Online multiplayer has completely changed the landscape of video games in the last 10 years — massively successful games like Fortnite launched the Epic brand into the stratosphere, and athletes compete in tournaments watched globally for millions of dollars in price money. Today, if a game has multiplayer, you’ll know about it.
That wasn’t always the case. A long time ago, couch co-op features were completely experimental, and developers would throw together weird multiplayer options on a whim. These multiplayer modes are unpolished, unfinished, completely bizarre — and they blow my mind simply for existing.
These are the multiplayer modes most of us had no idea existed in games that are primarily single-player only. There’s a lot more of these than you might think.
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Shared Screen Co-Op [GTA: San Andreas]
You can play GTA: San Andreas with a friend — and I had no idea. Like a lot of these half-finished cooperative modes that were barely advertised (or completely hidden), this is a single-screen experience. These can be activated from specific markers on the map, and the second player gets to pick their character from a line-up of models.
After that, the camera zooms out and chains you together. Instead of third-person, the game swaps to an overhead isometric-like perspective that dynamically changes as you play. You won’t be able to see very far, but this completely bizarre hidden mode was the best we could get in the PS2 era. GTA5, eat your heart out.
2nd Controller Is The Duck [Duck Hunt]
We’re going all the way back with this one. Everyone knows Duck Hunt — shooting down ducks on the NES with the little dog laughing and pointing when you inevitably miss. Did you know you can play this one with friends? Just plug in another controller and the second player can take control of the duck as it flies.
This only works when the duck is on-screen. Obviously, this makes the already-tricky task of shooting ducks a lot harder when your friend is going nuts with the controller right next to you, pulling off cartwheels and divebombs with his much-more unpredictable duck. All just to get that dang dog to laugh at you.
Discover more well-hidden multiplayer modes in games we thought were singleplayer only on the next page.