Lunchtime Discussion: Party

If you read today’s title and instantly went to multiplayer pairing systems, you’re a huge geek and pretty much belong here. If you went to the other kind of party, you know having people over etc…, then you’re more accurate and if you went to political parties… well that’s just weird. I mean it wasn’t really a likely topic of discussion now was it? Silly person.

So anyway let’s talk about parties. You have a bunch of your mates round to have a bit of fun, possibly to consume a responsible amount of alcohol and even to eat some canapés if such is your desire. Of course you can’t just sit and eat canapés all night, you need something to do. The activity? Well it could be a video game.

“Video games at a party?” I hear you cry. “Surely such things are best saved for when you’re alone and not suitable for a canapé driven party.” Well you’d be wrong, and possibly from the 1980s. It actually does surprise me how much of a social activity games have become, and how many people you can get sitting around a TV wanting to get their hands on a controller.


I’m not really sure when the tipping point actually happened, when games shifted to a ‘proper’ social activity rather than something you did with maybe just one or two friends helping you clear a level. Quite possibly it was when Nintendo decided to put four controller ports on the N64 and then put out the highly addictive Mario Kart 64. When you moved from two to four player things instantly became a lot more social, letting you quickly rotate through a large group.

More recently of course we’ve seen a social boom from rhythm gaming and motion gaming. The lack of a ‘traditional’ pad seems to have opened gaming up to a lot more people, I think mimicking an actual action is a lot less intimidating than using a d-pad or analogue stick. People certainly seem a lot more willing to grab the Wiimote or guitar controller than they are to pick up a DualShock.

So are games part of your parties? Do you love to rock out with your friends? Or do the games consoles not get a look in when it’s party time?



  1. Absoloutely not. If there was someone else here they might eat all the canapés.

  2. Sports champions has proven to be very popular among my circle of friends, Disc-golf in particular. I’ve also got start the party and Buzz, and Sing Star (Take that?) is on my Christmas list. Never thought I’d be so into them, but they’ve become nearly my favourite kind of videogame.

    • I have to say games like Sports Champions where the people are more active do seem to be better party games and work well. Those are the sorts of games that are more multiplayer friendly.

  3. As a gamer, I have zero interest in the social/party games like Rock Band, etc. However, I have a particular group of friends who aren’t “gamers” as such but have evenings where they get food in, drinks, and play the hell out of Singstar or Rock Band. It bores the hell out of me so I don’t go to them.

    To be fair, if I was having a party it would have nothing to do with gaming. My closer mates play the more traditional titles we associate with the games industry so we’re more likely to sit down and dive into games where we’re showing what we’ve recently bought or revisit stuff we’ve enjoyed in the past (eg. co-op PJ Shooter or some LBP).

    • Exactly the same as you mike, more into ‘hardcore’ games than a lot of these casual party games that have sprung up recently.
      However, despite never owning guitar hero, and only rarely playing it at friends houses, I can do a lot of songs on hard and a few on expert when I do decide to go to one of those parties. Gamers reflexes ;)

      • Ah, that’s a very good point. I’ve been asked (a few times) to help with a game if I’ve been over visiting and it’s been a more social game where things are dumbed down a touch. The reason I say that is because I’ve been able to turn my hand to it easily and I rate myself as a “good” gamer with the more traditional titles we speak of. Not excellent but above average. However, to my non-gaming mates I appear to be god-like when I help them out. Wii owners fear me! 8-)

      • Gaming will certainly improve your dexterity and requires good spacial awareness, etc.

    • If they aren’t gamers, but they’re playing the hell out of Rock Band then what are they? You could say my step-mum isn’t a gamer, but she probably invests more hours in Farmville than I do ‘real’ titles.

      • It’s the very reason I put “gamer” in quotes, fella. Industry perception of what a traditional gamer is.

        From my own perspective, we’re all gamers. We just find something we feel comfortable with (from sports games to so-called Wii shovelware, to rhythm-based games, to shooters, etc). It makes no difference for me. There’s room for all.

