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5 fun multiplayer games for your Google Chromecast

You can do more with Google's HDMI dongle than just stream audio and video. Here are a few games that play nice with this low-cost media device.

Unlock more fun from Google's inexpensive dongle. CNET

Introduced nearly 18 months ago, Google's Chromecast has become a top-selling media streaming device. Thanks to its low price point ($35, £30, AU$50) and developer flexibility, the HDMI dongle has opened the door to thousands of creative apps and games.

While its first year gave rise to a plethora of audio and video streaming titles, the last few months have yielded numerous games. And you know what? Some of them are actually pretty darn fun.

Swing through the official Chromecast website and you'll find a growing library of single- and multiplayer games. Some come from larger brands, while others are from independent developers looking for exposure. I've gathered up five of my favorite Android -- and iOS! -- games that come with Chromecast compatibility or enhancement.

The next time you've got friends over and want to liven the mood, break out one of these. You might be surprised at how interactive that media device can be.

Big Web Quiz (free)

Could you identify where Mongolia is on a satellite image? Or how many Roman Colosseums you'd need to reach the height of K2 mountain? These are the sort of questions you'll face in this fun and clever trivia game from Google Creative Lab.

Connect up to six players, each with their own avatar, and engage in a battle of wits. Questions appear on the TV, while the answers are presented on your smartphone or tablet. Sit back, put your feet up, and hide the phone from snooping cheaters.

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Google Creative Labs puts a twist on general trivia questions with Big Web Quiz. Screen shot by Scott Webster/CNET

Rather than simply answering straight-up questions, the Google Knowledge Graph throws things at you in interesting ways. Could you rank three Taylor Swift Songs in chronological order -- in 10 seconds? (Don't be embarrassed, you know you could.)

With vibrant colors, simple graphics and dead-simple mechanics, Big Web Quiz is a great way to gather folks around the television in a more social way. If anything, it'll get you talking about some of the most random and entertaining topics around.

Connect 4 Quads for Chromecast (free)

An interesting twist on the classic Hasbro game, players are tasked with lining up four red or yellow pucks in a row. You'll see your chips on the phone or tablet, and the group's board displayed on TV.

Rather than simply dropping one chip at a time, you'll be letting four fall at once. Dubbed a "quad", it's a seemingly random mix of the two colors. Players can rotate the grouping in any orientation; swipe left and right to choose the columns.

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Keep an eye on Stacie; she's a sneaky sis. Hasbro, Inc.

While your object is to put together four colors in a row, it's possible to lay down a yellow four in a row and a red one at the same time. Chips fall as far as the board will allow and lines disappear once completed. The race is on to complete as many as you can inside of 4 minutes.

You can technically go it alone in Connect 4 Quads, but the game works best with more than one player. You can connect up to four friendly combatants.

Scrabble Blitz (free)

Also from Hasbro, Scrabble Blitz puts a spin on the familiar game of lettered tiles. You won't be matching wits on a shared board, however, this one is more frenzied.

Quite simply, players are given seven random letters and one minute on the clock. The goal is to come up with as many words as possible out of your letters. The player with the highest score after three rounds is declared the winner.

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Scrabble Blitz forgoes the big board in favor of a more frenetic approach. Hasbro, Inc.

Indeed, there are traces of the traditional game to be found. It's possible to earn double and triple letter bonuses; notch a bonus 50 for using all seven tiles.

Cardcast (free)

Inspired by the popular card game Cards Against Humanity, this one works best when you've got three players or more. It might not hurt to have a thick skin. Depending on which "deck" of cards you use, things could easily get out of hand -- in a great way.

Each round, one player is designated as judge who plays a "call" card on the TV. All other players have "response" cards which essentially fill in the blanks or answer a question.

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Cardcast may turn a few cheeks red in the process of playing. Cardcast, LLC.

Things won't make much sense, and judges can be as arbitrary as they would like, but things can get rowdy real quick. And, really, most people don't even bother to keep score. Like the card game, players can drop in and out at any moment.

There is a growing collection of community-created card decks, which only increase the replay value. Should you want to tone things down a bit or play a more niche game, a five-letter code drops in a new set of cards. There are hundreds of decks spanning nearly a dozen categories; it's possible to have a family-friendly evening with Cardcast.

Wheel of Fortune ($3, £1.75, AU$3.18)

The decades-old game show comes to your TV in an all-new interactive manner with Wheel of Fortune for Android and iOS. To be clear, this is a refresh of the already existing mobile game that works with Chromecast to beam the board to your TV.

Play by yourself or let up to two friends join in as you traverse your way through more than 1,000 puzzles. Dress up your avatar with clothing and accessories or skip to the in-game shop to purchase more with real world money. There's plenty of customization, including choosing which decade and version of show host Pat Sajak you prefer.

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Pass the smartphone and give the wheel a spin. Sony Pictures Entertainment

This one is a little different than the others listed here, since you'll spend some pocket change just to get started. But, given the nature of the game, it still works quite well and is worth the money. And, thanks to a recent update, multiplayer works nicely as each player can use their own device.


Your turn!

The number, and quality, of Chromecast games continues to grow by the week. Although there are plenty of lookalike titles to be found, there are certainly some gems to uncover.

Have you used your Chromecast as an inexpensive gaming center? Which games do you like to play? I would love to hear your feedback below in the comments.