An app-t way to party tonight

Updated: 28 March, 2020 12:49 IST | Sukanya Datta | Mumbai

We chilled with our friends, on our phones, with a cool new app

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After almost a week's break, we got to properly hang out with some of our friends yesterday. There was a lot of talking and giggling at the same time, followed by some harmless banter as we tried beating each other at quizzes. Except, all four us were doing this from the safety of our homes, courtesy the app called Houseparty. Touted by a popular magazine as "the quarantine app you need to download immediately," Houseparty, launched in 2016, has been trending on Google Play while nearly half the world has been locked in at home. Here's what we found when we logged on to this "face to face social network".

Casual vibe

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Chips and Guac, Quick Draw! and Heads Up! on live chat, giving the impression that everyone is in the same room.

Unlike Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangout, which are better suited for formal occasions, Houseparty lives up to its name with its casual interface. You don't need to make a video call to your friends like you have to do for Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp; once you log in, your friends get notified that you are "in the house". However, for us, it got chaotic with all the notifications when all our friends came online. If you want to keep the app running in the background, we suggest you use it on Chrome on the laptop or computer, instead of your phone.

Feels like home

Once your friends are online, you can get a maximum of eight people to the live "party". After everyone was online, one of us tapped the dice button on the screen to select the first game: Trivia. Much like QuizUp, the game allowed us to choose questions from multiple decks, ranging from Netflix and Chill to 2 Truths, 1 Lie to Finish the Song Lyrics. The latter was a lot of fun, with everyone speaking at the same time and trying to not scream out the lyrics. We skipped the game Heads Up! as it was difficult to explain words to each other with the inconsistent network. Our favourite game was Quick Draw! which is similar to Pictionary. The white drawing slate will be visible to your friends and when everyone starts guessing random words together, it can begin to feel like they're all home.

Need for clarity

Houseparty , which has been trending on Google Play, allows users to play games like Trivia
Houseparty , which has been trending on Google Play, allows users to play games like Trivia 

What didn't quite work for us, however, was this game Chips and Guac, owing to the lack of clear instructions. We also felt that new users should be given an in-app tour, something most apps do these days. Also, one can easily get tired of the four games, unless one takes it a notch higher with liquor. But all said and done, it was a good hour and a half of chilling with faces we had missed in the past week, and we'd recommend it to all those looking for a break from all the virus updates.

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First Published: 28 March, 2020 11:40 IST

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