from Game Theory
A cooperative game is one in which players are able to make enforceable contracts. Hence, it is not defined as games in which players actually do cooperate, but as games in which any cooperation is enfoceable by an outside party (e.g., a judge, police, etc.). In termed non-cooperative games, contracts must be self-enforcing. http://www.gametheory.net/Dictionary/CooperativeGame.html
Alistair Cockburn says Software Development Is A Cooperative Game. Software development is a series of resource-limited, goal-directed cooperative games of invention and communication. The primary goal of each game is the production and deployment of a software system; the residue of the game is a set of markers to assist the players of the next game. People use markers and props to remind, inspire and inform each other in getting to the next move in the game. The next game is an alteration of the system or the creation of a neighboring system. Each game therefore has as a secondary goal to create an advantageous position for the next game. Since each game is resource-limited, the primary and secondary goals compete for resources. I'm not sure he's using the "official" Game Theory definition - he says A cooperative game is one in which the players all help each other.
- update - traded emails with him. He hadn't heard that "official" definition, and didn't think it was a very good one.