There’s been a week-long lull in the group chat. After yet another round of lackluster Netflix suggestions and dim photos of everyone’s dinner, you’re officially out of things to talk about. If getting together isn’t an option, there are other Zoom-less ways to engage with your friends from afar — like gaming. Even if you haven’t thought about your Game Boy since it ran out of battery at sleep-away camp in 1998, there are plenty of video games that you’ll be able to jump into, rusty thumbs and all. The best video games to play with friends will inspire some healthy competition and a lot of trash talking, which might be just what you need to revive the group morale.According to seasoned Twitch gamers, playing video games with friends is a surprisingly connective experience. “It's just nice to hang out in a video game, especially since a lot of us are staying in,” Bee, 32, a Final Fantasy streamer, tells Bustle. “My friends and I often hang out in voice chats while we play together too,” Bee says, adding that gaming with friends is sort of like talking on the phone without the pressure of having to drive the conversation. “Sometimes we won't even be playing the same game but just hanging in voice chat, playing parallel, just to keep in touch,” she says.Gaming is on such a come-up that Instagram noted its popularity in a 2022 trend report, sharing that 40% of teens and young adults expect to see more video game trends in 2022. Read: if there was ever a time to dig out your old console, it’s now. What’s more, there are tons of popular games that you can play online or on your phone. No controller finger cramps necessary. Here are are six video games to play with your friends to shake things up.League of Legends, a battle arena role-playing game, is one of the most popular games on Twitch. People like it because it’s free and somewhat intuitive to figure out, plus you can just play from the website and don’t need any equipment. Multi-game player Jasmine, 27, says she has a love /hate relationship with the game, which makes it even more interesting to play with buds. “It’s fun to play with friends because it’s such a team-driven game — you get to bond over voice comms and talk about how much you hate playing the game, but can’t stop.” Get your crew together to embark in a world that casts you as a team of paranormal investigators, working together to stay alive long enough to figure out what kinds of ghosts you’re dealing with. Bee says this game is particularly entertaining for friends to play together because it’s interaction-heavy. “I’ve had so many funny moments in that game with friends — something chaotic happens almost every match.” You can purchase Plasmophobia for $13.99 on Steam for Microsoft Windows.If you haven’t played a video game since the days when you had to blow into the cartridge to clean it out, go back in time and play your favorite Mario games. Jasmine says she prefers to play Mario games in person with friends as the “personal connection and nostalgia factor” makes the experience surprisingly sentimental and comforting. There are various websites that allow you to play Mario games for free, in addition to mobile apps, though relying on your keyboard as a controller is not easy. If you’re committed to playing Mario in the format you grew up playing, you’ll need to get your hands on a Nintendo Switch. Animal Crossing is a social simulation game played on a Nintendo Switch, with a free limited mobile version (Pocket Camp) in the App Store and Google Play. In all versions, you can build a life in an idyllic world where animals are your friends. “There’s so many cute things you can do together like go fishing, visit Brewster’s Cafe inside the museum and have a coffee date,” Alissa, 23, a gamer who also streams her graphic art on Twitch, says. Though this game is surely fun to play solo, Alissa says there’s some creative things you can do in the Animal Crossing world when you’re with friends, like playing hide and seeking and doing fashion shows.Stardew Valley, available in the App Store and Google Play for $4.99, is a role-playing game that puts you in the center of a world in which you have just inherited your grandfather’s farm and you’re just starting your new life. According to Alissa, farm life is much more fun with friends. “When you opt for multiplayer, you can do co-op farms and play up to four people — there’s a farm map called four corners which has quadrants for each player, making it the perfect hang game.” If you’re in the mood to use your brain a bit, but play a relatively low-stakes game, Alissa suggests Pokémon Unite, a free battle arena game available in the App Store and Google Play. “When you play with friends, you can battle with your team in different arenas, each one of you are a Pokémon trainer and can choose the Pokemon you want to battle with, scoring energy points on the other teams goals. It’s so fun to strategize with your team how to defeat the other team,” she says.