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Party games are games that some people play as forms of entertainment at social gatherings. Party games usually involve more than one player. There are a large number and styles of party games available and the one selected will depend on the atmosphere that is sought to be generated. The party game may merely be intended as an ice breaker, or the sole purpose for the party.
The characteristics of party games tend to include:
Not all of the above are suitable for children's parties. Traditional children's party games (some of which are also popular with teenagers and adults) include:
The party game has become a genre of video games — arguably dating back to 1983, with Starpath's Party Mix. Currently, the most well known examples are Nintendo's Mario Party and Wii series. These games are usually best played in multiplayer mode. The games are commonly designed as a collection of simple minigames, designed to be intuitive and easy to control. Some of the games (most notably the Mario Party series) are played out on boardgame boards. The success of the Nintendo Wii in recent years has led to an increasing number of party video games.
Other examples of party video games include:
Large group games are played by a large number of participants and are often used as planned activities in structured environments, especially as educational activities. They are similar to party games, except that large group games are typically planned for larger numbers (perhaps even hundreds) as part of an event.
Large group games can take a variety of forms and formats.
Some are physical games such as Buck buck.
Some are modeled on the TV game show format, offering points for teams who can answer questions the fastest. Trivia-type games might have questions posed from the stage and each tabletop writing their answers to be collected and scored. Others may take on some of the qualities of Open Space environments and allow participants to wander in a less structured way.
Some are modeled on TV reality shows such as The Amazing Race or Survivor. Participants compete as individuals or in teams to complete challenges that move them towards victory in a competition spanning the entire party. The TV shows on which such parties are based are normally competitions involving elimination, so such events require significant planning to avoid exclusion or boredom.
Group board games can take on the design of small groups of players, seated at tables of 4 to 6 people, who work together on a problem. There can be large numbers of people (and thus many tables). If properly designed, these scalable exercises can be used for small groups (12 to 20 people) as well as very large events (600 people or 100 tables).
Generally, for these larger exercises, multimedia projectors, large screens and microphones are required for instructions, communications and debriefing.
A search for team building events can turn up millions of links to exercises, companies, and all kinds of offerings ranging from paintball competitions to fire walks to outdoor climbing or whitewater adventures. The impact on actual team building can vary widely - a golf outing for corporate executives does not generally accomplish much in the way of organizational improvement while a business simulation might be directly focused on linking the play of the game to issues for corporate improvement.
Holiday groups use a gift exchange party game such as white elephant gift exchange or Yankee swap for socializing and sharing gifts. New online party games, based on these holiday games, allow larger groups to gather on the internet to save travel expenses.