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Game Time Uses Real World Clock

Video games create fantasy space in which we play. These are often enjoyable because they are an escape from everyday life. Some, however, want to become a part of our day. One way they do this is to make things happen in the game in accordance with the time (and sometimes date) in the real world.

This can be games like The Longing or Animal Crossing that tie events in the game with the passing of real world time. Maybe you have to wait for a certain number of hours, or maybe you need to come back at a certain time of day. Either way, your in-game play is linked to the real world by the hands of time.

Other games use the real clock to reward you for not playing. Neo: The World Ends With You for example, offers certain types of pins (upgrades) that level up the longer the game has been off. Games like Pokemon have creatures that change form based on the season on your DS clock. Cozy Grove is synced to real world time, and provides 30-60 minutes of new quest content each day.

Mario Party 6 has certain mini-games and game boards that are different in day and night. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker's start-up screen varies depending on the time of day you were playing. In Simpsons Hit and Run, during Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year in the real world you get game characters dressed up in a special outfit. Simpsons Hit and Run also has a different start screen depending on whether it's Christmas or another holiday. Finally, how about Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP that uses the real world lunar cycle so that certain puzzles can only be completed during a full moon, and other elements only during a new moon.

This is a novel thing for games to do. It's also quite useful for families as it means you are usually limited in what you can do in a game in any one day. These games encourage players to pop in for 30 minutes or do, do their tasks for the day, and then leave until tomorrow.

This list includes 26 games from the last 27 years, with 767 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to sync play with real world clock.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 16
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to MA 15+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Collecting, Communication, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy and Traversal
Total Likes: 767
 

 

Wayward Strand

Release Date: 15/09/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Wayward Strand is a narrative game about Casey Beaumaris, intrepid teenage journalist. You visit an airborne hospital, uncover the airship's mysteries, and explore the lives of its inhabitants. It's a Tintin-style point-and-click adventure with a...

Bury Me My Love

Release Date: 26/10/2017, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Bury Me My Love is a narrative adventure game where you play the husband of a Syrian woman, Nour, travelling to Europe. Play involves receiving and sending simple messages where Nout tells you how she is getting on and you influence her choices. It...

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Release Date: 24/03/2003, updated in 2013

Platforms: GameCube and Wii U

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is an adventure game in the Zelda series. This one is set on a group of islands in a vast sea, and follows Link as he attempts to save his sister from the sorcerer Ganon. This soon develops into a struggle to find the...

Pokémon (Series)

Release Date: 27/02/1996, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GBA, Game Boy and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Pokémon Sword and Shield are role-playing games where you explore a fictional world and collect different creatures called Pokémon. You progress through the game by exploring the world, talking to characters and winning turn-based battles with the...

Animal Crossing (Series)

Release Date: 14/12/2001, updated in 2020

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GameCube, Switch and Wii

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

You live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game worlds, it’s the interconnected drama of the world and characters...

Ridiculous Fishing

Release Date: 14/03/2013, updated in 2013

Platforms: iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Ridiculous Fishing is a fishing and shooting game. Unlike any other fishing game, this isn't a sedate wait for the fish to bite. You frantically collect fish on the hook, and then when they reach the surface it turns into a clay pigeon shoot, where you...

Mario Party (Series)

Release Date: 08/10/2010, updated in 2013

Platforms: Switch, Wii and Wii U

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: Dice

Mario Party is an interactive board game. Players roll a dice to move around a board and then compete in different mini-games to earn the chance to throw again or earn points. You play as Nintendo characters and take on challenges that make use of the...

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight Sim 2020) is the latest flight simulator game in the long running series. Along with a huge range of aircraft you can learn to fly, the game recreates the entire Earth using textures and data from data maps...

Cozy Grove

Release Date: 19/03/2021

Platforms: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Cosy Grove is a life-simulation where you camp on a hand-drawn island. You play a scout and explore the ever changing island's forest to find secrets and help the local ghosts. Like Animal Crossing, it has a children's story-book look, but is a...

Lifeline (Series)

Release Date: 16/04/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Lifeline is a narrative adventure where you interact with an astronaut, Taylor via text messages. You help him return home after crashing his aircraft on a foreign planet.

