While socializing in quarantine, we’re all the MacGyvers of finding stuff to do. Trying to play a game with friends remotely becomes a challenge in itself to position cameras, laptops, and smartphones in such a way that everyone can hear and see the board, deck, beer pong table, or screen. Often, by the time you get all set up, you’ve lost the steam and enthusiasm to play at all.
That’s why I’m here to recommend the games in the video chat app Houseparty. If you haven’t used Houseparty before, it’s like a video chat with a social feed. Open the app, and you’ll be able to see who’s “available.” The app will also display if you have friends video chatting, so you can kind of crash into a hang without being called or invited yourself (Get it? Like a house party!).
I really like the app’s rowdy free-for-all vibe, but there’s another great thing about it: Houseparty video chats have games built into them. While chatting with friends, you just click on a little dice icon in the upper right hand corner, and you can choose between four games. They’re all HouseParty’s versions of popular games, including trivia, Pictionary, Heads Up, and the Apples to Apples-esque game, Chips & Guac.
The Houseparty games are really basic, but I prefer them to rigging up a Jackbox TV game through multiple screens in Zoom. That’s because the games are in-app, and they just work. Really well, I might add. They’re simple and silly and the only thing you have to do to play is press a button. So if you get bored in a conversation, you can throw up a game of trivia.
If trivia sparks a conversation, you can just go back to video chatting, and so on. The whole experience is less of an onerous production and more of an easy diversion. And, like pulling out a deck of cards at an actual house party, the ease helps to make it fun.
The games don’t have the largest catalogue of content, but there are expansion packs — available for purchase, of course. I haven’t felt the need to expand my Heads Up categories yet. But hey, we’re stuck at home for the foreseeable future, so never say never.
Now get to playin’!