In the spirit of March Madness, Facebook’s Messenger app has a little surprise for anyone who needs to kill some time while waiting for replies — a secret basketball minigame.
Unless you read the notes of the latest Messenger update, you wouldn’t know you could shoot hoops right in the app. To play, make sure your app is updated, send a basketball emoji to somebody and then tap it to bring up a fun little basketball game.
It isn’t the most complicated game — just flick the ball toward the hoop to get a point, and try to beat your high score. Don’t worry about the speed of your flick, as the ball automatically moves to a certain height, so you only need to focus on direction. For such a simple game, it’s pretty addicting.
Each basket you make is met with an encouraging emoji, and when you miss, you get a sad one. Once you get to 10 points, the difficulty ramps up — the hoop starts moving back and forth across your phone’s screen.
Facebook brought a similar “secret” chess game to Messenger in February. If you want to play chess with your Facebook friends, type “@fbchess play” into the chat and a chess board will appear.
The chess game is still around over a month later, so hopefully the basketball game is here to stay too. So far, my record is 13, but according to our French friends, the hoop starts moving faster after you hit 20, so it may get harder and harder after every multiple of 10.