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As kids, we often found ourselves in imaginative car games during long road trips or lazy afternoons, and these games still hold a special place in our hearts. In this blog, we embark on a nostalgic journey to rank the top 10 car games we used to play as kids, exploring their history, rules, and unique charm. But in today’s digital age, smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, even during road trips. To enhance the classic car games we enjoyed, there are now phone-based assists available that add a modern twist to the traditional gameplay. Join us as we suggest ways to update these 10 best car games for the 21st century and create new memories on the road.

#1

License Plate Scavenger Hunt:

License Plate Scavenger Hunt tops our list as it combines the excitement of a treasure hunt with the joy of discovering new places. The objective is to spot license plates from different states or countries, earning points for each unique one found. This game encouraged us to learn geography, sparked curiosity, and made road trips even more thrilling.

21st Century Upgrade: Download a license plate tracking app that allows you to keep a virtual collection of the plates you spot, adding an element of competition and curiosity to the game.

App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/platespot-license-plate-game/id1396893331

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vvse.kennzeichen&hl=en_US&gl=US

#2

iSpy

iSpy is a classic game that stands the test of time. Its simplicity and versatility make it a favorite among all ages. Players take turns choosing an object in sight and give a clue like, “I spy with my little eye, something green.” Others then guess the object until someone correctly identifies it. This game encouraged observation skills, and imagination, and added an element of competition to car rides.

21st Century Upgrade: Use your phone’s camera to capture the object you choose for others to guess. Instead of simply providing clues, you can now share a visual hint, adding an extra layer of challenge.

#3

20 Questions:

Fueling our curiosity and deductive reasoning, 20 Questions challenged us to guess the object someone was thinking of in 20 yes-or-no questions. The player with the object in mind would provide brief answers, creating an exciting puzzle for the other players. This game improved critical thinking skills, sparked creativity, and kept our parents sane on the road.

21st Century Upgrade: Find an app that generates random objects for the players to guess, expanding the game beyond the limits of our imagination. Or, download the 20 Questions app!

App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/20q/id845283649

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.digidust.elokence.akinator.freemium

#4

Road Trip Bingo:

Road Trip Bingo comes in at number four by turning the passing scenery into a thrilling game. Each player had a bingo card featuring various objects commonly seen on the road, such as a red car, a billboard, or a cow. We aimed to complete a row or column on our card by spotting these items and marking them off. This game enhanced our observation skills and made road trips feel like an interactive adventures.

21st Century Upgrade: Use the Road Trip Bingo app! The app provides interactive boards, allowing you to mark off items by tapping on the screen when you spot them.

App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/roadtrip-bingo/id384996173

Google Playhttps://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.andromo.dev64620.app320101&hl

#5

The Alphabet Game:

The Alphabet Game transformed boring highway signs into an engaging challenge. Players had to find words starting with each letter of the alphabet in order, using only words found on billboards, license plates, or road signs. The game was a test of quick thinking and keen eyes, encouraging us to stay alert and engaged during long drives.

21st Century Upgrade: Use a voice-controlled virtual assistant or a text-to-speech app to generate words for each letter, making the game more dynamic and diverse.

#6

Mad Libs:

Although not exclusively a car game, Mad Libs provided endless laughter and creativity during road trips. This word game involved filling in the blanks of a story with random nouns, verbs, and adjectives without knowing the context. The hilarious and often nonsensical results kept us entertained for hours and sparked our imaginations.
21st Century Upgrade: Look for digital Mad Libs apps or websites that provide a vast selection of stories and allow you to fill in the blanks digitally, saving paper and expanding the range of stories available.

Link to app: https://www.madlibs.com/apps/

#7

Name That Tune:

Name That Tune brought the joy of music to our car rides. One player would hum or whistle a tune, and others had to guess the song title as quickly as possible. This game encouraged our musical knowledge, enhanced our listening skills, and created a lively atmosphere with sing-alongs and awesome memories.

21st Century Upgrade: Utilize music streaming apps to play snippets of songs for others to guess, bringing an extensive library of music to the game.

App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/i-know-that-song/id1138812158
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=song.pop.music.game.quiz&hl=en_GB

#8

Counting Cows:

Counting Cows was a simple yet amusing game that turned long stretches of farmland into an opportunity for friendly competition. Players would count cows on their side of the car, and the one with the highest count after a certain distance or time won. This game instilled a sense of excitement and anticipation, transforming ordinary landscapes into a fun-filled adventure.

21st Century Upgrade: Create a shared digital scoreboard on your phone where each player can track their cow count, adding a competitive element and reducing the chances of disputes.

App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/counting-cows/id1602755846

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.riis.cattlecounter&hl=en_GB

#9

Rock, Paper, Scissors (Rochambeau)Tournament:

When boredom struck during car trips, we turned to the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, (formally known as Rochambeau), but to make it more engaging, we organized tournaments, keeping track of wins and losses to determine the ultimate champion. The intense battles, laughter, and occasional drama made the time fly by and added some well-needed competition to our journeys.

21st Century Upgrade: Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament: Download a Rock, Paper, Scissors app that allows you to challenge your fellow passengers virtually, eliminating the need for physical gestures and keeping score digitally.

App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/rock-paper-scissors-rps/id1152025202
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fr.apprize.rockpaperscissors

#10

Car Karaoke

Lastly, Car Karaoke provided the perfect opportunity to showcase our vocal talents and create memorable sing-along moments. Armed with our favorite tunes and lyrics, we transformed the car into our stage. Car Karaoke brought joy, laughter, and a sense of camaraderie as we belted out our favorite songs together. This is one most people still enjoy as adults!

21st Century Upgrade: Access karaoke apps or streaming platforms that provide a wide selection of songs with synchronized lyrics, transforming your car into a full-fledged karaoke studio.

App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/i-know-that-song/id1138812158

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.recisio.kfandroid&hl=en&gl=US

In conclusion, these 10 car games filled our childhoods with laughter, imagination, and bonding experiences. Each game has its unique charm and contributes to the joy of car rides. License Plate Scavenger Hunt takes the top spot for its blend of adventure and learning, while games like I Spy and 20 Questions nurtured our observation and critical thinking skills. By embracing these 21st-century updates, you can revive the classic road trip games and adapt them to the digital era, adding convenience and interactivity. These phone-based assists serve as a bridge between nostalgia and modern technology, ensuring that these beloved games continue to bring joy, laughter, and bonding experiences during your journeys. So, grab your phone, gather your friends or family, and let the modernized car game fun begin! In an era of technology and screens, these simple yet engaging games offer an opportunity to unplug, connect with loved ones, and create lasting memories. So, next time you embark on a road trip or find yourself in a car with friends or family, dust off these classic games from your brain and relive the magic of your childhood. Remember, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey and the laughter shared along the way. So buckle up, turn up the music, and let the games begin!