With the coronavirus pandemic still upon us and colder, shorter days ahead, you're likely to be spending even more time hunkered down at home, perhaps searching for new things to do indoors. There are only so many sourdough breads you can bake or true-crime shows to binge.
One option to try is multiplayer online games. These digital competitions can be a great way to ward off boredom and isolation, and to stay connected with friends and family. Lots of interactive games are free, or close to it, and don't require a high skill level or technical know-how. Many allow you to chat between or during rounds of play.
A word of warning: Only chat online with players you know in real life. Romance scammers use online games to take advantage of lonely players, forging a relationship, then hitting the victim up for money, gift cards or personal information that could lead to identity theft.
Here are five entertaining games to take up as you ride out the pandemic.
1. Trivia Royale
Billed as “World's Biggest Trivia Contest,” Trivia Royale is a new mobile app from the creators of the wildly popular QuizUp, which has been downloaded more than 100 million times.
Playable for free on Android and Apple devices, Trivia Royale pits you against 1,000 online opponents in a contest to quickly tap the correct multiple-choice answer to questions covering a wide range of topics such as animals, history and world flags.
The questions keep getting harder, and the winners keep playing until two remain. Who will be crowned the “Royale"? If it's you, you'll gain access to the exclusive VIP Royale Lounge to hang out with other champs.
Your digital proxy is an avatar you can customize with fun accessories. It can even display your facial expressions as you play, thanks to your phone's front-facing camera.
Houseparty is both a video chatting platform, allowing up to eight people to see each other and talk at the same time, and a collection of fun party games to play together. You can use it on an Android or Apple device, a Mac computer, or a Windows PC (if you're using the Chrome browser; you'll need to download an extension).
Houseparty games include Chips and Guac, a word-association game similar to Cards Against Humanity; Quick Draw, a drawing and guessing game like Pictionary; Trivia: Finish the Song Lyric; and my favorite, Heads Up!, based on Ellen DeGeneres’ popular app that's like a game of online charades.
Now owned by Epic Games, the company behind the iconic Fortnite franchise, Houseparty is free to download, but versions of some games require an in-app purchase.
3. Song Quiz
Think of Song Quiz as a digital version of Name That Tune, the classic TV game show that tested players’ knowledge of pop songs. It's playable for free on Apple and Android phones and tablets; you can also get versions for Amazon or Google smart speakers, so you can just ask your Echo or Nest whenever you want to play.