Who is Your Player 2? Part 3 – Role Model

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In parts one and two of this series, we discussed the types of Player 2 that make for good teammates and for good rivals, respectively. In the final post in this series, we examine the third type of Player 2 – one who serves as a Role model or Coach.

Retro Gaming Turn Based Multiplayer

While multiplayer gaming might initially conjure up images of cooperative shoot ‘em ups, light gun games in the arcade, head to head fighting games, or first person shooter frag fests, there are also a large number of games that are one player in structure, but allow for turn based two player modes.

Games like Pac Man and Super Mario Brothers, are famous examples of two player games where both players wait while the other player takes their turn.

I’d like to point out that sometimes this game play mechanism was used due to system or programming limitations. For example, the classic side scrolling beat ‘em up game Double Dragon featured two player simultaneous action in the arcades and most ports, but was released with two player alternating gameplay on the Nintendo Entertainment System (The same holds true for Final Fight on the Super Nintendo).

Of course, you can always choose a “hot seat” approach, where you can play just about any game, taking turns by simply passing the controller to your friend. This is another great way to enjoy your favorite video game with a friend, and I have played through many of my favorites this way, even opting to play through some multiplayer games in single player mode with a friend – either to unlock game features, or because the game included a story mode that differed from the head to head gameplay.

So when it comes to turn based video games, who is your player 2?

As a reminder, here are the three types of Player 2’s.

  • Player 2 as Reciprocal/Companion – Fellow Traveler on a Shared Quest
  • Player 2 as Rival/Challenger – Opponent to Overcome
  • Player 2 as Role Model/Coach – Example to Follow

Now we will define the 3rd and final type of Player 2; the Role Model/Coach.

Player 2 as Role Model/Coach – Example to Follow


The focus of this individual is Mastery

In this arrangement, you typically have a player that is more skilled or knowledgeable about the game (usually because I was playing it at their house and they owned the game). They have mastered some of the finer points, or are at least a few steps ahead of you. I found this was often the case, when we would play through a one player game together (like any of the Mega Man games), taking turns when ever the other person lost a life in the game.

The advantage here, is that the Role Model Player 2 has already made some of the mistakes before you even came over to play. They know which spikes can kill you, which pits have no bottom, which treasure chests are trapped, and where the hidden power ups are located.

How do they know all this? Their time spent, experimenting, doing things the wrong way, even losing multiple lives, all work to your benefit.

When I play alternating video games with a friend who already has played the game for a while, something interesting happens.

I learn how to play better.

Just like the support and encouragement of the Reciprocal/Companion and the equal or slightly greater skill levels of the Rival/Challenger boosted my skills, the wisdom and experience of the Role Model/Coach have helped me elevate my game.

Nothing accelerated my techniques and skills faster than having an experienced player show me all the tricks and secrets they learned the hard way.

If you have read all three parts of this series, you have probably noticed that there is a bit of overlap when it comes to the different types of players – and no matter the type of game, you are better off when you have a player two that is skillful and willing to share what they know.

The same is true in life. Surround yourself with others who are performing at least at the same level as you are. Do so in the professional sense, as well as the personal sense. The higher quality of individuals you surround yourself with, they great influence they will have on you.

And an interesting thing will happen.

You will be better for it.

Is It My Turn Yet?

Just like the previously identified types of Player 2, certain attributes stand out in my mind that make for a better Role Model two player experience. Here are some specific traits that make for an ideal Role Model Player 2.


Able to very successfully master the game, or at least the gameplay mechanics. Ideally, the more they know, the better capacity they have to be an excellent Role Model. The experience and skill they have at a particular game is usually specific to that game. This means, while they may be great at Sonic the Hedgehog 2, they maybe be terrible at Rocket Knight Adventures.

Leads by Example

If they can complete the level faster than you, then you can learn from them. It is a great way of building Self-efficacy – meaning, you gain confidence that you can complete a uncharted self efficacy classically trainedlevel/beat a boss/reach a difficult ledge since you observed them doing it. “If they can do it, so can I,” is the thought process here.

Self Efficacy is a really important concept. It is task or game specific, but is a great way to learn. Have you ever been nervous when trying something new, only to discover that you now feel especially confident after doing the same thing several times?

This is different than self-esteem, which is our feelings about things, often based on what happens to us. Self-efficacy means having the confidence that you can accomplish something, because you have done so in the past and you continue to improve as you do it.


The best Role Model Player 2’s have a good deal of patience, since they have to wait for you to take your turn. Depending on their personality type, this can be especially tedious for them, since they have to wait for you to finish before they can continue on with their rather impressive run.

