The modern world can sometimes feel like it’s moving too fast for us to catch up with. Important responsibilities, like self-care and seeing friends, often become collateral damage as we keep up with work commitments and our household chores. However, we can choose to harness the speed of the world around us in order to help us with socialising and relaxing.
Contrary as it might sound, the internet and other technological developments are almost limitless resources for connection, time management and mindfulness. Therefore, if we use them in the right way, we have a chance at meeting all our needs with minimal energy expended.
When it isn’t possible to get together with friends regularly, then one way to stay in touch is by playing games together online. This way, people can join in from wherever they are in the world and, depending on which game you choose, at whatever time suits them. As cross-platform play becomes more widespread, it is also becoming much easier to play with others without being restricted to one device.
Gaming is a fun way to connect and it’s something a bit different from FaceTime or WhatsApp group chats. Having a game to focus on will help conversation flow and get you all laughing.
With that in mind, here are some ideas for your next virtual games night with friends.
Wordle took the world by storm back in December 2021. Although inventor Josh Wardle actually invented the word puzzle earlier that year, it didn’t really take off on a global scale until the wintertime. Since then, New York Times has bought the rights to the game in a reported million-dollar sale. As the page is updated with a new puzzle daily, it’s a great way to check in with friends by posting your results and discussing how easy or difficult it was to guess the word of the day within your 6 tries.
Alternatively, you could set up a Words with Friends game amongst your inner circle. This app is based on the old board game favorite Scrabble, but players are able to make their next moves at any point after their opponent has done so. This means that, even when you’re on opposite sides of the world, you and your friend can keep a game going on a timescale that works for you both.
The poker boom of the early 2000s introduced iGaming to mainstream culture and, since then, it’s continued to go from strength to strength. Nowadays, established iGaming platforms such as PokerStars offer exclusive facilities for forming private gaming spaces, like Home Games. This is one way of creating a space for just you and your friends or whoever you invite along to play with you. Rather than matching with strangers, Home Games provides somewhere to create your own private poker club and challenge IRL friends to a game. With these types of services, in-built video chat and other chat tools mean that it’s easy to communicate and replicate the feeling of being together in the same room.
Social sims offer a unique take on digital socialising. For one, interaction between your character and the other NPCs within the game will have you feeling like you’ve made some new friends already, but, as with the examples below, it’s also possible to invite your IRL buddies to play with you.
When Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched in 2020, it saw enormous success almost immediately. Not only can you invite other in-game characters to come and live on your island with you, but you can also have other players visit you, chat with you, and exchange items. ACNH has created its own little world where people can create and play alongside one another.
Alternatively, indie title Stardew Valley gives fans a multiplayer option whereby up to 4 players can join in on the same world. The ‘host’ of the game must be online in order for other ‘farmhands’ to access the saved game, but once you’re all logged in, you can build, farm and socialise together in this rich pixelated universe.