Party games galore

Gaming editors take a look at classic games that can brighten up a party or pre-drinks

Photo credit: Gamersblog Score on flickr

Photo credit: Gamersblog Score on flickr

Super Smash Bros.

These classics spawned the genre known as brawlers. You aim, to beat up your opponents so much that when you hit them really hard, they are rocketed off the screen and to their demise. With a roster full of Nintendo’s most famous characters like Mario, Samus, and Link, as well as environments including Mushroom Kingdom and Hyrule Castle be prepared to lose friends in drunken disputes over the ridiculous manner in which you were just defeated. With items appearing from all their franchises, the Pokéballs in particular lead to some interesting situations. Be prepared for a busy screen and not knowing what the hell is going on. It has a surprising level of longevity as well, constantly challenging you to do something new with the promise of tantalizing unlockables like new characters, stages, and music. This series has defined itself as Nintendo’s most unique and it continues to provide some awesome competition amongst friends.

Guitar Hero

Often a party will end up with one person playing an out-of-tune guitar badly, whilst others look on in horror, wishing it would stop. The Guitar Hero series resolved this issue, simplifying musical technique and breaking the instrument down to five brightly coloured buttons and a paddle. At last, anyone can play guitar like a professional without any prior training, so say goodbye to those badly plaid renditions of Wonderwall and Imagine. Released way back in 2007, Guitar Hero 3 was the most popular title in the series, selling over 8 million copies and signalling the start of a golden age for rhythm games. GH3 expanded the appeal of the series, featuring competitive and co-op modes for the first time, as well as a wireless guitar controller. The tracks available are well known classics, and the gameplay manages to be challenging without being punishing, meaning that anyone and everyone will want to have a go. It also features Tom Morello and Slash as playable characters, and with over seventy songs by the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who and Rage Against the Machine, there’s sure to be something for everyone’s taste. This one’s bound to be a crowd pleaser.

Mario Kart

Everyone knows this beloved racing game. From 1992 Nintendo have been providing us with this alternative take on the conventional racing genre; it has fun, innovative courses that have gone from basic 2D to full 3D, high definition anti-gravity weaving insanity. With up to four players on one screen this game will turn friendhsips sour, but it’ll be a lot of fun while you all slowly turn on each other. Seriously though, this game is one of the best party game experiences and will lead to many moments where you’re cheering at a TV screen. With a surprising longevity, each title adds something to the series and manages to constantly change itself for audiences. It’s known across the world for the game that brings family and friends together as one of the greatest party games ever; but it will almost definitely test the strength of your relationships. Do be careful with the Wii version, you’ll be tempted to throw the controller at the screen.


While online multiplayer may be the more popular form of gaming nowadays, there still remains a special place for split screen multiplayer. As split screen allows multiple users to play off the same screen, it is ideal for any party or get-together. There’s no sight quite like that of four friends glued to the same TV screen, trying to blow each other sky-high with a variety of dangerous weapons. Developers Bungie must have taken note of this, as their seminal Halo series has consistently excelled at providing a superior split screen first-person-shooter experience. The standard Slayer mode is fun, but there is so much more to do than just go for kills. For example, you can race each in futuristic hovering vehicles. You can engage in the infamous energy sword duels. You even get to see your friends’ immediate reaction to being sniped from a mile off – such a reward is impossible in online multiplayer. A wide range of well crafted maps and game modes provide for endless fun. Of all the first-person-shooters with split screen that are out there, the Halo series provides a far more open experience, and allows you and your friends to mess around in just about any way possible.

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