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Gaming 101: 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.

This list includes 28 games from the last 24 years, with 766 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play your first video game.

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, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Role-Play, Sequencing, Simulation and Strategy
Total Likes: 766
 

 

Wilmot's Warehouse

Release Date: 29/08/2019

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Wilmot's Warehouse is a game for people who like to organise things. You are in charge of a warehouse and must manage 100s of items of stock. These identical square boxes are labelled with rudimentary icons. On your own or with another player, you must...

Florence

Release Date: 14/02/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

This is a little puzzle game that tells the story of a relationship, following the usual stages of loneliness, meeting, dating, falling for and moving in with another person. At first, the puzzle interactions seem trivial and the game doesn’t change...

Mini Metro

Release Date: 06/01/2015

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Create an ordered, efficient underground train system. It sounds like hard work, but the simple Tube-map visuals, calm music, and streamlined interactions make this relaxing, like sudoku. Dip your toe in this strategy challenge and keep the system...

Abzu

Release Date: 02/11/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Abzu is an adventure in a lush underwater world. You descend into the heart of the ocean to find ancient secrets and encounter majestic creatures. This combines the beautiful weightlessness of diving with an ancient story of meaning and place in the world.

Wide Ocean Big Jacket

Release Date: 07/02/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

This is a game about camping. Or rather, it's a game about the conversations you have while you are camping. You follow 13-year-old teenage friends Mord and Ben who recently started dating. The camping trip is with Mord’s Uncle Brad and Aunt Cloanne.

80 Days

Release Date: 31/07/2014, updated in 2019

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

80 Days is a travel and culture discovery game set in 1872, where decisions about your journey around the world impact the course of the story and characters. You play be deciding where to go next and talking to the people you meet to find the right...

Monument Valley (Series)

Release Date: 11/05/2018

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Monument Valley and Monument Valley 2 are puzzle mazes made from optical illusions. You interact with each level to change the pathway and get your character to the exit. Its striking, calm visual theme is used to build atmosphere and slowly reveal a...

Townscaper

Release Date: 30/06/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Web, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Townscaper is a town building toy. You pick colours from the range available and click to put down a house in the sea. As you continue to add houses of different colours the game automatically orientates the architecture for you.

Firewatch

Release Date: 20/09/2016

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Firewatch is an explorative adventure where you play a fire lookout in America’s Shoshone National Forest. It has a relational and conspiracy undertone similar to the podcast/radio drama and Netflix show [link to...

Alto's Odyssey (Series)

Release Date: 19/02/2015, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Descend beautiful mountains, dunes and canyons on a snowboarding journey full of serenity and secrets. All you have to worry about is tapping to jump to avoid chasms, rockfall and other hazards. It’s simple and moreish due to the stunning landscapes...

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.

Bury Me My Love

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

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Don’t be put off by the name and theme of this intriguing game, an adventure played by choosing responses in what looks like a messaging app. You take the role of the husband of a Syrian migrant travelling to Europe. As the game unfolds in real time,...

Old Man's Journey

Release Date: 17/05/2017

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Old Man’s Journey is a game about memory and old age. You help a grandfather-figure traverse the countryside by raising and lowering the landscape. Along the way he visits places that evoke the story of his life: a wife, a child and a love of the sea.

The Longest Road on Earth

Release Date: 20/05/2021

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

The Longest Road on Earth is a narrative game of four chapters about everyday life. You play as different anthropomorphic animals living mundane lives. Its combination of minimal interaction and slow-paced stories aims to uncover moments in time that...

Age of Empires IV (Series)

Release Date: 02/02/1998, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS2 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Age of Empires is a strategy game where you command an ancient civilisation in real-time and must develop from hunter-gatherers to advanced forms of defence and war. This is similar territory to Civilization but focus on...

My Child Lebensborn

Release Date: 08/05/2018, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

You nurture a Lebensborn child in Norway after World War II who faces a hostile community because they’ve been born to parents of both occupied and occupying forces. With meagre resources yourself, you must feed, clothe and bathe the child, but more...

Breath of Light

Release Date: 25/03/2015

Platforms: iOS

Breath of Light is a meditative puzzle game where you guide the breath of light through sand and water. With no score or time-limits and with all levels unlocked from the start, the focus is on relaxation and breathing rather than the challenge and its...

Eastshade

Release Date: 14/08/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Eastshade is a slow exploration game in a world you explore by walking around. Here, though, you play as a painter of landscapes rather than typical hero. Your mission is to paint your deceased mother’s favourite sights, but it's the world and its...

Thomas Was Alone

Release Date: 18/04/2013, updated in 2014

Platforms: PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Control different-coloured rectangles in this simple running, jumping and puzzle solving platform game. It sounds boring and derivative but each of the distinctly coloured shapes comes to life in the game as a character embroiled in this escape story...

A Dark Room

Release Date: 10/06/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

A Dark Room is an adventure where you try and survive in the wild. The world is depicted with just text but leads you into a dense narrative with intriguing visitors and a steadily expanding world. It has a simple start – a single option to stoke a...

That Dragon, Cancer

Release Date: 12/01/2016, updated in 2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

That Dragon, Cancer is a game about a family with a young son who has terminal brain cancer. It sounds off-putting and morbid but this living biography invites you to join the family and find hope, faith and love in the face of an insurmountable...

The First Tree

Release Date: 11/10/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

The First Tree is an exploration narrative game. In a dream, you explore a forest wilderness as a mother fox looking for her cubs. Simultaneously, you revisit childhood memories in spoken reflection from two lovers remembering the dream and their...

Professor Layton (Series)

Release Date: 07/11/2008

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Professor Layton is a puzzle-game series. In different locations, you must solve brainteasers with maths, logic, maze-solving and lateral-thinking skills to move the story on.

Reigns (Series)

Release Date: 11/08/2016

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Take charge of a kingdom, one decision at a time. Each choice is presented to you as a playing card with some advice or a question from one of the 38 different characters. Swipe left or right to make a decision that will impact the church, people,...

Patterned

Release Date: 15/09/2019

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Patterned is a puzzle game where you piece together beautiful patterns. It's a bit like a jigsaw but without the stress of forever finding more blue sky pieces. Each pattern begins as a sketch and you use visual clues to reassemble its scrambled pieces.

Supertype

Release Date: 26/03/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Supertype is a puzzle game you play with letters, but isn't about making words. You use the peculiar shapes of these most familiar of symbols to cover one or more dots on the level. Each letter has different uses as you try and get them to land where...

Not Chess

Release Date: 15/11/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Not Chess is a puzzle game similar to Chess, but you only have one piece, which morphs into whatever piece you take. It's a simple way of getting to grips with some of the basic rules of chess in a low-pressure, single-player environment, while also...

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a whimsical running and jumping game based on the longstanding Nickelodeon cartoon. In a magical world of pirates and cowboys you run, jump and glide through several different areas, fighting enemies and...

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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