Couch co-op and multiplayer modes seem to be fading away slowly but surely, and it’s a shame because it’s one of the greatest things to love about modern gaming. Hopping online for a quick round of Halo or Call of Duty is fun when you’re not being bombarded by idiots and all, but there’s something to be said about sitting with your best friend, your family, or your significant other enjoying a rousing few races in Mario Kart 8 or settling it in Smash.
Thankfully, 2014 was a year positively rife with cooperative goodness, and these four games took great strides to ensure everyone could get in on the fun. Next time you’re looking for something exciting to do with the television other than binge-watching seasons on Netflix, bust out one of these games instead.
1. Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart has always been a perennial favorite when it comes to gathering together on the couch for a good time, and Mario Kart 8 takes what we loved about the previous installments in the series and runs with it. Buttery smooth mechanics, a hefty helping of tracks to race on, and DLC packages that make sense went a long way to ensure that players got the best bang for their buck when purchasing one of the Wii U’s greatest examples of couch co-op. The instant you whiz by Toad or Yoshi as Link riding his special motorbike and smirk at your best friend beside you, you’ll know exactly who this game was created for. And you’ll love it.
2. Super Smash Bros. Wii U
There’s never been something more satisfying than pounding your opponents into the pavement in Super Smash Bros., especially when your enemy happens to be a part of your family or one of your best friends. With up to 8 player brawls, more characters than you can shake a stick at, and some fantastic additional modes beyond simply fighting, the Wii U iteration of Nintendo’s classic franchise has a little something for everyone. And it’s one of the best reasons to stay home on a Friday night with people that you care about, so you can beat them up. Digitally, of course.
3. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo has always been good for some epic LAN battles and two-player matches, so getting to relive some of those beloved moments from the heyday of Halo with The Master Chief Collection felt almost surreal. But with online multiplayer working only about 10% of the time during its inception on the Xbox One and issues forcing 343 Industries and Microsoft to backpedal, fans had plenty of time to get to know it again. And you know what? It’s good.
4. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Taking a trip back into the Borderlands was the highlight of several gamers’ year, especially given the fact that this time, the tables were turned and we were asked to work on the side of Handsome Jack. With oodles of loot to collect, brand new characters, and plenty of hilarity to go around, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel was the prescription for some long-awaited goofiness that anyone could sit down and enjoy with others.
Which were some of your favorite moments in co-op/multiplayer gaming this year? Sound off in the comments below and don’t be afraid to reach out for some gaming with your friends and family this holiday season!