Concrete Jungle is in These Lists
In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Concrete Jungle in the following lists:
How hard a game is considered to be depends on who is playing it. A three-year-old tackling Zelda will struggle. But equally a new-to-games-parents will find Mutant Mudds
quickly gets beyond them. The games in this list are known for being difficult. They wear the difficulty as a badge of honour. "None shall pass," except this with the will, time and belligerence to get good enough at this particular activity to beat the high bar the game sets.
This might be grappling with the flying mechanics in Rocket League
, getting endlessly lost trying to find the next guardian in Shadow of the Colossus
or coming up with the right tactic to get enough money for the ship you need in Elite
. Of course, some of these games can be made easier, but to play them at their best is to ramp up the difficulty to max (crushing on The Last Of Us
for example) and let them give you all they've got.
Success in video games is often framed at the personal level: the last person standing in Fortnite
, achieving high viewership on a Twitch stream, the best player in Rocket League
. However, many video games choose to focus players on a wider view, on working for the greater good of the world in which they live.
Games can develop a deep sense of civic identity. Civics is the study of the rights and obligations of citizens in society. Our civic identity comes from situating oneself within a larger group, often committing oneself to public action. Games give children a chance to try out taking public action within society for the greater good.
This list of games offers space for players to develop a sense of civic identity. We put it together with Barry Joseph
, who has worked in many contexts to empower children to achieve this. Whether at Global Kids, Inc, where he helped youth to acquire leadership skills and engage in efforts to address global issues through the production of digital media, in founding Games For Change, where he worked with video games as a form of youth media, or at Girl Scouts of the U.S.A, where he piloted digital engagement for girls around the country.
There are many mainstream games, not created specifically for education, that are a great way to engage with civic identity. This includes games that invite players to take control of civic space, like Alba
, One Hour, One Life
, Sim City
, Thousand Threads
Then there are games where civic space is presented as dysfunctional and in need of repair, like Papers Please
, Not For Broadcast
, Do Not Feed The Monkeys
. Other games let you take civic space in questionable or futile directions, like Headliner: NoviNews
, Bad News
and Photographs Puzzle Stories
Finally, there are some games specifically created to teach children about civics. The always-growing collection of games from iCivics explore U.S. Government functions, including Argument Wars
, Branches of Power
and Immigration Nation
. There is the novel Civics! An American Musical
that teaches US History through creating a Hamilton-style musical. Digital Compass
teaches digital citizenship through an interactive story and MP For A Week
that teaches children about being an MP in UK Parliament. Finally, the Democratic Socialism Simulator
is a puzzle game where you run for office and then run a country.
We spend our lives in buildings every day. Our homes, offices, shopping malls, cathedrals, stations, bridges and even public toilets have all been designed. Video games mirror and magnify this built environment in different ways.
Some, like Assassin's Creed
, Grand Theft Auto
and Forza Horizon
recreate virtual versions of familiar places. Others, like The Witcher
, Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess
, create their own cities and buildings. Then there are games like The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
or The Last Of Us
that drop you in a once-great but now ruined architecture.
Along with these pre-built spaces, there are also games that invite you to affect and rebuilt the architecture of a world. Games like Townscaper
allow you to easily create series of buildings and consider how one structure relates to those around it -- like a street-scene generator. Then there are games like Animal Crossing
, that offer a social context in which to apply your architectural and landscaping skills.
Then there are games that build spaces that would be impossible in real life. From the Escher-like Manifold Garden
to the scale-confounding Superliminal
, these games can play with perspective and movement to not only confuse the player but open new possibilities in perceiving buildings.
Finally, there are games with breathtaking architecture. Whether it's the atmospheric lighting of Control
, the climbable buildings of the Uncharted
series or Shadow of the Colossus
vast cathedral-like structures, video games often create original spaces that stop you in your tracks.
The video games in this list create space to notice, reflect and try your hand at architecture. They are fun, but they are also important because the design of the spaces we spend time in have profound effects on how we feel, think and move.
The Digital Futures Commission's A Vision of Free Play in a Digital World report
that outlines the key qualities of "free play" for what "good" looks like in a digital world. The team from 5 Rights Foundation and Digital Futures LSE set out ambitious expectations for children’s free play in all contexts. To claim the label ‘Playful by Design’, digital products and services should adopt seven principles:
Be Welcoming: Prioritise digital features that are inclusive, sociable and welcoming to all, reducing hateful communication and forms of exclusion and reflecting multiple identities.
Enhance Imagination: Prioritise creative resources and imaginative, open ended play over pre-determined pathways built on popularity metrics or driven by advertising or other commercial pressures.
Enable Open-Ended Play: Provide and enhance features that offer easy-to use pathways, flexibility and variety as these support children’s agency and encourage their imaginative, stimulating and open-ended play.
