In the times before online gaming and the madness that follows it, you used to have to split your screen and you sofa in order to play with friends or family. Thinking back on my previous Christmas’s and New Year I remember all kinds of local multiplayer fun that I would have with my brothers.

Here is a list of the games I either enjoyed years ago before online gaming, or ones that I feel could deliver the same amount of (if not more) fun now.

5. Tony Hawks (Franchise)


Many of the best split screen memories I have are based on the random fun you could have on a piece of wood on wheels. Whether you play the classic HORSE game type where you have to best your rival with better tricks, or you find your own fun in free mode, Tony Hawks games have enough charm and attitude to stand out as a great local multiplayer game. The fun only doubled when with Tony Hawks Underground they introduced off board mechanics, including hanging off of and climbing up ledges. This made playing “tag” a three dimensional fun-fest. Oh plus you can skateboard in that game.

4. Nidhogg


Originally released in January of this year, Nidhogg is a game that I haven’t had a chance to play with my family on Christmas, but is certainly one I will bring up this year. A side scrolling, swashbuckling tug of war, Nidhogg pits you against either a CPU opponent or whoever picks up that second controller. Your task is to pass your opponent and to then run past until you get past a few screens worth of 2D arenas. “First one to get eaten by the giant pink worm creature wins”, it doesn’t get much more festive than this. With a simple style and a small collection of moves, you can easily find yourself stuck in a back and forth for hours, which only builds the tension of the match. Though the simplicity, it is still a very skill based game and those with nimble fingers will likely come out on top.

3. Super Smash Bros (Franchise)


An easy pick, and one that maybe deserves to be higher on the list, Super Smash Bros has all you need to create a family based civil war. A huge choice of your favourite Nintendo (for the most part) characters and stages, a skill based fighting system that rewards good players, and whole host of options for you to create the perfect game with, Super Smash Bros is a great game for those who want a 4 way competition. With the latest iteration, Super Smash Bros Wii U, you can even get 8 players together for a fight.

2. Streets of Rage (Franchise)


For me, Streets of Rage 2 will forever be the Die hard of Christmas games. Though it isn’t technically a Christmas game, I first completed it with my Older brother on a snow filled day of some winter many years ago. I remember eating a turkey sandwich feeling as triumphant as any pre-prepubescent gamer could. Even nowadays I find Streets of Rage an incredibly rewarding and difficult game, and it was only truly due to the help from my older sibling that I ever got to see those ending credits roll. This is testament to why Streets of Rage deserves a spot in this list. Team work rewards those who can resist punching each other and stealing the apples and gold before your ally.

1. Gang Beasts


A late comer for sure, but one that I can see my family enjoying, even if they are just watching. Gang beasts has that sort of charm, with it’s overly spongy game mechanics, and jelly baby styled

characters, and the juxtaposition of extreme violence. Grabbing someone by the scruff of their neck and pummelling their face has never looked so cute. The Physics of Gang beasts are where the magic happens, and matched up with the ability to grab hold of anything and hold on for dear life means that watching your doughy character float away with a grasp of a Ferris wheel cart is both tense (as his stamina will eventually give out) and hilarious. Gang beasts is the kind of game that you could find your own fun within, by setting ridiculous challenges such as running to the end of a pier that has very loosely fastened floor boards, or teaming up to take on the AI characters.

The longer I dwell on it, the more retro games I feel I should put in this list, but there is only a few I feel would hold the attention of my family, and these are them. Some games may only be applicable due to their timely release, but the choices I made are due to the fun I see that comes from getting the whole family together.