Bird Alone is in These Lists
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 Bird Alone in the following lists:
In a culture that often assumes that the route to happiness is with another person, it can benefit us to acknowledge that being alone is not always a bad thing. We teamed up with Courtney Garcia’s Screen Therapy channel
to curate a list of games that give us a chance to experience being alone in different ways.
Garcia’s Screen Therapy
project employs Positive Media Psychology research to highlight and interpret meaningful experiences with games and movies. “With mindfulness, there are even more benefits to gain from intentional consumption of media,” she says, “games can be tools we use to recover or grow, psychologically, and our time with them isn't wasted if they provide us insights or rest we need.”
This list was inspired by the experience of playing the unusually solitary (and long) game The Longing
and the Twitter thread
that followed. In it, you spend 400 elapsed days waiting for the King to wake up and living at a slow pace. The other games offer their own lens on loneliness and solitary seasons of life. These games offer us insight into the benefits of appreciating time alone, such as opportunities for self-reflection, self-discovery, and the chance to curate enriching experiences or environments for ourselves.
Some of the games, like Never Alone
and The Long Dark
place you in a harsh environment that emphasises your diminutive size when faced with the expanse of nature. Other games in the list, like Thomas Was Alone
and Bird Alone
offer you the chance to reflect on friendship and the need to nurture relationships. Then there are games we included like Shadow of the Colossus
that let you get lost in the vastness of its landscape. Finally, a few of the games like The First Tree
invite you to make a connection to other players, once you have come to terms with a journey on your own.
Video games are usually thought to be about fighting, shooting and adrenaline. As regular readers will know, there are video games about everything. Recently I've been noticing games that combine the stewardship of the land and the nurturing of resources.
These games, like Animal Crossing
, present an "ambience of bucolic" and a "reassuring mix of the pastoral and the industrial," wrote Simon Parkin
recently. They offer an escape to simpler times, that provides meaningful work along with the possibility of also working at friendships.
The games collected in this list each offer the chance to escape and absorb yourself tending to a plot of land and nurturing often surprisingly moving relationships. Whether you are diligently cleaning someone's empty flat as in Sunset
, setting up a farm after retiring from your adventures in Littlewood
, reconnecting with grown-up children in The Stillness of The Wind
, nurturing a musical garden in Mutazione
, establishing a coffee shop in Coffee Talk
or even eeking out provisions while you care for children in This War Of Mine
all these games have something to tend to and people to get to know while you do it.
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.
In a culture that holds up youth as an ideal rather than a stage of life, it can be hard to embrace our ageing lives, bodies and dreams. The games in this list offer a chance to step into the shoes of older protagonists as well as spend time with people coming to terms with the ticking clock themselves.
Games include interactions, narratives and characters dealing with all aspects of life (and death). This means that some care is necessary if players are sensitive to losing significant people. But also, games can provide a helpful space in which to process, consider and understand death and loss.
I've come up with some games that explore this topic, along with help and suggestions from Gaming The Mind
), an organisation of UK-based mental health professionals who aim to promote positive mental health within the gaming community. By focusing on the intersection between gaming and mental health, they want to raise awareness of mental health challenges and reduce the stigma surrounding these issues.
"We express grief in different ways depending on our age," they said. "To help children cope with loss, it is important that they receive honest explanations about death, appropriate to their level of understanding. With these games, players may find valuable space in which to acknowledge grief as a completely normal reaction to bereavement."
"The games we have selected don't necessarily offer an ideal way to cope with death but tackle the topic of death openly and with a positive attitude. They can help show the player that they are not alone in what they are going through. Playing these games with young people, and answering questions they might have along the way, can be a useful starting point for important conversations about grief."
Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves "bouncing back" from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.
Games, by design, present players with adversity and much of the joy of gaming comes from taking on and overcoming unnecessary obstacles. Whether you’re saving the universe from an alien invasion or tending crops in your animal community, playing games mimics the process of resilience.
This list of games that can help foster various forms of psychological resilience is compiled with the expert help of Take This
. They aim to decrease the stigma, and increase the support for, mental health in the game enthusiast community and inside the game industry. They encourage a game community that welcomes and supports people experiencing mental health challenges, and that recognizes the humanity and mental health of game creators.
series tell a narrative that you are going to fail. You’re told to give up, but if you ignore this barrage of discouragement you can use it as a way to strengthen your resolve and complete the puzzles even if you have failed twenty times in the process. The Stanley Parable
is all about trying again. You can try and re-try your decision making, reaching a variety of different endings.
Dark Souls is a hallmark for a punishing challenge that require resilience. You journey through elaborate lands to adventure, explore, and take heed lest they encounter a battle with a boss or enemy. Celeste
is the story of Madeline and the enemies she overcomes while climbing Celeste Mountain. The game specifically calls out that Madeline has anxiety, and the challenges she faces in the environment reflect her own internal struggles and triumphs. Cuphead
challenges players to battle relentless bosses in combat-heavy play. Cartoonish and playful, it balances challenging players to grow in skill and offers plenty of entertaining environments and aesthetics to keep you playing.
In Kingdom Hearts
you meet many characters that need help - and many boss battles feel almost insurmountable. With help from friends like Donald and Goofy, the player character Sora overcomes the darkness to save his friends and bring hope back to the world. Death Squared
is a co-op puzzle game where one player’s mistake makes everyone else lose. You learn cooperative resilience in trying again admits humorous judgments from the unseen “hosts” of the game.
In Animal Crossing
you get help from the animal neighbours. You learn to lean on this social and environmental resilience to persevere at building social connections with computer villagers and friends online. Stardew Valley’s
farming is about growing and maintaining a homestead. Interweaving the busy work are relationships with the other villagers, many of whom are social models for resilience in their storylines.
Video games are often thought to be about the quick hit or instant rush of dopamine gratification. In fact, many video games take a long time before they are enjoyable. It takes patience and investment of effort to start making an impact in the game world, and in many ways is actually hard, slow work.
Some games double down on this mechanic, using, as Brad Gallaway recently said "using the real passage of time passing as a way to progress the story or game mechanics. Without cheating a system's clock, they're meant to play out over long periods. Seaman was something like a month, and The Longing can be as much as 400 days."
The games in this list are designed to be played slowly over a large number of days. This includes games like Animal Crossing
, which requires regular visits at particular times of day to progress your island. But it also includes games like The Longing
, that test the player's willingness to wait long periods of time and limit their ability to accelerate progress. Or there are games you can play quickly, but require the real passage of time for certain aspects, like Nier Replicant, forcing you to wait 24 real hours between planting a crop and harvesting it