What's the state of the art in fun, inclusive party gaming?
June 27, 2012 9:39 AM   Subscribe

What's the latest and greatest in party-style competitive or cooperative (ideally four player or even more) videogames? Our current selection is a little bit long in the tooth and I'm wondering if there's something I should be purchasing or downloading to freshen things up for this weekend.

Attendees at our Game Nights run the gamut from very casual gamers to fairly hardcore. Simultaneous play and pass-the-controller style games are both fine, as long as they bring the fun for players as well as spectators. Past hits have included Rayman Raving Rabbids for the Wii, Castle Crashers for the Xbox, Pain for the PS3, and even Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat in a loose tourney-style play configuration. I remember getting some mileage out of Burnout Paradise, too. I'm not looking for online multiplayer, but rather local, single-system multiplayer. We have a Wii, an Xbox 360, and a PS3.

I'm pretty sure I got the idea for Castle Crashers from Metafilter, and I saw a fairly recent thread for Xbox 360 that suggested Scott Pilgrim and Guardian Heroes, so I'll check those out, too. Anything else? Any reason to blow the dust off the Wii? Thanks!
posted by Joey Bagels to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (23 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Scott Pilgrim is a relatively tough game, much harder than CC, so you may have some trouble if your friends aren't great at videogames.

Guardian Heroes is a lot of fun, but IIRC, the 4-player mode is an "Arena", but you can play through the game with a second player.
posted by Oktober at 9:41 AM on June 27, 2012

At my house, Rock Band is king of the party games. Obviously, that would entail the purchase of controllers as well as the game- though you could probably get those cheaply via Craigslist.
posted by EKStickland at 9:41 AM on June 27, 2012

posted by tilde at 9:44 AM on June 27, 2012

Ooh- just remembered- Ratchet and Clank All 4 One is pretty fun too- you can do up to 4 people simultaneously, and it's easy to pick up and play.
posted by EKStickland at 9:44 AM on June 27, 2012

what, no super smash bros?
posted by MangyCarface at 9:44 AM on June 27, 2012

Just Dance!
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:46 AM on June 27, 2012

MangyCarface: "what, no super smash bros?"

Or Mario Kart, which is also a shame. Who doesn't like seeing the mouthy asshole get blasted with a blue shell?
posted by theichibun at 9:48 AM on June 27, 2012

Haven't played Mario Kart Wii, but if it's anything close to the previous 3 versions, it gets my vote as well.
posted by scose at 9:50 AM on June 27, 2012

Scott Pilgrim is punishingly hard, and I've played and beaten more 2D brawlers than I can name. It should be fun for the hardcore crowd -- it's basically an evolved version of River City Ransom with beautiful graphics by Paul Robertson -- but casual players may not be enthused.
posted by griphus at 9:51 AM on June 27, 2012

NBA Jam, Smash Bros., all those old arcade games re-released on xbox live arcade (TMNT games, Simpsons, X-Men, etc.), Final Fight, Magic Sword, Sonic the Hedgehog games.

Tons of XBOX live arcade games are perfect for this, basically.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:53 AM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, and You Don't Know Jack for the Wii is a blast if you guys are into trivia. It's really, genuinely funny, which, as you may very well be aware, is incredibly rare in video games.
posted by griphus at 9:54 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mario Kart Wii is a travesty of a mario kart game, and also the perfect mario kart game for non-video game players. The kind that move the controller around when they're not turning fast enough- because that's how you play the whole game
posted by MangyCarface at 10:13 AM on June 27, 2012

You Don't Know Jack is also on the Xbox.

Other recommendations for 2 player or better simultanious play that can work well for parties:
Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 - split screen first person shooter
Borderlands - split screen first person shooter
Carcasonne - easy to learn, hard to master version of the board game
Rock Band - Obviously.
Minecraft - can play 2 player split screen -- fun if you want to build something as a group, but is fairly long-form if you want to get involved in it. The upside is that you can keep coming back to the same world and add onto it.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:14 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Retro night with four-player games on console emulators can be fun. Especially if you still have original controllers. USB adapters are dirt cheap.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:37 AM on June 27, 2012

(And an HDMI cable from the computer to the TV. Emulators are light on HW requirements--notebooks often work just fine.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:38 AM on June 27, 2012

Seconding You Don't Know Jack! for the Xbox.

Buzz! for PS3. Our friends have this with tons of buzzer controllers, and I think up to 7 or 8 of us have played at a time in the past. Just a fun trivia game.

Start the Party on PS3 if you have a Move. Just silly and perhaps a little child-like but amusing none the less.

If you have a Kinect for the 360 Dance Central is fun. Mostly to watch others do, haha. Plus you can have "dance off" competitions between two people which is really entertaining.
posted by Quincy at 12:48 PM on June 27, 2012

Boom Blox Smash Party
posted by nequalsone at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the recommendations. We do have a Mac Mini hooked up to the TV, too, so PC/Mac stuff is definitely possible, though we've never tried gaming that way. I have to look into those USB adapters.

Carcasonne is way too slow/low-key for this group, although my wife and I love playing it on Xbox. (Also Ticket to Ride!)

I guess we should look into Super Smash Bros. and maybe Mario Kart (which we like a lot on other platforms, though we never got the Wii version). De Blob is intriguing! I'll keep an eye on the thread and come back to mark Best Answers based on results.
posted by Joey Bagels at 1:34 PM on June 27, 2012

Fable Heroes on Xbox Live Arcade looks very much like Castle Crashers.

There is also Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking for Xbox 360 Kinect.

Burnout Crash! on Xbox Live Arcade with Kinect support looks fun (Gabe at Penny Arcade seems to think it's awesome )
posted by TeknoKid at 2:52 PM on June 27, 2012

Best answer: Hidden in Plain Sight is a brilliant set of games for exactly this situation - it can only be played local multiplayer, and that's a design decision rather than a programming limitation.
posted by 23 at 7:38 PM on June 27, 2012

Oh, not sure if it's an option, but if you like Scott Pilgrim or Castle Crashers you should totally set up a PC with the D&D Arcade games - the second, Shadow Over Mystara, is the better one. Best game of that type I know, thanks to cheesy branching story, ridiculous abilities, and character options.
posted by 23 at 7:40 PM on June 27, 2012

Response by poster: Scott Pilgrim is awesome! My wife and I both like Ratchet and Clank Free 4 All. And Hidden in Plain Sight sounds fascinating. Will definitely be looking at that. Burnout Crash looks like it could be fun, but I didn't see a trial version. Decisions.

Thanks again for all the ideas. Keeping just about everything in mind.
posted by Joey Bagels at 12:36 PM on June 28, 2012

Response by poster: Hidden in Plain Sight was the hands-down winner. We spent about an hour at the end of the night bashing our way through Scott Pilgrim, but this one kept the room pretty much in thrall. Excellent suggestion - and probably the cheapest game I've ever bought for a console. Thank you!
posted by Joey Bagels at 8:37 AM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

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