Just because you are asked to self-isolate and distance socially does not mean you can’t have fun with friends.
It can be easy to fall into patterns of loneliness at a time where togetherness is key. Here are eight ways you can have fun with others while taking it easy on your wallet. There are two conditions for all the entries on this list: they must be free and they must involve a degree of interaction with other people. You will, however, require some sort of conduit like a computer or video game console.
Netflix Party — This Google Chrome extension allows you and your friends to simultaneously stream a movie or television show on Netflix. One user can start a chat room and send an invitation link to friends. The best (or worst) feature is the shared play/pause button. If one person pauses the program it pauses for everyone. That means you never have to worry about syncing up your viewing. Can’t make a screening? Do what I did and hop into your friends’ show under a fake pseudonym, pause the movie and watch chaos ensue. >:)
Zoom — Zoom has become a godsend since COVID-19 began sending people into self-isolation. The video chat has become popular with businesses for its ability to host lots and lots of people in one video chat. There are monthly payment options, but the free plan allows for 100 people to gather in one video chat. This is a great way to navigate around large gatherings like birthday parties. There is a 40-minute session limit on groups using the basic plan, but you can always split a negligible $20 to upgrade to the pro plan.
Cards Against Humanity — This Cards Against Humanity clone has every single Cards Against Humanity deck and add-on that has ever graced your vile mind. Simply hop into an existing game room with strangers or start your own room (public or private) and invite friends. You can set player limits, score limits and spectator limits. Hop into a Discord or Skype chat with your pals and have a not-so-PC laughing fit. A word from the wise, only select a couple of decks or you’ll wind up with an annoying selection of repeat cards.
Playstation 4 Games — One thing PS4 has going for it against the Xbox One is that it’s free-to-play multiplayer games do not require an online subscription. While you need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play games like Fortnite online, you do not need a Playstation Plus subscription to play multiplayer Fortnight on PS4. Here are five multiplayer games (not named Fortnite) that you can play with friends free-of-charge:
APEX Legends: Apex Legends pits 20 teams of three against each other in an ever-shrinking coliseum-like map. Find weapons, upgrade armor and fight until only one team remains.
Call of Duty: Warzone: Call of Duty’s entry into the popular Battle Royale genre combines the familiar feeling of COD with some new wrinkles for a fun and tense combat experience.
Dauntless: In the vein of Monster Hunter, Dauntless invites teams to coordinate attacks on giant monsters. Roam the world, best behemoths and craft new weapons and armor.
Warframe: Warframe is a co-op game in which you control a Tenno, an alien race operating ninja-like mech suits. Explore the world on your hoverboard and slice through enemies.
Gwent: A card game spin-off of the popular The Witcher series (yes, there is also a Netflix series). Go on adventures, improve your deck and go wit-for-wit against other players.
Digital Parties — No large gatherings means no concerts. The live entertainment industry has been hit hard by the spread of coronavirus. Coachella was forced to postpone their legendary music festival and Live Nation has iced shows globally. Insomniac made an important pivot. After being forced to cancel its Beyond Wonderland music festival, the headquarters hosted a two-night Virtual Rave with notable and up-and-coming EDM artists. Digital Nightclub Montreal is hosting its first Virtual Party and South African DJ Shimza is hosting virtual parties with various acts. The livestreams typically features a chat window so you can connect with other parties. Proximity just announced an upcoming digital stream featuring a well-rounded roster including Kaskade and Alison Wonderland. Insomniac is currently airing 24/7 livestream rewinds of major EDM festivals including EDC Las Vegas, EDC Mexico and Hard Summer. If DJs aren’t for you, just about every musician from John Legend to Keith Urban to Brian May of Queen is live-streaming solo concerts from their homes on Instagram Live.
Pub Trivia Night — Big Drop Brewing Co. in Ipswich is hosting a weekly “Living Room Pub Quiz” on Tuesdays. The hosts ask questions on YouTube livestream, you write down your guesses and the hosts give out the answers. They are operating on an honesty system so there are no prizes, but they have suggested giveaways. Gather some friends and see who has the real trivia chops.
Board Game Online — You have played board games before, but you have never played THIS board game. The premise is simple. The path is anything but. Your objective is to move forward spaces and be the first to cross the finish line. There are twist and turns at every corner. Players can freeze or push you back with weapons (including lightsabers and ACME rockets), trap doors can spell the end, and the game just generally likes to f—k with you. If you die, you can be rejuvenated as an animal and work your way back to life. Twists in the game allow players to assign themselves Game of Thrones houses or travel to the land of Adventure Time. The game is chock-full of memes and the in-game karaoke machine cycles between hilarious viral YouTube songs. If this is a little too out there for you, Tabletopia more than 800 licensed board games to play. A free Bronze subscriptions allows you to play a maximum of two games simultaneously.
Town of Salem — Have you ever played Mafia? You know that social game where players have to work together to determine who among them are murdering the rest of the tribe? Well, that is Town of Salem in a nutshell. Players are randomly assigned roles. Some are pivotal to discovering the identifying a mafioso, while others are passive in nature. Try and convince others you have their best intentions in mind — whether or not that is true.
Stay safe, Maniacs! ✌️