The buildup to midnight on New Year's Eve is always fun, but once the champagne's been popped and the ball's been dropped, there's a letdown. Why not try something different this year: a little friendly competition on that game console you got for Christmas?

The best multiplayer games out are in the music category, guitar games like

Rock Band


Guitar Hero III,

karaoke games like

SingStar Pop

, rhythm games like

Dance Dance Revolution

. Shooters like

Halo 3

and fighting games like

Virtua Fighter 5

are also entertaining.

We've also seen popular family games go digital this year. Microsoft led with the excellent

Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action

, for the Xbox 360 and two more well-known party games have now made their way to Nintendo's Wii.

Cranium Kabookii

(Ubisoft, for the Wii, $49.99):


, a family favorite over the last decade, is the Frankenstein's monster of board games, mixing art, trivia, language and performance in a way that lets players of different skill levels compete. The electronic version doesn't quite duplicate the cheerful chaos of the board game, but it's still amusing.

Jenga World Tour

(Atari, for the Wii, $29.99): The physical version of


is a stack of simple wooden blocks. To play, you remove one block from the middle of the pile and place it on top; you lose if the tower collapses during your turn. In

Jenga World Tour

you use the Wii remote to select and move a block. It's a very simple game mechanic, but Atari has completely botched it - most of the time you need to use exaggerated motions to get a block to budge. You're far better off with the real thing, which costs only $13.

Mario Party DS

(Nintendo, for the DS, $34.99): The

Mario Party

games have thrived on Nintendo consoles, though they don't work quite as well on portable machines. To get the most out of

Mario Party DS

, you need three friends with a DS, although you need only one copy of the game. It's not particularly inviting for spectators, so you might not want to drag it out on New Year's Eve. But it is a solid, at times riotous, collection that's highly entertaining.