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Get Children Automating

Automation is hailed as the future of work and industry is set for economic rebound. As a result, growing, managing and relating to machines are and will be important skills for children to develop.

The good news is that the process of transferring work tasks to computers and automated mechanisms is something they can try their hand at in the games in this list. Organising tasks and distributing work in the name of efficiency and effectiveness is also a common feature of many games.

We've worked with Game Academy on this list of games that help prepare players for an era where organisations are being rewritten daily, business processes reimagined and the labour market is driven by fusion skills - humans and machines coming together to form new kinds of jobs and work experiences. Game Academy is a tech venture that helps game players make the most of their in-game talent out of game. Using new game analytics, online courses and bootcamps, they help players identify their game and life skills, develop them and link game players to new work and educational opportunities.

Some games like Factorio and Satisfactory look like crafting sandboxes but soon become much more than that. You discover that it will take a very long time to extract and craft the necessary resources manually, and the surrounding monsters are not ready to wait. Automated extraction/production lines come to the rescue and their creation is the main mechanic of the game. Learning Factory is a more peaceful version of factory building. You just need to repair the Martian factory to make goods for cute cats. It also provides some links to machine learning.

Other games provide you with tools to minimise your manual labour. In a game like Stardew Valley, players spend a lot of time watering plants. A lot! But automatic sprinklers save on the grind, greatly simplifying the whole game.

At the other end of the life - and emotional scale - is Graveyard Keeper where you manage a medieval graveyard to get your character to open a portal back to his old world. You have a dozen different activities: gathering resources, brewing drinks, farming and carrying out autopsies - hilarious rather than gruesome tasks, we can assure you. But this is all hard, hard work. Fortunately, there’s a moment when you get the opportunity to create zombies and give them the hard labour. It changes the gameplay dramatically, as well as your fortune and fate.

This list includes 31 games from the last 31 years, with 282 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to automate your game world.


 

Wilmot's Warehouse

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 29/08/2019

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

Genres: Puzzle

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: Finji Co (@FinjiCo)

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

This 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 decipher what...

Loop Hero

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 03/02/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Puzzle, Role-Playing and Strategy

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: F Qteam (@_FQteam)

Players: This is a single player game

Loop Hero is a dungeon exploring adventure game where you use cards to create a world for your character to survive. Rather than control the hero yourself, you take the role of designer (or Dungeon Master) who use cards to create a world that is hard...

Stardew Valley

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

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

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Concerned Ape (@ConcernedApe)

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you must also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is as inviting for young players to...

Astroneer

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 16/12/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: SES dev (@SES_dev)

Players: This is a single player game

Astroneer is an open-world space adventure where you colonize planets by creating habitable structures, farming and mining resources. There is no specific story, although the challenges of each planet give rise to struggles of achievement to placate the...

Farm Together

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 25/02/2018, updated in 0019

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

Genres: Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Milkstone (@Milkstone)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

Farm Together is a low-pressure farm simulator. You develop your farm by yourself or cooperate with your friends. Starting with an empty plot you can grow crops, plant trees, take care of the animals, add buildings and facilities, and unlock new items...

Satisfactory

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 19/03/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Coffee Stain (@Coffee_Stain)

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Satisfactory is a factory building set on a foreign planet. Like the popular Tycoon and Factory games in Roblox, you start with humble beginnings, you harvest what you can by hand but steadily you build a sprawling empire of automated harvesting...

Skyblock

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 01/01/2011, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Creative, Fighting, Platform and Strategy

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: Sky Block Server (@SkyBlockServer)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 5 players online

Skyblock is a game played on Minecraft servers where you start on a bare island floating in the sky and must gather resources to thrive and reach other players. It's the Minecraft equivalent to being washed up on a desert island and is hugely popular....

Autonauts

Release Date: 17/10/2019

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Denki Games (@DenkiGames)

Players: This is a single player game

This is an adventure game where you tame new worlds. You start with a blank slate similar to Sim City, but her you must build each dwelling, tool, vehicle yourself. It’s a task that’s too complex for any one person to handle. You are soon forced to...

Graveyard Keeper

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 15/08/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Lazy Bear Games (@LazyBearGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Graveyard Keeper is a funeral-themed role-playing game where you are the caretaker of a local cemetery. You make choices about how to lay out the plot, what services to offer and generally how to make money from your unusual enterprise. The pixilated...

TerraTech

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 04/07/2018

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

Genres: Action, Creative, Open World, Shooting and Strategy

Developer: Payload Studios (@PayloadStudios)

Players: You can play this with 16 players online

TerraTech is a construction game where you create vehicles to explore the environment, find resources and craft upgrades. It includes a modular building element where your decisions affect the performance of what you make. Each building block has its...

Tren (Dreams)

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-11 year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Genres: Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Johnee B (@Johnee_B)

Players: This is a single player game

Tren is a puzzle platform game where you explore a hand-crafted world as a wooden train, sailing boats and helicopters. You control points, shunt trucks around, operate cranes and generally move cargo from one location to the next. Like an escape room...

Factorio

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 14/08/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Factorio Game (@FactorioGame)

Players: You can play this with 700 players online

Factorio is a construction strategy game where you crash-land on an alien planet and must harvest resources to create industry to build a rocket to escape (or fall in love with running your factory and stay on longer).

Forager

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 18/04/2019

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

Genres: Adventure, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Hop Frog (@_HopFrog)

Players: This is a single player game

Forager is an open-world adventure where you manage resources in a simple pixel world. The collecting, crafting and consuming requires you to tap buttons. It soon becomes apparent that you need to automate your work if you are to progress effectively....

