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Best Party Games, Summer 2016 Edition

Summer is in full heat here in the northern hemisphere, and for many that means school vacations and more time with friends. Sure you could go outside, get exercise, maybe even meet that special someone… but it’s hot out there! Our plan is to stay in the nice AC, boot up a party game, and see who’s the best at… well… random tasks.

Or that was the plan, but then we got to talking about what party game to play and suffice to say, we couldn’t agree which was best. Thus today’s article was born. The Antlion crew sat down to make their case for the best party game of all time, and some of us also tossed in their favorite “modern” party game for good measure.

Joe - B.U.T.T.O.N, Xbox360

Best party game is an easy pick for me, and one probably nobody has even heard of. The game is B.U.T.T.O.N, or by its full name Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now. It came out for the Xbox360 in 2011. The rules are simple: Follow the instructions on the screen. The caveat? Other than what’s on the screen you can do anything you want.

The setup is simple. Each player has a controller, which is set on the ground. Then the game tells you how many steps to take away from your controller. Then it tells you to do something else… and this part is pretty random. Maybe it will tell you to do 5 pushups, then maybe it will tell you the first player who’s A button is pressed 10 times loses… and off you go! It’s typically a mad dash, a lot of physical violence, and potentially a broken controller, but there’s no doubt in my mind you’ll never laugh harder. For those of you who don’t have an Xbox lying around, it’s on Steam for 3 bucks. That said, keep in mind you’ll still need multiple controllers, a first aid kit, and potentially good health insurance to play.

Your level of violence may vary


Eli - Fusion Frenzy, Xbox

When I think of a party game, it’s hard for me to start somewhere other than the original Fuzion Frenzy from 2001. This one is also from the original Xbox and my college buddies and I spent hours upon hours getting way too competitive over who was the best at our favorite minigames. This game surely achieved its purpose by working us up into a frenzy and the way I remember it, I was the king (no bias here =P). Sure games like Mario Party had already come out, but Fuzion Frenzy was presenting a faster paced and decidedly more neon version of the party mini game genre, and it had me hooked.

Sumo Mode in Fusion Frenzy

I think there was a single player or “campaign” mode on Fuzion Frenzy, but the majority of our time was spent on probably half a dozen of the minigames we enjoyed most, or thought we were the best at. There is nothing wrong with simplicity here, minigames like “Sumo” or “Twisted System” were as basic as being in a rolling cage and trying to knock off your opponents on an increasingly smaller stage, or ducking, ducking, jumping while the music and obstacles get faster and faster on an endless loop until there is only 1 champion left standing. Sadly this game isn’t easy to play these days unless you have a relic Xbox or even Xbox 360, but the amount of screaming excitement and debates that Fuzion Frenzy gave me and my friends has yet to be matched.  


James - New: Mario Kart 8, Wii-U

It may be the nostalgia of racing around Rainbow Road, but there is something appealing about ending your friend’s perfect lap with a well placed red shell. The expanded controller support and cross platform play makes Mario Kart 8 one of the most exciting party games since Super Smash Bros! I love the new map sets and Battle Mode is just as rewarding as it’s always been. For those gamers that are of legal drinking age, don't miss the opportunity to play Beerio Kart! You must drink an entire adult beverage before the race is over. There is one catch you can never DRINK AND DRIVE! So pull over check your facebook, send that text out, pound a beer, and plan to spend the night wherever you’ve gathered to sober up.

The rare moment when Mario Kart is the most graphically advanced game on a list...

Old: Goldeneye 007, N64

If I had to go way back to my favorite party game growing up, I think I would choose GoldenEye. Although Odd Job got annoying and was impossible to shoot, overall it was a FPS that was way before its time. I remember spending hours upon hours playing Golden Gun mode, and arguing over who got to play next. We would spend entire sleepovers fragging each other, and no matter how many things we had lined up to do, when that N64 booted up and Goldeneye was popped in nothing else seemed to matter. I guess you might say it is what started my addiction to video games, thanks Nintendo!

Split screen FPS... Not ideal, but nostalgic!

Rob- Super BomberMan 2, SNES

Taking it way back with one of the best in the series. The one-player game was a throw-away mode; I think I only played it once. The four-player mode is the meat and potatoes here. Trying to send three of your friends to a fiery death? Sign me up. Power-ups such as the multiple bombs, explosion extenders, and others turn the tide in your favor. The best power-ups are the punch glove (letting you essentially throw your bomb) and detonator. Beware the nerfs as well! The “diarrhea” power-down, where you lay down bombs uncontrollably, can really put a damper on your day. Best game settings are the Turbo stage (everyone moves fast by default), 3-minute rounds, first to five wins.

Rob's old school with Super Bomber Man 2


After this debate did we realized we all have pretty different tastes, but also not a SINGLE one of us picked a game from the same system! It really shows how couch multiplayer games, despite their rarity today, have really stood the test of time. Now we have to dig deep into our closets of dusty systems and spare parts, and begin the summer challenge of playing every single game on this list to see who's the ultimate champion! Where the heck are we going to find a working SNES!?

Feel free to post suggestions on YOUR favorite party game to add to the fun!

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