Party video games are a curious breed. One one hand, when no one is around, its hard to imagine anyone sitting down for a few solo rounds around a virtual game board, but when get together they are often the first thing revelers shoot for. Obviously by their very nature party games are meant to be played… well at parties but what makes a great party game? Why are some games from years ago still the life of the festival and new, more modern takes on the genre the equivalent of putting on thrash metal when you want your guests to leave (unless you throw metal parties in which case good for you!)? Basically, what makes a great party game?

The best parties are the ones where everyone has a great time, goes home with stories to tell and is already counting down the days to your next shin-dig, and what better way to get the good vibes going than a little friendly competition? The bets party games are built on this principle and give the players (or contestants) a chance to reign supreme as the party game king or queen of the evening. Games like Mario Party, Wii Sports, Jackbox, Fibbage and any digital adaptation of a board game really are great ways to get a party going and will definitely get your guests talking to each other as the fire of competition starts burning within them, however its important to know your audience and try not have people you know are sore-losers constantly getting their Stars stolen.

Competition isn’t everything though, sometimes you need just a good. ol’ fashion silly party time and for that there’s plenty of great options too. The most prominent is obviously Ubisoft’s ridiculously popular Just Dance series that lets your party-goers bust-a-move while being cheered on by the rest of the group. But dancing to (awful) pop music is only one way to get people going and if you want to go for maximum silliness then I definitely recommend popping in a game like WarioWare: Smooth Moves, 1-2-Switch, Dance Dance Revolution or Singstar Party to get your festivities going. And really, no one will forget when your friends did ‘The Elephant’ pose with a Wii Remote.

Sometimes though, depending on your crowd you might want something a bit more… cooperative, that will get people talking and working together, basically serving as a great ice breaker. Games like, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes & Overcooked are great examples of easily accessible (not everyone spends their days gaming) games that will get people working together towards a common goal. For smaller parties (or to keep children entertained while the grown-ups chat) you can even try introducing some simple co-op games like Little Big Planet, Super Mario 3D World and Rayman Legends so that people can work together towards a goal while showing off their gaming skills.

Of course, knowing your audience is key. If you have a bunch of people coming over who you know don’t really like video games, then staying clear of games that use ‘traditional’ controllers is a must. Focus on games that connect to smart phones (like Just Dance and Fibbage) or games like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes where you really don’t need any ‘gaming’ skills to enjoy but can appreciate for its simplicity. Of course, if all else fails a good ol’ fashioned board game usually gets a few people really excited (but we wouldn’t be much of a video game website if we suggested that) so if your party people want to play Monopoly or Scrabble digital versions are just as fun and a lot easier to set up / clean up.

Video games can be a lot of really cool things and a great addition to any party is definitely one of them. But choosing the right game for your soirée can make or break the whole evening. A group of wall flowers isn’t likely to suddenly jump into a competitive adventure, and people who want to show off their skills likely aren’t going to feel the urge to cooperate with others, but by choosing the right video game you can definitely set your next party up to be talk of the town.

What’s your favorite party video game? We want to know! Sound off in the comment section below.