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I was introduced into gaming at a very young age. Whether it was on the GameCube, the PS2 or the Wii I was enthralled. My love for gaming can be attributed to my loving and caring older brother. However, my beginning memories of gaming consistently followed the same pattern. I was always second player. No matter what we played, yours truly regularly occupied the second port.
To be honest, I wasn’t jealous at first. I actually preferred it; I had gotten so used to looking at the bottom screen. Playing Lego games, racing, adventure, fighting, multiplayer games, etc. was all fine and dandy. It wasn’t until we played co-op campaigns when I noticed how unfair it was. His character had dialogue while my character did not. His character was the hero of the story while mine was basically ignored. It was so infuriating! We would play games like Killzone and Resistance, and it was all about his character saving the day, as usual. I wanted to be the hero that talked. I wanted to be the hero that was recognized. I wanted to be in the spotlight. It frustrated me to say the least, and it almost made me want to stop playing as a whole (emphasis on almost).
This could be all be boiled down to sibling jealousy, but I am convinced that this isn’t the first account of a Player 2 feeling neglected. All I ever wanted was to be appreciated for my hard work. My fingers did not cramp up for nothing! I made sure my brother knew of my pain; constantly complaining about the injustice of it all. He would never cave in no matter how hard I tried (He did let me be first player when we played Just Dance, I’ll give him the that).
Growing up, it wasn't really likely for us to have more than one current console. We had to share it which would lead to me, the youngest, getting the short end of the stick. Most of the time our consoles were deemed the “family’s,” but they would just end up in my brother’s room. It wasn’t until a few years back that I got my own individual system. I really started to get into single player games. I started to play a lot of games oriented around a singularly playable protagonist, like Fallout and Uncharted. Part of me feels like this stemmed from years of being in the shadows of the various heroes my brother got to play. The other part of me feels like I’m just generally more attracted to non-multiplayer games (This probably stems from either being cussed out by extreme people over chat, or that my ass was always getting kicked by my brother).
Being older and less petty now, I want to thank my brother for making me Player 2. Some of my best memories are just sitting next to my him while we played a game. We really bonded over our love of games.
Player 2 is not the worst thing you could be in the world. Thinking about it now, I still was apart of something great. I was the one who got to save the world. I was the one that fought the bad guys. Though I wasn't recognized, I was still there. He couldn't have done it without me (maybe). Player 1s should thank their Player 2s; it truly is a codependent relationship.
I leave you with this, you are one of the most humble heroes out there Player 2. You help out your fellow player without expecting any recognition in return. You aid the protagonist from the “shadows.” You may not talk, but you sure can kick some ass. You are a real Unsung Hero.