We all have had to get used to a new norm and for a lot of people, the hardest part has been social distancing. People are searching high and low for ways to hang out with their friends without physically being with them. I can say I am one of those people. When I moved to Ashland my friends from back home and I wanted to keep in contact by playing games online, but ever since this quarantine started we have been finding new ways to have fun together and I can honestly say we spend more time with each other now (even if it is virtually) than we did before this started.
As students, we have become more familiar with Zoom this quarter, but Zoom can be used for more than just school. One of the best uses is playing games. You can play classics like Charades or try something new like a game of questions and deceit called Spyfall. The game is simple and lots of fun! Everyone is given the same location and a unique role except the spy. The goal of the players is to give enough information to deflect suspicion, but not enough for the spy to guess the location. All you need to play is your phone or computer.
If games aren’t your cup of tea but you still need a fun way to spend time with people then you could start a Zoom book club. Pick a book and do weekly meetings to discuss it. This is a great way to spend time with friends and find your new favorite book! You can also do Zoom dinners. We all miss going out to eat or grab coffee with our loved ones and friends so why not do it from home? Everyone can grab their favorite meal or make it a themed dinner and have a pizza night or start your mornings off right by sharing a cup of coffee with your friends.
If you’re tired of Zoom this might be your answer. Discord is a chat program that you can use on your computer and phone and was initially designed for gamers to chat with one another while online. Thanks to its voice, video, and text chatting options it is easy to use for any purpose. Once you download the program you are able to create a server and invite your friends. It’s like one big group chat! The best part is if you want to voice or video chat with your friends you don’t have to call or set up a meeting. Simply join your server’s chat and anyone else that is a part of it can join as well. Not only is it a great place to get together and hang out with your friends, especially if you’d rather not use video, but it is the perfect option to talk with them if you want to try some video games.
A popular game people use this for is virtual Cards Against Humanity. To play online you have multiple options, but one of the bests is All Bad Cards, which allows you to play the version we all know and love by selecting the expansion packs that you want to play. On top of this, you can start a family-friendly game that removes all of the inappropriate cards in case a younger sibling wants to join.
Steam is a video game digital distribution service by Valve that also includes thousands of 3rd party games. There are plenty of free options but if you’re willing to spend a little money then check out Jackbox Games. Like Spyfall, your phone is your remote. When you buy the party pack you get access to many multiplayer online games including Trivia Murder Party and Quiplash. These games are a bit expensive but only one person needs to own the game in order to play so find a group and split the cost! Another fun game is Golf With Your Friends, a $10 fast-paced and exciting mini golf simulator. Steam is best used with Discord!
Netflix Party is a free Chrome extension that allows people to sync up movies or television shows with their friends and family, as long as everyone involved has a Netflix account. The idea behind it is to make people feel a sense of togetherness, even if separated, by letting people pause, fast forward, and rewind what you’re watching and stay in sync. On top of this, you can take part in a chat bar off to the side of the screen. All you have to do is send a party link invite and you’re on your way to a fun filled movie night! Simply download the Chrome extension and sign into your Netflix account and follow these steps:
- Click on the NP icon on your Chrome toolbar (you must be using Chrome in order for this to work)
- Select “Start the party”
- Copy the URL and send it to your fellow movie viewers
- A chatroom will appear on the right-hand side of the window where you can see who joined and what comments people make
Quarantine doesn’t have to be lonely and you don’t have to put yourself or others in danger to spend time with your friends and family. Sure, we would all rather physically see our loved ones, but until we can, use these options to find some joy and have some fun.