This is our growing library of (91) different Activities that video games have inspired. If your child loves playing games these are a good place to start to expand their interest in new creative, educational, career and outside directions.
We've compiled them from interviewing families for our Game Pathways that capture stories of how particular games have inspired change, new hobbies, inquisitiveness and creativity. We also track how games Transform players in different ways (Skills, Knowledge, Identity, Relationships to name a few).
Here are some recent activities we have added to the database that children who enjoy video games have got up to:
Here are the types of Activity we currently track on the database:
Films and Series
Video games are long running narratives that involve the player in all sorts of fantastical (and everyday) stories. Films and TV Series offer are a natural way for gamers to expand this enjoyment of epic sagas.
Whether it's finding a similar story to a favourite game in a film or series, or expanding knowledge from a game with documentaries there are all manner of choices ready for children who love playing video games.
As well as watching big budget movies and shows, YouTube and similar video platforms offer children access to niche and grassroots content about their favourite games.
The YouTube videos we record in relation to particular games offer a good way to expand those experiences with an eye on quality and tone. You can, of course, find your own videos on YouTube by searching. If you do, it's a good idea to watch these together with your child at first. This ensures you get a feel for the content and to create a context where they will tell you if something they watched was unexpected or unsettling.
Video games take players to different places. Part of the thrill of play is entering an unfamiliar space and discovering new worlds. Or there is the excitement of entering familiar spaces and being granted permission to take on an unfamiliar role.
Because of this, children who love playing video games are primed to enjoy trips to new places. This might be a day out inspired by an experience from a video game. Or it could be a trip that offers a child the chance to use skills they've learnt in a game, in the real world.
Art activities that are inspired and enriched by video games can be anything from music, drawing, painting, writing, photography or creative craft. Games can fuel this sort of creativity in many ways, from the places games take you to, the characters you meet, machines you fix, challenges you take on or emotions of the stories.
The experience of playing many video games is actually quite a lot like that feeling of making art. The way Roger Ebert describes the experience of creative flow is actually a good description of the experience of digital play:
“Anyone who has ever painted or drawn knows the experience of dropping out of the world of words and time. A state of reverie takes over; there is no sensation of the passing of hours. The voice inside our head that allows us to talk to ourselves falls silent, and there is only colour, form, texture and the way things flow together.”
Making and Designing
Games are great inspiration for players to go on and make their own ways to play or puzzles to solve. The worlds and spaces players encounter in video games are unlike the real world, because they have been made to help them on their way.
Video games are made spaces. Spending time in them inevitably leads to the understanding that if this space has been created, maybe I could create something like this of my own.
This can be a design to make your own video game, and there are lots of simple ways to get started with this. But also, games inspire players to make other things with all sorts of purposes and for all sorts of reasons.
Video games are narrative spaces. Along with the reading in games there are also all sorts of associated fiction and non-fiction books that can be a good route into other activities.
There are also books that extend the backstory of a particular game world and its characters or offer players tips for the next time they play. Then there are game-like choose-your-own-adventure books that offer an interactive experience.
Comic books create fantastical worlds similar to video games. These range from weekly comics to larger volumes of graphic novels. You may not be able to control the characters but the sense of ownership and involvement is still strong. This comes not only from the slowly evolving story but the strong community of fans and collectors. Local comic stores are the place to start and are usually very helpful and excited to grab your interest. Free comic book day is the 14th of this month at most stores.
Clubs and Classes
Video games let you try your hand at all sorts of activities. Over weeks, months and sometimes years of play you can perfect your skills and understanding of a particular area of expertise. This means that children who love video games are often keen to find clubs and classes in the real world that offer this same kind of development. Whether it's a chess club at school, meeting with friends regularly to play Warhammer 40,000 or Warhammer Age of Sigmar, gamers are keen attendees.
Although we often see the screen as a hard separator of virtual and physical play, most children move seamlessly between playing video games and playing with toys on the carpet.
There are some games, like Skylanders, that incorporate toys into the play on the screen. Also, there are many game-adjacent toys that extend the imaginative play from the screen to the real world.
Then there are toys that don't have an actual connection to a video game, but offer a play experience that's familiar to children who play a lot of games. This might pick up the adventure or super hero themes from familiar game experiences, but just as popular are toys that invite creative interactions and problem solving in ways familiar from digital play.
Video game communities organise themselves and discuss games in a range of social gatherings. A good way to help children find others to play with, or to ask questions if they get stuck, is to find the Discord groups focused on the game.
Establishing these wider gaming conversations as something you do together with your child also ensures that if anything unsettling or unexpected happens in these conversations, your child is more likely to tell you about it.
As well as being places to connect with players who share a passion about a game, or to ask questions, social networks are also used by players to organise teams and training for competitive experiences.
Video games are (usually) played inside. However, the experience of playing a game often takes you into wild, open, virtual spaces. This means that children who love video games are often really keen to discover ways to take this passion for play out into the real world.
This might be to find a video game themed challenge for the play ground, or perhaps a way to apply their puzzle solving skill in the real world. Either way, children who play video games are primed to enjoy all manner of challenges, games and adventures that take them outside.
Podcast and Music
Video games don't exist in a vacuum. There is a world of conversation and discourse that surround them. A great way to engage in this aspect of play is with a range of video game related podcasts.
As well as podcasts aimed at discussing video games directly, there are a lot of video game adjacent podcasts that gamers enjoy. A good way to support a child's enthusiasm for a particular game is finding related podcasts to enrich the experience. Sometime these are directly about the game, but also it can be good to find podcasts about the general theme or topic of the game as well.