The Garden Path

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

The Garden Path is a slice-of-life simulation game about the small pleasures of gardening. You tend to a world and make it your own through fishing, growing, trading and making new friends. As you do an adventure emerges.

The Simpsons Hit and Run

Release Date: 16/11/2003

Platforms: GameCube, PS2, Wii and Xbox

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

The Simpsons: Hit & Run is adventure game based on the American animated sitcom The Simpsons.

Bird Alone

Release Date: 15/06/2020

Platforms: iOS

Bird Alone is a narrative game where you befriend a bird. Your feathered companion encourages the conversation in the direction of real life worries while you make music, draw pictures and write poetry. It’s a slow game that unfolds in real time with...

Star Stable

Release Date: 01/01/2011, updated in 2022

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Star Stable Online is a hugely popular adventure game where you care for horses, take on daily challenges, solve mysteries and explore a fantasy online world. Originally only available for PC and Mac, it's recently come to mobile devices. Star Stable...

LOCK (Dreams)

Release Date: 17/10/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

LOCK is a puzzle game about escaping rooms. LOCK stands for Logic Operated Combination Keep, referring to a digital password protected door lock. You must discover secret four letter word clues by exploring each space, in order to unlock panels, collect...

Burnout Paradise (Series)

Release Date: 16/03/2018, updated in 2018

Platforms: GameCube, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

The Burnout series is an over-the-top racing game where you’re encouraged to crash, bash and ram other cars. Throughout the series the bravado and crashing increases, but they all have the same novel core gameplay.

World of Warcraft

Release Date: 23/11/2004

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

World of Warcraft (WoW) is an online role-playing game set in the fantasy world of Azeroth. You create a character who works with other players to explore, fight monsters and complete quests. It's a hugely popular game that makes lots of headlines, but...

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Release Date: 27/04/2011, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is an adventure game in miniature. You explore a myth-rich world and use your sword to do battle and evoke spells to solve musical puzzles. It's a world that changes with the moon as you guide your wandering warrior monk.

The Longing

Release Date: 05/03/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

The Longing is a point-and-click adventure about waiting and loneliness. It's an intentionally slow game that takes 400 elapsed days to finish. It draws on the Idle Game genre, where you use minor interactions to incrementally advance. Here though, the...

Moon: Remix RPG Adventure

Release Date: 16/10/1997, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Switch

Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is a role-play adventure set inside another role-playing game where "the hero" has wreaked destruction, killing hundreds of creatures and looting homes. Unusually, you play a supporting character in the game who tries to undo...

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Release Date: 18/11/2022

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet are the latest role-playing games in the longstanding Pokémon franchise, where you explore and catch creatures to battle against other trainers. Taking cues from both the previous [link to game/Pokmon mainline...

The Simpsons: Tapped Out

Release Date: 29/02/2012, updated in 2022

Platforms: Android and iOS

The Simpsons: Tapped Out is a city-building game based on the popular and long-running cartoon. After Homer causes the destruction of Springfield, you complete quests to earn money, unlock buildings and characters, and rebuild the town. The free to...

Skye

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skye is an open-world survival game set in Viking times. You explore a vast 1:4 scale map of the Isle of Skye as you barter with locals, survive the brutal weather, grow crops and hunt animals. The varied and detailed ever-changing world and the expanse...

Fallout Shelter (Series)

Release Date: 14/06/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Fallout Shelter is a time management simulation game. Set in the Fallout wasteland after a nuclear war, you play as an Overseer of an underground bunker. You accrue currency to build rooms, attract people and train them to provide resources, craft...

NationStates

Release Date: 13/11/2002

Platforms: Web

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

NationStates is a government simulation game where you manage a virtual country's administration. You do this by responding to issues which affect your nation's political freedom, civil rights, and economy. It is up to you to decide how your country is...

Ingress Prime

Release Date: 14/12/2013

Platforms: Android and iOS

Ingress (also known as Ingress Prime) is an adventure game that uses your smartphone's GPS to locate you in a game world that correlates with reality. You interact with virtual "portals" located near statues, monuments, civic and historic buildings in...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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