Definition of a party game

December 7, 2012 — by Jay Mulye, Arman Vaziri and Lauren Louie

To some people, old party games are better than new party games and vice versa. But in order to say which really is better, first one needs to define what a party game actually is.

To some people, old party games are better than new party games and vice versa. But in order to say which really is better, first one needs to define what a party game actually is.

The game must be at least a four-player console game to be called a party game, preferably not on the computer. Console games allow the players to immerse themselves into the game while being in a competitive atmosphere. Some old party games include Super Smash Bros melee and the older Mario Party games.

“A party game is simply a multiplayer game that can be played with multiple people and everyone can have an equal chance of winning,” senior Greg Harriman said. “[We can] have fun and become friendly rivals or enemies for a while.”

In a party game, the players must use enough skill so that they are evenly matched with their competitors. However, there is almost always one person in the group who has enough skill in the game to outclass the other players. This creates camaraderie between the other players in an attempt to cease the dominant player’s winning streak.

“I think a fun party game gets reactions from everyone like yelling and cheering,” sophomore Tony Holt said.

Whenever players gather at one friend’s house to play the party game, they must be engaged enough in the game so they can play for a couple hours straight without getting bored. The game should be appealing to the audience, even to the players waiting for their turn. The duration should be short enough so that the waiting players do not get impatient.

Years ago, party games were commonly associated with animated Italian brothers donned with mustaches and decked out in red and green. These days, party games often involve intense battles of warfare and the satisfaction of killing the opponents including games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.

As opposed to old party games, which are played leisurely, newer party games evoke the competitive nature in the players.

“Before, it was just about having fun and choosing the character you want, but now it’s more competitive,” Sehmbey said. “[New party games] measure the accuracy so you can’t randomly take shots because [new party games] measure kills.”   

According to Sehmbey, new party games require a higher level of skill than old party games — button mashing will not suffice to win the round.

“Before anyone could jump in and press random buttons and do something cool, but now if you press a [random] button], you throw a grenade at yourself,” Sehmbey said. “Either you’re good or you’re not — there’s no luck anymore.”

There is often an age gap between those who enjoy old party games and those who like new party games. Many children enjoy the fanciful and magical video game setting whereas teens enjoy realistic games packed with violence.

“[Older guys] don’t believe that you should be able to knock someone out with a banana,”  Sehmbey said. “They think that [the game] has to be limited to reality.”

As opposed to new party games, old party games are more inclusive, so anybody who does not know how to play the game can easily grasp the controls and play.

“[First person shooter games] are harder to learn and if you don’t know how to play, it’s very hard to do anything productive,” Holt said. “[Old party games] are easier to learn and that’s why I like them.” 

Even though new party games and old party games have their strengths and weaknesses, the two different types of games are suited for different players’ personalities.

“Some people only like real stuff like guns and explosives,” Sehmbey said. “Other people like having fun and doing random stuff like hitting flying peaches.”

At the end of the day, party games are meant to bring a group of friends together and create memories which they will reminisce in the future.

“When I play [party games] with friends we don’t even care about playing the game,” Sehmbey said. “We care more about being together and sharing the memories.”

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