The tagline should be: Yell at the TV and Not at Each Other!
December 9, 2015 9:14 AM   Subscribe

This weekend I played one of the Jackbox family of games. I think my family would love them and I'd like to give/have it available to play while we're all home for Christmas. Looks like I might have some technical issues--I need some guidance, please!

OK, as you can see on the Jackbox website, it has a few supported systems: XBox, Playstation, Steam, Amazon Fire, Mac App Store, Humble Store.

Here is what I'll have with me: Android phone, Chromebook with the processing power of an enfeebled gerbil in a squeaky wheel.

Here is what I have to work with once I'm at my parents' house: Samsung smart TV, Wii, brother's iPhone. My mom has a macbook and an ipad but I'd prefer not to use my mom's stuff since it 1) belongs to her employer and 2) I'd like to be able to pull it up as a surprise without involving her. (If that's the easiest, most surefire way of achieving it that's what I'll do, but my preference is to not have to involve her in anything but the fun parts.)

How...the heck do I do this? Is it possible with the things I have? I have never used Steam (and I've never even heard of Humble) but I suspect it might not play nice with a non-windows no-frills computer.

Please somebody walk me through this. Family harmony is on the line.

(In terms of tech savvy, I can probably figure out pretty much anything on the computer/internet end, but when it comes to TVs, I'm currently only capable of hitting the input button. Even cable confuses me. Please be plenty explainy on that end.)

posted by phunniemee to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At least some of them will run on the Fire Stick, so the path of least resistance would be to gift them one (or yourself) and put the apps on it.

Otherwise it requires Windows or OS X or one of the supported game systems.
posted by Candleman at 9:20 AM on December 9, 2015

I bought a Fire stick recently (around $40, I think it was) for using Plex. Getting that would be a good move. If you have Amazon Prime, you can view Prime video content using the Fire Stick on any TV (with a suitable network connection).
posted by Sunburnt at 9:29 AM on December 9, 2015

OK, the Amazon fire stick is backordered until Dec 17, which means I absolutely do not trust it to get to me by Dec 18, which is when I would want to have it. I was on board (yay! portable games!) but waiting until Christmas for the thing to arrive defeats the purpose.

Other ideas, please? (Preferably ones that don't require me to spend $40 on a thingy I have no use for?)
posted by phunniemee at 9:54 AM on December 9, 2015

Does your brother have a supported video game system or laptop he could bring? Otherwise you need to put it on your mom's computer, as it won't run on anything else you've listed.
posted by Candleman at 10:07 AM on December 9, 2015

In the event that you played Jackbox on a video game console, you may not know that you'll also need a tablet/phone for each player.

Technically, (again, assuming you have enough smartphones to go around) you do already have the equipment you need to make this happen. You can buy this game through your mom's Macbook and then connect it to your television to display the game there. Do you want to do that? You'll need:
1. an HDMI cord that can reach from your mom's Macbook to the television
2. the patience to figure out how to get the Macbook to send it's monitor display to the television (Maybe this is super easy. I wouldn't bet on it though, given the context.)

Or you could drop the money on a Fire TV and be able to take it with you where ever you go from now on. That's what I would recommend you do, given your goals.

You have two main options, The Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick. The Fire TV is more expensive but the better hardware means it will struggle less/not at all with its software. I have no idea if Jackbox is resource-hungry enough to register a difference between these two products.

Both versions plug into an HDMI port on your TV, and a standard electric socket (Fire TV) or USB port (Fire TV Stick) for power. You should be able to use a spare USB port on your television for this. When you want to use the Fire, you'll have to select that input from the remote; the Fire won't override the television for you or anything like that.

You'll want, obviously, to set up your Fire TV on your own before you give it to your family. I'm not sure how hard it is to register phones and tablets to be played with the game, so I'd recommend you give that a go before you show up to the fam as well.
posted by Poppa Bear at 10:17 AM on December 9, 2015

Does your brother have a supported video game system

omg you're a genius. Yes I'm almost certain he does.
posted by phunniemee at 10:19 AM on December 9, 2015

He has an Xbox 360. That's not going to work probably, right?
posted by phunniemee at 11:06 AM on December 9, 2015

How does steam work? Is it by machine or by account? I have a windows desktop: can I get the game here and then open it up to play it on my mom's mac next week? How about Humble? Does it work like that? Or am I tied to the machine I buy it on?
posted by phunniemee at 11:10 AM on December 9, 2015

I have a windows desktop: can I get the game here and then open it up to play it on my mom's mac next week?

Yes. Your games are transferable to different computers. It'll have to download on to the new computer though, but how long that takes depends on the game size/connection speed.

The Jackbox website says it works on Xbox 360, so maybe try that first and use the macbook as a backup?
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:34 AM on December 9, 2015

But that's for the disc one, right? Not the downloady one? I don't want to have to buy this twice, cash is tight.
posted by phunniemee at 11:41 AM on December 9, 2015

Some googling suggests that only the first Party Pack is available for the 360, and only on disc.

If you wanted to download it, you'd need an Xbox One (or equivalent).

On the bright side, since it's on disc you might be able to find it at an electronics buy/sell/trade store on the cheap.
posted by Poppa Bear at 12:00 PM on December 9, 2015

Good news, folks! The game as sold through Steam appears to be compatible with PC, Mac, and Steamplay, which evidently means it will be playable on my account on either platform for free.

Looks like it's gonna work out.

Now all I need to do is remember to bring an hdmi cable to attach mom's mac to the tv!
posted by phunniemee at 1:24 PM on December 9, 2015

Depending on the model of the Macbook, it might have a Thunderbolt/mini Displayport rather than an HDMI socket, so you may need an adaptor as well - looks like this website will explain what you need.
posted by penguinliz at 5:16 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

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