Kill Your Friends. It's okay, Dokapon wants you to.

Parents got you playing stupid games for board game night? Tired of rehashed Mario Party games? World of Warcraft is stressing you out? Grab a copy of Dokapon Kingdom, a little unknown gem in the party game genre.

It's a cute game with substandard graphics, but it's also a couple years old. You begin the game by selecting a character, customizing it with a name, choosing a gender, color, and class. Only basic classes are available in the beginning--limiting yourself to warrior, mage, and thief--but you can change your class during the game and once you've mastered a class, you can move on to a better one.

From the start, it doesn't look like anything special. You spin to see how many spaces you get to move in that turn and depending on which space you land on, you can win an item, piece of equipment, receive an event, or fight--both monsters and your fellow players. The King has summoned all adventurers to journey across the land to give him money and rescue towns. (But mostly give him money.)

Dokapon Kingdom, for both the Wii and the PS2, mixes elements of MMORPGs, fantasy, and of course, party games. Marketing itself as the friendship-killing game, you and up to three friends (or computer players) engage in a battle for money, liberation, and marriage to the Princess Peach look-a-like.

In reality, it's a game about capitalism and imperialism.

Fighting is deceptively basic. You have a list of four commands that you can use and they change depending on whether you're attacking or defending. It looks simple, but it's actually a difficult game of chance. By shuffling and picking from two cards, you don't have a guarantee of striking first, and in some instances you can only win if you attack before your opponent does. There are times when the wisest move is to give up the fight in order to live.

But the most fun--or most frustrating--part of Dokapon is the endless opportunities to destroy your friends. If your friends aren't the type to forgive you for doing something to them in a game, I wouldn't recommend playing with them. But if you hate those friends anyway, hey--why the hell not? Dokapon's just trying to help end your friendships that can't withstand some road bumps! Challenge your friends to battles when they're least prepared, steal their towns, change their names, draw on their faces, kill them for a bounty, make a comeback from last place and destroy everyone--the possibilities really are endless. And when a game is as long as Dokapon Kingdom is, you've got plenty of chances to piss off your friends.

 What's a little hatred between friends?

How Super Smash Bros. Helped Me

Ahh, the sweet feeling of cartoony characters pushing each other off of buildings into moving vehicles. This is a series that never gets old and it's my favorite fighting game (I don't do well with memorizing button sequences for special moves).

I sat here for a few minutes, realizing that I hadn't thought of what to write about this week. Then I remembered that I played Super Smash Bros. Melee last night with some friends for my post-birthday-dinner.

I was in the fifth grade when I first discovered this series. Super Smash Bros. was on the Nintendo 64, a console that I had asked for my birthday or Christmas. A part of the reason I wanted that system so badly was Super Smash Bros. (the other part was Pokemon). I went to a friend's house after school one day and he introduced me to the game. I wasn't very good at it then and I think he mercifully let me play on his team while I got used to the controls. (This is much nicer than what I do--a quick crash course on how to play and then I throw them into the game. Just ask my dad.) Back then my character of choice was Mario. the graphics were rather blocky and geometric, but I thought it was the best thing I had ever seen.

After a long time of playing Super Smash Bros., I got a Gamecube with my sister and bought Super Smash Bros. Melee, my favorite game so far in the series. It was a revamped version with some new characters and new stages. I moved on from Mario to Fox to Link, who is now my default pick. I played this game religiously and I still revisit it. I gradually worked up to fight Master Hand and Crazy Hand on the most difficult levels and I trained against level 9, the highest difficult setting, computer players. When this got too easy, I asked friends to come over and we played 3-on-1. These fights trained me to think faster and react as quickly as possible. Using the C-stick to fight became cheating for me and I instead chose to do things that took more skill. I trained for a few weeks, trying to hone my skills enough to dodge by rolling next to people or dodging in mid-air.

These 3-on-1 fights also taught me how to be humble. I've had a competitive spirit since I was young. I had to realize that sometimes I couldn't win every battle. Occasionally I messed up. Maybe I should have used my hookshot instead of the spinning move. Or I should have reacted faster when someone was about to knock me out. When I was young, I took every mistake personally. Unfortunately, I also chose to turn my frustration on others and I got angry at them in addition to getting angry at myself. The harder matches forced me not only to be modest, but still proud, about my winning streaks, but also to congratulate others when they beat me.

Me at 6 years old.

Then Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out for the Wii. I still have a hard time with the controls since they were changed. They weren't as fluid as they were in its predecessor. They changed the weight of some characters, as well as their speed. Link was no longer my speedy warrior--I had to change to Pit. Some of the new features were fun: the 1-player mode had a storyline, characters had awesome smashes via the smash ball, fights over that smash ball make the game hilarious, and the graphics improved tremendously.

The great thing about Super Smash Bros. is that it never gets old. I love games like Soul Calibur, Guilty Gear, and Tekken--and I still need to find a copy of BlazBlue--but I can only play them for so long before I get bored. One-on-one fights can only be fun and challenging for so long. It's the massive chaos on the field that demands your full attention and hones yourself not to think, but just do. React to those around you and use their weaknesses and strengths.

And you've got to bet that I never forget how a person plays after I've fought them.

This post has been Sonic approved.