A great party needs good food, appropriate beverages, and the perfect video game. Unfortunately, finding the best game for a party isnât exactly easy. Mixed groups of young children, teens, and grown-ups make finding something appropriate in a sea of titles a challenge. Iâm here to help you find a game or two for your library that you can pull out to get the party started every weekend, and keep it family friendly.
Itâs easy to party with a bunch of adults â just add booze. Partying with children, and making sure everyone has a good time, requires a different approach. Teenagers throw the mix entirely out of whack, theyâre as likely to get pissed off that youâre âmaking themâ play a video game as they are to appreciate youâre doing something they usually enjoy.
Luckily we live in a wonderful age of gaming where there are literally thousands of titles to choose from. The best way to determine which ones will work for your party is to decide how many players youâll have.
If you only have 2 players
Couch co-op (two or more players in the same room on the same console) is one of the most rewarding ways to play. Here are three games that work perfectly for two players who are geared up for a hardcore gaming session:
- âCivilizationÂ 6â on PC â Itâs the perfect educational game for parent-kid combos and a great introduction to turn-based strategy games. The best setup for this is a PC with HDMI out, a big-screen TV, and a wireless mouse. Players can take turns in âhot-seatâ mode.
- âMinecraftâ on console â Younger players will appreciate Minecraft more than Civilization 6, and it really is fun for all ages. All you need is a couple of controllers and plenty of snacks â youâll easily lose hours at a time doing ridiculously repetitive tasks in a world with crappy graphics, and youâll love every second of it.
- âWii Sportsâ â Donât sleep on the oldies. You need to get off the couch and burn off some energy, and you probably need a non-violent way to prove youâre a better boxer than the neighbor kid. Also, Wii bowling and the Wiimote, paired together, are one of the greatest inventions of the modern era.
If you have three to six players
Your options begin to change and youâre able to legally call your gathering a party once youâve reached three people. Itâs time to break out the party games because either youâre going to spend 15 minutes setting up the playing area and figuring out how to sign everyone in (Rock Band, Iâm looking at you), or you just need everyone to be able to play without any fuss:
- âRockband 4â on PS4 or Xbox One â The greatest party game ever made, unless you donât like pretending to be a rock star. This is the most expensive video game on the list if you purchase the instruments, but itâs also the one thatâs most likely to result in memories that last forever. For the real experience, youâll need to buy the gameâs hardware. Up to three people can sing with individual USB microphones though only one will be able to sign in and get achievements/trophies. Another player can jam on the drums in a pretty close-to-the-real-thing way, while two more can play guitar controllers as the lead guitar or bass player in the band.
- âJackbox Party Packsâ on PC or console â These games come with a child-friendly toggle that youâll want to use if you have children playing. Included in the packs are several games that allow you to use a cell phone or tablet as a controller making them great for when you have more people than gamepads. In the games youâll be asked to come up with funny catchphrases that everyone will vote on, or see if you can fool your friends into believing a lie youâve created.
- âUse Your Wordsâ on console â This is a riff on the âJackboxâ games, if you ask me, but itâs just solid enough to avoid being a rip-off, and itâs worth a purchase. Youâll compete with your fellow players, again based on votes, to come up with the best subtitles for a foreign film, or play âcaption thisâ with news headlines. Itâs a blast, and just like âJackboxâ you play it with your smart devices. The 50s vibe in the animations and voice acting for âUse Your Wordsâ is exceedingly cool and, if Iâm being honest, it suits the party atmosphere better than âJackboxâ does with its game-show feel.
Bonus mention: âHeads Upâ on mobile is an option for those who donât want to use the big screen. Iâm not responsible for what happens if you play it â itâs the âwho am I?â party game featured on the âEllen!â show, and itâs a lot of fun no matter who youâre playing it with.
Once youâve decided on the game the rest is up to you, but youâll know it was a success if your game choice forces everyone to interact with each other more than the screen.