      • Yeah, my parents spend far more time on their DS’s Suduko/Professor Layton etc than I do, and my Dad is never off his iPod Touch and he’s the one who’s always telling me what to buy

      • I missed the quotes :( Stupid hangover.

      • You see, cc, I think that’s awesome! We’re now in a society where gaming is far more acceptable and there are people out there, like your folks, who are really enjoying titles to the max! Good on them. Sure, they might never dip their toes into COD or Uncharted 2 or an RTS but that’s okay. Those sorts of games were never after that demographic in the first place. It’s lovely when it crosses over but devs usually know who they’re aiming for. Just not so convinced about the hardware manufacturers (Sony, MS, Ninty).

  4. The Megadrive’s Micro Machines 2 with the extra two controller ports on its J-Cart, was the start of it all?

    I agree motion games are better suited to parties than most things the PS360 have offered up to recently, the ability just to wave a controller around to beat someone else is compelling, of course its all down to the software and this is really where Ninty have excelled with such titles as Mario Kart, Wii Sports etc They really do play to a party crowd

    The PS3 may get there though, but Sports Champions shows a complete lack of understanding of what is recquired (yes when we’re sat alone we can appreciate the accuracy) but the common perception of it being like a Wii game but with the fun sucked out isn’t far off the mark, I found myself explaining about presing the rather tiny triangle button to move the camera, use the square for something else. Yes its is pick up and play but its far from as intuitive as a Wii game in a drunken party situation, same with Tumble as the manipulating the camera takes a bit of getting the hang of and constant cursor drift which accompanies Move in pointing/aiming based titles proved the final straw.

    Sony have nailed it though with Singstar, and that is my go to title for such situation, although Singstar+Guitar and Singstar Dance will run it close, oh they’re still Singstar…. hey Sony, allow the Singstar team to make Move games they seem to know what they’re doing for parties.

    Love the Ps3 for parties but beyond the established Guitar Hero Singstar games its still got a long way to go until it rivals the Wii

    • It was Micro Machines for me too, but V3 on the PS One. Two 4 controller hubs and seven controllers. Mayhem!

    • I’ve had a few mates try the Move drunk, and apart from The Shoot and Start the Party, they were hopeless! Planet Minigolf was a particularly dire one, some people just cannot handle having to push a few buttons! Stuff like Singstar often gets brought out at parties, and Wii Bowling. Mostly though, parties should be about drinking and chatting, I’ve found games can dominate an evening otherwise and it isn’t a party anymore, its a drunken gaming session.

  5. Well, I wouldn’t say we play video games when having a party (especially because the amount of people involved in the overall party significantly exceeds the capacity of any local multiplayer!) but we definitely play rockband, buzz or the likes of Start the Party whenever we have a few friends around. So it’s really a matter of numbers… If we are not too many – meaning that everyone can join in regular intervals – we do definitely play video games.

  6. I love ‘having people other’ ;). back to topic, im not a party game lover. i prefer to play games on my own. Its my own personal time and its an escape for me. thats the way i like it. i dont mind online, because i can mute microphones and i cant see the opposition

  7. Rock Band is an essential part of the parties I have – it’s always on the TV when I’ve got people round.

    • Rock Band and Singstar are awesome for parties. You need music on anyway at a party so it might as well be engaging some of the party goers. I have a group of frinds who love it and we could play all night but others who either have a go or just quite like laughing at the awful singing.

  8. For me it happened when you would swap controllers on super mario when you died.

    I still play by this rule with CoD Blackops (yes I know you can play two online splitscreen, but it’s crap).

    I was playing round my mates last night, two ps3s two tvs.

    We’ve had a part of 4 on Modern Warfare all playing online in the same house. Connection was a bit worse, but as we were all communicating in the same room arses were whipped.

  9. Every house party me and my mates (both male and female) have always involves a combination of singstar, guitar hero and rock band. I’ll happily play Rock Band for hours (and have done so before). Haven’t tried buzz yet but I’m tempted. Also back in the day I remember 4 player crash team racing and Timesplitters were also regular favs.

  10. Buzz and move games are good for the more relaxed, more low-key party while rockband and singstar suit anything from a slightly more upbeat event right up to a full on raucous new-years booze-fest!

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