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Games To Play With Your Family

The great thing about Christmas is that you get some free time to fill with gaming delights, and probably some new games into the bargain. The downside is that a big chunk of that free time inevitably has to be spent with your family, unless you can persuade them all to go to Switzerland over Christmas, but that’s not always possible.

But there is a solution. You can combine gaming time and family time – it is possible. However, you have to choose the right games. No matter how many times you drunkenly tell her she’s a ‘wonder woman’, your mum just won’t want to play Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe. But with the right kind of persuasion (sherry, probably) you might be able to get her to play something… anything.

Anyway, I’ve compiled a list of games to try to get your family to play as an alternative to passing out in front of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. Good luck, and if this doesn’t work, just sneak out and go down the pub.

By the way, you don’t need me to tell you to play SingStar or Buzz! or any of those really obvious party games with your family, do you? This list is all games that you might not immediately have thought of…


Bishi Bashi Special
Before the PSN this PSone classic was seriously rare, costing upwards of £20 if you were actually lucky enough to find it anywhere, but now anyone with a PS3 and an internet connection can have it for just £3.49.
It is, quite simply, the finest compilation of multiplayer mini-games ever assembled. There are about 50 of them and they’re all completely nuts, but so much fun. Mini-games include Facial Slot Machine, Left And Right Jumping Girl, Mechanical Pencil Basher, Me Find Mistake, Monster Catastrophe, Oh No! The Bomb’s Gonna Explode and the mighty Uncle Launcher. The PSone original supports up to eight players, but on the PS3 you’ll have to settle for seven.


Micro Machines V4
A couple of years ago there were no good football games or beat-’em-ups around, so a plucky young game we like to call Mic Macs became Play’s official national sport for about six months or so. The genius of it is that winning isn’t about completely a certain number of laps before your opponents, it’s about keeping with the pack. If you get left behind, you lose a life then get put straight back in the pack. This means that even if you’re all woefully mismatched, that no one streaks ahead or gets left miles behind. Perfect for a room full of half-cut middle-aged relatives.


WWE Smackdown!: Shut Your Mouth!
I’m no expert in wrestling, but for me the Smackdown! series peaked with its second outing on the PS2. Anything more recent than that and you’re in danger of confusing your family and if you’re into wrestling you’ve probably confused them pretty badly already.
Anyway, assuming your family doesn’t follow the ongoing epic that is the WWE saga, you’ll need to do some preparation to get them interested. Create a wrestler based on each relative. You could even make some relatives that aren’t visiting for Christmas because no one else in the family likes them because they drink too much and went to prison once. They can be a heel and you can double-team them and stuff. The great thing about the early Smackdown! titles is that the controls are so simple that even a borderline retarded uncle can play it, and if you can turn the wrestling ring into the scene of a spectacularly violent family feud then you’ve got a situation everyone in the room can relate to.


LittleBigPlanet, like Christmas, is all about caring and sharing, making it the perfect game for a festive get together. For some people, of course, Christmas is about arguing a lot and getting new things that don’t work properly. Fortunately, you can get that from LittleBigPlanet too. And if Nana’s round get her really drunk then show her the massive wooden cock you made in LBP when you first got it. She’ll be laughing til February.


International Track & Field
Pretty much any pad-mashing sports game will do, but Konami’s International Track & Field happens to be the best, and happens to be available to download from the PSN. If anyone in your family likes button-bashing thinks Bishi Bashi is too weird then you have two options: disown them, or play this instead. I’d disown them, but that’s just me.


Those Christmas family feuds we mentioned when discussing Smackdown! above; they’re often started by Christmas board games, and few board games are capable of opening up such bitter divisions as Monopoly. But playing it on the PS3 negates most of the issues that can, on occasion, give rise to bouts of domestic brutality. First of all, it makes it very difficult to cheat – hotels can’t be nudged out of place when no one’s looking and the PS3 takes the role of banker, so there’s no chance of corruption. And there won’t be any need to argue over different interpretations of the rules because, again, the PS3’s decision is final. However, if your Auntie Pat is the type likely to take it personally when she lands on your Mayfair hotels and you gleefully bankrupt the crap out of her, nothing can save you.


Everybody’s Golf: World Golf
It’s not called Everybody’s Golf for nothing, y’know. It really is suitable for absolutely everybody. It’s accessible, warm-hearted, charming and, most importantly, really bloody good. Your mum will like it and your dad… your dad will bloody love it. He’ll probably even try to steal your PS3 off you.


Age Of Booty
I’ve been reliably informed that at the Capcom Europe offices, everyone who can play games plays Street Fighter IV and everyone that can’t, plays Age Of Booty. No, we don’t know what the hell people who can’t play games are doing working for Capcom, but that’s Capcom’s problem. The point is that Age Of Booty is incredibly easy to play, but is no less entertaining for it. All you do is move your ship around collecting stuff and capturing things, with the ultimate aim of controlling more of the map than all of your opponents put together, but it’s brilliant.


Just go straight to the mini-games and pick Saucer Sumo. That’s all you need. It’s a brilliant multiplayer mini-game where the aim is simply to barge your opponents off the edge of a circular platform. There’s not much point touching the rest of the game.

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  • Hazy

    Street fighter 2:HD (2 minutes and they’ll be hooked) and Castle Crashers (Not PS but still fun)

    As for Monopoly… can’t really emulate the board game with a shoddy game.
    Real Monopoly should be a christmas tradition though.

    And of course Singstar always finds a place in these lists.

  • jimboberoo

    POY POY! The best multi-player ever! Also Moonstone on the Amiga was sweet.