Because they provide a needed break from the rigors of academic life, video games can be a lifesaver in college. Your brain is on overdrive at least 20 hours of every day—why not take an hour out every once in a while to let your gray matter rest a little? Playing a mindless video game can provide a good outlet for academic stressors. But while gaming by yourself can be fun, there’s nothing better than playing games with a bunch of other people. Below are some of the best party video games that every dorm floor or apartment should have.

Guitar Hero

Everyone knows Guitar Hero—even if you haven’t played it, you certainly understand the concept (and if you’ve been living under a rock, go to and check it out). Take a plastic guitar and start ripping out chords to popular songs. Just press the colored buttons on the guitar as they come up on the screen and you’ll be jamming. Sounds easy, right? Wrong—be prepared for one of the most challenging tests of hand-eye coordination that you’ve ever had. Fortunately, the game provides four levels of difficulty so that you can hone your skills before trying to show up the greatest guitar players of all time on songs from Avenged Sevenfold, Nirvana, Slayer, Pearl Jam, Fall of Troy, Guns N’ Roses, Senses Fail, Van Halen, and many others. . A group of friends, a big TV and stereo, and some beer will make for a Guitar Hero battle for the ages!

Mario Kart

This is a classic party game that has been around for a long time. And why not? What could be better than racing at ridiculous speeds around brightly-colored animated tracks and blasting the hell out of each other as cute cartoon characters like Mario, Bowser, Peach, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi? Mario Kart is tough to top for sheer fun factor. Playing on the Wii adds a new dimension to the game, as you can now use a wheel to direct your kart instead of the directional pad on a traditional controller. Don’t be fooled by the whimsical environment of this game—it can get very competitive very quickly and lead to some pretty serious rivalries!

Golden Eye

This may not appeal to as many people as Guitar Hero or Mario Kart, but it cannot be left off of a list of the best party video games. N64’s GoldenEye was a pioneer of the multiplayer shooter game, paving the way for games like Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty. Instructions are simple: choose your character, then stay alive as long as possible while taking out your opponents. You can choose a variety of levels and weapons. As it’s a very easy game to become familiar with, all you need to do is fire it up and start shooting!

These are only a few of the popular party video games; as you spend more time at parties, you’re likely to see more games. A great way to get a lot of people together is to have an old-school video game party: play games like Duck Hunt, Sonic, and Mario Brothers. It’s like going back in time for a few hours!