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Indigo Prophecy was a pretty fun thriller that I played in turns with a friend. There's lots of dialogue choices and exploration. The ending leaves something to be desired, but I still thought it was lots of fun.
posted by Phredward at 10:09 PM on March 9, 2013

The Mass Effect and Dragon Age games are both very good for the "one person plays, other person directs story" type of things. Both are PC/XBox.
posted by Xany at 10:35 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're willing to go a little older, the Knights of the Old Republic games (the single-player ones, not the MMO) are also from Bioware and similarly full of both action and dialog-based decision making. Similar games: Dragon Age series (also Bioware); Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas and The Elder Scrolls series, e.g. Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind, etc. (Bethesda).

Nthing Mass Effect and L.A. Noire too.
posted by asciident at 10:53 PM on March 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

L.A. Noire thirded---that's how my spouse and I played it.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:35 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Dragon Age and Skyrim would both lend themselves to this. Dragon Age more so-- the decisions you make in the first game can wildly alter the outcome. (Plus, the romance choices could be hilarious for you to play through together.)

Decision-making in Skyrim is less consequential, but the world is a massive place to explore.
posted by headspace at 11:53 PM on March 9, 2013

I strongly agree with basically all asciident's recommendations.
posted by town of cats at 12:35 AM on March 10, 2013

The Secret of Monkey Island!
posted by Lotto at 3:01 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh yes, Monkey Island indeed.
posted by Madamina at 3:06 AM on March 10, 2013

Also, Grim Fandango and maybe Psychonauts. (I know they're old, but GF is AWESOME.)
posted by Madamina at 3:08 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've had a lot of fun over the years with my girlfriend, playing survival horror games like the Silent Hill and Resident Evil series. It's like watching a horror movie together, but with puzzles! I think the Silent Hill series is smarter and scarier by far than RE, but the RE games are fun SyFy Channel-esque action movie horror cheese.

Alan Wake is nice and twisty, like a really good movie based on a Stephen King novel that never was. The Tomb Raider games can be great fun to play together, but they're famously uneven. Primal and Beyond Good and Evil were both instant classics, I think. Primal had a kind of Buffy-esque wit to it, really rich worlds to visit and a totally badass heroine. If she's kind of a girly-girl type then BG&E could be good, because it's cute but also exciting and creepy, set in a rich, kind of anime sci-fi world with lots of puzzles and stuff to explore.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:15 AM on March 10, 2013

Also came into say LA Noir. I also enjoyed watching my husband play the Uncharted series. The writing is pretty good, the voice acting is pretty good, there are a few puzzles, and Nick Drake is not bad on the eyes. Yeah I went there.
posted by like_neon at 4:57 AM on March 10, 2013

Epic Mickey and epic Mickey 2 let you make choices like that.
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:21 AM on March 10, 2013

My wife and I played Puzzle Agent 1 & 2 both this way, they're point-and-click adventure game/puzzle games. Tons of fun.
posted by InsanePenguin at 6:31 AM on March 10, 2013

My boyfriend and I play Super Mario Galaxy a LOT. He controlled Mario and I collected star bits and shot bad guys with them.
posted by magnetsphere at 8:10 AM on March 10, 2013

All of the Fallout games, especially since the combat is pseudo-turn-based. Same as Skyrim: massive world to explore, choices made in leveling, dialogue, factions, that sort of thing.
posted by supercres at 9:22 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

re: Epic Mickey, Super Mario Galaxy, Uncharted - OP only has PC and Xbox, folks.

Mr Wintersonata and I play this way as well - I love puzzles and dialogue and am a terrible shot; he likes shoot-bang but has no patience for frivolities.

Oh how I love Braid! Sometimes it does take two brains to figure out those puzzles, esp when you start getting into the time bubble levels.

nthing Dragon Age, LA Noire.

*Definitely* grab FABLE/2/3! A little less overwhelming than Skyrim, I think.

You could do Assassin's Creed, Batman: Arkham City (more treasure hunting than puzzles), the Lego Harry Potter/Star Wars/etc (ditto), Red Dead Redemption, Bioshock. Tomb Raider and Dead Space would be fun too.
posted by wintersonata9 at 11:32 AM on March 10, 2013

We used to love playing the original X-COM this way and are looking forward to the new version. (So much so that the husband is making noises about "maybe it'd be worth buying a console… or upgrading the Windows machine to something faster, yeah, maybe we'll do that!")
posted by Lexica at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2013

My wife's favourite spectator game was Tomb Raider Anniversary. I'd do the controls and she would help to figure out the puzzles and point me to the right door.

I'd also agree with Grim Fandango and Psychonauts.
posted by milkb0at at 2:53 PM on March 10, 2013

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