Video games have always been meant to be shared. Now some of these classic experiences from decades past have been turned into more accessible modern titles. Here are a few that you can start playing with your friends, locally or globally.
Streets of Rage 4
The first three Streets of Rage games were released on Sega Genesis in the early 1990s. They had as much impact on the horizontal scrolling and beat-em-up genre as River City Ransom of 1989.
Released more than 25 years after the third installment, Streets of Rage 4 is from a different developer, but it benefits from decades of improvements in the overall design of the game. You can fight alongside or against up to four friends locally or online. There is also an arsenal of deadly new moves for the main and classic characters.
The original composers of the beloved electronic dance soundtrack, Yuzo Koshiro and Hotohiro Kawashima, returned for the fourth installment. They are joined by a host of guest artists to provide a hype soundtrack, while you and your friends face the criminals who run Wood Oak City.
The gameplay is fluid enough for complex combos or the shuffling of basic buttons, and it all comes to life in a beautiful, hand-drawn artistic style.
The best part of restarting Doom is its new soundtrack, which doesn’t “slap” as much as it rips your spine and slaps your ancestors with it. Doom (2016) and its sequel, Doom Eternal (2020), offer traditional competitive multiplayer modes. However, the latter will offer an incredibly fun cooperative mode called “Invasion” in a future update (to be determined). You and your cohort can each control powerful demons and invade another player’s campaign.
New Condemn is a reboot, not a remake. It’s hard to find a platform on which you cannot run it, but the latest remake offers a nice local cooperative mode for up to four players on Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1993 release of the original Doom, Bethesda Softworks released a remade Doom for the current generation of consoles.
It’s the same bloody and earth-sinking adventure many will remember, but now you’re not alone on this journey through hell. There is also a deathmatch mode if you want to hate your friends instead.
River city girls
The classic cooperative brawler of 1989, River City Ransom for NES puts you in the shoes of Alex and Ryan (or Kunio and Riki in Japan). Their girlfriends were kidnapped by a gang leader named Slick. The game has become a genre classic and has been ported to countless Nintendo consoles.
In 2019, River City Girls reorganized all of the classic gameplay into a whole new version in this story Kunio-kun series. This time, the girls, Kyoko and Misako, have to save the boys.
With RPG elements much deeper than the original game, River City Girls lets you upgrade your chicas and their weapons as you and a friend progress through the 16-bit worlds. The soundtrack is just as exciting as the girls and features many guest appearances by notable chiptune artists.
Super Mario Maker 2
He is one of the most popular cultural icons in the world. Almost everyone likes a Mario game. Super Mario Maker 2 combines the aesthetics and play style of each side-scrolling Mario game in one big celebration of the sheer fun of the platform.
Not only is there a huge amount of lessons integrated with Story mode, but there is also an easy-to-use toolkit. Every imaginable Mario element allows you to build the course of your dreams (or nightmares).
The best part is that almost everything in Super Mario Maker 2 is cooperative, including the building experience. You and your friends can access all of the multiplayer content as long as everyone has a copy of the game on their Switch and a Nintendo Online subscription.
You can still play any of the courses you or others have created locally without a subscription, as long as you have more than one Joy-Con.
Super Mario Maker 2 ($ 59.99) is available for Nintendo Switch.
Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition
A classic BioWare RPG based on the eponymous Dungeons & Dragons setting, Neverwinter Nights was originally released on PC in 2002 and was critically acclaimed. Countless hours of additional content has been published over the years, and all of this is cooperative. Finally, all the extension mods have been brought together in a modern package with graphical improvements for all the main gaming platforms.
In 2017, a studio founded by former BioWare staff was released Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition for Windows, Mac, Linux and possibly Android. Since the original title was designed for PC, the console ports of this enhanced edition contain a large number of quality of life improvements. As a result, the game costs a little more. The Android version has fewer features, so it costs a little less.
You can read more about the differences between platforms on the developer’s official FAQ page. The game is cross-platform for Xbox One, Windows, Linux and Mac (the mobile will be added in the future).
Enjoy the fantastic fantasy realm with your adventurous friends via simplified multiplayer options and persistent online worlds.
Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition ($ 49.99) is available for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. It is also available for Windows, Mac or Linux systems via Steam or GOG ($ 19.99), or Android ($ 9.99).
Bonus: multiplayer books to choose yourself
If you’re looking for a more low-tech cooperative experience, there’s always the wonderfully geeky world of multiplayer books to choose yourself (CYOA). You and a friend can each choose a role as one of the two main characters. You then read a great adventure that allows you to make key decisions for a different story each time.
There’s nothing like bonding around a good story or a difficult challenge. No matter what type of game you choose or what platform you play on, there is probably a way to play with your friends.