Having teens isn’t like having “kids.” And the family game night that you planned in the past must change to keep up with the spawnlings. Once upon a time “fun games to play,” meant Go Fish, or Shutes and Ladders, or Twister. Playing with their friends was as natural as breathing, and party games involved balloons, tails, and potatoes.
Not so much anymore. Now your teens would rather sit — in that cave they call a room — than come out and play
bored, er board games. But, there are ways to engage them, and they won’t even realize they are spending time with the family, they’re having fun. The new language in games is “apps,” as in Android, iOS and, yes, console games. However, did you know that an Android game can hit the “big screen” in your house and become a family game night staple?
You know how you can’t pry those devices from your teen’s grip long enough to do anything with them? It’s time to use those smartphones to our advantage, and you can. Utilizing those handheld devices, you can do a lot of things as a family, often right on the TV in the living room.
We will cover how to bring all the great stuff you have in the palm of your hand to your television or computer monitor. Websites like AirConsole.com, which allow you to play your Smartphone games on your TV or Comp. Then, we’ll cover some of the great games you can trick, I mean invite, your teens and friends to play with you on your next family game night.
Play on the Big Screen
You can make multiplayer smartphone games more fun by putting them on the big screen. There are several ways to do it.
On Your Computer:
Is “the big screen” in your house your computer? To play your Android and iOS games in a web browser on your computer, visit AirConsole.com.
Family Game Night On Your TV Screen
Using a Smart TV
If you have a Smart TV, you can “mirror” the screen of your smartphone to your big screen pretty easily. That means that games you have on your phone can be games the family enjoys together.
Here is a quick tutorial on how to connect your smartphone to your TV:
Apple TV, from iOS to the big screen
Games, apps, movies, so much of what we do every day is on our iPhones and other Apple devices. Now, you can use Apple TV (iOS) to take all that goodness from the palm of your hand and cast it to the big screen. The Apple TV box is available in select countries and regions.
If you have Apple tech, you can use the Apple TV App on your Apple TV with the latest version of tvOS or your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with the latest version of iOS. Just as a precautionary note, the Apple TV app isn’t available on 3rd generation or earlier Apple TVs.
Here is a short video on Apple TV:
Chromecast brings your Android-powered games to the big screen
Using your Chromecast, or your TV enabled with Chromecast, you can cast whats on your Android phone up to the TV, too.
Chromecast is a pretty inexpensive gadget for all it can do for you, around $35.00. However, it looks like nothing more impressive than a USB drive. Once hooked up to your TV or device, and a power cord, it delivers a ton of benefits from a small package. Casting your smartphone’s screen is just one of them.
Below, you will find a quick tutorial on how to set this up.
Many gaming consoles, like the Xbox One, allow gameplay through your handheld iOS or Android powered device. Games like Jackbox‘s Fibbage are played through the console, but your personal device is your controller. Fibbage is one of those games that may actually get your kids excited about game night; it worked with mine.
Fibbage is available for the pretty cheap price of $6.99 on Xbox One, PS3 and PS4 systems, Amazon Fire TV (Free to try), computers and as a physical game. Get Fibbage and be the genius/hero of your next game party. For only $9.99 you can get this game on Steam, the Mac App store, Apple TV, Humble, and Fanatical.
There are games like this one available on iOS and Android Phones, we’ll get to that below the video.
Here is a short video:
Free Multiplayer Games for Your Smartphone
There are really great games out there for FREE to play on your Smartphone. So, now that you know how to get that app off your iPhone and onto the flat screen, what are you going to play?
All those classic games you never touch anymore because they are missing two pawns, three cards, one die, or the rules sheet? You can almost always find a great multiplayer version of them for your apple device or android. The best part is that you can’t lose the pieces and there is (usually) almost nothing to put away when you’re done.
The following games are free and available for Android and iOS. Ones with * require in-app purchases for additional game modules as you progress.
This classic game is perfected by the “can’t lose all the cards” deck being in the player’s smartphone. The app features over 45 themed decks. You can play heads up, or against one to 100 opponents. Just like the charades you played as kids, only in a smartphone.
Who Can’t Draw – Party game! ($1.39 additional modules)
This game is a great way to get everyone together. It uses your smartphone to actually spark interaction with the humans in the room. Who would have imagined that?
Dungeon Hunter 4
If it takes some action to get your family having fun, this game is for you. All the dungeony and dragony battles your family can fight in a really sweet looking app.
Psych!* Free (.99 per additional deck)
Like the game Fibbage we talked about above, this game is all about faking out your friends and family. For older kids and teens, the games they played when they were young can seem like baby games. This one is exiting, fun, and actually keeps everyone engaged.
Similar to the game Cards Against Humanity, this game is sure to have everyone texting to find out when you are playing. You are going to want to save this one for really mature, older teens. Like the game it was inspired by, this game is raunchy. It has sexual themes sometimes and uses very ribald language. So, parental guidance required, this game is rated Mature, 17+.
Every family is different, so if you are not in to cursing, d*ck and fart jokes and more mature humor, skip this one. If it is the right fit though, it’s the perfect one. While this may not be consider a teen party game, it is definitely a hilarious young adult – 100 game.
Escape Team* Free, (.99 per additional missions)
Escape Team has the added benefit of pulling you off that device to work with simple supplies to solve puzzles.
Spaceteam* $4.99 to unlock all future upgrades.
Spaceteam, if you like pushing buttons and yelling at your friends (and family), this is the game for you. Only one person needs to have been purchased the game for for all to play.
Those missing dice are a thing of the past. So is stepping on the lost one in the middle of the night. This family game night classic is still a crowd pleaser. YAHTZEE® With Buddies! A classic updated to make it less of a pain to keep track of, and one you’ll never run out of scoring sheets for, either.
Loved Uno as a kid? Of course you did. This one may seem a little young, but your kids are old enough to strategize now. You’ll have to be on the top of your game to beat them.
Just a Little More Money for a Lot More Fun
If you are looking for something to get them actually interacting with you, and you don’t mind a small charge, there’s a lot out there. Here are some more great games you can have on your device.t.
Like nothing available before personal tech became an affordable norm, Bounden will have you dancing. This game is only for 2 at a time, but it can get you moving and interacting with your family. If you have a small family this is a great one. Or, are just looking for really innovative apps, this is a good one.
Available for $3 on Android, iOS
This app is a little famous, as Ellen DeGeneres plays Heads Up! on her show. The New York Times called this the best dollar you’ll ever spend.
Dance Now! lets you dance alone, or with the whole world, right in your living room. Even better, it lets you do it to your favorite songs, in just a few taps. They update the app monthly with hot new songs and exclusive content every month. The app comes with a few songs, but you’ll need a VIP Party Pass (starting at .99 cents) for a full hour of gettin’ your groove on.
You can customize playlists and earn coins so that you can unlock new ones. But, let’s not lose site of what great aerobic exersize dance is. This game comes with a HealthKit, so you can take full advantage. You can see your total calories burned in Just Dance Now, thanks to the HealthKit dashboard.
Mixing family game night with a healthy activity and calorie burning workout? This one’s all win.
Sing! Karaoke by Smule
Sing Karaoke is a perfect app for the musical family, duet lovers and solo performers. This app is really easy to use and has really beautiful interface. You can save your songs, lay down tracks for others to harmonize with, or even sing a Capella. Sing Karaoke is free to download and has a large selection of free songs. You can purchase VIP Passes ($2.99-$49.99) to get access to the biggest hits out there, or wait for them to be released to everyone.