Long-distance couples are always looking for ways to spice up their relationship. Although long-distance movie night is nice—especially now that there are so many apps that make watching videos in sync easier—sometimes it would be nice to do something more active and engaging together. Long-distance relationships don’t have to be dull.
Of course, it’s harder to do things together like normal couples do, but you know the saying: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Close-distance couples get games night — and so can long-distance couples!
Technology has come a long way since I was in an LDR. These days, there are hundreds of multiplayer games that are available online. Not only are games fun, but also they can actually help you develop and improve your social skills, heal emotional wounds and fix relationship problems.
Let’s take a look at some of the best online gaming websites for couples in long-distance relationships.
Playtime isn’t only for kids. Adults need recess, too! Between home, work, school and your long-distance relationship, life can get pretty hectic. Instead of zoning out with your long-distance lover in front of the TV (or computer screen), try letting loose together by playing a game. Not only will you connect with the one you love, but you’ll also fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving skills and emotional well-being.
When you play, endorphins are released in the body. These feel-good chemicals can increase your sense of well-being and even temporarily relieve pain! When you play something challenging or complex, you improve your brain function, and when you choose a game that is more playful, you boost your creativity.
All of these things are great, but the best thing about playing games for couples in long-distance relationships is it improves your relationship. When you play games, you’re more likely to laugh together, which can lead to empathy, compassion, trust and intimacy. Instead of another boring Skype conversation about the weather and what you ate for lunch, you and your partner can inject something fresh and exciting into your relationship.
Playing games together can even help you two manage conflict. I truly believe almost all arguments in long-distance relationships are caused by fear: fear that it’s not going to work, that they’ll meet someone new, that you’ll never close the distance. Sometimes that fear transforms into frustration.
My husband and I dealt with this a lot when we were dating long distance. One of the best ways to heal this type of pain is to laugh together. Laughter really is the best medicine. It won’t solve your problems, but it might just help you loosen up when emotions are running high.
The best types of games for couples in long-distance relationships are games where you can actually see the person’s face or where you use a headset so you can hear each other talk, experience the same frustrations and play on the same team, says Jennifer Jones, a psychologist who specializes in love, sex and happiness.
Although not all free online gaming websites allow for this capability, it is something to consider. Here are some of my favorites.
Sila Games is a video game distribution platform that lets people try out and play any game for a small monthly fee. It’s kind of like Netflix for video games. But the cool thing about Sila is most of the money goes back to the game developers. Sila offers more than 2,000 games that come directly from the publishers, including Kalypso, 2K, Deep Silver, Ubisoft, Paradox and SEGA. This model allows developers to distribute and self-publish their games without restrictions, and true fans can support their favorite developers without having to worry about the cost of each game, expensive in-app purchases and costly downloadable content.
For example, for only $4.69, users can play Kwaan, an indie massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) adventure game. Users become a Dwaal, a tiny agent of nature, and help the community care for the god tree known as the Kwaan. You and your man can work together to collect resources, create an ecosystem and save the world. My husband and I had fun exploring the virtual world, trying to make Kwaan happy.
Sila also has a virtual reality store for developers who are creating gaming-related VR experiences. The first virtual reality store in the world, the Sila VR Store feels like you’re in a real video game store. If you and your long-distance love have the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus or Vive, you can go shopping together for what game you want to play, and when you’re ready to purchase one, Sila will send you an email with a link to the game.
The Sila platform supports PC, Mac, Android, iOS and browser games. One of the great things about Sila is the secure payment and money-back guarantee. If you buy a game but end up not playing it, you can ask for a refund.
The MacGameStore is the first store dedicated to Mac games. Given that Macs aren’t the best for gaming, if you and your long-distance man have Macs, MacGameStore will help you take gaming to the next level. The MacGameStore is a digital distribution platform that gives gamers access to the latest Mac games. Designed with the sleek Apple interface, MacGameStore is intuitive and easy to use.
One of my favorite aspects of the MacGameStore is the community forum, where you and other users can opine on games, chat and interact with other players, and troubleshoot any issues that arise.
