Warning: Reading this will result in hours of gaming.
Facebook Messenger is a brilliant thing. Not only does it let us chat to our mates, anytime, anywhere, for free, but thanks to an increasing number of games that have been drip-fed on to the platform, it also offers up some secret entertainment for when the conversation dries up.
While there are some that are hidden and need a bit of handiwork to unlock – which we’ve outlined below – others are now more in plain sight. We’ve been doing some super sleuthing to hunt out all of them down – and how you can get them.
If you can’t access certain ones, it may be not available in your region, or due to roll out, so watch this space.
Instant Games on Messenger
Facebook has finally got the hint and been adding a load of games into the main Messenger app. Although these are regularly updated, there have been two main waves, the first in May 2017 and the second in December 2017. You’ll find the ‘Games’ button down near the camera button on both iOS and Android.
From there you can select any of the following to play against your pals:
- Words With Friends
- Space Invaders
- 8-Ball Pool
- Batman’s Bat Climb
- Cooking Mama
- Gin Rummy
- Sonic The Hedgehog
- Angry Birds
- Disney Tsum Tsum
- Puzzles & Dragons
As you can tell from the brand names involved, these aren’t all made by Facebook, either – there’s a load of new developers getting involved including Disney, Rovio, Sega, Zynga, Taito, Namco, Miniclip, Warner Bros, Blackstorm and GungHo.
So expect a load more once developers catch a whiff of success, with Facebook claiming up to 50 different playthings were available in the first launch window, with that growing ever since. These turn-based games can be played in the chat and also include leaderboards and tournaments.
Hidden Facebook Football Game
Want to kick it slightly more old-school? It’s time to head for the emojis rather than the menu screen. If your attempts at casual chat are turning into a bit of an own goal, Facebook’s hidden football game could help lift the mood, assuming your friend’s up for a quick kickabout.
Unearthing the Euro 2016-inspired Facebook football game is pleasingly painless, too. If you’ve ensured you’re running the latest iteration of Messenger, all you have to do is unearth the football emoji and send it to a mate.
That’s it. Well, almost. Click on the soccer emoji you’ve sent and a keepy-uppy game will emerge before your eyes. Now all you’ve got to do is tap on the ball to keep it off the ground. Get past 10 points and things will get a bit trickier as… Well, give it a go and see for yourself.
Hidden Facebook Basketball Game
For when your chat is anything but a slam dunk, Facebook’s hidden basketball game can provide hours of fun – seriously, this thing is ridiculously addictive.
Finding the hidden Facebook basketball game is surprisingly simple too. Once you’ve ensured you’re running the latest version of Messenger, all you have to do is send a friend a basketball emoji. That’s it. Now, clicking on that sent b-ball will launch the hidden game. Game on.
Both you and your friend can play within the chat window, with both players’ high scores logged in the message feed – just so bragging rights can be duly appointed. If you hate losing, don’t worry. A crafty YouTuber has found a brilliantly simple way to cheat at Facebook’s hidden basketball game using nothing but a ruler – you’re welcome.
Hidden Facebook Chess Game
Not everyone’s into basic swipe-based ball games. If your gaming tastes are a little more highbrow, Facebook’s hidden chess game is going to be more up your street. Finding Facey-B’s chess title is a little bit trickier than sending a picture-based word replacement. Instead, typing “@fbchess play” into a chat window should see a digital chessboard appear in a magical, Harry Potter-impressing fashion.
Now all you’ve got to do is master how to control the thing – something that’s easier said than done. Instead of pointing and clicking to move your pieces, you’re going to have to remember some shortcuts and square locations.
Every time you want to make a move, you’ll need to type “@fbchess” followed by the piece abbreviation and the code for the square you want the piece to fill – confused?
OK, so here, K stands for King, Q for queen, B for Bishop, N for knight (are we all really that dense?), R for rook, and P for pawn. So, moving your king to square C5 needs you to enter “@fbchess Kc5” – got it?