Proust and Heads Up are the antidotes to holiday boredom

By Erin Griffith , written on November 28, 2013

From The News Desk

It's Thanksgiving afternoon. What are you doing on PandoDaily? Oh right, the turkey has been eaten, the table has been cleared, the conversation has been exhausted and now everyone is just sitting around watching a football game they don't care about. Only the very young and very old find it socially acceptable to nap. All you have to fight the boredom is your smartphone, and you can't look at another #foodstagram.

My first recommendation, if your family can pry their eyes away from the game, is Heads Up. I call this one the Pinterest of gaming apps, because it's insanely popular with Midwestern women like my mother but the tech blogosphere hasn't picked up on it yet.

That's because it was created by Warner Brothers, not a startup or tech company, and because the app has promoted itself via Ellen Degeneres' show, not through traditional PR. It's a smartphone-based version of charades and Catchphrase, and it's a lot of fun. Heads Up's makers have promoted it brilliantly, too: The game automatically takes video of your team shouting out clues, or in some cases, acting them out, for instant replays of your most ridiculous antics. Fans like my mom and her friends can send their funniest videos in to Ellen, who shares the best ones on her show. That kind of priceless promotion has kept the game at the top of the App Store charts since it was launched in May. Heads Up costs .99 to download.

My second game app recommendation is better for a Friendsgiving crowd. Created by the edgy creative agency Mother New York, Proust is all about judging. The app asks you to rank lists of preferences for random things, then send your ranking to a friend to compare. It's a bit like the notorious party game "Marry / Fuck / Kill," only for anything. Proust comes pre-loaded with a bunch of lists, but you can also create your own.

Proust engineers the kind of Seinfeldian conversations you have when you run out of people, places and events in common to talk about with your friends. The lists range from the silly -- members of N*Sync, favorite novelty foods, favorite Lou's (Reed, Dobbs, CK, Vuitton, or Louie Louie), -- to the hypothetical, hilarious and bizarre:

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After you get the results comparing your friends rankings and yours, you can debate your opinions just like you would in real life, via the app's messaging feature. It's just as fun and addictive as QuizUp, but requires far less brainpower. Perfect for your bored, turkey-bloated haze.

Mother New York created the app in collaboration with David Carson, who founded and FuseTV.

[Front page image via Thinkstock]