No commercial exploitation: Reduce compulsive features designed to prolong user engagement or cultivate dependency on games, apps or platforms, so children’s immersive play is intrinsically motivated and freely chosen.
Ensure safety: Ensure children’s play in online spaces is safe, including by giving them control over who can contact them and supplying help when needed.
Allow for experimentation: Recognise that exploration, invention and a degree of risk taking is important in children’s play and that the burden should not fall on them always to be cautious or anxious, or to follow rules set by others.
Be age-appropriate: Respect the needs of children of different ages by providing age-appropriate opportunities for play, while also allowing for safe intergenerational play.
I asked Sonia Livingstone, lead researcher and report author, whether there were many games that already met this criteria. "Children bring a lot to their play that for them is imaginative and sociable. Where it's more difficult is in the voluntary and intrinsically motivated play. Games very rarely leave children to play at their own pace and rate. The freedom for risk taking is sometimes present but here, children themselves take on the safety burden from society at large and limit play themselves."
Inspired and challenged by the report, we searched our database to identify games that came closest to meeting these high standards. Like the report, this aims to concentrate energy on identifying opportunities for free play that should be enriched and expanded to make play online more child-centred.
In the report, children identify their need to play in ways that perhaps adults don’t understand or that some digital designs deny. They don't want a completely "whole-food experience", nor to turn back the clock to an offline world. They want digital products designed to enhance the qualities of play and at the same time want those aspects of design that are exploitative or invasive to be dialled down.
Examples on this list include playful offline video games. Games like Lonely Mountains Downhill
and Microsoft Flight Simulator
offer open-ended play where you can go where you want and make your own fun. Spelunky 2
, Mini Metro
enable free-play that is intrinsically and experimentally motivated without commercial exploitation. Then games like A Short Hike
and Wilmot's Warehouse
offer play that is welcoming for newcomers and specifically age appropriate. Risk taking and rule breaking play that doesn't become a burden on the child is found in games like Untitled Goose Game
and The Longing
Examples on this list also include playful online video games. Games like Journey
and One Hour One Life
offer a welcoming experience by encouraging (in some cases requiring) other players to help newcomers. Phantom Abyss
offers an unusual competitive play space that celebrates experimentation and is safe by design through minimal communication. Sea of Thieves
offer age appropriate play for older teenagers that is built around experimentation and discovery through risk taking that is lead by imagination. Stormworks
combines open ended play like Minecraft
, but offers a context more age appropriate to ambitious teenagers through its float-mechanics and boat design. Sky Children of the Light
combines many of the criteria, offering a welcoming experience for newcomers, imaginative play. It subverts the commercial feel of other app games by focusing purchases on items that are primarily to give away to other players.
Raucous, unbounded, exuberant, all-age competitive fun is something video games are known for. Find the right games for your family and you can create important and healthy ways to let off steam, excel and persevere as you sit next to each other on the sofa. These games can play a big part in raising children to be magnanimous in victory and generous in defeat. Kids love competing online, but the games here focus on battling in the same room. Played with multiple controllers and a shared screen, they offer challenges that require real skill and give everyone a chance to rise to the top of the family pile.
In a world of technology, it’s easy to become disconnected or forgetful of the people we live with and the places we live in. Video games can be a part of this dislocation as screen time diminishes engagement with the real world. But they can also offer ways to reconnect with those around us and find a fresh (helpfully disruptive) perspective on our neighbourhoods.
This list has been created with the help of Cormac Russell
, Managing Director of Nurture Development. For 25 years Cormac has helped communities, agencies and governments solve urban and rural development problems not by focusing on the deficiencies of neighbourhoods, towns, villages but by understanding that people, their families and communities, have unique competencies in building community. As Cormac puts it. “Communities can’t know what they need from outside sources until they know what they have themselves internally. And we get this the wrong way round.”
The video games here offer a range of experiences that reshape and challenge our thinking in this direction:
Reimagine Space: Games like Eco and Terra Nil underline our relationship with the land. Not that we need to minimise harm, but that we need to understand our presence and impact so we can balance benefits ecologically.
Reimagine Community: Games like One Hour One Life invite us to contribute to a community for the benefit of future players. Others, like Pilgrims, invite us to understand the interrelated needs of a small community and then use their existing resources to meet these needs. Then there are games like Thousand Threads and Fable that shine a light on inter-related tensions in groups, where helping one person may negatively impact another.
Community Memory: Games like Heaven’s Vault, Treasures of the Aegean and Deep Time Walk illustrate the power of community memory and tradition, and how these things are lost (and recovered) through language.
Community Planning: Games like Mini Metro, Townscaper or Conduct Together put us in the role of planning transportation and provision as opposed to experts. Then there are games like Buildings Have Feelings Too, that disrupt the usual remote dispassionate planning of the lived environment by giving voice to it. Or games like Everything, that invite us to physically inhabit space in a massive range of bodies – from pollen to mountains, antelope to power pylons.
