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Social Video Games?

By Electric Angst in Culture
Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 02:23:54 AM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

Have you ever held or attended a party that was ruined by a console or PC placed in too public an area? Have you ever had to sit and watch friends of guests come over and play, wasting a chance to talk or interact? Or, have you ever had a dull party liven up because of the interest sparked by a video game? Had a chance to open up with someone while playing?

If you are like me, you've probably experienced all of them. What is the difference between the two former and the two latter? Is the game itself important (are some games more condusive to social situations), or does it reply on who you are with? What is the etiquette for playing when other people are around, or when at another's place?

What are your personal standards for playing video games when at a friend's place? A stranger's place? A party? What are your standards for guests playing on your consule or computer?


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Are video games good or bad for social situations?
o Good 5%
o Bad 14%
o Better than huddling around the warm crack-pipe. 79%

Votes: 68
Results | Other Polls

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Social Video Games? | 29 comments (21 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Video games help guys relate (4.00 / 4) (#3)
by vaguely_aware on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 04:20:27 PM EST

For me, video games are the social interaction between my friends and I. As I enter my twenties and the lives of the people around me begin branching off into different paths and directions (even more so than after high school, strangely enough) I find that entertainment is incerasingly the best common ground we can find.

Of course, the game itself is important. Sports games are popular because betting can occur (I guess this is the semi-rich middle class suburban twenty-somethings version of craps) and with newer consoles, especially, more than two people can play. Of course, it's the women we associate with who often feel as though the Dreamcast being dragged out is the signal that the party has been ruined.

I suppose that there isn't much difference between parties where the guys gather around the poker table, the playoff game or the Playstation 2. Guys interact often by doing other things at the same time. Some of the best conversations I've had came when I was waiting for my turn to play a game that was on.

As far as etiquitte, I never ask to play someone else's games. I also don't ask to turn on their TV, change the music selection, read their books or anything else that might make it seem as if their company alone wasn't entertaining me enough. At my own home, I try to make a point of suggesting several activities, often including video games.

"...there are lots of shades of brown, but not too many shades of balls. - Kwil
My Answers... (4.42 / 7) (#5)
by gauntlet on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 04:37:20 PM EST

Party ruined by game in wrong place? No.

Had to watch others rather than interact? No.

Had a party livened up by video game? No.

Opened up with someone while playing? No.

Is it the games or the people? More the people, but also a combination. I personally clam up when I'm playing games, I like to concentrate on them. Something relatively stupid like "Mario Party" or such is not going to keep me from talking, though.

My Standards:

  • At a Friend's Place
    • Play something you both enjoy.
    • Play it for as long as you're both enjoying it.
  • At a Stranger's Place
    • Don't play until you're invited to play.
    • Play what the host suggests.
    • Quit when the host loses interest.
  • At a party
    • Only play short time-frame games. Fighting games, sprint racing, that sort of thing.
    • Play once, then hand off. Beg people to take the controller before you keep it.
    • If you're more interested in the game than the people you're playing with, stop playing, and buy or rent the game yourself later.
    • Don't play video games if you're with someone that doesn't want to, and has nothing else to do.
  • Guests playing on my machine
    • For friends, if I've completely lost interest in watching them play games, then they have really out-stayed their welcome, and they should just go home.
    • For strangers, (who won't be there unless there's a party), they should follow the party rules above, and should leave before the "friends" do.

Into Canadian Politics?

Well (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by Elendale on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 04:55:20 PM EST

Seeing as how i rarely go to 'social events', i'm probably not the most qualified. With std_disclaimer in place, i would say that if there are enough people at your party having video games present will not affect the party much. If there are a few people (probably under 7 or so) the games can liven up the party. My friends and i often have mini-tournaments with competative games (loser goes) and thus everyone gets in on the fun eventually. If one person is just too good, winner goes can be substituted... but prepare for lots of silliness to ensue.


When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

What I've found in practice. (4.60 / 5) (#7)
by Christopher Thomas on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:14:43 PM EST

I've found that video games can boost a party, but usually only if a few conditions are met:

  • The game is multi-player.
    In practice, this usually means consoles, unless we set up a deathmatch (still collecting the hardware for that).

  • Turns are short enough that everyone in the room can play.
    Again, console fighters are a shoo-in for this. A deathmatch is ok if you have a terminal for everone in the room, or if a few people just want to watch and not play.

