So, I don’t know about you, but last year’s lockdown kind of goofed me real good. Forget the genuine, real world problems that the pandemic caused, more importantly I was greatly inconvenienced, as I couldn’t go to my friend’s places to hang out and play games. Thus, we had to all make do and get together online to engage in our usual shenanigans and escapades. So today, I wanted to discuss my favourite multiplayer games that I played online and over Discord. Some of them aren’t even necessarily video games per se, but computer/browser-based games that we could all engage in to help pass the time and maintain our strong bonds while we couldn’t see each other. So here is my list of multiplayer games that helped keep my friendships intact during last year’s lockdown!
(No seriously I was like this close to regressing into an antisocial hermit.)

Among Us

I mean did you expect anything else? It was kind of impossible to avoid this game during the height of the pandemic last year. I also don’t think anyone expected this game to become as popular as it did, developers included. If I had to assume why, I’d points towards its addicting combination of a cute and endearing art style, but devilishly difficult game play. With a group of friends who all know each other quite well, rounds of Among Us can get intense. Like shouting matches over Discord levels of intense.

The game play loop of lying and accusing won’t be for everyone, but because this let me fulfill my fantasies of being a contestant on the hit reality television show ‘Survivor’ in a round about way, I took this game very seriously. I honestly can’t speak for the people who hopped online by themselves to play using the chat to communicate, (that seems like insanity to me) but with friends over voice chat, hours would simply disappear as we all accused each other of murder and cast votes, dogpiling the poor soul who even slightly stuttered when trying to remember their alibi. I probably won’t ever play it again though. It was a time and place thing for me. But it certainly helped fill the social void during a dark, dark time for Lil’ Michael.

source: steam

Codenames

This browser-based adaptation of the board game, Codenames requires players to work together to find the correct secret words based on clues given by their team’s captain. On a board of 20 or so random nouns, the team’s captains must use as few clues as possible to help their team guess the correct words they’ve been assigned, while actively avoiding their opponents’ words, and the dreaded black word that ends the game. So, if my team has to guess the seemingly separate words of ‘Chest’ and ‘Boat’, as captain I might give them the clue ‘Pirate 2’ to let them know there are two pirate related words on the board to guess.

While it sounds like a game you might play during a rainy day during primary school lunch time, I swear word games are super fun guys.
As team captain, having those ‘eureka’ moments like when I managed to connect the words ‘dice’ and ‘superhero’ with the clue word ‘Gambit 2’ made me feel like a 9000 IQ super genius. Only for my teammates to be left puzzled, clearly never having seen X-Men. While I imagine the in-person version of the game is superior, over Discord this is the next best thing. Be sure to give it a chance!

source: dicebreaker

Jackbox Party Pack

As far as I’m concerned, this is the party game series right now. Having surpassed Mario Party in HPS (hijinks per second). There’s seemingly a game for everyone in this now monolithic series of mini games to play with your friends. Whilst superior in person (laughter is contagious after all) having someone screen cast the game on Discord while we all logged in on our phones made for a hilarious substitute.

Whether it’s during games where kooky facts are displayed on screen, and you must slip your believable sounding lie amongst the answers to be voted on, or games where you must create and pitch a t-shirt design, it’s the type of experience where everybody wins. As the objective is more having a good time than anything else. I need not go on deliberating on the brilliance of this series as I’m sure you’ve already heard of or participating in enough of it to get the gist. It certainly provided me with a few laughs during a time where I could’ve used one. Thanks, Jackbox!

source: Microsoft

Resident Evil 5

What’s even better than playing against your friends, competing for the bragging rights as superior shooty guy? How about cooperation. That’s what. Primary school teacher spiels aside, I love being able to experience a game with someone else. Whether that be whilst hovering over them uncomfortably on the couch, or in an online coop experience like the one available in the hilariously campy, Resident Evil 5.

To be brutally honest, Resi 5 isn’t the greatest game ever made. If anything, it’s kind of awful. I consider the part where the zombies start shooting at you with guns to be the final death nail. Officially killing any chance of future installments returning the series roots as a pure survival horror experience. However, experiencing this bonkers campaign with a friend almost makes it all worth it. As the game seems to have been created with cooperation in mind. Featuring branching paths and puzzles that require cooperation and assistance to proceed. I can’t imagine how frustrating an experience this would be in single player though. Having your partner be controlled by the AI sounds like the absolute worst.

However, during a time where you literally cannot leave the house, it was the perfect way to spend a few evenings to cool off and rebuild ruined the friendships from the rounds of Among Us from the night before. Highly recommended with a friend. But only a very, very loose thumbs up if you find yourself without one. Maybe join a book club or something instead.

source: Microsoft

Team Fortress 2

Ah, my most played title on Steam. Team Fortress 2 remains a very special game to me. One that I couldn’t help but be drawn back into during the height of the lock down. Let’s be honest, TF2’s best days are behind it, but I still managed to hop in and have a blast for a few games due to the sheer variety of play styles on offer.
While it seems a little old fashioned by today’s standards, I still believe a balanced multiplayer team composition was perfected in this game. Games like Overwatch owe TF2 an insurmountable debt, as every class makes it feel like you are playing an entirely different experience.

Darting around as the Scout to get in your opponent’s faces before whizzing off again. Or developing a defensive sentry nest with your fellow Engineers will never not be fun. And it was a joy to see if I still ‘had it’ as I matched up with the young-ins of the current TF2 player base (Spoilers. I did not).
With communication now as easy as ever thanks to the likes of Discord, I was able to discuss all the strats and pro plays during our sessions of Capture the Flag and King of the Hill. A fun trip down memory lane during a time where I couldn’t do much else but reminisce.So, there’s my list of multiplayer games that kept my friendships intact during the height of the lockdown.

source: ProProfs

What did you think? Was there a game you used as an emotional crutch that I’ve missed here? Let me know in the comment section below! Otherwise, feel free to check out some of our other gaming blog posts here, or check out some of our other content over on our YouTube Channel.