Multiplayer video games are certainly still popular, but couch co-op is a dying genre. Despite it’s waning popularity, couch co-op is something many of us gamers love and have fond memories of. HELLCOUCH is a literal couch co-op game that takes the idea in an absurd direction by challenging players to exorcise a demon by sitting down.
If that sounds like a strange concept for a game, that’s because it definitely is. But, it’s also intriguing. In order to release the demon from the couch, players have to successfully perform “the sacred butt ritual.” That involves standing up and sitting down in various orders and configurations until the demon has been exorcised from the couch.
The creators of HELLCOUCH, Carol Mertz and Francesca Carletto-Leon, developed it as a way to motivate people to socialize and become comfortable with physical proximity. The game can’t be played alone, and so any solo player has to find a buddy or two to help them release the demon and beat the game. It provides a means of connection that is growing increasingly rare in today’s world, and the silliness of the ritual just adds to the fun.
On a technical level, Mertz and Carletto-Leon say that HELLCOUCH was actually pretty simple to build. The couch is reinforced to handle the constant strain, and the game runs on an Arduino and Unity through the Uduino plugin. Pressure sensors are used to detect when someone is sitting in a seat, and the only output is a strip of NeoPixel-style individually-addressable RGB LEDs and sound effects. But, that simple tech is all that’s necessary to create a novel game.