Casual games for the PC?

My current question is this: why are there few (if any!) casual/party multiplayer games for the PC? I've been looking around for games that might appeal to more than just me and my hardcore gaming friends, in a (perhaps vain) attempt to create social gatherings through video games/LAN parties. Because everyone here at school has a computer, and networking is already very-well taken care of, it's definitely very plausible. The only things missing now are the games.

Currently, I play a fair amount of Call of Duty, which is an excellent PC FPS. I prefer it over other multiplayer PC shooters simply because I think CoD's gun firing sounds and animations are much more gratifying. Okay, that's a little exaggerated: Call of Duty is an incredible, polished game with many very good elements. Its multiplayer is excellent when you're playing on computers that already have the game installed, and with people that have played shooters before. With both these components lacking, however, Call of Duty is not a particularly effective multiplayer experience.

I'm currently looking for games that are easy to pick up, can be played in a very short amount of time, and have fairly small installation footprints (or better yet, can be played from a CD or the network). Those qualities, in my opinion, will make a game that is much more accessible than today's games, and will turn video gaming into a much more inclusive and ultimately more socially successful activity.

Babo Violent 2 comes close. It's small and very, very simple for a shooter. Obviously it doesn't work with people who don't enjoy shooting other people, but it's about as close to a "party game" as I can think of for the PC. Game consoles have it better in this respect: Mario Party, for example, or DDR, or Guitar Hero (although those games have acquired something of a hardcore cult status as well) are good examples. I suppose I'll just have to wait patiently here for casual PC gaming to catch up and provide us with more accessible party games.


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