Thanks to everyone who responded to my request for modern party-gaming suggestions. I’m about to leave town with all of this stuff for the Great Pre-Wedding Week of Errands. Here’s what I ended up with:
I’m bringing the 360 instead of the Wii. I’ll have 4 wireless controllers with 4 rechargeable battery packs, one double-charger, one charging cable, all of those little two-AA battery clips, and a pack of cheap IKEA batteries. (I want to be prepared. You have no idea how little there is to do up there at night.)
- Call of Duty 4 (never played, but came highly recommended for a shooter, and is one of the few that supports 4-player local, and we don’t like Halo, and I find Gears of War’s control scheme too complicated for newbies)
- Burnout Revenge (only 2-player, but I won’t mind having it afterward)
- Earth Defense Force 2017 (recommended as hilariously bad but very fun)
- Crimson Skies (Xbox Originals, played before and great 4-player)
- Worms (Live Arcade, had previously purchased)
- Commanders: Attack of the Genos (Live Arcade, had previously purchased)
Still want, but probably can’t get in time:
- 007: Nightfire (for original Xbox, it’s compatible). I played this before and really enjoyed its multiplayer. Unfortunately I’d probably have to get it from eBay, and there’s no time for that now.
And if we’re all too tired or drunk to drive, fly, and shoot, I’ll make my best man play Braid and laugh my ass off as he gets frustrated.
Overall, this is much better than the Wii version would have been:
- Mario Kart
- Wii Sports, which we’re all already sick of
- any number of mini-game collections that get old after you’ve played each mini-game once
- a twisted mess of nunchuks and wrist straps
I’m happy with my decision. And it forced me to actually investigate the 360’s game library for the first time since buying it a few months ago for media center roles, Worms, and Guitar Hero.
Overall, I’ve been surprised by three things:
- The Wii’s game library is even worse than I thought.
- There are very few good 4-player 360 games that aren’t sports games. Nearly everything is just made for Xbox Live. Don’t gamers have friends in real life anymore?
- The majority of the games worth playing on the 360 are part of multi-game franchises with endless sequels. There are very few original games being made. Is this because EA owns nearly everything, or are publishers so afraid of risk that they won’t green-light anything except sequels? Or worse, do gamers just demand more of the same, not caring about experiencing new ideas?