But the best Role Models enjoy seeing you improve your game, and will even offer tips and hints (when you want them). The “when you want them” part is important, because chances are you have played with the impatient version of this individual.

You know the one – they are frustrated while watching you play, unable to believe how you just missed that checkpoint or wasted a shared resource in the game.

Worse yet, they may even grab the controller away, saying “let me do this.”

This is the same behavior we see in a micromanaging boss, who cannot handle seeing their employees do things in a different way than expected. It doesn’t matter how good they are (or think they are), no one enjoys an experience where they are being controlled.

Who is Your Role Model Player 2?

The traits that make for a good Role Model/Coach Player 2, also makes for a really good boss or mentor in real life.

In your professional life, do you know a skilled individual who leads by example, while demonstrating patience? They sound like a good candidate for a mentor!

If you don’t see this type of individual near to you, there are several things that you can do.

Look outside your current location

For the longest time, I always thought that a proper mentor needed to be my boss, or at least a higher-up in my own company. This often is the case when you start out and begin training in a new job, but as we advance in our career, it is a very good idea to connect with mentors outside of your own organization.

Crowdsource your Mentor(s)

Another myth that I personally fell into, was the idea that my mentor had to be one specific person who was going to teach me everything that I needed to know about work, life, the universe, and everything.

Let me know if you ever find this person. I don’t think they exist. Or if they did, by the time I found them, it would be too late.

What I have learned instead, is that you should crowdsource your mentors. Find mentors who are the best in one area and learn about that area from them. If your boss at work is really good with time management and task management skills, focus on learning these specific approaches from this. You may need to find another individual to learn about people skills from – no one person will have all the answers.

Yeah, but… what if you don’t know anyone who is good at anything?

First of all, this is probably not true, but for sake of argument, let’s say that it is true. What do you do?

There has never been a time in history when more knowledge, learning, expertise, and wisdom has been available. And so much is available for free. What you are reading right leadership half life classically trainednow is testament to this fact. In just the past two years, I have learned from over 100 experts in the fields of leadership, personal development, life skills, organizational development and psychology, and a great number of other topics.

All for less than the price of one college course.

I want to share this learning, and give back. That is the purpose of this site.

In future posts, I will share my strategies for diving into the vast sea of information out there and share what has been helpful to me through this experience, with the hope that I can save you some time and effort in leveling up your knowledge and skills.

Become the Mentor

Having just attended the Leadercast conference on May 13th, I am keenly aware of the lack of good, strong leaders. Its up to us to change that. The world needs leadership, it needs individuals who will step up and make a difference; leaders who will make the difficult choices, and do the right thing in the face of adversity; leaders who will be for others what they wish they had for themselves.

This can be you.

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

And you don’t have to wait for a “leadership” title to make this happen.

It happens each and every day, in the small things, over time, and through the relationships we build.

Let’s Play

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when choosing an optimal player two – a friend who is fun to play a side scrolling co-op game may not make the best rival in a game of Samurai Showdown. Likewise, your friend who can chain 5 hit combos into their Super AND Ultra Specials in Super Street Fighter IV is not the guy you want beating up on you when you are trying to complete Streets of Rage 2 as a team.

For these same reasons, it is important that we surround ourselves with connections, acquaintances, and friends who push us in the right direction, build us up, and push us to be the very best version of ourselves.

We also need to be looking at the person in the mirror, striving to be the best we can for others – to invest in them, support them, and encourage them to be their very best.

Are You Ready for the Next Level?

Have you found your mentor? If not, look for others who have your dream job, and reach out them. Be will to buy a meal or coffee for them, and prepare some questions to ask about their career path. Protip: Offer to solve a problem for them or find a way to help them out. When you meet the needs of others, they are more will to help in return (remember that they do not owe you anything, even if you help them out).


Begin crowdsourcing your mentors. Leadership and personal development blogs are great free resources to start with. Also consider your local library, and remember to check the audiobooks section! Stage 2 is complete when you find 2 websites to visit, and read/listen to 1 book on a non-fiction topic of interest.


Be a mentor. Share you knowledge with others who can benefit from your experience and skills. This does not need to be fancy, it can be as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee or having a conversation over them phone. The goal is to help others, and share what you have learned for their benefit. Stage 3 is complete when you write down a person’s name that you can help, set up a meeting with them, and complete the meeting.

I want to hear from you – leave me a note in the comment section below.

Ideas for comments:
What is Your Favorite Alternating 2 Player Game?
Who is Your Role Model Player 2?
Which STAGE are you going to try?


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