Each week, the EGM Staff bring you The Fast Five—in which we choose a topic related in some way to the week’s news, and five editors pick their top answer to the question.
In preparation of our review of TowerFall Ascension going up tomorrow, we’ve been playing a lot of the game here in the EGM offices. And, let us give you a piece of advice: never, ever break out a game like that when you’re on a major deadline, because it’s sure to be a productivity killer. In an era where “multiplayer” has become so synonymous with playing against faceless gamers across the internet, it’s nice to remember how much fun you can have with a few controllers, some friends, and one TV.
What are some of our favorite local-focused multiplayer games, and why? Once you’ve read our responses, let us know your answer in the comments below!
There have been many great local multiplayer games to come and go throughout my life, but one of my fondest memories is of WrestleMania 2000 for the N64. When I picked up my copy—on launch day, something I rarely do—my friends and I didn’t play the game, we lived it. Each of us put long hours into creating our own wrestlers, and every week the latest adventures of our e-fed would play out—sometimes providing far more exciting results than what the WWF or WCW could offer us. Epic matches were held. Title belts changed hands. Alliances were formed and broken. This incredible sense of community and storytelling existed in my circle of friends—because of what we made out of the game, not what the game or its developer forced upon us. To this day, that still stands as one of my favorite local multiplayer experiences ever.
Super Smash Bros.
For me, the best local multiplayer experiences were with Super Smash Bros. on the N64. Many a Saturday were spent with me and some friends from middle school trying to knock each other into oblivion in Saffron City. My best character back then was Pikachu, as I rained thunder from the sky constantly. After enough wins, my friends finally banned me from using the electric rodent, but their frustration only grew when I was able to switch to Fox McCloud and still rule the roost with his blinding speed and quick kicks!
The fact that none of my colleagues picked Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64 should make them feel deeply ashamed. The first-person shooter has pretty much become the dominant genre in modern console multiplayer, and Goldeneye started that phenomenon. Was it janky to control with one analog stick? Sure, but we learned to live with it, making up our own set of rules (No Oddjob!) and developing strategies to get around the limitations. While the game’s modern reputation might be more about nostalgia than enduring quality, when the memories were so good, I have a hard time complaining.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Granted, the HD remix has since added an online component to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, but back in the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s that wasn’t an option. Couch co-op reigned supreme, so my high school friends and I would swarm over to our group jokester Greg’s house (well, his parents’ house) and bask in the glow of his sizable Samsung CRT while playing hours of Super Puzzle Fighter. At the height of our gem-building addiction, even non-gamer friends were joining in, and at least one proved himself some kind of puzzle-game savant by consistently wiping the floor with the more experienced of us. So much for that 10,000 hour rule, Gladwell.
Crash Team Racing
Many days of my childhood were spent playing Crash Team Racing competitively with the help of the PlayStation’s multitap. Nothing can replicate the joy I received from seeing my friend’s face after a perfectly aimed Bowling Bomb took them out on the finish line, giving me the victory. Or, the dread when I noticed in the corner of the screen that someone had a Super Clock or a Warp Orb (more affectionately known as a Blue Ball) when I was out in front. Many a bruised arm was received during an average CTR session, and it pains me to think that some kids will grow up never knowing what it’s like to play in that kind of heated—yet incredibly fun—environment.