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The 20 best Nintendo multiplayer games ever

You heard us - ever! From Big Bang to current day!

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10. Super Street Fighter II

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Tekken? Virtua Fighter? Soul Calibur? Getting a crowd of bloodthirsty party-goers to agree on a fighting game is almost an impossibility. Thank the heavens, then, for Street Fighter II. There isn't an organism in the solar system that doesn't know how to throw a Dragon Punch - it's almost a universal fighting game standard, like Esperanto, except people speak it.

Better yet, Super Street Fighter II (available on Virtual Console) can organise eight-player single-elimination tourneys, which is handy as the night wears on and revellers slowly lose the ability to organise anything more complicated than a tug on a ring pull.

9. International Superstar Soccer 64

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ISS64 better than PES or FIFA 10? Are we being old-school for the hell of it? Not a chance! While modern-day Pro Evo on Wii is ace, its complexity makes it more single-player pursuit than party favourite, and FIFA 10's great but, well, ISS64 has the edge.

There's an arcadish playfulness to ISS64 that's missing in today's footy games, where programmers spend six months mapping spots onto Wayne Rooney's face first, and ask questions of the gameplay later. So on Nintendo, ISS64 remains multiplayer champion.

8. Band Brothers DX

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Controversial obscure Japanese DS music-making game occupying a slot that most people would give to Guitar Hero or Rock Band alert!!!!!1!!!1!eleven!1! Ah, but there's a method to our madness.

See, is Rock Band really that great a multiplayer game? Everyone's too busy doing their own thing to appreciate the tune (or lack thereof) being generated, and nobody ever wants to be the singer. Band Brothers DX, on the other hand, allows four budding artistes to parp and gurgle their way through 60 different instruments, creating music entirely from scratch or doing their best to recreate a selection of classic tunes (all while trying to not die laughing). And if you're lucky enough to own a Japanese Wii, you can pipe the racket through your television set.

7. GoldenEye

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It seems a bit redundant to wax lyrical about a ten-year-old N64 game when there's canyons' worth of multiplayer FPSes on consoles and PC now. But it isn't. And not just because most modern shooters don't support split-screen. There's an innocent inventiveness to GoldenEye that identifies it as a game trying to be entertaining in its own right; a game that appeared before people got a fixed idea about what FPSes 'should be like'.

The brilliance of GoldenEye took many forms - from one-hit kills and killer mines to the cat-and-mouseness of the Golden Gun mode. Even today, there are few shooters with the versatility and eye for improvised mayhem that GoldenEye boasts.

6. New Super Mario Bros

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New Super Mario Bros Wii has its fair share of clever multiplayer options, but nothing as of yet has managed to dislodge NSMB DS's Mario Vs Luigi battle mode from the special place it occupies in our hearts.

It's a straight race to grab as many stars as you can from one of five different levels. Except there's nothing straight about it at all, because walloping your brother causes him to drop all his stars onto the ground, and as you'd expect, making this happen soon becomes the focal point of the contest. Brilliantly evil and addictive, this has a malicious streak inside it that New Super Mario Bros Wii sorely lacks.

5. Micro Machines 2

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It's a publisher's nightmare: your Mega Drive game is at its best with three players or more, but the console only has two controller ports. What to do? Codemasters came up with an elegant solution: mould two extra ports into the cartridge. If that wasn't enough, eight players could join the fray by sharing a pad between pairs, though this rarely worked well.

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