50. Dance Dance Revolution
Who doesn’t love DDR? Bust out Supernova and a mat and watch crowds gather from miles around to get them some Paranoia in. That’s what’s up.
49. Dokapon Kingdom
Taking a trip to Dokapon is extremely colorful and magical, as well as a departure from the other Mario and Sonic madness across the board. Try it for something refreshingly different.
48. Buzz! Trivia
You Don’t Know Jack did it better, but Buzz! was still a formidable option in the same arena, making it a venerable contender for partygoers thirsting for more useless knowledge.
Another gem that went by unnoticed, Gazillionaire is immensely frustrating, but extremely rewarding once you figure out how things work. A group of interplanetary entrepreneurs journey through space and engage in trading goods and investing to come out on top with the largest net worth by the end of the game. May sound legitimately dorky, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
46. Family Game Night
There are a ton of Hasbro board games out there that are enjoyable enough in real life, but take games like Scrabble or Connect Four to an online arena and you’ve got a veritable party, especially if you don’t have many local friens to play the real thing with. And even if you do, eliminate the messy clean-up with this set of electronic versions.
45. Para Para Paradise
In the same genre as Dance Dance Revolution or Dance Central, Para Para Paradiseasks players to dance with their arms — para para dancing — to Eurobeat and popular DDR tunes with the aid of six floor sensors for the PlayStation 2. We’re still waiting on a port to Kinect or Move, guys, that ISN’T Dance Masters.
44. Taiko Drum Master
Like Donkey Konga, Taiko Drum Master allows even unskilled players the chance to pick up peripherals and bang on these, albeit to the beat of the music. It’s a lot more demanding than say Donkey Konga, but still in the same vein, and certainly a lot more adorable.
43. Donkey Konga
Donkey Kong purists may be wondering what bongos have to do with the classic Nintendo game, but Donkey Konga is actually a great party game with diverse songs and difficulty that any player can jump in with, even if they’re hopeless and can’t carry a tune. All you really need are your hands and the knowledge of how to clap. And you know how to do that, right?
42. Sega Superstars Tennis
The cartoony nature of Sega Superstars Tennis creates an interesting contrast between realistic sports and the antics of platform heroes you know and love. Plus, you can play as Ulala, and everyone should want to play as Ulala.
41. Viva Piñata Party Animals
The companion to the hopelessly addictive sim is actually a collection of fun minigames akin to those seen in Mario Party. Racing and hordes of other challenges may be completed with friends and it may not be a collection of the most polished games in the world, but it’s still surprisingly competent.
40. Mario Party 3
We know there’s another Mario Party on the list, but Mario Party 3 is simply one of the best. Check it out if you’re not too busy with all those newfangled Wii additions and other wannabe minigame collections.
The beautiful thing about Peggle is that nearly everyone knows how to play. And if you perform underwhelmingly, you can blame it all on luck. Rack up points, eat up multipliers, and you’re golden. Plus, switching out players is nothing. The only real objective in Peggle is to clear out all of the pegs. Duh!
38. Board Game Top Shop
This is a rarer Monopoly-esque board game that many still haven’t heard of, but it’s well worth your while. Shops are littered around multiple floors of a shopping mall and it’s your job to purchase, open, and expand these stores so that when your opponents land on the space they’re forced to buy an item and fuel your empire. The bigger the store, the more expensive your item. The goal is to eventually run your opponent out of money. It’s also got an extremely awesome muzak rendition of what sounds like “We Got The Funk.”
37. Fortune Street
Let it be said that Fortune Street is confusing. There’s no denying this. That doesn’t keep it from being perfect for those shrewd, money-grubbing friends of yours for whom Monopoly just isn’t enough. The familiar mix of Nintendo andDragon Quest staples is a boon as well, and though there are no minigames to compete in, the strategies are reason enough to jump right in.
36. Sonic Shuffle
It couldn’t compete with Mario Party, but it came with its own share of Sonic universe goodneess, as corny and oft-confusing as it was. Over 50 minigames and collectibles made some of the madness worth your while, and even Sega fanboys needed a Sonic-specific playground in which to hold their own types of parties. Still a Dreamcast gem, even if that fact is debated.
35. Mario Kart Wii
The next step up from the excellent Mario Kart GameCube iteration packed its own motion control wheel to kick things up a notch, making adding new contenders even simpler. While that cheating blue turtle shell still got in the way of many a victory, a new way to experience Rainbow Road with friends was immensely appreciated.
34. Wii Sports Resort
If you went bananas for tennis and bowling, Wii Sports Resort must have blown your mind with its inclusion of the Motion Plus accessory and its new set of dynamic activities and alternatives to traditional sports, like fencing and archery. Good stuff indeed, especially when you toss family into the mix.
33. Left 4 Dead
What with all the buzz surrounding the zombie apocalypse and the zombie enthusiasts’ pockets being rife with money, Left 4 Dead’s popularity at a party only makes logical sense. Kill all the zombies by any means necessary: napalm, SMGs, you name it. Keep the pills flowing and the party going and see who’s the first to hit the infamous “Cr0wnd!” achievement first.
