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Gaming 101: Open World Games

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Open World games.

Video games create space in which to play. Open World games offer a space that is very large, and possibly unlimited. As opposed to games that funnel your movement in a particular direction to create a directed experience, Open World games let you wander in any direction.

These games populate their open worlds with architecture, characters, quests, items and discoveries. The appeal of these games is that when a particularly exciting moment of play occurs it hasn't been pre-ordained by the developer but has emerged from the interactions of the player with the game world.

Open World games come in many forms. Adventures and Role-Playing in large open spaces invite exploration and create a sense of grandeur. Simulation games that offer large explorable worlds offer a chance to experiment with how the games physics, political, economic or even religious models work at scale. Strategy games played in Open Worlds are a chance to innovate techniques that take advantage of the landscape and terrain in which you find yourself.

This list includes 13 games from the last 14 years, with 604 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play your first open world game.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 16
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB TEEN
Australian Ratings: G to M
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Racing, Shooting and Simulation
Total Likes: 604
 

 

Proteus

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 4-12 year-olds

Release Date: 30/01/2013

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3 and PS4

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: A Twisted Tree (@ATwistedTree)

Players: This is a single player game

This game takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land, and rain clouds that blow in from...

Journey

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 11-16 year-olds

Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: That Game Company (@ThatGameCompany)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 2 players online

Journey is an adventure game set in a desert. Exploring the eerie sand-scape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other...

Go Vacation

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3-10 year-olds

Release Date: 01/10/2011, updated in 2018

Platforms: Switch and Wii

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: Bandai Namco US (@BandaiNamcoUS)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room

This is a resort exploration game where 50 mini-games can be discovered and played. The mini-golf, skating, surfing, volleyball, car racing, tennis and other games use the Wii and Switch motion-sensitive controllers and are simple fun for youngsters....

Everything

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: David Oreilly (@DavidOreilly)

Players: This is a single player game

This is an unusual game that simulates a world where you can become any object. It sounds strange and not much fun, but the enjoyment is in discovering how small or how big a thing you can become. From tiny atoms to whole planets and everything in between.

A Short Hike

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2021

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

Genres: Adventure and Open World

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Adam Gryu (@AdamGryu)

Players: This is a single player game

In A Short Hike you play penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to explore the park, help other animals, find...

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: Asobo Studio (@AsoboStudio)

Players: You can play this with 30 players online

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...

The Pathless

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 12/11/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5 and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Giant Squidology (@GiantSquidology)

Players: This is a single player game

The Pathless is a mythic adventure about an archer and an eagle in a vast forest. You use timed button presses to use your bow and discover the open world, and unlock a mystical island and dispel a curse of darkness that grips the world.

Lego City: Undercover

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 04/04/2017

Price: 66% off

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Shooting

Developer: TT Games (@TTGames)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

Lego City Undercover offers an open world to explore. While most Lego games have an open-world element in at least some areas, this one keeps play open throughout so that children can enjoy exploring at their own pace.

Endless Ocean

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 09/11/2007, updated in 2010

Platforms: Wii

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: Arika CO JP (@Arika_CO_JP)

Players: This is a single player game

Endless Ocean (Endless Ocean: Blue World in the US) and its sequel Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep are versions of a diving adventure game where you explore the Manaurai Sea to identify different fish and recover artefacts. As experience is...

Feather

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Samurai Punk (@SamuraiPunk)

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

This game brings you, as a bird, to a beautiful island. You can explore freely, collecting items and soaring on the breeze. Often, other players will join you to create a flock of birds to fly together, making music on the wind. Communication is kept to...

Toy Story 3

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6-12 year-olds

Release Date: 30/09/2010

Platforms: DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Platform

Developer: Asobo Studio (@AsoboStudio)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

Toy Story 3 (Toy Story 3: The Video Game) is a running, jumping and exploration game from the developers who went on to make Disney Infinity. It is loosely based on the film and features the voice cast from the film.

Car Quest

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-11 year-olds

Release Date: 25/10/2018

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Puzzle and Racing

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: E Zone Com (@EZoneCom)

Players: This is a single player game

Car Quest is an exploration puzzle adventure you navigate by driving your car. With no time pressure and a relaxed vibe you can take your time to drive, collect, explore, solve, discover.

The Forgotten City

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/07/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Mod N Story Teller (@ModNStoryTeller)

Players: This is a single player game

The Forgotten City is a mystery adventure. You explore and relive the final days of a cursed Roman city, where if one person sins, everyone dies. It starts as a bewildering array of characters, locations and information but over multiple goes your...

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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