Top social video games for the residence hall



Video games are a great way to connect with new people and form friendships over common bonds. When moving into a new living space, this media form can be an easy way to break into conversation about shared interests and find something entertaining to do with a group of people from the same residence hall floor or apartment. Different video games are better for different social circles and interests, whether it be competitive gaming, sports or casual beat-em-ups. Here are some popular games that are great for any social occasion — ice breakers, parties or casual hang-outs.

Super Smash Bros.

The ruler of fighting party games, "Super Smash Bros." first hit the Nintendo 64 in 1999, and has resulted in three sequels since. Up to four players and computer-controlled users — up to eight in the most recent version of the game — choose characters from the Nintendo universe and engage in fast-paced, brawl-inspired combat. Win by sending opponents falling off the main stage or flying off the screen. 

“Super Smash Bros.” revels in its nostalgia and absurdity, which make it appealing to groups of people who play games for casual entertainment rather than serious competition. That doesn’t mean the games don’t have anything to offer to serious groups of gamers. 

Smash at IU is a local gaming community that meets on a bi-weekly basis for a competition called “Btown Beatdown,” which is free for anyone to attend. On the off week, the group holds a tournament called “Hyperbolic Time Chamber,” a friendly session for less competitive players. 

Last spring, Smash at IU partnered with Union Board to put on the largest “Super Smash Bros.” tournament in Indiana’s history. On a national scale, the game franchise has such a large esports following that top players can walk away with $10,000 cash prizes from tournament events, according to Red Bull’s website. 

Looking for a casual, easily accessible game to play with new friends? Have a dispute in the residence hall? Take it to the proving grounds in “Super Smash Bros.”

Mario Kart

If there’s a game as fun to play in college as it was as a kid, it’s "Mario Kart." The banana-flinging, shell-launching racing game is the second most popular video game franchise in history, with more than eight games and 110,770,000 copies sold since 1981. Characters from the Mario franchise race on themed courses, such as castles, mountainsides and farms, as they use power ups to outdo the competition. With varying levels of difficulty, customization and tweaking, Mario Kart offers the ability for anyone living in a residence hall to come together over a common bond.

Looking for a competitive floor event that everyone can participate in? "Mario Kart" is the game to go with. You might consider ordering a local favorite, Baked! of Bloomington, to keep the energy — and the sugar levels — high.

Wii Sports

Swing rackets, throw bowling balls and try not to hit your hand on the top bunk in "Wii Sports." The 2006 release is a friendly gaming experience focused on motion-controlled virtual sports. The game features five of them — tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing — fully controlled by the player’s movement. 

Packaged with the original system, "Wii Sports" is a game many current IU students would have played if they owned at Wii when they were younger. Though it can be played by a single person, it’s relaxed, competitive nature shines in social situations, such as in a residence hall
with friends or floormates. Because of the activity and energy required in each motion-controlled swing and punch, the game raises the spirits of those playing and leads to a fun and excited atmosphere.

Though it may not be best to play "Wii Sports" in a residence hall because of the limited space and amount of necessary player movement, many residence halls have common rooms where consoles, such as a Wii, can be hooked up to a television. Make sure to wear the wrist strap.

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