11 Great Party Games for playing with your family on Xmas
It’s Christmas time! School break is just around the corner and the streets are lit up with Christmas decorations. We start listening to the same old music and watching the same old films, and as the weather keeps us indoors and our families start gathering, that calls for party games!
As we prepare ourselves mentally for all the potentially stressful togetherness we’re about to face in the coming weeks, our own childhood Christmas memories resurface. Who among us doesn’t remember fondly playing video games with our brothers, sisters and cousins while the grown-ups would cook, gossip about absent relatives and fight over politics? Oh, happy days!
Being old enough to drink and debate the economic downfall of modern society does not mean you can no longer enjoy a good game night with your friends and relatives. With that in mind, let us revisit 11 great old and new party games that could help distract all the annoying uncles out there and keep families united throughout Christmas.
By today’s standards the graphics, gameplay and controls are not what we would call acceptable, but back in 1996 there was nothing like 007 GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64. Fast-paced 4 player split-screen deathmatch sessions could last for hours and everyone wanted to get the golden gun for that one-shot-one-kill thrill. And how could we forget all the gameplay modifiers like paintball, rockets only or bighead modes that kept the experience fresh and way more entertaining! If you like vintage games and kept your old Nintendo 64, including GoldenEye in your game party is a great choice to enjoy some healthy sibling rivalry for a change!
For old PC gamers, few titles screamed fun with friends as the party game Worms did. You and up to 7 more players control a small group of heavily armed worms. With the ability to use randomized seeds for the creation of totally different and fully destructible maps, the players have an assortment of crazy weaponry available like exploding sheep and holy-hand-grenades that could level the whole map to the ground and hopefully take out your enemy worms in the process! It’s a classic easy-to-learn-but-hard-to-master game that is available today in pretty much any device with a screen.
While we’re on the classics, we can’t leave out the amazing Mario Kart. If you happen to have spent the last few decades on another planet and don’t know what this game is about, you might find its notion of fairness very amusing. While the game gets easier for players who are in the last positions, those who are upfront have a harder time. And hitting your cousin who’s coming in first with a blue shell seconds before the finish line is always a good way to test the strength of your family ties. This game is only available for Nintendo platforms with the most recent installment having come out only a couple years ago for the Nintendo Switch.
Mario Party is another one of the Nintendo classics that has been entertaining siblings, cousins and friends over the last two decades or so. With up to four players, this party game is composed of countless super fun mini-games and it’s set up to mimic a board game. To win, you have to get the most stars at the end. As its relative Mario Kart, the Mario Party franchise is also available only on Nintendo platforms. The most recent game, Super Mario Party, was released in 2018 for Nintendo Switch.
It might not be the most recent game, but everyone will enjoy feeling like an athlete in Wii Sports. Whether it’s in golf, ping pong or archery you can challenge anyone for a quick match or a fierce tournament. With the Wii’s intuitive (even if sometimes clunky) motion controller the game is so accessible that it has a huge audience of elderly people who play the heck out of bowling until this day! Wii Sports’ mini-games are good options if you want to make Christmas games night more inclusive for the most IRL experienced folks in your family.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, we saw the rise and fall of many questionable pop culture phenomena like hair metal, Macaulay Culkin, the macarena. In gaming, that crown goes to the beat’em up genre. Playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Cadillac and Dinosaurs was mandatory in the arcade era, but today, Castle Crashers kept the dream alive. Grab up to 3 of your siblings, cousins or friends, and hack and slash your way to save the princess from mean wizards and gross beasts. But friendships will be tested too ― be aware that you will need to battle your friends as well! This game is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch.
The Rocket League fever is still burning and all because of one thing — it’s hella fun to play with friends and family! A motorized soccer game that’s both a great pastime and an intense esport. So get your relatives ready, grab some drinks and turn the living room into a stadium! This super popular game is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and can be played by up to four players.
Cooking (and eating) is a great way to relax and spend time with your loved ones during the holidays. But this game from Ghost Town Games turns up the heat and puts you and up to 3 more players on a pressure cooker of fun! Are you going to deliver all the orders or will the kitchen turn to ash? Well, in any case, it is always way more enjoyable to burn up all the delicacies in this game than getting involved in your aunties’ bickering. Don’t be fooled though, there will be plenty of infighting when cousin Nick forgets to cut the tomatoes for those burger orders! Overcooked is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch, and it is very easy to learn and fun for all ages.
When playing this hilarious multiplayer game, it’s guaranteed that you will need to press pause several times to catch your breath after laughing your butt off. Developed by Boneloaf and published by Double Fine, this free for all arena game will certainly make you and your relatives forget all the family tensions as you’ll try to punch, kick and push each other’s saggy characters. Gang Beasts can be played by up to four players and is available on PC, PlayStation and Xbox One.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
In this indie game, you and your friends play as an octopus disguised as a human, each one of you controlling one of his limbs. And it is your job to get him to perform mundane tasks without attracting suspicion from his family and despite his constant anguish about living a secret. Since the limbs are controlled independently, the character has a somewhat QWOP walk style that will certainly soften the mood of your holiday celebration. Developed and published by Young Horses, the game is available on PC, Xbox One, Switch, PlayStation, Android and iOS.
Spaceteam is not for those who get stressed out with loud noises, for even your family’s dog is likely to partake in all the crazy shouting involved in playing this free-to-play local cooperative multiplayer game. Developed by Sleeping Beast Games, it is available on both iOS and Android devices. After connecting up to eight players’ devices via wifi or Bluetooth, you and your playmates are part of the crew of a spaceship on the verge of collapse and it is your job to keep it from crashing. The game is super fun but super loud, and the faint-hearted could find themselves in need of a tranquilizer afterward.
Here at Sherwa, we value videogames’ potential to promote connection. After all, the inspiration to create an app that with the press of a button will connect gamers out there came from our very own memories of big brothers coaching the little ones on the good old SNES. So we hope our party games list can help you to make your family Christmas celebration even better. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and don’t forget to help your grandma in the kitchen!