  • You have enough guests to keep activity up in other rooms.
    At a full-sized party, you'll have many rooms active, with something different going on in each. Devoting one room to gaming works well, as long as there are enough non-gamers around to form a decent social group in another room.

If only one person can play or turns are long, the gamers hang around in the room but get frustrated because they aren't getting turns. If you don't have enough people at the party, the non-gamers get bored. If you can keep both the gamers and non-gamers occupied, though, everyone has fun.

Best social gatherings (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by AgentGray on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:43:38 PM EST

Some of the best times I had in college is when a bunch of us guys got together to play Final Fantasy VII...

Of course, this is the same group of guys who would watch Springer and cheer people on for a fight.


FF VII (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by fender0011 on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 06:03:11 PM EST

Funny thing, I had about four friends who spent 72 hours straight playing FFVII in shifts and beat it in one sitting. Unfortunately, I believe four out of five of them failed to return to school the next semester. Apparently thier social gaming was no better for thier grades than social drinking.

------ This sig is under development. If you'd like to be notified when this sig is completed... umm... well too bad, you'll just have to wait.
[ Parent ]
You Don't Know Jack (3.66 / 3) (#11)
by Speare on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 08:54:18 PM EST

This game makes a PERFECT party game. I once devoted a 486/66 to my 53" television JUST for the cdrom version of You Don't Know Jack.

Of course, I'm a trivia-head, but the questions are well done to make it more fair between trivia-pros and dilettantes.
[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]

It really depends on the event (none / 0) (#12)
by Lionfire on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:19:34 AM EST

I've been to some social events that were completely based around video games; my bucks night was a perfect example of this -- a bunch of geeks sitting around playing games all night. Sure, perhaps that's not everyone's idea of a bucks night, but for myself and the people invited it was perfect.

On the other hand, the same person who hosted my bucks night held a murder mystery evening at his place recently. No video games, no movies, nothing except characters, a nice meal and a little light-hearted murder  :)

It really depends on what sort of event it is and what sort of people are attending. As long as the event is suitable and no one is being excluded then go ahead -- it's probably a lot better for you than getting drunk or stoned (I've never had a games-induced hangover).

[ blog | cute ]
What's a good game for at a funeral? (none / 0) (#28)
by error 404 on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 04:10:15 PM EST

Sorry, I just had to ask.
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Wrestling Games (none / 0) (#13)
by AdamJ on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:58:43 AM EST

<Edge and Christian>Wrestling Games Rule!</Edge and Christian>

I don't think I can say it any other way. :-)

Most wrestling games have fairly short play times (5-10 minutes), support 2-4 players, have crazy high flying action (Off the ladder through a table in Smackdown! 2, oh hell yeah ;) ), and wrestling games practically force the players to get verbal with each other.

And if you don't like wrestling, well, uh.. fighting games work too. But they're not as cool. :-)

SUPER SMASH BROTHERS! (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by bradenmcg on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 01:17:54 AM EST

The best party game ever is Super Smash Bros. for the N64.


take some of the cooler nintendo game characters and stick them in a game together. make them fight each other on a side scrolling map. no death by many hits, instead you die by getting knocked off the screen. the more you get beat on, the farther you can get knocked, until you get so dead that one little tap will send you flying.

now do it with 3 other people simultaneously. =D

don't pass it off as "kiddy." sure it is at first. learn the game more. there are combos, in a way. there is strategy. and best of all, to be REALLY good, you have to play like a cheap dirty bastard, thus enticing everyone to trash talk you (And thus get the social aspect going).

SSB has gotten THE most play time of *ANY* console video game i've ever owned, with possibly the exception of Final Fantasy 2 for SNES. Zelda64 (ocarina) has seen less time than my copy of SuperSmash.

i like the game so much i had to buy myself a copy off Ebay before going to college and leaving my little brother's copy behind.

give it a chance. it's great.

once you get hooked, start begging nintendo to make a sequel for GameCube. ;-)

<leonphelps>Yeah, now, uh, "sig," what is that?</leonphelps>

I concur! (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by Zero Whitefur on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 10:52:06 AM EST

It's been at the last two new year's parties I've been to and was a smash (no pun intended) at both of them..I usually pick Captain Falcon and make it my mission to destroy either pikachu or jigglypuff for being annoying gits and bastards in general..at this year's party, someone managed to pause the screen *just* right to show Mario and pikachu in a..compromising position. We were *all* rolling on the floor after that one. ^.^ We also paused it in the middle of attacks and moved the `camera' around to make it look somewhat like the (yes, quite overused now) matrix effect. We also had a ps2 with time splitters, which was a big hit with 4 player deathmatch/team action running around on levels the guy who owned the game had designed.

