Sometimes there’s nothing better than some split-screen action to add a little friendly competition to your weekend binge-session. That being said, if you’re going to have a group of people over and you’re thinking of whipping out a game or two for some multi-player action, what should you go for?
Do you opt for the shooter, or something less intimidating? It’s a serious dilemma, and depends largely on who you have over. Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a list of “the best of the best” when it comes to party games that are sure to please. Yeah, the list is pretty Nintendo-heavy, but let’s be honest: When it comes to games that actually promote social interaction, Nintendo knows what’s up. So behold, the best of the party games.
Super Smash Bros.: The “Super Smash Bros.” series is truly a thing of its own. Whoever came up with the idea of beating the hell out of each other with famous Nintendo characters, Pokémon and other various pixelated warriors deserves a Nobel Prize, or at least a firm handshake.
With only a set number of precious lives on a confining map, few other games can inspire such heated gameplay. Once everyone finds a character they like and gets the hang of the controls, it’s funny to see the intense rivalries that develop over the course of the night. I have witnessed many a thrown controller and miniature brawl as a result of Super Smash, and hope to see many more. There’s one Super Smash game for each of the last three Nintendo systems, but if you ask me, “SSB Melee” on the trusty GameCube is unmatched.
Rock Band: “Rock Band” takes a lot of flak for being cheesy and overpriced. Sure, it is, but that doesn’t make the experience any less fun. Granted, this game isn’t for everyone. If you’re hanging out with a lot of self-conscious, timid, or musically challenged people, this probably won’t fly. On the other hand, when you find the right group, “Rock Band” can be one of the best ways to cap a night of intoxication.
It’s also a fun way to see who’s best at what when it comes to the instruments. Sure, they’re just pieces of plastic, but once the music gets going no one really seems to care. Put the drunkest guy on bass, trust me.
Halo 2: Anyone who has any problem with this game can buzz off. “Halo” had to be on this list, and “Halo 2” represents the best “Halo” multiplayer to date. Why? “Halo 2” occupies best stage in the chain of Halo evolution. It maintains the simplicity of “Halo” plus improved graphics, maps and weaponry without the over-the-top additions that made “Halo 3” suck.
In “Halo 2” you can play a legitimate game of “MLG” or “shotty snipes” on Lockout without some asshole jet-packing all over the map, throwing gadgets left and right. As an added plus, if you’re playing online, you probably won’t find some hyperactive 10-year-old with a speech impediment screeching in your ear.
WarHawk: It’s pretty rare to see a split screen, air combat game that “works.” This is why “WarHawk” was such a great title. As far as I know, this is the only game that allows you to go toe-to-toe with three others in futuristic and agile flying death-machines. Although it can be tough to get the hang of the controls, once you do, this title is pure gold. Also, if you’re going to play it drunk, make sure everyone else is plastered too; otherwise I guarantee you’ll be at a serious disadvantage.
Mario Kart: This one is a given. In this day and age, anyone who hasn’t played “Mario Kart” at least once has probably never had the luxury of electricity. Those of us lucky enough to have played this little gem with three other decent players know just how intense (and at times frustrating) a game can get. Flying down Rainbow Road in first place can be a nail-biting experience to say the least.
I happen to suck at this game, but it doesn’t bother me much, mainly because last place always gets the best powerups from their floating cube thingamajigs. “Ohhh a Bowser Ball? Why thank you very much Mr. Handicap!”
Super Monkey Ball: Sometimes I wonder just how stoned the designers of this game had to get before they thought up the pure genius that made this game what it is. Players get to race, battle and fly around as monkeys sealed within giant balls. Needless to say, the unusual circumstances actually make for some of the best and most unique split screen experiences you can have.
Andrew Lahr is a creative writing major by day, gamer by night. Email questions, comments and column ideas to [email protected]