Too late for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah but just in time for Christmas, this HH Playlist is dedicated to those who are stuck with family for the holidays and have the means to interact with them via video games. These selections of party and multi player games are for anyone young and old, beginner to pro that want to have fun with the whole family… or crush them all utterly. Once upon a time, my whole family joined in on gaming with the N64 when it came out. Aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins would race jet skis, fight with fun characters, and provide emotional support as you tried to swim through Dire Dire Docks. Everyone joined in, and I hope that you are lucky enough to have some special people in your life that you can partake in some multi player fun for the holidays. Here are our top picks for (somewhat) safe, friendly, and fun gaming titles the family can enjoy!
Any Super Smash Bros
Though Super Smash Bros Ultimate was just released on Dec. 7th, any Super Smash Bros game will do to bring the family together just long enough to decimate one another and prove who is the dominant fighter of the family. With a variety of characters, scenes, game play styles, and some featuring solo modes, SSB is one of the most fun (and clean) fighting games on the market. Just make sure Grandma doesn’t pick Kirby; she’ll just want to keep feeding him!
Any Mario Party
Though hard core gamers have their preferences and opinions on which one is the best, Mario Party is a safer bet for family. Not as violent as other multiplayer options, it still requires some learning and skill. It opens players up to either working together or betraying one another to get to the top. It’s a mad mini game grab for coins and stars that’s easy to learn and play. But if you’re gonna team up, just hope it’s with Uncle Gary; he’s much more coordinated than Aunt Judy.
Wii Resort – Wait, What?
Remember when the Wii was a thing? When it was the most popular console of the decade? Where you could spend hours wearing your arms and wrist out bowling? Well, the system may have evolved and changed, but the ideas behind having a solid and interactive multiplayer has not. The Wii games of yesterday made for your Mii to jump into like Wii Sports and Wii Resort balanced reality in motion control with what was onscreen (and may have caused a remote to fly out of your hand and break your TV screen). But unless someone has kept a Wii or Wii U after all this time, the Switch has not yet crossed their own games over to the newest console. But what to do without the classic Wii Sports and Wii Resort? Sure, 1-2 Switch is a decent multiplayer family game with a Wii style vibe. But it’s just not Wii Resort, right?
Ladies and gents, I give you Bandai’s Go Vacation:
Originally made for the Wii in 2010 and an expansion on the ideas that Nintendo brought forward with their Mii centralized Sports games, Go Vacation opens you up to a world divided into four themes: Winter, Mountain, Marine, and City. You can now not only take a character you create to different areas and play a wide variety of games and activities, but you can go places the Wii had not before like scuba diving, horseback riding, and white water rafting. For an alternative to Wii Resort that is Switch available, Go Vacation is a fine choice.
Splatoon and Splatoon 2
Got little rugrat cousins that enjoy shooters? Set the adult table’s minds at ease about gore and violence with the Splatoon series. No guts, no blood, no cursing, just paintball style gun slinging in a futuristic mutant dystopia full of squid people that battle with paint and ink. Though the game may seem cartoonish, the art style is enjoyable and the game play simple enough for the adults to understand in case they want to try and take the kids out to the cleaners.
Any Mario Kart – DISCLAIMER
I saved the best/worst for last. Of COURSE this is going to wind up on this list. The Monopoly of the Nintendo Gaming World, Mario Kart racing games has torn friendships and families apart more than bringing them together. Blue Shells may or may not have pushed couples over the edge into break ups and divorce. I’d like to think I am joking, but a part of me feels somewhere out there, that has tragically happened.
Like Mario Party, gamers have opinions on which version is the best/safest for your relationships when it comes to road rage and banana peel fueled revenge. But the newest edition for Switch is a decent addition to the MK line up. Personally, I prefer 8 on Wii, but that’s because it didn’t push me into excommunication like the N64 version did with my constant gain of the Lightning Bolt power up. I was a god of Thunder and of the road once… Why do you think I live in Australia now? Exile is harsh even in paradise. But still I can hold my head up high and triumphantly declare with my fists shaking and raised to the heavens “I’MA LUIGI, NUMBA ONE!” So if you want to fight for gaming dominance and overthrow your loved ones like characters on Game of Thrones, this game is your ultimate chance.
Some honorary mentions here if you have the systems for them:
Pokemon Stadium Series : The Mini Games – Some of the best mini games in Nintendo history.
Mario Tennis Series – Like regular tennis, but with Italians, princesses, koopas, and power attacks.
Star Wars Battlefront – (we know, we know, EA is evil) Title speaks for itself, really.
Overcooked! 2 – Save the world from the comfort of a kitchen.
JackBox Party Pack – A series of fun party games that think outside of the box. Drawful 2 is a family favorite!
Game with relatives at your own risk, friends! From Hyrule Herald Staff, we hope you are all having a wonderful Holiday season and hope for a bright New Year for you and your families!