Are you looking for ways to connect with a friend in a different city? Are you not feeling well, but tired of only talking to your pet all day? Want to replace that weekly call home with a wholesome family game of Fibbage?
Congrats! You’ve found the perfect blog post. Jackbox Games are local multiplayer games, but with a few extra steps, it’s easy to get a game started with others in remote locations.
Playing With Friends
If you feel confident about you and your fellow players’ internet connections, just hop on a videoconferencing service (like Zoom or Google Hangouts). Start a game on your laptop and use the screen sharing option so that players you’re on a call with can see the game. Everyone can play along on their own mobile devices by using a browser and going to Jackbox.tv. If you’re having difficulty with getting out of full-screen mode in the game to get back to your video conferencing screen, go to the game’s settings in the main lobby and turn off “Full Screen Mode.”
If you’re a Steam fan, you can skip the videoconferencing step and use Steam Remote Play Together. This feature allows you to share your local co-op games online with friends. Using Remote Play Together, only one person needs to own a copy of a Jackbox Games title. Up to four players (or more with faster internet connections) can join. You can find instructions for how to get started here.
Discord screen sharing can also be a great option if you’re playing on a laptop. You and up to nine of your Discord friends can connect and have both the game and video enabled. You’ll want to see your friend’s face when they’re lying about being an alien in Push The Button. Learn more here.
Some consoles also have screen share or co-stream abilities as long as you’re playing with someone who also owns that platform. Instead of streaming, many people have set up an additional webcam in front of their TV as an easier option.
- Tips for Streaming from a PS4
- Tips for Streaming from a Nintendo Switch
- Tips for Streaming from Discord
When sharing these ways, we recommend wired internet connections when possible!
Zoom Video Tutorial:
If you’re having issues with game audio overpowering voices while using Zoom, it’s best to turn down the game audio in the settings menu:
Google Hangouts Video Tutorial:
Discord Video Tutorial: (Thank you to Loot | Party Games on YouTube for letting us share this tutorial with you! )
Playing With Anyone
If you want to open your game up to the public, using a streaming service like Twitch or YouTube is your best bet. These services allow you to broadcast your screen and easily share a link with remote players to watch, join, and play along. We stream our games every Thursday at 3:30CT. You can watch an example of how this works here.
In order to do this, you will need broadcasting software. Open Broadcaster Software Studio is free and integrates easily with YouTube and Twitch.
With any of these services, we recommend using low latency settings. This will ensure that everyone is experiencing the game as close to “real time” as possible. We wrote a blog about how to set this up that can be found here.
You can still play with friends while streaming. We recommend hiding the game lobby screen at the start of each new game. Before revealing the game screen to the public, send the room code via private message to your preferred players. They can then use the room code to join first (on their phones at Jackbox.tv).
Check Your Settings
Many of our games have extended timer options to give remote players more time to answer. These can be enabled in the game’s settings menu.
Additionally, if you’re using a streaming service to play with friends, passworded rooms (a new feature available starting in The Jackbox Party Pack 6) will add another layer of protection against trolls joining your games. Remember: don’t forget to hide that room code!
Fun fact: we started production for The Jackbox Party Pack 7 in-person, and had to shift to creating the games mid-development. The Jackbox Party Pack 8 was also created almost entirely from the homes of our game developers and artists. Because of that, those games have been tested and played remotely, and we know they work for a party online just as well as a party in person. We’re also constantly improving our games’ settings and features. Read about the latest settings for The Jackbox Party Pack 8 here and learn why it’s a great pack to choose for your virtual shindig. One of our writers, Rammel Chan, also created this guide to choosing the right Jackbox Games title for your virtual party that includes his picks for the best drawing, writing, and trivia games to play remotely.