Facebook Messenger hidden games: Play basketball and chess with Android and iOS devices

By @chelean on
Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of Operations, speaks about the Apple Watch and Facebook Messenger during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, September 9, 2015.
Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of Operations, speaks about the Apple Watch and Facebook Messenger during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, September 9, 2015. Reuters/Beck Diefenbach

If there’s one thing that can entice people in downloading the Facebook Messenger app, it’s to be let in a little secret that its 800 million active users share. There are hidden basketball and chess games that users can play using the app. Here’s how to discover and play them.

 

When Facebook announced in 2014 that users must download Messenger if they wanted to continue using the chat feature, it annoyed some users who did not want to use the app. If they knew they could shoot hoops while chatting with their contacts, though, they might have downloaded the app more willingly.

Hidden basketball game

An updated Facebook Messenger app on either iOS or Android devices can play the hidden basketball game. It’s fairly simple: Just send a “basketball” emoji to a chat window and then tap or click the basketball to launch the game. A basketball and a hoop will then open.

Screenshot of the basketball emoji on Facebook Messenger Screenshot of the basketball emoji on Facebook Messenger  Facebook Messenger

To play, flick the basketball to shoot in the hoop. The goal is to shoot the ball continuously. With every point earned, a happy emoji (thumbs up, flexing biceps, raised hands, an “OK” symbol, clapping hands) appears. Once the succession is broken with a missed shot, a sad emoji appears and the point reverts to zero.

Hidden basketball game on Facebook Messenger Hidden basketball game on Facebook Messenger  Facebook Messenger

Hidden chess game

This one is more difficult to play, not because of the game’s mechanics, but because of how the game is played on the Messenger. Unlike the hidden basketball game, the chess game needs players to type in their moves.

To start with, one player should type in the secret code, @fbchess play, in the chat screen of the desired opponent. If the secret code is typed in a group chatroom, the player should specify which user would play opposite and what colour the player will use (example: @fbchess play white John).

For the keywords, type @fbchess help.

Hidden chess game on Facebook Messenger Hidden chess game on Facebook Messenger  Facebook Messenger

As of now, basketball and chess are the only known games available. Chess was launched last year, while the basketball game was only discovered by users recently.

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