Over the last decade, gaming has become one of the most popular forms of recreation worldwide. While video games have been around for decades, technological advances have taken off and introduced new and novel ways to game. One of the standout advances has been social elements.
With advanced gaming features and added internet connectivity around the world, more and more friends are focusing on gaming to pass the time. This is especially true for friends who don’t live near one another. Gaming is one way for people to come together remotely.
But not all groups want to focus on global hits like Counter-Strike or League of Legends. Competitive gaming is hugely popular—but it’s not always on the radar for casual gamers. If you’re looking for accessible games to play with friends, then look no further. We’ve curated a list of some of the most challenging and riveting games that anyone can start playing now on a browser or mobile device—no consoles or fancy PCs needed.
Classic Favorite: Poker
While not everyone dreams of going pro playing online poker, Texas Hold’em is an engaging and challenging pastime that many friends love. Today, you can create private games with friends on most platforms, which allows you to compete separately from the main player pool. These private games are usually hosted with a live video link, letting all the players see one another and interact while playing. This feature lets you closely emulate the feel of those classic garage or basement tournaments with friends, chatting and interacting in real time.
Retro Throwback: Goldeneye 007
Back in the 1990s, one of the most influential video games to hit the market was Goldeneye 007. This game stood out for a few reasons and has remained highly nostalgic for many gamers. First, it helped popularize the first-person perspective in shooting games. Second, it included a multiplayer deathmatch mode. The latter included a split-screen setup, which allowed gamers to compete head-to-head for the first time. Because of the game’s cult status, it has since been uploaded online—which means you and remote friends can play a round of deathmatch just like in the good old days.
Mobile Hit: Among Us
If you enjoyed playing social deduction games like Mafia growing up, then you’ve probably already downloaded and played Among Us. This game took off when it was released in 2018 because it successfully digitized the magic and intrigue of social deduction games. The appeal here isn’t hard to see—especially for friends. Players can easily host games and invite others to join, similar to a private poker game. They must pick apart each player’s words and actions from there to find the Imposter. While it might seem like an easy challenge for close friends, it’s harder to spot a tell when playing remotely.
Puzzle Challenge: Escape Simulator
You may have noticed a theme on this list—we’re focusing on classic games that are now available digitally. This is true for poker and Among Us, along with the next suggestion of Escape Simulator. This game replicates the challenges of in-person escape rooms. The game was released in 2021 and has become hugely popular thanks to its puzzle-based challenges. In the game, groups of friends must navigate multiple rooms to solve a larger puzzle. However, the game also allows players to create their own escape rooms, adding a whole new dimension of intrigue.
Endless Fun: Super Smash Bros.
Let’s round off this list with another classic. Only a few years after Goldeneye 007 was released, Nintendo published Super Smash Bros. to global success. The game’s primary appeal is its playable characters, which come from a variety of Nintendo projects. Unfortunately, this game isn’t quite as accessible as others. However, just like 007, it’s accessible on most browsers. The game is also available on Nintendo platforms, including the Switch and Wii. However, we recommend seeking out browser variations for larger groups of remote players.