32. B.U.T.T.O.N. (Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally Okay Now)
If you have to ask why this makes such a particularly amazing party game, you’ve probably never played it. We won’t ruin the surprise.
You may not be expecting this classic to find a place on the list, but keep that blasphemous opinion to yourself! You should know how much fun blowing up your opponent is through well-placed explosions. If you don’t, we need you to stop reading immediately and procure a copy of Bomberman so you can educate yourself.
30. Wii Sports
The little pack-in that could attracted droves of new buyers with the promise of bowling and tennis alone, and for good reason — it was super addictive. It still is. Everyone wants a piece of Wii Bowling, especially when there’s room to show off. It’s easy setup, and easy to drop in new players. Plus — hell hath no fury like an elderly Wii Sports player’s high score being surpassed.
29. Kinect Adventures
It may have been a Kinect pack-in, but it knew how to attract players. If someone spots a game where you’re using your body to pop bubbles and go river rafting, they’re guaranteed to beg for a turn. Human logic. And if you bought a Kinect, you got it for free. Easy enough, right?
28. WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Games
We return to the GameCube for the WarioWare party that got us talking before we ever thought about motion control. It shuffled some of the greatst microgames included on the game for a fast and furious party mode that found players knocking turtles away from a turtle tower to crown a victor on their last leg. Yeah, we’re not sure either. All we know is it’s an absolute blast.
27. NBA Jam
So baller it got a re-release. Even if you’re not into basketball there’s something to love here. Come for the frenetic, silly take on the traditional sport but stay for the trash talking, because there’ll be a ton of it.
It’s easy to gather a crowd when someone’s on an epic Tetris run. Extremely simple. Everyone wants to be a part of the magic. It’s the thrill of the combo — you’ve gotta find a place for that one last piece. You’ve gotta! Bust out the Tetrisin any iteration and it’s pretty much guaranteed you have a full living room for the night.
25. Just Dance 4
The latest Just Dance is more simplistic than Dance Central, and that makes it dangerous. It will recognize most moves with the Wii remote, so even more misdirected flailing is in order. But as long as you’ve got a booty, you can shake it. That’s the beauty of the Just Dance series, and what makes it the party game that attracts so many wannabe dancers.
24. Dance Central 2
The party continues from the Kinect killer app with Dance Central 2, allowing for more players, more dance moves, and more ways for less seasoned players to humiliate themselves — think Dance Dance Revolution, only requiring a boatload more confidence and coördination. Plus, it takes photos. Gather a gaggle of friends and watch out for the drunk ones.
23. Mortal Kombat
With all its spine-ripping joy, Mortal Kombat is a fine complement to the Street Fighters and Marvel vs. Capcoms for party-goers who need something a little more violent to work with. Who hasn’t sat in a room full of contenders and pulled a “GET OVER HERE!” to the clamoring of an excited crowd? That’s the good stuff.
22. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
You may laugh, but don’t discount the power of Modern Warfare. The excellent original Modern Warfare that started it all packed its fair share of multiplayer havoc. All you really needed was a room full of players, knives, and a private match. Let the insults fly! When you’re playing a Mike Myers match, you’re going to need that kind of charisma.
Drop everything and round up some friends for some good, old-fashioned SPARTAN-slaying! Lasers, energy swords, and needlers, oh my! The ultimate in fragging at parties back upon its initial release (and continuing today as the series has evolved), Halo turned friends into the fiercest of enemies and tore a rift through even the closest of relationships — and that was nothing compared to the emotional trauma the losers had to go through. Not us. We’re killtacular.
20. Street Fighter IV
The latest iteration of Street Fighter changed the game completely, and it’s now very much one of the benchmarks other fighters are measured by. Iconic characters, silky smooth matches, and the brand new striking art style act as venerable gamer catnip. One more match, just one more match! We know. We’ve been there.
19. Marvel vs. Capcom 2
There may have been a sequel to the popular crossover, but we still can’t get enough of the Dreamcast classic. Servbots, Wolverine, and all he other wacky comic and arcade selections were iconic pieces of our youth and integral to the fighting scene as a whole. No scrubs allowed, bro.
18. Mario Tennis
Tennis wasn’t fun until it received a video game adaptation, and we’re here to say no one does arcade‑y tennis fun like Mario. Watching the gang fumble around the court with power serves and hilarious players like Birdo and Waluigi is so much more fun than Venus and Serena’s digital likenesses buzzing around the court. Impromptu tennis tournaments also make a great reason to declare your gaming skills better than your friends’.
17. Mario Kart
Before the technologically advanced racers we had Mario, Luigi, and the rest of the gang, zooming around Rainbow Road, and it was good. It still is. The blue turtle shell is still evil. And we’re still owning kids at get-togethers after we’ve eaten our fill and have exhausted time with our families. Best believe it.
16. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Solo Zelda is an adventure in itself. Adding three friends to the mix only seemed like the next logical step. Four Links means four times the roleplaying and in our book that means four times the party — that’s something we can get behind.
15. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Mêlée’s older, updated brother made a splash on the Wii, acting as a step up fromMêlée in terms of character selection, graphics, and mechanics. Though many of us were still partial to Mêlée’s classic sensibilities, we flocked to Brawl for new characters and new ways to bash our opponents’ faces in.
14. Super Smash Bros. Mêlée
The brawl before Brawl pit so many of our favorite Nintendo characters together in battles for supremacy, and acted as the première beat-’em-up for fighters itching for a new challenge. Remember dragging your GameCube to a friend’s for a night full of move-spamming? We do.
13. Castle Crashers
What better way to party with friends than summoning a few to go adventuring? We’re wagering there aren’t many better options. Castle Crashers allows for online and local chaos between four colorful warriors who know wrecking enemies and scouring each landscape for loot better than the back of their own hands, and if that doesn’t make for a party, we don’t know what does.
12. Rayman Raving Rabbids
Rayman’s platforming roots made a major departure with the introduction of the Rabbids, a zany pack of rabbit-like creatures who, as it turned out, loved getting into all sorts of shenanigans — most of which involved other players. Simon Says, races, and a cavalcade of other silliness awaited players who dared take the plunge, and they were rewarded with a high-tension, accessible party game with plenty of options. And thus, the Rabbids marched on.
SingStar was Sony’s answer and follow-up to Karaōke Revolution, with tons of releases and plenty of songs and their corresponding music videos, much likeLips. A slick interface and a couple of mics included with each pack made for an instant sing-along that even non-gamers wanted to get in on — especiallySingStar ’80s, and we don’t blame them.
10. You Don’t Know Jack
If Scene It is the crowning glory of the movie trivia scene, then the classic You Don’t Know Jack franchise should be considered the king of all trivia games. Quirky hosts, graphics, and irreverent material ensures a good time is had by all, no matter their trivia specialty. And Cookie Masterson will go down in history as one of the greatest hosts of all time.
9. Mario Party 9
This indomitable franchise has been around for quite some time now, and as it reaches its 10th iteration, it only gets better. The latest Mario Party takes the show on the road for the Wii and packs even more ridiculosity, cheating Shy Guys, and minigames to gloat about winning to your friends. The most colorful release yet, things still feel the same as they did back on the Nintendo 64, only much better-looking.
8. WarioWare: Smooth Moves
WarioWare, Inc. brought its unique brand of microgames to Wii owners with a nonstop assault of flick this, mimic that challenges to get everyone up out of their seats and shakin’ it through snot-wiping microgames, dancing, and a host of other frenetic events that put any other minigame collection to shame.
7. Lips: Party Classics
For those of us who preferred a slew of new content rather than dropping cash on DLC tunes for additional songs, Lips: Party Classics was created. It went back to basics with Lips scoring and additional mics for those of us who couldn’t get enough of the LCD-lit goodness. Party Classics rocked familiar ballads and pop tunes to get even Grandma in on the fun, and it’s a shame the franchise didn’t grow further.
Microsoft threw their hat into the karaōke ring with Lips, bundled with two gorgeous mics (one black, one white) and song choices complete with the authentic music videos and a diverse selection of tracks for listeners with varying tastes. It hasn’t experienced the longevity that was likely projected for it, but it was a fantastic, more realistic attempt at karaōke that even picked up on vibrato and other singing styles. It’s a shame the project was dropped — the handful of sequels it spawned doesn’t exactly whet our appetites.
5. Scene It: Box Office Smash!
If you’re a Nic Cage addict like me or go to the movies far more often than should be normal, Scene It should be your go-to party game. Movie poster trivia, questions about common ties between actors, and even adorable pixel illustrations of your favorite movies round out the festivities, with a gaggle of achievements and in-game challenges to tempt your inner movie nerd.
4. Guitar Hero
Chances are you likely have several of these multicolored plastic peripherals littered around your bedroom or living room and they’re remnants of an age long past, but don’t discount the power of a Guitar Hero party. They can be some of the wildest with the most competitive participants you can imagine. You don’t need vocals, drums, or keyboards — just be ready to rock and/or “Bark at the Moon.”
3. Rock Band 3
The quintessential Rock Band now since Harmonix seems to have shifted focus,Rock Band 3 is the latest iteration of the wildly popular party game, with keyboards, a huge new selection of songs, and massive improvements to the interface to make drop-in and drop-out co-op play even simpler than before. We don’t know where the franchise will end up, but we like it where it was.
2. Rock Band 2
Rock Band got the party started, but Rock Band 2 perfected the art of fantastic song selection and party play. Improved visuals, choreography, and note paths were only a few of the augments made to ensure Rock Band 2 took what made the original so ridiculously addictive were markedly improved. Plus, it improved upon the original guitar as well. Party in a box!
1. Rock Band
You’ve got groupies, alcohol, and karaōke already, why not add plastic instruments to the mix? Rock Band goes back to basics with the very first answer from Harmonix to RedOctane’s guitar odyssey where a few friends could get together and play said plastic instruments to the tune of suckage as loudly as possible at 3 AM. The game that started it all, Rock Band will forever hold a special place in our hearts.