It's winter. Maybe you don't feel like going out with your friends on a Friday night anymore - bah, too cold. And no one's exactly keen to go to the beach or walk up a mountain in the rain and frost and (in some places) snow. Your mate gave you a funny look when you asked if he wanted to "Netflix and chill".

Oh well. I guess you'll see friends in Spring, right?

Or you could invest in some party games. Over the last couple of years, they have gotten awesome. That's why I've put together a list of my four favourite party games to get you through the rest of winter.

Jackbox Party Pack (both 1 and 2!)

The thing that's really special about the Jackbox games is that you can buy it on PC or console, but you only need one controller - because everyone uses their own smartphones and tablets to connect and play. As the name suggests, Jackbox's two releases are packs - each contains five games of varying, but generally high, quality.


And a lot of people can play - most games go up to eight players, but one game in the original Party Pack goes up to 100. Yup, 100. I'm not sure this has ever happened outside of Jackbox's test environment, but I love the fact that it could.

The Jackbox Party Packs are always funny - especially if you're playing with people who crack you up in your everyday life. Take Quiplash, for example, which might give you a prompt like "Something you'd find in a creepy person's bedroom". Two players then have a few seconds to write down the funniest thing they can think of, and afterward the rest of the participants vote on which answer they liked best.

It can get messy - fast - but there are family friendly options as well.

Platforms: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

Gang Beasts

In Gang Beasts, you play as a clumsy blob with arms and legs, and you fight other jelly-men with arms and legs. It is painfully hard to control with any accuracy, in part due to your character's inhumanly short arms and legs. If you think of a cross between QWOP and a wrestling game, you've basically got the gist.

But you have to play it to really understand how fun it is - because it's just so silly. Your blob, who wears outfits like animal onesies and superhero costumes, is generally tasked with getting all competitors out of the ring - which could literally be a ring but is more likely a platform precariously perched on the side of a high-rise - before they chuck you out. Every time I've played this game or watched it played, someone has screamed and/or cried laughing. Often that someone is me.

Oh, and if I haven't won you over on this one yet, it's made by Double Fine - the company run by the creators of Monkey Island.
Platforms: PC, Mac (early access)


I hadn't heard of this game until I was asked to help judge the Play by Play Festival awards (an awards ceremony for games developed in Australia and New Zealand).

It was created by Australian developer Samurai Punk, and twists the first-person shooter upside down by making screenwatching - where you watch another player's screen during splitscreen play, a big no-no - part of the game's core mechanic.

That's because everyone is invisible. There are only two ways to tell where someone is - watching their screen, and following their gunfire.

Out of maybe 30 or 40 games I played while on the Play by Play jury, Screencheat was my favourite - it wasn't the most beautiful game, but it was incredibly creative and loads of fun. And it's the kind of game you want to introduce to everybody, which makes it great for social events.

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4


OK, the chances of you both owning a Wii U and not knowing about this game (or, rather, set of games) are slim. But Nintendoland, which came packaged with the original release of the Wii U, is actually loads of fun for groups of friends.

This won't come as a surprise to Nintendo fans, because the company has been making solid party games for some time now - I left the Mario Party series off this list because it just seemed too obvious.

My pick of the Nintendoland bunch is Luigi's Ghost Mansion, which once again involves invincibility. You play with up to five players, but one of you plays as a ghost. The rest of you play co-op and try to track down the ghost and shine your torches on it before it picks you all off.

Platforms: Wii U