The video gaming didn't dominate the party, though, as it was off in a corner and those who weren't interested could do other things ^.^

[ Parent ]
pick randomly ^_- (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by bradenmcg on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 01:41:28 PM EST

i love to close my eyes and pick my character. i'm pretty good with everyone... although i do have my favorites. falcon is one, yoshi, ness, and believe it or not, i love jigglypuff. jigglypuff has one of the most devistating little cheap-ass combos and it's sooooo fun to pull off like 4 times in a row... ;-)

i just hope they make a sequel! i want to see another game, with more characters and more items and maps!

<leonphelps>Yeah, now, uh, "sig," what is that?</leonphelps>
[ Parent ]

Play short multiplayer games! (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by Giant Robot on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 08:17:31 AM EST

My list includes 4 player bomberman, mario kart if you have an old snes lying around.

For my sega saturn (or playstation), there is puzzle bobble, pocket fighter, puzzle fighter...

These games are good because they cycle frequently, so conversations usually occur between and during games. Stay away from RPG's because they are very boring when a group is sitting, and one is playing. And stay away from King of Fighter style games because they do not dig chicks ;-)

wait... (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by QueenFrag on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 11:32:08 AM EST

you're telling me you have a sega saturn, and you aren't playing saturn bomberman with it?

for anyone not familiar with saturn bomberman, take the new 'bomberman party edition' for the psx, then make it not suck, not have huge loadtimes, and let up to eight players play at a time (ten if you make everything really small)
--- Sponsored by: Tulip Eyeglasses Shop
[ Parent ]

What?! Stay AWAY from the RPG's?! NO!!! (none / 0) (#29)
by snowlion on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 05:13:04 AM EST

When I was at Mudd, we'd frequently play Chronotrigger or FFIV as a group activity. We'd just play, and talk. The game served as something to look at, share tactical advice on, but we'd mostly talk about homework, books, anime, and other things that we liked.

Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
The ultimate social game (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by Biff Cool on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 09:34:09 AM EST

Chu-Chu Rockets
It's four-player, and incredibly fast-paced. You basically are trying to get "space-mice" into you rocket ship while keeping the "space-cats" from getting in, by laying arrowed tiles that turn the streams of mice around the board. With four players subverting streams of mice from each others rockets, it can get pretty violent.

My ass. It's code, with pictures of fish attached. Get over it. --trhurler

Dance Dance Revolution (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by darthaya on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 11:03:45 AM EST

It is the ultimate party game. While you are not able to reproduce the music and beat in a club, you can make your guests dance to sweat as well even at your home in front of a "dull" TV. :)

Console Games vs PC games (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by ltfiend on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 11:21:06 AM EST

I think as a general rule console games are better party enhancers than computer games. I mean who really needs to be social when absorbed in a game of Quake. On the other hand how much fun is Super Mario Kart when your playing it by yourself? As for this poll aren't Bong rips a prerequiset(sp?) to playing video games anyways?

Party games (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by Cironian on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 11:42:16 AM EST

At a recent (open, not private) party some friends put up several borrowed Atari 2600s, which to everyones surprise sparked a ton of conversation and fun by getting complete strangers to challenge each other at Pacman, Centipede or Asteroids. Those were perfect for the occasion because everyone had already played those games at one point (and even if they didnt, the concept can be grasped in 5 seconds) and matches are over quick causing people to wander off and join another group - Everyone just had a great time. The game doesnt have to have multiplayer capability if you can play for the best score and it doesnt take too long until the players can switch.

Worms Armageddon (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by ramses0 on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 02:45:10 PM EST

...for Dreamcast. It's not a good party game (too long), but it's a great social game. Each team gets four worms, and everybody has bazookas. Goooood. :^)=

I've had lots of fun dragging out Dead or Alive 2. Just be sure to keep the "good" people off of it.

PowerStone 2 is another great social game, more addictive than cigarettes (according to smoking friends, who would rather 'nic' than stop playing ;^)=. Premise is like old double dragon games mushed together with street fighter, and you can pick up and throw all kinds of stuff.

Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo for PlayStation is a wonderful party game. And if people can stand it, ChuChu rocket is good too.

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Social Video Games? | 29 comments (21 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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