Feature: The Joy of Gaming Together

Not a headset in sight

It's been a busy few months here at Nintendo Life, and we don't expect it to calm down any time soon. Every once in a while we decide that it's time to relax and take time off as a team with gaming nights, where we descend on a glamorous location, hook up retro consoles to a projector and spend an evening doing one thing: nerding out.

Those of you that Like Nintendo Life on Facebook may have seen some photos last week of our last game-fest in September. It was so much fun that we're doing it all again on 4th February, with even more time set aside for slightly ridiculous multiplayer face-offs.

In a current generation of gaming that demands online multiplayer in almost all major titles, it's certainly a throwback to load up Mario Kart 64 and see four grown men perched on a sofa cursing every spiny shell. It also sparked a debate about the merits of the N64 racer, with some making it clear that Super Mario Kart would be a better choice.

Street Fighter II on SNES certainly prompted some heated competition, with three distinct classes of ability in this contest: button mashers, wannabe masters and butt-whooping champions. One of the button mashers decided that combos, blocking and strategy were irrelevant, and even adopted an unconventional tactic of playing in 'mirror' mode by viewing the action through a mirror on the back wall. He put up a decent fight too: 10 out of 10 for innovation.

This fiercely contested competition gradually whittled out the button mashers and wannabes, with the final consisting of impressive combos and some lightning-quick thumbs. We would never reveal the winner, of course, but the speed of his thumbs and sonic booms will never be forgotten.

We did indulge in some fairly modern multiplayer gaming, though it was still strictly offline. Star Fox 64 3D was reasonably new at the time, and being Nintendo Life staff we naturally all had our 3DS consoles on hand. A fair bit of time was spent in a four-player battle to dominate the skies, so much so that there were a few battery warning lights flashing towards the end. Although our eyes were fixed on the screen and the bizarre in-game video of our faces above the ships, we were still close enough for the occasional bout of verbal jousting.

These meetings are also a chance to show off just how far our video game obsession has gone. There were a lot of games magazines and a startling range of retro, bespoke and rare handhelds. The room was packed with game carts, consoles and some gizmos that many won't have seen before.

So as we prepare to do it again this Saturday, it's an important reminder that no matter how sophisticated online gaming becomes, it's never the same as meeting up with friends and playing games the old-fashioned way.

Do any of you still enjoy offline gaming sessions with friends, or do you play all of your multiplayer online? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

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