Universal Paperclips 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 Universal Paperclips in the following lists:
Video games contain a lot of maths. Children are often working with complex mathematical concepts without realising it. The temptation is to leverage this maths-play to make learning-games for the classroom. However, as we do that we often unintentionally break what made the experience playful in the first place.
We recently discovered Aha Machine
, that takes a different approach. It provides a series of playful spreadsheets that use dinosaurs, video games and football to inspire and motivate learning. They are brilliant, interactive, free and can be downloaded for use in a school in minutes. What's more they use amazing games as their motivational and reward content in each exercise.
Along with highlighting this brilliant resource, we have worked with creator of Aha Machine, Henry Hartley, to create this list of games that offer experience that get children doing maths without realising it.
This includes games where maths is front and centre, like Twelve a Dozen
or Dicey Dungeons
. But it also includes game that develop math-like investigative thinking, such as Pawnbarian
. Then there are strategy games that are all about the numbers, like Football Chairman Pro
and Universal Paperclips
These games have an educational element to them, but also offer experiences that are good games in their own right. This isn't busywork to trick you into learning, but clever and innovative ways to encounter history, physics, engineering, maths, geography and language subjects without feeling like you are in school. They also teach softer, deeper skills like long term strategy, planning, balancing systems, emotional intelligence, compassion, team-work and self-care.
Some of these games are aimed at younger players to play on their own, but others (as indicated by their PEGI ratings) are better for teenagers or played together in a family. Find some games that pique your interest, read through the details and decide how your child might benefit from playing them.
The progress that large video game publishers are making with low vision or sightless accessibility is impressive. High profile titles like The Last of Us Part II
and Microsoft Flight Simulator
are inspiring and exciting. However, games designed from the ground up for players with low vision or without sight offer many a more satisfying experience.
We’ve worked with Aaron Spelker on this list of games that offer a bespoke experience for low-vision or sightless players. This has expanded our database search for Play Without Sight
and added a new Play Without Sight with VoiceOver
criteria. These games offer experiences that entertain, intrigue and challenge players through spatial audio, text to speech and voice-work. We’re excited about the games here, but first, we want to share Aaron’s story.
Aaron is an author (The Bubonic Reorder
), commentator, accessible game reviewer and father. He runs the Apple iPhone iOS Voiceover Compatible Games
Facebook page where vision-impaired members discover a wide variety of games, swap tips and answer questions.
He has loved console games his entire life. But two and a half years ago, he lost his sight in an accident. “One day I was sighted; the next day I was blind,” as he puts it. He soon sat down to play The Last of Us: Part 2, in the hope of finding an entertaining accessible game but found that the “gameplay felt hollow and unsatisfying”. “The Last of Us: Part 2
has done something exceptional with its extensive accessibility efforts. In fact, I feel guilty that I failed to have a fun experience with the game,” he told us. “But I realized that I was comparing my blind gameplay with my sighted gameplay from earlier years. Playing graphics-rich games as a blind person ultimately made me feel inadequate and depressed. I was so distraught by the interaction that I packed up the controller and have not played a console system since.”
However, my desire to play games did not dissipate. I longed to get lost in a game world. With the loss of my sight, I needed that distraction from life’s daily struggles even more. I began searching the internet for accessible video games for the blind and vision impaired.
He found a deep pool of accessible games on smartphones such as the iPhone and started to work through its catalogue. “While playing these games, I became thoroughly familiar with the iPhone's VoiceOver screen reader. This accessibility tool allows a blind person to have any text on the phone screen read out loud through a series of swipes and taps.”
There were games that went beyond the commonly accessible text adventures, word puzzles and dice games. They were immersive games with 3D Worlds, like A Blind Legend
and A Detective’s Demise.
Or adventure games where the vision-impaired gamer fought enemies, like A Dark Room
. There were also action games where you drove cars (Blind Drive
), manage sports teams (Football Chairman Pro
) and fight dragons (Swordy Quest
“They allowed me to reestablish my love of video games because they are primarily focused on the gameplay rather than high-quality graphics. Therefore, vision-impaired players do not feel left out or left behind. The vision-impaired player can have the same game experience as the sighted player. For me, this was what I needed. It increased my gaming confidence and enjoyment. While I loved 40 years of sighted gaming, I have now found a rich community of non-vision games and gamers to engage with for my next 40 years.”
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.
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
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.
How hard a game is considered to be depends on who is playing it. A three-year-old tackling Zelda will struggle. But equally a new-to-games-parents will find Mutant Mudds
quickly gets beyond them. The games in this list are known for being difficult. They wear the difficulty as a badge of honour. "None shall pass," except this with the will, time and belligerence to get good enough at this particular activity to beat the high bar the game sets.
This might be grappling with the flying mechanics in Rocket League
, getting endlessly lost trying to find the next guardian in Shadow of the Colossus
or coming up with the right tactic to get enough money for the ship you need in Elite
. Of course, some of these games can be made easier, but to play them at their best is to ramp up the difficulty to max (crushing on The Last Of Us
for example) and let them give you all they've got.
The games in this section have been selected because they get players doing absurd activities and chuckling together. It’s tongue-in-cheek entertainment with challenges that don’t take themselves too seriously – not seriously at all, in fact. Video games have their roots in fun and play. This makes them an excellent way to forget the worries of the day and dive into some silly fun together.
Whether it's the crazy puzzles in Baba is You
or Twister-like contortions of Fru
or stomach churningly difficulty of walking in Octodad Deadliest Catch
, these are games that will make you shriek and laugh together. Then there are silly multiplayer games like Super Pole Riders
, Heave Ho
or Wii Party
where parents, carers and children take on bizarre or precarious challenges. The play often descends into giggling and laughter.