Challenge your friends to come up with the perfect response GIF with this new iMessage game

gifs against friends tenor zynga imessage texting people
If modern messaging services and social media have taught us one thing, it’s that there is a GIF for every occasion. Zynga seems to think so too, as the longtime mobile developer has based its latest game on that very premise.

It’s called GIFs Against Friends and it works similarly to party games like Cards Against Humanity and Quiplash — with the added hilarity of looping animations. One player selects a prompt or writes their own, and then others anonymously respond with GIFs. The judge selects whichever they deem the best, and then you’re on to the next round.

Zynga was one of the first developers to embrace the iMessage App Store introduced alongside iOS 10 last fall with a new version of Words Against Friends. Since then, the company has released a collection of minigames as well, but GIFs Against Friends looks uniquely well suited for the emerging platform.

“We had been working on the iMessage platform for a few months,” Mark Kantor, general manager at Zynga, told Digital Trends, “and we were thinking about ‘what are the things that people are already doing within messaging?'”

The company noted enthusiasm surrounding GIFs, and set out to build a game that utilized them while also being “inherently social.” The result? Up to 32 friends can join the battle for GIF supremacy in a single iMessage group chat. Unsurprisingly, that can create some pretty hectic exchanges.

gifs against friends tenor zynga imessage screenshots

“Often times, people in high school and college specifically have really big groups within iMessage,” Kantor said. “[The game] often leads to really funny conversations and obviously if there’s 10, 20, or 30 people in that conversation, then I think things can get pretty exciting.”

To allow GIFs Against Humanity to work as intended, however, Zynga needed to make sure the app was serving up the perfect GIFs in response to players’ search terms. Enter Tenor, a company that specializes in GIF curation and supplies its know-how and insights to various clients, from Facebook to Google, Kik, and Apple. For GIFs Against Humanity, the partnership made perfect sense.

“We’ve tried using a number of different [GIF search] services,” Kantor said. “[Tenor] somehow managed to get the emotions, and hit the nail right on the head.”

Tenor attributes the power of its solution to an understanding of how emotions relate to content in the context of messaging, particularly over mobile devices. To Tenor’s co-founder and CEO, David McIntosh, GIFs are merely another language of communication — albeit one that we usually only encounter when we’re texting a friend or sharing a post.

“Traditionally we’ve been hyper-focused on mobile messaging,” McIntosh said. “This is a really interesting partnership for us because it extends that visual language that we’re building to more of a gaming use case.”

While the iMessage App Store has stumbled a little out the gate — due to what many pundits, developers, and users alike have called a confusing interface that makes it difficult to find the software you’re looking for — Kantor believes there is massive potential for apps that manage to enhance the group chat experience.

“I think that the games that are gonna end up being the best within a messenger, they will probably be different games than the ones that stand alone in the App Store,” Kantor said. “The games that we’re seeing most success are the ones that really fit into the conversation. People don’t necessarily want to spend a minute to have the game load, and then spend ten minutes on a turn. They want something that’s going to be really snappy and not pull them away from the conversation, but actually make the conversation better.”

GIFs Against Friends is available now for free on the iMessage App Store.

Download GIFs Against Friends for iOS

Mobile

Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Mobile

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.
Mobile

Apple’s iPhone battery offer was reportedly way more popular than expected

As many as 11 million iPhone owners reportedly made use of Apple's cheaper battery replacement offer that launched in 2018 in response to the iPhone throttling debacle — some 10 times more than the company had apparently expected.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Mobile

Samsung rumored to mark 10 years of the Galaxy S line with a 5G model

Samsung is rumored to launch a 5G version of the Galaxy S10, called the Galaxy S10 X. The phone may be larger than the standard Galaxy S10 devices, and feature a very impressive specification sheet.
Mobile

The most expensive Galaxy S10 could be the priciest Galaxy phone we've seen

Not long now; with 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Mobile

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Mobile

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.
Mobile

The Note 8 and S8 range now have access to the Android Pie beta

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.