Fun simple competitive good-looking multiplayer computer games?
October 19, 2006 4:45 PM   Subscribe

What are the most addictive, not-too-hard-to-master, good-for-casual-gamers multiplayer computer games out there? Cool graphics appreciated. Strategy games preferred, but not required...
posted by shivohum to Computers & Internet (30 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I always thought Warcraft III was a fun multiplayer game that anyone could play. If you guys aren't good, playing against the computer together can be a lot of fun.
posted by Loto at 5:04 PM on October 19, 2006

Any Blizzard RTS, especially Warcraft II and Starcraft (with Brood Wars). Yes, both games are still great today.
posted by Diskeater at 5:06 PM on October 19, 2006

Are you looking for co-op multiplayer, or "against other peole on the internet" multiplayer? PC or consoles or either?
posted by Joh at 5:06 PM on October 19, 2006

Presumably you're talking about a LAN party, where each person has their own computer on a LAN. Right?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:08 PM on October 19, 2006

Response by poster: Yup, I'm talking about a LAN party -- playing on a local network. Playing against each other's what I'm mainly looking for, though co-op multiplayer could be fun too.

I've played WC 3 in the past, and gotten bad-OK at it, and it was fun... but something a tad simpler would be great.

Also, definitely PCs... thanks.
posted by shivohum at 5:15 PM on October 19, 2006


Brand new, immersive, atmospheric, addictive, genuinely creepy. Another review.

Link to download: get Steam, then ask Steam for the demo, which is all I've played so far. Free.

Non-steam download.

It must be exponentially more intense with the full-version multiplayer "alliance" feature.

A note on timing: it is addictive and immersive--but it only takes 5-20 minutes to play. The game is not so long that you wonder where the weekend went (the Half-Life/Counterstrike problem); but it is intense enough that you don't immediately hit "new game" afterwards (the way you do with Freecell).

In fact, you kind of need a minute.
posted by Phred182 at 5:15 PM on October 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

posted by fire&wings at 5:17 PM on October 19, 2006

Check out Gunbound.
posted by utsutsu at 5:17 PM on October 19, 2006

Should add: the learning curve is a well-done, ten-minute tutorial.
posted by Phred182 at 5:18 PM on October 19, 2006

I like command & conquer generals. You can pick it up very cheap, and it's not all that hard. Good graphics, quick gameplay, fun strategies.

Also, Diablo II is pretty good. Not too hard to master, quite addictive, lots of challenge and cool gear to find, and playing with a group is a cooperative experience.
posted by tomble at 5:20 PM on October 19, 2006

Do you want to play multiplayer on the local LAN? Or do you want to play multiplayer on the Internet?
posted by dgeiser13 at 5:25 PM on October 19, 2006

Hmm, Guild Wars organized PvP seems to fit the bill; it's more strategic than it looks. Guild Wars is a very two-faced game, in that you may want to (and are able to) ignore the roleplaying campaign completely, and just do PvP. The cool thing is that you get to play an endless stream of other 4-8 person organized teams, or you can scrimmage against your own if that's more your thing.
posted by trevyn at 5:25 PM on October 19, 2006

Second both Defcon and Worms (the 2D versions; I can't vouch for the 3D version as I've never played it). Worms is a helluva lot of fun with lots of people; lots of mayhem all around, although playing it effectively takes some practice.
posted by neckro23 at 5:26 PM on October 19, 2006

I've just started playing World of Warcraft and I'm completely hooked. It's a beautiful-looking game, surprisingly so, with an amazing number of levels and locations. It's relatively intuituve, but not exactly the "simple" game you're requesting. Takes a loooong time to get to a high level, but there's lots of quests and discoveries at whatever level you're at.
posted by zardoz at 5:36 PM on October 19, 2006


It's fast, simple, competitive, and as good looking as WC 3, since it's a WC 3 map. I found it to be one of, if not the most addictive LAN games I've ever played. It's really simple and fast paced, but there's a quite a lot of variety in how you play based on what hero/armies you pick, etc. In case you found the WC 3 multiplayer not to your taste, I just want to mention that it doesn't really play anything like normal WC 3 at all. Definitely check it out.
posted by benign at 5:45 PM on October 19, 2006

