With titles like Just Dance and Kinect Adventures/Sports, party games these days are all too often seen as “casual games for kids and parents”. This is a real problem, as now that “Party” games are marketed this way, all we will get are boring emulations of real activities. Gone are the days of games like Mario Party, Diddy Kong Racing, and Goldeneye. It may not seem like it, but these were the real party games of that generation, and they were good. They made you want to invite all your friends around for a few rounds of button mashing and some pizza.
These days, online multiplayer has become greatly preferred, compared to the local multiplayer of the good old days. Obviously, this is because of the ease of use, but with no true social interaction between player, something has been lost that only the face-to-face experience party games can provide. Isn’t the enjoyment of an intense race or fight heightened when you are sitting right next to your opponent? And isn’t the victory that much sweeter when you can provide your audience with a horrible victory dance? Now imagine the same situation but without anyone physically around you, how accomplished would the achievement then feel in comparison?
Luckily, developers still care about local multiplayer, and I recently played Gears of War 3 with my brother and friends, where a positively smashing time was had, stomping their faces into the pavement despite the fact that said brother would hit me upside the head whenever I killed him. This is what multiplayer should be. I’m not saying online doesn’t have its place, but true social gaming needs to be a bigger part of today’s gaming experience. If more developers made games that catered to this aspect, I believe multiplayer would become a more wholesome experience for everyone.