Game Night: 5 apps for family games
As controversial as it is, there’s no denying that smart phones and tablets do have their uses and while most headlines scream cries of the ‘demise of childhood as we know it’ and a future of children permanently plugged in, I thought it was high time we championed the benefits of these devices.
If you’re wondering where I stand in the whole kids on iPads debate; I’m in the camp for embracing all that modern technology has to offer! I admit I do limit my younger children’s time on their devices and we have a strict no phone, no TV rule at the dinner table for everyone, as well as when we have guests (nothing worse than your child ignoring their great aunt as she tries to talk the top of their heads while playing Minecraft).
Everything in moderation and with boundaries is what I’m trying to say, I guess.
Yet sometimes, family time is about finding some common ground and if your child/children do love playing on their tablet or phone, then why not make it a time for being sociable and having fun?
- Heads Up
One of our favourite games is called Heads Up. You can play it with just 2 of you or a group and has saved many a boring train or car journey or restaurant trip. You take it in turns to hold the device over your head, screen facing the other person, and a word appears which the other person or people have to describe without saying. For instance, if it says cat, you describe a cat - animal, pet, 4 legs, furry, 9 lives. You get the gist I’m sure. When the device holder gets it they tip the screen to get a new word. While all this is going on it’s also videoing the people trying to describe it which is funny to watch back at the end!
Bloop is another same-device multiplayer game that will have your fingers flying all across the tablet screen. Four players are each assigned a different colour, and then each player tries to tap the most tiles of their colour as possible before the time runs out. As tiles get tapped, they get smaller and smaller, and soon, you'll have fingers tangled up as you jostle each other's hands around to tap your colours while avoiding other players.
- Who Can't Draw
Who Can't Draw takes inspiration from the telephone game and uses your touchscreen as a drawing pad for some garbled message hilarity. The first player is given a word to draw in a limited amount of time, and each player down the line is given a brief moment to interpret and copy that image. The last player then has to guess what the word was, and can then nominate players as the best and worst artist for that round.
Spaceteam is a cooperative party game of science fiction technobabble, in which you play the role of a starship bridge crew working together to avoid disaster. Every game features chaos, confusion, teamwork and a whole lot of shouting, but in a good way! Each player's screen is composed of an instrument panel of buttons, switches and sliders; as impending doom races toward the ship, players have to execute timed tasks, barking out instructions to other players while also paying attention to their own screen. How many missions can you accomplish before your untimely (game) demise?
More than just a rhythm game, Dance Party is truly a dancing game that’s great to play with friends and family as a party icebreaker. After setting up some AirPlay screen mirroring, players dance off by imitating the movements of an on-screen dancer, with an iPhone functioning as a Wii remote-like motion-sensing controller. You can play solo for exercise (the app records an estimate of calories burned), take turns with pass and play, or even link up to four iPhones.
Want to get more out of technology? There are plenty of ways to enjoy days out with gaming kids. Make the great outdoors fun again with these handy apps and find out what the future of entertainment feels like at a virtual reality centre near you.
Feel like you've embraced technology to be a part of family time, instead of replacing it? Add these apps to your list of ideas for New Years.