Whether you are console gamer, a PC gamer or prefer a traditional trip to the arcade for nostalgia purposes and a feel of sheer authenticity, it is almost certain that in your time you would’ve come across a “party game” in some form.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a “party game” is essentially a game (which often incorporates characters from a franchise and puts them in a new setting) that is targeted towards the whole family and usually sees each player battle it out in a series of mini games. Who ever accumulates the most points wins.
The concept, which in itself is very simplistic in nature, worked pretty well for a number of developers and it saw games like Mario Party becoming fan favourites and gaining a devoted following. I personally remember my first time playing Mario Party was in a hospital waiting room whilst my little brother was waiting for an appointment; although I was relieved he was fine, a part of me couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed that the visit to the waiting room wasn’t longer, so that I could play more of the game.
Party games worked so well because you developed a sense of community with your fellow gamer whilst playing them. Many were released in a time before online gaming was as big as it is today (or even a thing) and in order for a younger gamer such as myself to spend time with other gamers it would usually involve inviting friends round after school.
I think the biggest example of a successful party game in the modern gaming era would be Fall Guys, although not as popular now as it was when it was first released I think I speak for most of us when I say there was nothing more fun and exciting than attempting to control an animated jelly bean through a flying assault course (honestly hours of fun were had!). Fall Guys worked well, I believe, because it brought back that feeling of childhood nostalgia and that feeling of community by utilising all that was good with party games but incorporating the online gaming element.
Party games truly brought us together, they were a way to escape life’s problems for a few moments and especially during the recent COVID lockdowns. I, along with many others, found solace in our old hobbies and although they may not make many party games anymore I truly feel they did survive the test of time and at one point will make a comeback as you really cannot beat that feeling of community.
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