In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Before We Leave in the following lists:
In a world of technology, it’s easy to become disconnected or forgetful of the people we live with and the places we live in. Video games can be a part of this dislocation as screen time diminishes engagement with the real world. But they can also offer ways to reconnect with those around us and find a fresh (helpfully disruptive) perspective on our neighbourhoods.
This list has been created with the help of Cormac Russell
, Managing Director of Nurture Development. For 25 years Cormac has helped communities, agencies and governments solve urban and rural development problems not by focusing on the deficiencies of neighbourhoods, towns, villages but by understanding that people, their families and communities, have unique competencies in building community. As Cormac puts it. “Communities can’t know what they need from outside sources until they know what they have themselves internally. And we get this the wrong way round.”
The video games here offer a range of experiences that reshape and challenge our thinking in this direction:
Reimagine Space: Games like Eco and Terra Nil underline our relationship with the land. Not that we need to minimise harm, but that we need to understand our presence and impact so we can balance benefits ecologically.
Reimagine Community: Games like One Hour One Life invite us to contribute to a community for the benefit of future players. Others, like Pilgrims, invite us to understand the interrelated needs of a small community and then use their existing resources to meet these needs. Then there are games like Thousand Threads and Fable that shine a light on inter-related tensions in groups, where helping one person may negatively impact another.
Community Memory: Games like Heaven’s Vault, Treasures of the Aegean and Deep Time Walk illustrate the power of community memory and tradition, and how these things are lost (and recovered) through language.
Community Planning: Games like Mini Metro, Townscaper or Conduct Together put us in the role of planning transportation and provision as opposed to experts. Then there are games like Buildings Have Feelings Too, that disrupt the usual remote dispassionate planning of the lived environment by giving voice to it. Or games like Everything, that invite us to physically inhabit space in a massive range of bodies – from pollen to mountains, antelope to power pylons.
Another interesting voice on the intersection between play and place is Benjamin Stokes. His book, Locally Played, encourages us to “collaborate in the creation, deployment, and study of playful ways to build local connection and restore a critical sense of vitality and even possibility to our civic lives.”
Video games create worlds and then invite us to play in them. These worlds are sometimes nothing like our own. Others, however, look to recreate life-like spaces, or take the real world and bend it in interesting directions.
Weather is a big part of the experience of a video game. It can create a particular mood, a sense of changing time, or can be used to change the mechanics of your interactions.
Whether it’s a simple puzzle grid, a battlefield or a universe of planets to visit, all games create virtual spaces in which to play. Some of these are simply the background to a campaign - the game’s unfolding drama, missions or challenge. But others invite you to invest in the worlds they create, move in, tend to and inhabit in fantastical ways.
The games in this section invite you to spend time in spaces that have a sense of place, life and character. Worlds that hold history and lore in their landscapes, flora, fauna and inhabitants; environments that respond to your presence and invite you to restore them to their former glory.
Things don’t stay put. You’re the only one keeping the ship afloat. You can’t get people to do what you tell them. The effort you spend doesn’t produce the results it deserves. Well, in these video games you get to wield complete control over people, things, situations or even whole worlds.
If games offer an escape from chaos, these games are particularly good at granting a sense of satisfying agency and power as they do that. Whether it’s ordering the perfect stock room in Wilmot’s Warehouse
, organising your island in Animal Crossing
, perfectly controlling the flow of traffic in Mini Motorways
or even build civilisation just the way you want it in Civilization
the sense of satisfaction and calm from the achievement is second to none.
Time in video games is a valuable thing. Unlike in the real world where it proceeds in a linear fashion, in a game it may speed up, slow down or even go backwards. There are some games where controlling time becomes a crucial and fascinating game mechanic. The best of these integrate your time travelling powers with both characters and narrative to create a compelling experience.
While a significant portion of video games focus on combat and competition, these titles offer a less aggressive way to progress and win. None of these games enable or require the player to cause harm to another living thing -- even Mario's merciless campaign to stomp on every Goomba he meets bars him from this list. Or then there's catching and selling fish in Animal Crossing that rule that one out.
Many of them are aimed at children and families, but you'll be surprised how many explore deeper, more mature themes in their narratives, or require just as much skill as a fast-paced first-person shooter. This means there's plenty of offer for parents who might lack the reflexes (or interest) to survive a round of Fortnite.
We've focused on the games you might not expect to be played non-violently here, but you can find the full list at Non-Violent Games Of the Day
curated by James Batchelor.
In this list, provided by the LTN
(Love Thy Nerd) editors, we bring together video games that have the potential to offer more than entertainment. It starts with 12 with a challenge us to be a good neighbour, and follows with others added over time. LTN exists to be the love of Jesus to nerds and nerd culture, you can read more about them on their website
"What if video games have more to offer than just an exciting diversion into a digital battlefield, fantasy war, or alien invasion? While these types of games are certainly the loudest and most financially successful, there are a growing number of games asking important questions about life, the human condition, and even God."
"Our list is not 'Christian' games, but rather a list of games that pose important spiritual questions to those who play them. These are games that provide us with the opportunity to consider what a truly 'spiritual' life looks like by encouraging us to have empathy for the suffering, love for our neighbours and our enemies, and an imagination vivid enough to contemplate a better world."Journey's
understated yet deep mythology, lack of guidance and mysterious ways it brings players together will have players thinking about the course of their own lives. Dropsy
is, on the surface, a silly point-and-click adventure game about a creepy but misunderstood clown, dig deeper and you’ll see this a game that challenges players to love everyone, even their enemies. Kentucky Route Zero
is at its core, about rediscovery, of adventure-game mechanics and modernist aesthetics, of a more spiritual outlook on the physical world.Gris
is a platformer about the stages of grief that highlights the indelible impact of our most sacred relationships. That Dragon, Cancer
is a game where Ryan and Amy Green share their grief and their hope by drawing us not only into their lives but into the common grace of the Christian faith. Myst
, one of the best selling titles of all time, is a puzzle game about the beauty and mystery of creation. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
is a game about the spiritual impact our most precious relationships have on us. Wandersong
is a game about transforming the world with music. Heroism isn’t measured in bulk or recognition but in the melodic tones of compassion and kindness. The Last Guardian
confronts us with our own self-centredness and challenges us to give rather than merely take.Pyre
is a game about mercy that deconstructs player’s perceptions of winning and losing, encouraging them to see and meet the needs of those who are oppressed. My Child Lebensborn
is a game that challenges players to care for a child born into a fascist regime--this is a game about the power of empathy. Celeste
strikes at the centre of what it means to be a person in all of our messy humanity a wonderful reminder that even when we fall, we are lifted up again through redemptive love, forgiveness, and grace—both for ourselves and for one another.