Yahoo! remains one of the most recognized company names on the Internet, with features that range from e-mail, to news headlines, to multiplayer video games accessible on the Yahoo! Games section of the website. When I first logged onto the ‘net over ten years ago, the site recommended to me as a source of interactive “web games” was Yahoo!; the notion of connecting to a website and being able to play Euchre, Hold ‘Em Poker, Literati, Bingo or Hearts with friends and family across the world was a feature which has never lost its appeal. Yahoo! games are Java-powered, with clean, non-encumbering graphics, which makes them a viable multiplayer video game option for a variety of Internet connections, computer formats and Internet skill levels.
Listed below are the best of the multiplayer Yahoo! Games, each of which I revisited and tested for the sake of this list. Returning to the familiar website was a nostalgic treat, and I was pleased to see that while Yahoo! has remained competitive in site speed and quality, it has not been at the expense of the easy-to-navigate, pleasant-to-see site themes I remember from my early Yahoo! Games days.
Literati – Literati is a multiplayer game very similar to Scrabble, and combines lettered “tiles” with a 15×15 grid board full of bonus point opportunities. Literati players must spell out valid words-and yes, opponents can challenge the validity of questionable submissions-to increase his or her score. Game “Tables,” which is Yahoo!’s name for the multiplayer game interface, allow 2-5 players with the option of automatic challenge and rated or unrated. Like most Yahoo! games, the Literati category has game rooms in Social, Beginner-Advanced, Ladder and League categories, allowing users to choose how competitive-and skilled-their opponents are. While the general level of friendliness differs between each Yahoo! game community, the Literati patrons are some of the most friendly, accommodating and considerate to be found in all of Yahoo!’s multiplayer games.
Euchre – As a Hoosier-someone born in Indiana-I have a soft spot for Euchre. Euchre was the first Yahoo! game I tried over a decade ago, and it continues to be my absolute favorite. Still highly popular, Euchre lounges ranged from full (over 200 users) to as few as a handful of players on each of the nights I revisited my old virtual card game stomping grounds. The Euchre community, much like the patrons of Literati, is exceptionally talkative and helpful; I attribute this to the incredibly high volume of Yahoo! Euchre players who hail from the social Midwest. The overall welcoming atmosphere might be due to the cooperative element of Euchre; players are paired into teams of two, working together against two opponents. The build-in chat feature of Euchre, which is present in all of the multiplayer Yahoo! games, is full of exclamations of “Go P!” In Yahoo! games Euchre, “P” is an abbreviation for “partner.”
Pool– I do not recall a Pool section available on the Yahoo! games website when I first became a fan years ago, and I am delighted to see the addition. While the Pool controls are slightly clunky at first-you use both mouse buttons to wield your Pool stick-the learning curve is minor and soon you and one opponent are engaged in a heated battle of angles and applied force. Due to the two-person multiplayer feature, Pool has a slightly less interactive community than other Yahoo! games options. However, Pool training, eight ball and nine ball game options are available to allow players extra flexibility in their virtual billiards. Although most of the Yahoo! games graphics are functional and easy to differentiate, I found the Pool balls to be slightly difficult to tell apart at first, making it very easy to unintentionally sink your opponent’s stripe over your solid.
Bingo – Another game not abundantly available in web-based format, Bingo continues to be one of my favorite of the 29 Yahoo! games multiplayer options. I was surprised to discover that only Normal and League Bingo categories are available, with only six game rooms offered in an assortment of Bingo game styles: “Lightning Bingo!,” which is just as fast as the name implies, “Simple Stuff,” “Plain Vanilla,” and more. In “Advanced Fun,” for example, players have six separate Bingo cards and 10 seconds between each ball to mark their matches. The option to enable or disable game sounds allows users to audibly hear the ball numbers being called, which is invaluable during the faster Bingo games. Much like the other Yahoo! games featured on this list, Yahoo! Bingo offers a friendly, pleasant community which seems to focus more on the enjoyment of the game and less on competition.
Hold ‘Em Poker – Poker of all varieties have become the go-to card game feature available in web applications and multiplayer video game sites. So, I was concerned that the Yahoo! games version might not stand up against some of the flashier, more elaborate alternatives. Quite the opposite proved to be the case, and the visually appealing but computer-friendly graphics offer smoother game play to users with slower or dated machines. Like Bingo, Yahoo! games Hold ‘Em Poker is available in Normal or League categories, and I was impressed by the volume of players present each evening signed-on to test this multiplayer game. With ten player “seats” to a table, Yahoo! Hold ‘Em Poker offers the highest volume of spots for users to meet-up on the site with numerous friends or family. The Hold ‘Em Poker community isn’t as chatty as some of the Yahoo! games alternatives, but the fast play and familiar avatars didn’t fail to provide an entertaining time.
Ultimately, my trek down this Internet memory lane was highly enjoyable, and I once again intend to raise my “Provisional” rank up to a more competitive-and welcomed-score. I would recommend Literati, Euchre, Bingo, Pool or Hold ‘Em Poker for anyone seeking multiplayer video games available on the Internet.
Yahoo Games, “Multiplayer Games on Yahoo!”