Total Annihilation. Little bit of a learning curve, but after the first match or two, you'll be fine.
posted by cosmicbandito at 6:01 PM on October 19, 2006

I've been trying my best to find more time for Company of Heroes (MetaCritic) over the last few days - it's a very recent real-time strategy game broadly in the Warcraft 3 mould, albeit one set in World War 2 and one so perfectly strategically balanced, and so visceral, that it completely eclipses anything similar I've played before. It's that good. I wouldn't say it's any more complicated than things like WC3 or Starcraft, but it's certainly deeper and more rewarding, and the single-player campaign mode does a great job of teaching you the ropes for the extensive multiplayer mode.

Plus, if it's cool graphics you want, it delivers in spades, assuming your PC's up to the job. I'd never have thought I'd be singing the praises of a WW2 RTS, of all things, but there you go.
posted by terpsichoria at 6:30 PM on October 19, 2006

Oh man! WORMS! (worms:armageddon is this far my favorite of the series). yeah, that's a great suggestion -- it's a mix of strategy and coordination -- you can pick most of it up immediately, and there's enough 'chance' in it (especially with multiple players) that people of varying skills can play together.

Most RTSes are gonna favor the guy who's got some experience playing it -- I can't think of one that's so easy to learn that a novice and an expert would stand an equal chance of winning. Usually if you have enough people, you can throw the new players on a team with some more experienced folks. I've played several of the games from the Age Of Empires series with absolute neophytes, and they had a great time. Age is also pretty much my favorite RTS brand.
posted by fishfucker at 6:31 PM on October 19, 2006

I (heart) Total Annihilation, but it has a much steeper learning curve than you would want.

I'd vote for Warcraft 3 + Expansion, and custom maps (they're easy to download from online play). I played regular maps for a couple months, but as soon as the custom maps got rolling, I haven't played a Blizzard map since!

Some are VERY strategic, and take an hour or two to play and fine-tune... some are over in several minutes, You can find all sorts of gameplay, something perfect for everyone!
posted by hatsix at 6:31 PM on October 19, 2006

Find a copy of Solder of Fortune II. It's old, it's fast, it's got great gameplay in capture-the-flag mode, and it's just fine for four or more players.
posted by SpecialK at 6:32 PM on October 19, 2006

Simple? Good-looking? You want Scorched3D. Bonus: There's an OSX version for all your Apple-owning friends, and a Linux version for the OS snob in your life, too!
posted by majick at 6:43 PM on October 19, 2006

Ditto Worms and Scorched Earth. Also, I always liked the first C&C. (But I haven't played any of the sequels, maybe they're better...)
posted by equalpants at 6:54 PM on October 19, 2006

Moonbase Commander! I wish I still had a Windows box so I could play this game. So good! You should be able to buy a used copy on Amazon, and one CD should allow everyone on your LAN to play.

Simple and addictive, with a core mechanic unlike any other game I know of. There's a passable review here.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:10 PM on October 19, 2006

Starcraft is the best RTS game I have ever played, and Ive played almost all of them. The "groups" are very different but not so different that it is too confusing to switch among them. It is just the right amount of complexity to be fun but not too hard to understand.
posted by comatose at 7:17 PM on October 19, 2006

Another vote for Worms!
posted by phatkitten at 7:30 PM on October 19, 2006

Worms is a superb choice. Easy to learn, but not easy to master, and totally silly so no-one's feelings get hurt if they do badly.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:36 PM on October 19, 2006

Here's the home page for "Worms: Armageddon". How can you not love a game which has exploding sheep?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:42 PM on October 19, 2006

Response by poster: Excellent suggestions! Thanks.
posted by shivohum at 12:00 AM on October 20, 2006

Halo! Halo! Halo! Halo! Halo! Halo!

(... I've got a sticky grenade that says none of your games are man enough...)

2nd worms, but worms is best played in the same room... beware the banana.
posted by ewkpates at 6:01 AM on October 20, 2006

I'll 9th Worms for pure fun.

For real-time strategy I really enjoy Age of Empires II. There are a ton of user-made scenarios and mods available for it, and the expansion as well. It doesn't take too long to figure out.
posted by ElfWord at 1:20 PM on October 20, 2006

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