Learning Factory

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/02/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: Luden io (@Luden_io)

Players: This is a single player game

Learning Factory is a strategy game where you automate an old factory. Unusually, this isn't to make money and conquer the world but a round about approach to understand cats. Peculiar backstory aside, the game tasks you with renovating the factory,...

No Plan B

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Shooting, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 30 features

Developer: GF X47 (@GFX47)

Players: This is a single player game

No Plan B is a tactical role-play game where you plan missions to neutralise various threats. Unusually, you don't directly control your team during the action. Instead, you plan orders for them ahead of time then watch as they execute your commands in...

Universal Paperclips

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 09/10/2017

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Point-and-Click, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Flantz (@Flantz)

Players: This is a single player game

Universal Paperclips is an adventure game about making paperclips. It sounds simple, but behind the incremental process of clicking a button to create these paperclips is a story about how the desire to make paperclips (or anything) if fully realised...

868-Hack

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/08/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Smestorp (@Smestorp)

Players: This is a single player game

868-HACK is a puzzle game where you hack a computer program to collect as much data as you can. It's a unique puzzle as collecting data triggers more enemies to appear so you walk a delicate balance between collecting as much as possible, but not so...

Cinco Paus

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 25/12/2017, updated in 2021

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: Smestorp (@Smestorp)

Players: This is a single player game

Cinco Paus is a puzzle game where you try and get through 5 rooms picking up treasure as you go. What makes it unusual are the magic wands that help you do this. What appears to be a maze game turns out to be a challenge to discover the effects of each...

Claustrofactory (Dreams)

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/11/2021, updated in 2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Genres: Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Aecert Gaming (@AecertGaming)

Players: This is a single player game

Claustrofactory is a time management factory simulation. You build factories on a grid to connect their processes and make products using conveyors and assemblers and pickers. It's an unusual efficiency challenge where the best system will score the...

Oddworld Soulstorm (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-13 year-olds

Release Date: 19/09/1997, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PS5, PSP, Switch, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: Oddworld Inc (@OddworldInc)

Players: This is a single player game

Oddworld: Soul Storm is a running and jumping game where you guide members of your species through labyrinthine levels to free them from brutal oppression. It's a remake of 1998's Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus and a sequel to Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty. Its...

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 25/07/2016

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Blendo Games (@BlendoGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Quadrilateral Cowboy is an adventure in a 1990 retro-cyberpunk world where you take on covert mission to infiltrate buildings and security systems. You carefully explore each level hacking security by typing commands into your grey-market equipment.

Lemmings (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 14/02/1991, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PSP and iOS

Genres: Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Exient (@Exient)

Players: This is a single player game

Lemmings is a series of puzzle games where you guide small (suicidal) creatures to the end of the levels. Unusually, you don't control when or how a character jumps and navigates the areas, but instead, you assign them actions that change the level to...

Little Fox Train Adventures

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 2-5 year-olds

Release Date: 29/10/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Developer: Fox and Sheep (@_FoxAndSheep)

Players: This is a single player game

Little Fox Train Adventures is an interactive narrative game about a fox who drives their train to pick up and deliver different items.

Megabyte Punch

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 15/08/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Fighting and Platform

Developer: Reptile Games (@ReptileGames)

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

Megabyte Punch is run, jump and fight game where you play a customisable robot. Along with the retro visuals, as you defeat enemy robots you collect their special parts to make yourself the ultimate fighter. At the end you can then battle your robot in...

PixelJunk Monsters (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 24/01/2008, updated in 2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PSP, Switch and Wii U

Genres: Fighting, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: Pixel Junk News (@PixelJunkNews)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

Pixel Junk Monsters is strategy game where you build defensive towers to defeat a linear march of enemies before they reach your base and kill your creatures.

Splitter Critters

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Release Date: 15/05/2018, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Rac 7 Games (@Rac7Games)

Players: This is a single player game

Splitter Critters is a puzzle game where you cut up the world to connect platforms and get to the exit. You split and rearrange each level so you can avoid deadly lasers and create floating swimming pools to guide alien critters back to their spaceship.

Train Valley 2

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: 15/04/2019

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Flazm Games (@FlazmGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Train Valley 2 is a toy train puzzle game where you build a railroad company from the days of the Industrial Revolution into the future. It looks like a kids train-set but simulates real economics of the valley's cities and industries. The result is a...

MouseCraft

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 25/02/2015, updated in 2020

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

Genres: Creative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Crunching Koalas (@CrunchingKoalas)

Players: This is a single player game

MouseCraft is a puzzle game where you guide mice to the cheese at the end of each level. Interestingly, you don't control the mice directly; instead, you place down blocks and items that can help them reach the end, in a way similar to [link to...

Bloons TD 6 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 16/08/2007, updated in 2021

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, DS, Mac, PC, PS4, PSP, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Ninja Kiwi Games (@NinjaKiwiGames)

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Bloons TD 6, the latest in a series of Bloons TD (Tower Defense) games, is a strategic puzzle game where you use various contraptions to pop balloons before they get to the end of the track. It sounds simple, but quickly escalates with faster-moving and...

Factori

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-13 year-olds

Release Date: 01/07/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: Star Garden Games (@StarGardenGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Factori is a puzzle game where you use factories to create letters and word by a series of interrelated processes. You start with the letter i and chain together a system of satisfying factories to form words.

Starship Patrol

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/12/2009, updated in 2011

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS and DS

Genres: Puzzle, Shooting and Strategy

Developer: Pixel Junk News (@PixelJunkNews)

Players: This is a single player game

Starship Patrol (Starship Defense) is a shooting game where you defend your ship from waves of enemy attackers. You have a combination of static guns and defence ships to form an efficient strategy. It's well executed, but most unusual for its hand...

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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