If you’re lucky enough to have [gamer] friends, and lucky enough for them to come over to your house/apartment/parents’ basement, then once they’re there you might want to actually entertain them. But with what? You’ve got a broad selection of grey-brown first person shooters, a handful of fighting games, and little else. What is a friendly gamer nerd to do?
But have no fear; there are plenty of games on the market that will function as party games without having to resort to Wii Tennis.
If you don’t already own this independent action adventure game, it’s a great buy for its single player and multi-player modes. For the sake of parties, Spelunky death match is hard to beat. A match can end in seconds, or longer, and it’s pure chaos. There is also a co-op adventure mode, but it’s pretty much impossible to play for longer than a few minutes and will result in you accidentally/intentionally killing your fellow players. You can pick up Spelunky from the Xbox Live Arcade.
Another game that is a great, chaotic experience is B.U.T.T.O.N. The name stands for Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now. The game gives you a series of tasks that you are supposed to complete, but what makes B.U.T.T.O.N unique is that “anything goes.” Want to pick up your opponent to stop them from pressing their button seven times? You can do it. B.U.T.T.O.N is a bit insane, and you really need a bit of space to play it, but it’s the kind of game you have to keep playing once you’ve started. Just check out this gameplay video and go ahead and get the demo off Xbox Arcade if you’re not sold.
Bomberman can be a bit of a nostalgia trip if you’re familiar with the franchise, but it’s still easy enough to pick up that casual gamers can enjoy it as well. Your objective is simply to destroy your opponents with bombs, and it has many different modes and character modifications to keep it interesting and re-playable. The game is also available on Xbox Live Arcade.
Soul Calibur IV
Soul Calibur is a fantastically unexpected party game. You can have eight people watching the fights on your television, cheering on their favorite person, and just have the loser pass their controller over to the next person. It’s engaging enough for “non-gamers” but if you’re a really solid Soul Calibur player, it still allows you to demonstrate your knowledge.
You Don’t Know Jack
Trivia games are traditional, but great party games, and You Don’t Know Jack is no exception. Where YDKJ separates itself from Scene It and other trivia games is its unique sense of humor and challenging questions. There are only a handful of modes for answering questions, so the gameplay is mostly restricted to the trivia portion, but it’s a good way to keep more than four people involved in your party, since you can team up two to a controller.
What party games do you use when you get together?