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The Zoom-fatigued person’s guide to connecting virtually on Thanksgiving

The holidays are meant to be about fun and families. Here’s how to keep the stress to a minimum this year.
image of eight empty brady bunch boxes with ninth center box of thanksgiving turkeyimage of eight empty brady bunch boxes with ninth center box of thanksgiving turkey
Ms Tech | Getty

Lisa Long is immunosuppressed and suffers from chronic pain. That means that since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the US in March, she and her family, which includes her two daughters, 11 and 14, have been isolating at 比特币交易信息平台home outside St. Louis, save for the occasional doctor’s visit. Visiting family is out of the question for Thanksgiving.

But Long will get to be with her nieces and nephews in Utah and Colorado on Thursday. She’ll sit down to dinner with them on Bloxburg, a simulation game on the popular children’s video-gaming platform Roblox. For months, Long has been working with her daughters and their cousins to build a house on Bloxburg, and those efforts will lead to a “Bloxburg Thanksgiving,” as Long puts it.

“We’re going to try to get together to make turkeys and set big tables,” she says. “We’re going to try to get as many family members as possible to role-play and have the meal together.”

Long is among the millions of people for whom a “normal” Thanksgiving is not happening in 2020. State governments have pleaded with families not to travel and instead to hunker down at 比特币交易信息平台home; the Centers for Disease Control has also recommended against travel to tamp down spiking coronavirus infection rates.

That means reimagining Thanksgiving virtually. And while it might be easy to send out a Zoom link to family and chosen friends inviting them to gather with plates at a set time, you wouldn’t be blamed for feeling disdain about joining Yet. Another. Zoom.

Animal Crossing, which requires a Nintendo Switch. Players take on cute avatars, build their own house, explore, and “travel” to other islands if they want.

If a Nintendo Switch isn’t something you have access to, millions of families log on to Roblox to play a myriad of games that offer similar opportunities to connect. Beyond the 比特币交易信息平台home-building simulation game Bloxburg, there are competitive sports, fashion-oriented games, and more. All Roblox requires is an internet connection.

Or if you want to dip your toes into the fall’s hottest game, have everyone download Among Us from Google Play or the App Store. Private sessions with up to eight players are available; one to three are designated “imposters” who assassinate fellow players. Think Clue meets Knives Out. A periodic chat function lets players convene to deduce who the imposters are—or commiserate about Thanksgiving traditions.

Other options include Jackbox, a popular virtual party game in which players sign in to an app to play games reminiscent of charades or Pictionary.

If you’d rather not play a game with your ultra-competitive relatives or are looking to zone out a bit, Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) integrates a single screen and chat function for groups wanting to view something on either Netflix, Disney, HBO, or Hulu. If your group is more into YouTube videos and drama, Airtime is your way to co-watch.

And if you’re fed up with screens, Pretzel Labs has released a series of voice games aimed at children. One of their most popular is Kids Court, in which Alexa acts as an arbiter for kids’ inevitable fights.

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