Taming Gaming Book Cover Get Smart About PLAY This database is a unique way to find games for children, teenagers and young adults. Every game is presented for parents and carers to understand, to empower informed choice through understanding.

It provides one page for each game with a jargon-free overview, hand-picked video, official game ratings, in-game spending, how many players and how long it will take to play. At the bottom of each game page, it suggests alternative games of different age ratings.

The database is supported by the Get Smart About PLAY campaign, that provides parents, carers and guardians with the information they need to get the most out of the games they play. For more on guiding children to healthy gaming, and advice on family settings, visit AskAboutGames.com. They are one of the supporters of the upcoming Taming Gaming book for which this database is created.

What We're Playing

We have 588 games in our suggestions library to date. Each one has been hand-picked and tested with multiple families over long periods of time. We add and update games in the library through our continued testing with families. Here is what we've been testing recently:

 

New Releases

The following games have just come out. While we continue to add games new and old to the database, these are the ones the press will be reviewing and talking about right now:

 

Find Amazing Games

This video game library is organised around a huge long list of lists. These are the different types of games that families or groups have asked me for over the years. You can also search for a specific game, or check through all the games in the library arranged by PEGI rating. Here are the lastest lists we've added:

Your First Video Game

These games are perfect if you’ve never played one before, opening the door to the gaming world for non-gaming parents and carers. They are short, straightforward and easy to understand, so you don’t need to commit hours to learn to play them, and they are played on technology you probably already have in your pocket or in your home. They address mature themes such as love, hope, power, homelessness and even traffic planning by inviting you to interact and play a part in these worlds and stories.

We've found that it's not just parents who have enjoyed the way these games let them in on the world of gaming, but grandparents, uncles and aunts. In fact it's a great list for anyone who's never played a game and wants to know what all the fuss is about.
 

Motion Plus Wii Games

The Wii created a new genre of motion-controlled video games. But it's initially Wii Remote controller was a little limited. Nintendo shortly brought out addition that added more one-to-one detection of movement: Motion Plus.

You could purchase the Motion Plus block and plug it into existing Wii Remote controllers, or purchase updated Wii Remote controllers that included Motion Plus. These newer controllers are indicated by the Motion Plus nomenclature on the bottom. This nuanced motion-controlled continued on to the Wii U in games that used the Wii Remote controls and needed extra fidelity for the player.

Wii U Party minigames, Nintendo Land, Table Tennis and Archery in Wii Sports Resort as well as the exploration and combat in Zelda Skyward Sword each stand out as really good use of this extended Motion Plus controls.
 

Remote Play Together With Steam

Some games are designed with online play. For those that only have local multiplayer, you can use a feature on Steam called Steam Remote Play Together to play these games with a friend in another place as if they were sat next to you. You can use online chat pass the controls back and forth or each control different players to co-operate or compete.

Not all games support these feature but for those that do, listed here, all you need is one copy of the game for the two of you, an account on Steam and a PC to play on in your separate locations and a good internet connection.

You can also use the Steam Remote Play Anywhere feature to stream your games from you PC to another device like a smartphone or tablet. This enables you to play in a different room of the house or on the go.
 

Know Your Body

Video games offer an opportunity to inhabit another body. Whether we step into the powerful frame of a trained marksman or brave adventurer, while we play we have a different sense of our physicality.

This is not only an enjoyable way to escape the reality of daily life but a chance to reflect on and understand ourselves, and our bodies, better. Stepping into the shoes of a vulnerable, small or endangered character can help us understand for a short while some of what it is like to be someone else.

Whether this is into the awkward teenage years of Mord and Ben in Wide Ocean Big Jacket, the grandparent-escaping Tiger and Bee in Kissy Kissy, the fractured heartbroken body in Gris or the haphazard movement of Octodad we have a chance to reassess our own physicality and how we respond to and treat other people's physicality.

More specifically, to use body therapy language, games offer us a chance to discover the inviolability of our bodies, personal autonomy, self-ownership, and self-determination. In travel, as Andrew Soloman says, we go somewhere else to see properly the place where we have come from. In video games, we step into other bodies so we can better understand our own and those of the people around us.
 

Survive The Night

Surviving in games is often a key element. Some games, however, make it the main focus. With minimal resources and little light can you make it through to the morning? Can you prepare a shelter as the daylight dwindles in time for you to cope with the lurking creatures of the dark?

Whether this is as simple as closing the door to keep the zombies out in Minecraft or as complex as crafting food, clothing and medicine to cope with the freezing blackness of The Long Dark these games are exhilarating as they pose a strategic puzzle with personal consequences.

Many of these games offer an open world in which to survive, which opens up more ways of preparing for and then making it through the night time. This, of course, leads to another day where you need to spend time and resources wisely while exploring your surroundings.
 

Make Your Own Video Games

It can seem like making a video-games is only possible with a degree and lots of complicated equipment. The games on this list let you design and share your own levels just using your controller and tools like Scratch.

Image 174You can unleash your creativity with these games that enable you to make your own games. Start with something familiar and try making your own levels in Mario Maker or get to grips with building in Minecraft. Build your confidence and creativity and soon you’ll be creating more complicated games in Dreams or LittleBigPlanet.

We put this list together with the help of the brilliant National Videogame Museum, (NVM). The World's First Fully-Playable Cultural Centre Dedicated to Games. If you want more information about making your own videogames, the NVM has free resources to get you started.
 

Ease Loneliness With Intergenerational Games

There are many reasons, stages of life and circumstances that can leave us feeling isolated and lonely (and of course at the moment this is intensified with the virus lockdown). Being unable to be in the same place as loved ones. Not understanding the modern world. Barriers of mobility or impairments. Social anxiety and other mental health issues.

Video games are one way that we can reconnect with each other, without needing to be in the same place. Finding games to play online with grandparents and carers is not only a good way to keep in touch but a lot of fun.

Image 171 The games on this page are part of the PLAY&TALK Weekend, which has launched in time for National Loneliness Awareness Week, aims to reduce feelings of isolation by getting people to talk with friends or family safely online. Backed by over 30 companies in the games industry, the Play&Talk weekend hopes to initiate 10,000 extra conversations across the UK through the power of games. All the games have been select to be easy to play for new gamers and many of them have been used in a broad range of cultural settings, being incorporated into Cathedral services, arts festivals, well-being retreats and educational contexts.
 

Free With Google Play Pass

Google Play Pass is an alternative way to access video games on your Android smartphone or tablet device. Currently available in the US, it offers over 350 apps and games. Of these, there are around 100 or so games, that are selected to be family-friendly.
  • Gives access to a curated catalogue of premium apps and games.
  • No ads or in-app purchases.
  • Share access with up to 6 total family members.
 

Reimagined Retro Classics

Growing up playing video games creates a strong sentimental connection to the sounds, sights and feeling those experiences gave you. Returning to these games in adulthood is a un diversion, but often the experience doesn't live up to the memory.

The games in this list have been recreated (sometimes officially and sometimes unofficially) by developers who love and respect the original while also wanting to update it for modern technology and players.
 

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