Users can find everything from action and adventure to board and card to sports and strategy games in the MacGameStore. One of my favorites right now is Stellaris, a single or multiplayer strategy game that lets you explore space. The visuals are stunning, and the gameplay is challenging.
For Mac users, the MacGameStore is a single-stop solution for OS X games.
Fly or Die offers free online multiplayer games. What I like most about Fly or Die is the games they offer are old-school, the ones my husband and I played growing up. I’m talking backgammon, Reversi, chess and checkers. There are also billiard games, such as 8-ball pool, action puzzles, such as Icy Slide, and specialty games, such as curling and darts.
The browser-based games are free to play, and if you register, you can choose a nickname and keep a record of your scores for each game.
Premium members who pay to subscribe to Fly or Die get added benefits, such as enhanced features of the games, ad-free playing, detailed score statistics and access to tournaments. Subscribers can also play games in full-screen mode. A one-month subscription is $4.99.
Second Life is a little different from the other online gaming sites. It’s the largest-ever 3D virtual world—created entirely by its more than 1 million regular users. Second Life is like an MMORPG, only there is no set objective. When you access Second life, you explore the world (known as the grid) as a customizable avatar. You and your partner can meet up, meet other residents, socialize, participate in group activities, and build and create virtual property and services. You and your long-distance love can communicate Avatars can communicate via group chat, private messaging and public or private voice messaging.
Second Life has its own economy and currency. Users trade the Linden Dollar, which is exchangeable with real-world currency, and residents can create virtual objects and content. You and your main squeeze go on dates, start a business, build a house and even get it on! If you can’t close the distance in real life, at least you can in your second life.
Second Life doesn’t charge to create an account, but there is a premium membership that gives users access to technical support. A one-month membership is $9.95, but most users stick with the free account. Second Life is available in nine languages.
Pogo is a free online gaming website with more than 100 games, from card and board games to sports and casino games to puzzle and word games. Games are played in a browser—you need to have the Java plugin or Flash—and load in a “room,” allowing multiple people to join in and chat. You can make an Amazing Mini, or an avatar, which is a great way to meet and chat with other players.
Because the website is free, there are many advertising sponsorships. But if you and your long-distance love sign up for the premium, subscription-based service, Club Pogo, you’ll get access to an ad-free site as well as other benefits, including member-only rooms and private chat. Club Pogo members also get access more than 40 exclusive games, including jungle Gin, Canasta, Jigsaw Detective, Lottso, Mahjong Garden, Texas Hold’em Poker and Word Search Daily. A three-month membership is $14.99.
Players in the U.S. and Canada (except Quebec) can win cash and merchandise prizes, and players in the UK can win merchandise prizes. My suggestion? If you or your man win cash playing games together, save it for the next time you’re together!
Some of my favorite multiplayer games to play on Pogo are Scrabble, Spades, Euchre, Cribbage, Battleship, Texas Hold’em Poker and Pogo Bowl. Pogo also offers mobile games.
Also known as R2Games or R2, Reality Squared Games is an international online gaming site. The browser and mobile games are available in nine languages, and although the games are free to play, most offer in-game items to purchase. The browser-based games range from adventure games, such as Thundercall and Wartune, to strategy games, such as Shadowbound and Mythborne.
My favorite thing about R2Games is the number of role-playing games available. My husband and I are partial to League of Angels, a MMORPG. There’s nothing like working together to fight monsters, save beleaguered angels, collect gold and diamonds, complete quests and battle against the forces of evil.
Reality Squared Games also offers a few mobile games for iOS and Android devices, including Brave Diggers, Pirate Empire, and Cast & Conquer.
If you and your long-distance partner are looking for a new way to spend time together even though you’re miles apart, I highly recommend checking out some of these free online gaming websites. What are your favorite gaming sites for couples in long-distance relationships?
Jennifer Craig has been in a successful long-distance relationship and started SurviveLDR to encourage those who want to pursue love with partners in far land.