Team games, love them or hate them, they’ve been part of the gaming landscape for years. While believable a.i. still remains a Haley Joel Osmond shaped fantasy, the games of the past gave us a sense of what it would be like to control a party of mindless drones, without resorting to expensive and ethically dubious mass hypnosis.
Given the recent murmurings of a Syndicate remake, I thought it only fitting to start with this bastion of team gaming. Syndicate puts you in control of a squad of four super soldiers, somewhere between the Terminator and Frankenstein’s monster. Prior to each mission, usually involving an assassination, you could upgrade your team with various limb augmentations, in the hope that this would make the subsequent missions easier. It did not. Syndicate was a brilliant game even if it can, in any way, be held responsible for the success of the film Universal Soldier.
Putting aside brain-dead cyborgs, who could forget The Lost Vikings? A game daring enough to teleport three oddball Vikings, of the pillaging variety, into the future where by sheer coincidence, they must utilise their three unique abilities to get home. Mostly distinguishable by their facial hair, The Lost Vikings was a real brainteaser, setting the stall for logic-based team games and still holds up well against today’s best.
The ultimate example of the team-based game still sells across all gaming platforms. Worms, created by Team 17, has been re-released more often than the Star Wars trilogy. First released in 1995, simplicity is the key, along with a bizarre assortment of weapons. Playing off two or more teams of highly skilled, combative worms is pure gaming genius and also manages to invoke mental images of David Attenborough lurking in the background trying his best to describe the scene. Worms remains one of the greatest team games of all time and, despite my attempt at the age of 11 to turn it into a board game, remains hugely successful.
Team games, while inherently likely to cause frustration, are an important part of gaming, teaching us the benefits of effective delegation and ensuring we remember to take care of everyone. Above all else, if team games have managed to teach men like me the ability to think logically and multitask, even if in limited capacity, they must be worth revisiting and more importantly, replaying.