By: Mary Fran Bontempo

hollywood game nightWho would have thought?

In our technologically saturated world, one of the most delightful shows on TV this summer is a throw-back of sorts.

Hollywood Game Night, hosted by Glee’s Jane Lynch, pits two teams of celebrities, along with one “real” person, against each other in a variety of live action party games for the chance to win a $25,000 grand prize, with a $10,000 payout for the charity of a celebrity’s choice.

The games are silly–naming a candy bar from a picture, naming the two celebrities whose morphed images make up a new face, singing a song using only the word, “Do,” putting a series of celebrity images in a time line order–but they’re engaging and fun. Plus, watching the rich and famous look uninhibited and occasionally dopey is kind of fun, too.

It’s not a high stakes drama, nor is it going to win any awards for best comedy. But it is different, in an everything old is new again kind of way. (Thursdays at 10 on NBC.)

Which brings me to the next gaming option that’s a mix of old and new: Heads Up–a game my kids introduced me to that’s available on…wait for it…my phone!

Apparently, Ellen DeGeneres plays Heads Up on her show, which only makes it cooler in my mind. The game is simple: once you download the app (a bargain for 99 cents), players team up to compete in various categories, racing a clock to identify as many items in a category before time runs out. Options range from naming TV shows and characters to acting out situations as in charades to humming songs and so on.

Another fun factor? The person guessing must hold the phone to her forehead to show the category to teammates. If she guesses right, she flips the phone down. To pass, flip the phone up. The action is quick and silly. And if you must use technology, it keeps the level low. Great fun.

So before summer slips away, get the gang together and share some giggles while going retro with a game night. Just don’t forget the popcorn!