Sunday, July 19, 2015

Computer Gaming 500 - The Best - Party Games

Computer Gaming 500 is an ongoing series about my experiences totaling 500 titles.  Here begins the listing games that received the perfect 10; see intro for more info.

The term party (or hot seat) games these days perhaps drum up images of guitar hero or dance revolution.  Go back farther and maybe you'd think of the LAN "party" days when the thin-net was strewn all over like a web, network crashes were routine, and caffeine drinks were the rage.  Its not really well defined as some folks even consider single player games to be party games when sharing the experience.  For me a party game involved a time family or friends would crouch around a single screen and a controller or two, and take turns trying to out wit or out skill their opponents.  The following are a few trailblazers that received perfect 10s on my list.

Summer Games - 1984
The Summer Games series by EPYX was on such a series that turned our computer into a social experience.  Running on the hype of the Olympics hosted in LA, EPYX's Summer Games series explored multiple mini sport games in the spirit of the Olympics which were easy to pick up, but hard to master.  This game supported an unprecedented 8 players and often would pit players head to head as well as world records, depending on the sport.  After each event, you'd receive points depending on your placement for gold (3 pts),  silver (2 pts), or bronze (1 pt).  At the end of all competitions, the points would be tallied up for a overall winner.  The Games also allowed you select a country of origin, which would play your select countries anthem in all its 8-bit glory.  The country of EPYX was a nice touch.  EPYX went on to make several more summer/winter games for the series adding more sports and even breaking out of the Olympic mold with the comical World Games and relaxed California Games; ie X games.  I'm no longer a big sports video gamer, but early on, this series showed you could bond and have fun with the family and friends alike and managed to cross competitive gaming with casual gaming generas.

Scorched Earth - 1991
A few years ago I wrote a retrospective on the artillery genera.  Scorched Earth did not create the genera, but rather perfected it by tossing in a huge arsenal of toys that could lay waste to your competitors.  With up to 8 players, this game was easily available for everyone via shareware distribution model (yester-years F2P).  At its roots, a tactical game, you had to predict your opponent psych with your own weapons and counter measures.  With a large group of people, your best laid plans would often come crashing down with its amazing destructible environments.  Alliances were created, while others quickly fell apart.  This game easily had all the makings of a modern PvP video game long before we knew what we wanted.

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