It’s Friday. You and your friends are sitting around. Looks like your gig turned out so boooooring. What do you do? You could either tell them that joke you know or… you could get your awkward on with any number of Party video games! Spend too much time over explaining the rules! Dominate your loser friends since you own the game! Ruin any chances for a serious relationship with that cute girl because she’s put off by your unchecked braggadocio! Make sure everyone goes home on time when you insist on playing another round!
Party games are diverse. They can take on board games, quizes, motion controls, game shows, collections of mini-games, the goal being to engage as many people as possible and conjure up that elusive concept we call “fun” with a group. You really have to play these with the right people. If so, they can be gold. If you’re playing them with a square, the whole experience turns into a drag. These are good for a laugh or two, or they just collect dust. Here are our faves!
The Green Screen Mage
Wario Ware Smooth Moves!! You need the weirdest party game around? You have found it. I don’t even know how to explain this bizarre game full of mini games. You take turns doing weird, weird things.
The Black Humor Mage
Mario Party 4. It’s a party game that I’ve played a lot, so it’s obvious.
The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)
Wii Sports. The global phenomenon that has never since been topped. It had all of us playing with friends, playing with family, it really brought people together and it took over the world like wildfire. The only other times I can personally remember this type of global overtaking are with things from the Pokémon franchise, especially Pokémon GO but also the Pokémon fever of the 90’s. Wii Sports was a big freakin’ deal. (Honorable Mentions – Kinect Sports, Dance Dance Revolution, Wii Play)
The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)
Mario Party 2 was always a great time! Play games with friends! I am winning, I am having so much fun! Ha ha ha I love it! W – wait, what’s this? Chance Time? And my face came up? And yours? And I… GIVE YOU ALL MY STARS!!!? RRRRAAAAAaaaaaarrrgh! *throws controller at television*
The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)
Mario Kart: Double Dash. For a while, this was the multiplayer game. It helps that GameCubes are easy to carry (it’s the handle) and everyone sort of understands Mario Kart. Being able to pick two characters was fun and the tracks are excellent on this Mario Kart. Best Mario Kart ever?
The Dapper Zaffre Mage (Save File 02)
Battle Hunter is a quirky little mix between a board/card game and a dungeon crawler. From what I remember about the story, you play as one of several ‘Hunters’ who bring back artifacts from a now-ruined Earth, traversing dungeons to collect these relics of a pre-war world while fending off monsters and other Hunters. The main part of the game took place on a randomized dungeon board with 4 Hunters, who had to open several chests scattered across the stage to find the relic. After obtaining the item required for victory, the player would have to make a beeline for the exit square before one of the other Hunters could swipe it from them through battle. Your character could be customized by spending stat points across offense, defense, movement, and health totals. Players also drew cards from a deck that could be used both inside and outside of battle depending on their color- for example, a blue Movement card could be used to increase that character’s movement range for that turn, or it could be used in battle to increase their chance of escaping a fight.
It was a solid PSX game and I’m particularly fond of it, especially the OST. It proved popular among my friends, and I brought it to game night quite a number of times. The funniest part of this all though was that, despite how good we thought it was, Battle Hunter was supposed to be a ‘budget’ game, not only featured in a bargain bin, but actually packed with a second game in the same case- a space shooter that I absolutely cannot even remember to this day. Battle Hunter was a rare gem and I was nothing short of excited to discover it had a PSN release. Unfortunately, it seems like Battle Hunter would also never have a sequel, or see a remake with online modes.
The Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage (Nostalgia Trigger)
While not a party game in the traditional sense, during the opening months of the Nintendo Wii back in 2006, Wii Sports became an absolute staple in every dorm room, right alongside paraphernalia and the John Belushi “COLLEGE” poster.
I happened to be in college at the time the Wii released upon the world, and the sheer amount of hours spent playing this game was mind-blowing. At the time, Nintendo Wii consoles were like a bedbug infestation, making appearances throughout every dorm room. Everyone had one of these things, and as Wii Sports was bundled, having a console meant that you had the game. Typically, everyone wanted to play the bowling mini-game, but as someone was always bound to have an extra Wiimote in their backpack at any given time, four-player doubles matches in tennis were always a blast, if not a great way to get smacked with a controller.
Of course, the wall of my college dorm never stood a chance during the Wii Sports era, what with the frequent hell-fire of 50 mile per hour Wiimotes being launched across the room during a baseball swing gone awry; the batter forgetting to “strap in” to the Wiimote. Many fragile things were broken, drinks were spilled, and laughs were shared. It was a great time for higher education!
The Rage Mage
Try to stop yourself from following the command of the title. You will Imagine Party Babyz. With a ‘Z’. You already have, and that’s edgy. Now imagine you crapping your pants and salivating all over yourself while letting out a shriek at the top of your lungs. Congratulations. Now you’re just like everybody else on the internet offended by something. You have Ubisoft to thank for this.
The Well-Red Mage
So party games form a very, very tiny niche in my gaming diet. Generally speaking, I prefer to play a multiplayer couch co-op game rather than a dedicated party game. I find that party games can sometimes seem self-indulgent, like they’re aware they’re just party games so the bar drops a little as long as the point is engaging everyone in a group. While I do enjoy me some Mario Party in small doses, the fact that so many people list these games as “best to play when you’re drinking” says something profound about the kind of titles they are. That said, I do enjoy an intellectual confrontation now and again, sober, with TV Show King. It’s certainly not the greatest quiz game but it’s the only game that I’ve ever played which triggered a sequence of real life events ending with a butt through my apartment wall. True story, and again, that was sober. I included pictures in the TV Show King review for scale…
Party’s over! I’ve never been happier to say that… but the Elemental Challenge keeps going. My duty, my pleasure! On the morrow, we’ll run into some real brainteasers! Thanks for reading!
Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to entertainment journalism. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a podcast and webzine with paid contributors! See our Patreon page for more info!