While most of you probably bought a Chromecast to watch streaming videos on your television, the clever little device is capable of so much more. Have you considered the possibilities of playing games using your Chromecast? If you have a smartphone, tablet or laptop, and if you’ve got a Chromecast I would hope that you do, then you can use this as your controller, while viewing the game on your big screen.
There are two ways to approach this, you can either play an existing game from your phone, tablet or laptop and cast the screen to your television using the Chromecast, or you can download a Chromecast compatible game app.
Since it was launched a growing number of Chromecast compatible apps have been developed that take advantage of multiple players. This is where the Chromecast has real potential as a communal gaming experience, since anyone in the house with a compatible device can use this as a controller, so for instance two of the children can play on their smartphones, while Dad uses his tablet and Mum uses her laptop, but they can all interact on the main TV screen.
Search for Chromecast on the Google Play or Apple App store and you can see the selection currently on offer. A good one to start with is the simple UpDownFish app, since it’s available on both app stores, everyone can download it and play a variation of the Flappy Bird game on their TV screen at the same time. Install the game and then simply connect to the Chromecast and you will appear on the screen alongside anyone else currently playing. Although a very simple game, the addition of playing alongside your friends and family adds a new dimension to it, and the app keeps track of everyone’s high score to allow for some competitive fun.
Hasbro have also brought out a couple of more complex games, variations on their Monopoly and Connect Four board games, and a few Quiz games have emerged that allow multi-player Chromecast interaction, but we are still waiting for that killer game that really makes use of the Chromecast’s potential.
If you do find the current selection of Chromecast compatible games quite limited, then while you are waiting for more exciting ones to be developed, you can try casting a game you already own by effectively mirroring your smaller screen on your TV. The latest version of Chrome is Chromecast compatible, so any browser based game can be cast straight to your TV. Try one of the classic flash game websites like http://www.ferryhalim.com/orisinal and see how different the gaming experience is on a big screen.
If you are on Android, you can cast your screen instantly using the Cast Screen button in the settings panel. Tap it to open the cast screen menu and you can cast any game you have previously played on your tiny screen onto your television. There are limitations, there is some slight lag and you need to ensure your device is in landscape mode, so any games that are portrait by default are probably going to struggle.
It will be interesting to see how the Chromecast gaming scene develops, hopefully more multi-player games will emerge and take advantage of this amazing little device that’s now finding it’s way into more and more homes.
[Image via Russ Payne]