Holiday weekend gaming

Best Games to Play With Your Family Over the Holiday Weekend

Who doesn’t love the holiday season, right? Great food, reminiscing, the obligatory trip to visit your family even if you don’t really want to. Okay, so maybe it’s more fun for some than others, but there is one undeniable perk for a family of gamers: you get to game with the ones you love. In case you aren’t exactly prepared for a four- or five-day gaming session, fear not: we’ve got you covered. Here’s our list of the best games to play with your family over the holiday weekend.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Released impeccably for the US Thanksgiving weekend, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a no-brainer. With an impressive roster of 49 characters and a diverse 46 stages, the latest Smash Bros. has so much to offer, even if it isn’t your traditional fighting game. Best of all? This entry introduces an all-new 8-player Smash Mode, allowing you and seven of your family members to have at it. If you don’t own this gem, any of the other four entries are great substitutes. If you’re going the Nintendo 3DS route, just remember to remind everyone to bring their handhelds, okay?

Mario Link Samus Kirby Smash Bros

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Not going to be seeing many of your folks face-to-face? That’s cool. Gaming makes the appropriate accommodations. If first-person shooters are your thing, you can’t go wrong with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The online play makes geographical distance a thing of the past. If you have headsets, you can even cuss out your loved ones right in their ears. Advanced Warfare also has a co-op mode, and I personally have played plenty of online Black Ops II matches using splitscreen.

Guns in the future look pretty awesome.

Mario Kart 8

Really, any of the Mario Kart games will work just fine, but for relevancy’s sake, we’ll focus on the latest installment for Wii U. Defying gravity in this entry, you can compete in karting madness in high definition with a variety of your favorite Nintendo characters across some ridiculous tracks. Plus, if you have some family members who maybe aren’t so good at games and you don’t care if they end up hating you, this game is perfect for ending relationships. Seriously, though, it’s Mario Kart. What else is there to say?

Mario Kart 8

Super Mario 3D World

Though just about any platformer Nintendo has ever put out will do, Super Mario 3D World stands among the best. Supporting four-person multiplayer, 3D World combines the best of 2D and 3D Mario titles and bundles them with insanely fun levels that add a fresh spark to an old formula, providing plenty of throwbacks for longtime fans while keeping them content with new additions. Family-friendly and loads of fun, 3D World is a perfect long holiday game, though anything in the Super Mario Bros. or Donkey Kong Country series is sure to provide for lots of fun.

With wonderful level design and a fresh direction, 3D World brought Mario back in a big way.

Portal 2

Okay, so this one is a bit older, but that by no means excludes it from this list. Portal 2 is an excellent game and, best of all, has a co-op mode for two players. Are you having a small reunion this year? Only have one other family member that enjoys gaming? Portal 2 is perfect, then. With a long weekend, you’ll have plenty of time to solve all those puzzles to satiate GLaDOS’s prevalent insanity.

Portal 2 co-op robots

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

If botany and the living dead are your thing, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare may be just for you. Providing elements of tower defense and shooter mechanics, the game allows for both cooperative and competitive play. One of the frequent criticisms was leveled at the lack of game modes, which hurts the replay value. For a long weekend, however, this shouldn’t be too big an issue.

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare street

TowerFall Ascension

Hailed as the standout game when it was originally released on the Ouya in 2013, TowerFall was re-released as Ascension on the PlayStation 4. Whichever console you own (if you own either), this game is a must-play if you’re going to have friends or family over for the holidays. Compared favorably to Super Smash Bros. (Break the Targets, anyone?) and regarded as a fantastic party game, TowerFall may not be flashy, but with support for four-player local multiplayer, it makes for a holiday weekend well spent.

TowerFall Ascension backfire

Mario Party

I won’t bother listing an iteration here. Much like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., any game in this sub-franchise will do. While increasingly derivative, each game is still addictive and damn fun to play with friends or family. You may not make it the whole weekend on this (it’s sure to cause a lot of those long-buried family feuds to bubble up), but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better party game.