If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of one of your friends is of their Mii or Xbox Live Avatar, you might be overdue for some face time. Sure, you could go to the park and feed some ducks or whatever, and that would be fun for both you and the ducks. But winter is coming, and waterbirds are about to become scarce, so why not play some video games?

Here are five clever games that you and your buddies can play, like, right there in the same room. Besides, what else are you going to use your couch for? Naps?

Cannon Brawl

Platforms: PC, Mac
Release date: Available now

Cannon Brawl combines real-time strategy with the classic artillery games that you might remember from middle school. You know the drill: Use your big gun to destroy your opponent’s base while protecting your own. But here’s the fun part: Both players’ bases are on the same screen, so everything you’re doing is visible.

You’ll probably be too busy putting up your own shields and lining up your shots to really peek. But if you’re thinking of blasting through a hill or something instead of trying to lob your shots over, you won’t be able to do it with any stealth.

Cannon Brawl adds depth by including an assortment of characters with distinct abilities, like the power to temporarily freeze units so that the other person can’t use them. And in true real-time strategy game fashion, you can mine for gold to build more equipment, expand your territory across the map, and upgrade your gear.

Because the only thing better than blowing up a castle in a game is blowing up a castle with goddamned lasers.

Pig Eat Ball

If you can spot which pig is yours in the middle of all of those explosions and vomit, you're one up on me.

Above: If you can spot which pig is yours in the middle of all of those explosions and vomit, you’re one up on me.

Image Credit: Mommy's Best Games

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Release date: TBA 2015 (preview versions are available with preorder)

Mommy’s Best Games, the developer that brought us guns stacked on top of other guns in Serious Sam Double D, is back with Pig Eat Ball. It has a single-player mode that I’m sure makes complete sense, but it also boasts a wealth of multiplayer options. And when a game is this bizarre, it’s probably a better idea to have some other people around for moral support.

Pig Eat Ball operates on a simple concept: What if characters like Pac-Man actually gained weight from all of the stuff they’re gobbling down? Would they have trouble getting through the mazes? According to this game, they would. That’s when the vomiting mechanic comes in, and I kinda wish I was making that up.

The multiplayer offerings include the obvious “Who can eat the most stuff?” mode and a few others, but they share a few things in common. First, your pig gets bigger when she eats, and second, you can make your opponents throw up by hitting them in their large, glowing behinds.

When you see Pig Eat Ball at a convention, the demo includes chairs equipped with a vibrating seat called the “RMP SHKR” that buzzes your butt when you take a hit, and that’s about as immersive as I’d care to get in this game. You won’t have that at home, but considering all of the eating, puking, and eating puke while avoiding eating too much puke because that will make you puke some more you’ll be doing, a little force feedback might be the least of your worries.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Mac
Release date: Unknown

Here’s a crazy idea: a game that you can only play locally.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime aims to capture the frantic excitement of the dogfight sequence in the original Star Wars. You and your co-op partner share a screen on which you must run around to various stations in your strange, spherical spaceship as needed, raising shields, firing weapons, and, you know, flying the thing.

Spacetime also randomly generates star systems every time you play, so you’ll face different challenges each session. It’s a game about exploration, coordination, and yelling at your friend and slapping them about the face and neck so they will get on the freaking guns already.

It’s still in development with no end in sight, but definitely keep this one simmering on your mind stove.


Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Release date: Available now

Have you ever played a competitive splitscreen game like GoldenEye or Perfect Dark and suspected that your friends were peeking at your quadrant to figure out where you were? And then you accused them of cheating and dumped the rest of the pizza on the floor so that you could cut up the box and tape the pieces to your TV to make dividers? And then everyone said you were crazy and went home, and you fell asleep curled up around that floor pizza that was as cold and broken as your heart?

OK, maybe you didn’t just take that whole trip with me, but the point is this: Peekers are a-holes unless you’re playing Screencheat, because looking at other people’s displays is the only way to know where they are.

And why is that? Because everyone is invisible.

It sounds kind of impossible to aim, let alone hit anything this way, but developer Surprise Attack built each map with color-coded areas and obvious landmarks to help players line up their shots. Screencheat also features ridiculous weapons like a Hobby Horse and a weaponized car engine, so they’re keeping it pretty light all around.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Release date: Unknown

Like Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, we don’t know when Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is actually coming out. But do not forget that name because you’re probably going to want it as soon as it’s available.

It’s also the most bizarre concept on this list: One player wears an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, and the other has a binder. The person with the headset sees a bomb that they need to defuse, and the binder contains the instructions to do so. It’s kind of like in movies when the guy’s on the phone saying, “Cut the blue wire!” and the other dude’s all, “Is it navy or more of a periwinkle?”

Communication is important in Keep Talking because the headset prevents either player from seeing both sides. It’s actually a lot of fun just to watch people play it, especially when they have a close call. I saw it at a show recently, and one team defused the bomb with less than half a second left. And then every one of us standing around the table realized that we had to start breathing again.