Texting Games to Play With Someone

By Scott Shpak

A short list of games that lend themselves to play via SMS texting between cell phones, allowing game play between older phones and without impacting data fees.

With phone data plans and Wi-Fi hotspots readily available, many people enjoy playing online games with friends. However, just as a refrigerator box becomes a fort or a castle with imagination, so too can SMS texting serve as the basis for comparatively low-tech gaming. This lets you include friends who don't have the latest and greatest in smartphone technology and keeps down costs for those with limited data plans. It's no surprise that party and campfire games adapt well to text play, and readers of a certain vintage may remember versions of these games fondly.

Memory Games

If you and a friend are into the same music or movies, then a great way to have fun and show your knowledge is to have a conversation based entirely in song lyrics or movie dialog. You can add levels of difficulty by narrowing the source material, perhaps using only classic rock songs or superhero movies. The first person who is stumped or whose quote is out of context for the text conversation loses.

A variation of this idea has you and your opponent swapping quotes from songs or movies. The person offering the quote is attempting to stump the receiver, who is trying to name the artist, song, band or movie from which the quote originates. Again, the best matches may be limited to music or films that you have in common.

Twenty Questions

In the texting version of this classic parlor game, Player One decides on a person or object for Player Two to guess. Player Two then texts a question that can be answered with a yes or no response, which Player One provides. Twenty questions is the limit, after which Player Two guesses correctly or loses. The players then switch roles.

Similar to this is the game Animal, Mineral or Vegetable, where the chosen item is from one of those classifications. Animal, mineral or vegetable is also the first question the guesser asks, before returning to the yes/no format for the remainder of the game.

Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare can take a smartphone twist if both players have camera-enabled phones. As with the classic version of the game, players alternate asking the other, truth or dare? If the respondent chooses truth, then the asker texts a question, which the respondent must answer honestly. When dare is chosen, the asker texts the activity that the respondent must then photograph and send in an SMS message.

One-Line Stories

This may be the perfect game for two creative players. One player starts a story, texting it to the second player, who adds a line developing the story, prior to returning it. The first player then adds another line and texts it back. This continues until the story resolves or one player is stumped. There are numerous ways to vary game play, particularly with parameters set out prior to beginning the story. Consider these variations:

  • Minimal absurdity -- agree to write a complete story without using crazy twists.
  • 140 characters -- for the dedicated wordsmiths, exchange lines exactly 140 characters in length.
  • Story Circles -- involve more than two people, using a consistent rotation, to write the story.