Another interesting voice on the intersection between play and place is Benjamin Stokes. His book, Locally Played, encourages us to “collaborate in the creation, deployment, and study of playful ways to build local connection and restore a critical sense of vitality and even possibility to our civic lives.”
Chess is a game that has stood the test of time. It's the ultimate test of strategy, forward planning and cunning. While there are some games that offer a computer chess experience, more interesting are games that use chess as inspiration.
These games use the familiar movement of the pieces, the ability to plan ahead and the standard grid layout as part of their video game challenge. Although this may sound like a bad idea (why not just play proper chess) many offer a nuanced and intriguing experience. They also have the benefit of being an on-ramp to the world of chess that can be unapproachable.
The games in this list all have chess-like elements, are turn-based and usually played in a grid playfield.
All games make you think in some way or other. However, some are designed to stretch your puzzle-knowhow more than others. There are games that don't lean on reactions or visuals to tell a story. Instead, they offer a conundrum to get you thinking.
I've worked with some people from the Thinky Puzzle Game
movement to track down the best little games that get you thinking. "The devotees of such games have been known to smile at all sorts of diverse puzzles and conundrums. Puzzle games, platformers, number games, word games, games with or without grids, games with or without secrets. Easy games. Hard games. But keep it thinky and save your FPS games and dexterity-intensive platformers for another day."
Many of the games in this list look simple and, well, a bit basic. But that is part of the charm. The clever bit is how their design draws you in and gets you thinking. If you want more like this, you can find helpful people on the Thinky Puzzle Discord group
Video games and toys are two separate things in a child's life. Online and in stores they are sold separately. At home, however, children will move from toys to video games without such strong distinctions. This list draws together all the games that cross over with toys in this way.
Very young players are often drawn to games with toy-like play. Whether Toca Boca
or Sago Mini
offer video game interactions but without missions, tasks or scores. They are games that create space, characters, locations and items for children to make up their own fun.
Then there are games that import physical toys into the play-process of the game. Sometimes this is to have a figure unlock items and save progress like in Skylanders
or sometimes this is to create new ways to interact like Tori
, Hotwheels id or Anki
Video games are complicated. The era of a lone developer making a hit game in their bedrooms is long gone. Or is it? We have found a swath of amazing games that have been driven into existence by just one person.
These games often stand out because of their singular vision and focused scope. Although, as the discussion surrounding this list
has uncovered, almost all games have some contribution from other people. Coding, designing, creating art, writing music, recording dialogue.
Still, these are games where there has been a single driving force (auteur) willing their creation into existence. This list aims to highlight these games not to hold up the ideal of solo development (which can lead to unhealthy work-life balance) but to uncover this deep pool of fascinating games with a singular vision.
As Lewis Procter tweeted
, it's exciting to realise that "you can make a game without needing permission or support from a big company, and many great tools are readily available." But, as he continued, in reality "games are almost always at some level a collaborative effort."
The games we are including here are those that were created by a single person. Sometimes this is in a final form, sometimes a single developers vision was released and has subsequent versions that expands this with more people. This is our thank-you to all these tireless individuals who have created something singular and pure that we now enjoy.
Many games let you create your own items, object or levels. But some are specifically designed for you to do this in order to attract characters and visitors to your creation in the game.
Whether it's the perfect garden in Viva Pinata
, the ideal visitor island in Animal Crossing
or the most thrilling ride in Planet Coaster
, these games are fun because they combine creativity and management.
Then there are games where your attractions are more understated. The ideal home and live to keep your Sims
happy. Or maybe create something that doesn't impact the environment negatively like in Eco
Whatever you create, as well as attract characters in the game, the creations you make are ideal to share with other people (parents and carers maybe) to show them what you've been doing.
Fidget spinners burst into the hands of children a number of years ago. While that initial trend subsided, the interest and enjoyment of tactile objects to fiddle with are very much with us.
Fidget toys are like the yo-yo or Rubik's cube but without the focus on skill. The enjoyment comes from doing something that isn't learning or achieving anything. It's no surprise that there are a number of video games that have picked up on this style of play.
Some games, like The Longing
, Animal Crossing
and Adopt Me
, simple slow down the need to progress, so all you do is check-in, fiddle around with the game world and then leave. Then there are other games, like Townscaper
and Pok Pok Playroom
, that let you craft your own structures but with none of the usual video game emphasis on score and winning. Other games, like Everything
, offer a huge world to poke and prod without getting embroiled with progression.
Even games that do offer a strong sense of story and development often include post-game play or side-quest distractions that are simply there for you to spend time fiddling with rather than winning or losing. Games like A Short Hike
, Alba A Wildlife Adventure
or even No Man's Sky