Best console party games for New Year's Eve

As staying in is the new going out, what better way to brighten up your New Year's Eve party than firing up your console and playing some party games?

Games don't have to be solitary experiences, and no, we're not suggesting you fire up Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer to frag your buddies into 2012 (although we guess many will). And fun-filled gaming isn't just the reserve of the Nintendo Wii either - the Xbox 360 and the PS3 have a great selection of games to play.

And it doesn't have to be just be Wii Party, Mario Party or the PS3's Start the Party, there are plenty of options out there. Here are some of our favourites.

Dance Central 1 and 2

It doesn't matter which version you have, although obviously the latest version will be a little more refreshing for anyone who has played the game before. Dance Central uses Kinect to track your dancing movements, following the lead on-screen. Additional fun comes from breaking out in the freestyle section, which plays back in high speed to much hilarity.

It's a great game for participants and spectators, both before you pack the kids off to bed and after. Adults can always add variety by adding forfeits for poor performance: strip Dance Central anyone?

Review: Dance Central, Dance Central 2

SingStar

There are a wealth of karaoke games across platforms (We Sing, Lips, Karaoke Revolution), but we consider SingStar on the PS3 to be the champion of console singing titles, but that's probably down to the many hours we've lost to it, warbling our way through a bit of Take That or Elton John. But there is also a huge catalogue of discs and SingStore tracks to choose from, covering different genres, decades and individual artists. Again, great for the whole family, just get those wireless mics charged and ready.

Having said that, we couldn't resist sharing this video of X Factor's Kitty Brucknell belting out a We Sing classic.

Review: SingStar, Lips, We Sing (quick play)

Rock Band or Guitar Hero

People will argue whether to go with Guitar Hero or Rock Band, but set either game up in your front room and you've got an instant party. Rock Band looks to have emerged victorious, with Guitar Hero on haitus for 2011. Thanks to the instruments it takes a little more skill to get through it than either Dance Central or SingStar, so not as approachable for some, whilst those hardcore fans could take it far too seriously.

Again, pour a little alcohol into the adults and hours of fun will ensue, even if it costs you a little more to get up and gaming than with some other titles.

Review: Rock Band, Guitar Hero 6

Kinect Adventures

It may have been the launch title for Kinect, but it contains a good variety of games so you're sure to find something to play along with. They're pretty short too, so it's easy to swap people around so everyone gets to play. If you've never seen Kinect in action, then it's a perfect introduction, requires little thought and will result in little embarrassment. Importantly, it can be played fairly quietly, whereas some music games can't.

It's also incredibly easy and fun for kids to get involved with, thanks to its lively gameplay. You can work up quite a sweat playing Kinect Adventures, so be sure to refresh yourself and don't hog all the action.

Mario Kart

Where the Wii really comes into it's own is with Mario Kart. Racing with all your favourite characters using the Wii Mote has never been easier and is simple for anyone to pick up and play. It also lets you set up a variety of players quickly and easily. Of course, winning at Mario Kart can involve a great deal of skill, so it's worth getting in some hours of practice before someone throws down the gauntlet.

We've tried party gaming with Forza Motorsport 4 and a strange thing happens. The men crowd around, they gawp at the graphics and then things get very, very, serious. By all means try it, but expect it to descend into silence and cursing. Wives and girlfriends will probably tut, until one of them steps up and beats you round the Nurburgring in a hot hatch.

Review: Mario Kart, Forza Motorsport 4

Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Kinect Sports

It's due to the many hours of playing Wii Sports with ridiculous massive-headed Mii, that we can't leave it off the list. Some sports games take themselves a little too seriously, but Wii Sports isn't guilty of that. The funniest thing about Wii Sports often isn't the game itself, but the replay. Seeing your Mii waving a tennis racquet wildly around never fails to amuse.

Wii Sports Resort serves up much the same, but if you're of the Xbox 360 pent, you'll probably be looking at Kinect Sports, or Kinect Sports: Season Two instead (the latter being better, with video above). Just avoid Sports Champions for PlayStation Move: it's as dull as dish water and a sure party stopper.

Review: Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Kinect Sports, Kinect Sports: Season Two, Sports Champions

Wii Music

Wii Music is approachable and can be taken seriously, or ridiculously. It's perhaps not as much fun on first glance as some of the other music games, but what it builds into can be wonderful. It's probably best played with someone who's never seen it before, so you can dump them in the dog suit and watch the hilarity unfold.

But it does encourage you all to get together, so if you want to get more people involved at the same time, then it's definitely worth considering.

Review: Wii Music

Tekken or Street Fighter

Here comes a new challenger! Something about Tekken and Street Fighter continues to appeal, although we prefer the early versions and are grateful that our PS3 plays PS2 games. Short fights, ridiculous moves and nothing too intense gives an enduring quality to both fighting titles.

The interesting things about both Tekken and Street Fighter is that almost anyone who has played computer games over the past 20 years has played some version of these two. And every time we spring it on an unsuspecting party guest, they roll back 15 years, pick their favourite character and remember that special move. Guile surely owns Street Fighter, despite the unfortunate casting of Van Damme in the 1994 movie. On the Tekken front, it has to be Jin. Or Heihatchi. Or just one of the girls.

Any party classics that you think we've missed? Let us know in the comments below...



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