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10 Franchises That Would Benefit From 8-Player Local Multiplayer

Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to host a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U party at my house. Well, it was more of a small get-together, which seemlessly evolved into a full-blown chaotic mess of Gamecube controllers and sprained thumbs once my friends had discovered I was in possession of the game.We rounded up enough players and controllers to give 8-player Smash Mode a try and it was complete insanity.

I fully acknowledge the probability that I am being a prisoner of the moment when I say this, but I can’t remember ever having as much fun with a video game as I did this past weekend. What Nintendo pulled off here cannot be overstated. Being able to execute something like this from a conceptual and technical perspective is mind-blowing, and they deserve all the success that comes to them, both critically and commercially. With local multiplayer reemerging this generation, more and more people are citing it as being their primary preference in terms of multiplayer gaming. With all the fun I had, it got me thinking, “What other franchises would benefit from taking the plunge and embracing 8-player chaos?”

Towerfall

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Released in 2013 as an Ouya exclusive and later on the PlayStation 4 and PC as Towerfall AscensionTowerfall was a diamond in the rough of the highest order. Take the core components of Smash Bros., simplify them, and ramp the chaos level up to 11. Towerfall‘s simple control scheme, charming 8-bit graphics, and insanely tense gameplay make it an obvious candidate to delve into the world of 8-player madness.

Diablo

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Skeptics be damned, Diablo III did the impossible and created a couch co-op experience that was just as fun–if not more fun—than its PC counterpart. UI clutter and framerate issues would make this a much tougher transition than other franchises on this list, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered. For a game as rich in content as Diablo, this idea is most likely a pipe dream until Diablo IV’s release sometime in the next century, but the cacophony of destruction would be a hell of a time.

Bionic Commando

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Another member of the “simple yet chaotic” club, Bionic Commando: Rearmed was a fun romp that did its best to end as many friendships as it could. A reboot of this local multiplayer underdog would be a welcome addition to any party game library. Add bigger levels, more weapons, and four more players and you and your friends will be losing sleep in no time.

The Legend of Zelda

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For reasons beyond my understanding, Nintendo has yet to revive the magic of Four Swords Adventure. Panned by some critics for being a gimmick to sell Game Boy Advance link cables, Four Swords was a classic case of an amazing concept that could’ve been better with more polish and tighter execution. The template is there and not a moment goes by where hardcore Zelda fans aren’t clamoring for a retro-style console release.

Link to the Past gameplay + different character models + new abilities * 8 = Non-stop fun

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles

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The black sheep of the Final Fantasy hierarchy exiled into spin-off purgatory, never to be cared about or given a second thought by real RPG fans. I actually enjoyed the first installment of the franchise. Square Enix was trying something different with the franchise and had it been given a fair chance to develop, I feel it could have been a viable franchise in the RPG landscape. The 4-player co-op experience was simple and fun, and the art style was a nice change from back when the Final Fantasy series started taking itself seriously. An 8-player Final Fantasy game would be an exhilarating experience, and the Crystal Chronicles brand is just sitting there waiting for fresh ideas to give it life.

Guitar Hero/Rock Band

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Although the cost of peripherals alone would force you to take a second mortgage on your house, why not go balls-to-the-wall with the rhythm game experience? DJ Hero already exists. Where are the keyboards? How about two singers for those vocal harmonies? Where is my second guitar player for all those metal classics? Trumpets, saxophones, harmonicas, where you at? I realize this is the most improbable scenario on this list, but you can’t deny that it wouldn’t be a good time, or at least an interesting experience.

X-Men (Or pretty much any 2D beat-‘em-up)

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Mention X-Men arcade to children of my generation and we will almost unanimously praise it as the holy grail of the early 90s arcade. This quarter-muncher was a staple of every fun center and pizzeria for a decade and vacant joysticks were hard to come by. These days the game seems even more ahead of its time in the fact that you can play with six players simultaneously in the original arcade version. With the popularity of comic book IPs at an all-time high, a current generation X-Men beat-‘em-up with beefed up graphics, gameplay, and two more playable characters seems like a no-brainer.

Contra

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A franchise that has been treading water since the early 90s, Contra falls into obscurity more and more with each entry being less inspired than the last. I love the early installments of the series, mainly Contra III: The Alien Wars for the SNES. The controls were simple and tight, the enemies were awesome, and the difficulty brutal. With two players alone the action is absolute chaos, so I can only imagine that with eight players and HD graphics the amount of explosions and pulsating biceps would be mesmerizing. Just don’t bring back those top-down levels. They’re super dumb.

Mount Your Friends

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Explaining this game is difficult. Explaining why it would be hilarious with eight people is not. The conversations and laughter that would ensue after every action in this game would be unrivaled. For all its immaturity and senselessness, Mount Your Friends is a wildly entertaining multiplayer experience and “the more the merrier” is definitely the mantra when it comes to this game.

Geometry Wars

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This game on single-player is absolutely bonkers. The twin-stick controls and simple yet gorgeous graphics make it a prime candidate for as many players as possible. The firework display on screen would set your eyes on fire, and the competitiveness of achieving the highest score on your team would leave you and your friends entertained for hours on end.

These ten games would be amazing with seven other friends by your side, but they’re not by any means the only ones out there. What do you think? Feel free to comment below and let me know what I missed or what you think needs the 8-player treatment.