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Video games are usually non-stop. They invite us onto a ride that takes us to all sorts of places. They invite us to continually engage and interact with the worlds they create. However, some games create space for us to pause the action, sit, and take in the environments they have created.

 
22/12/2021 / 6 months ago

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.

 
05/04/2020 / 2 years ago

The British Academy Games Awards are presented annually to recognise, honour and reward outstanding creative achievement in Games. The awards categories reflect the wealth and diversity of the games sector.

 
13/03/2020 / 2 years ago

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.

 
31/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Video games usually let us step into the role of the hero. Sometimes our heroics result in many henchmen or even innocent bystanders getting killed. But our hearts are thought to be in the right place.

 
05/10/2020 / 21 months ago

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.

 
13/04/2020 / 2 years ago

All games offer you agency. You can win or lose. You can complete them or stop at any time. But there are some games that offer a story that genuinely branches. Where you end up will be different from other players. This not only makes your actions really matter but also gives you a reason to play them again.

 
03/04/2020 / 2 years ago

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.

 
07/05/2020 / 2 years ago

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.

 
07/12/2021 / 6 months ago

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.

 
06/04/2020 / 2 years ago

Raucous, unbounded, exuberant, all-age competitive fun is something video games are known for. Find the right games for your family and you can create important and healthy ways to let off steam, excel and persevere as you sit next to each other on the sofa. These games can play a big part in raising children to be magnanimous in victory and generous in defeat. Kids love competing online, but the games here focus on battling in the same room. Played with multiple controllers and a shared screen, they offer challenges that require real skill and give everyone a chance to rise to the top of the family pile.

 
09/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Many games let you create your own items, object or levels. But some are specifically designed for you to do this in order to attract characters and visitors to your creation in the game.

 
01/06/2020 / 2 years ago

Dungeons and Dragons casts its creative, communicative shadow over adventure video games, much like chess does over puzzle games. Some games try to recreate that D&D feeling with fantasy adventures and grand epic tales drawing on Tolkien-style characters. Others put you in charge of creating the sort of stories that arise during D&D role play sessions.

 
03/02/2022 / 4 months ago

Aphantasia is the inability to visualize. Otherwise known as image-free imagination. When people imagine something they are able to visualize that to a varying degree. At one end of this spectrum are people who have very little ability to visualise things in their mind.

 
01/06/2022 / 4 weeks ago

Autism affects the way people communicate and experience the world around them. It is a spectrum of developmental conditions, including Asperger’s Syndrome. Many autistic people play games to have fun, relax, connect with others and build skills. This is a list of games we have put together with some of Autistica’s Autistica Play Ambassadors, to highlight games that have been enjoyed by autistic people.

 
19/05/2021 / 13 months ago

We invited visually impaired video gamer, activist and campaigner Dr Amy Kavanagh to compile a list of games with helpful, well thought out and intuitive navigation. As a streamer and disability consultant, Amy passionately advocates for gaming to be accessible for everyone...

 
23/04/2021 / 14 months ago

These games go above and beyond just adding a few difficulty settings. They consider a wide range of ability and accessibilities by offering customisable difficulty settings as well as special low pressure or assist modes that aid progress.

 
18/05/2020 / 2 years ago

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.

 
13/09/2021 / 9 months ago

These games’ mechanics and options make it possible to adapt the experience to be accessible for people depending on your physical capabilities.
  • Remap Controls: Remapping buttons and swapping joysticks (like Fortnite) help customize the player’s way to interact with the game, also helping players that use only one hand.
  • No Holding: Some games (like Moving Out) also offer the option to avoid having to hold any buttons down for actions like aiming, opening or equipping. You can use simple taps or toggles instead to reduce muscular fatigue.
  • Sensitivity: Some of these games (like Fortnite) also enable you to adjust control sensitivity as well as controller vibration if that is present.
  • Fewer Buttons: Simpler controls (like FIFA) are good to consider, as well as those that offer extensive difficulty settings.
  • Speed: Reducing how fast a game plays (like Eagle Island) is a helpful setting.
  • Difficulty: Offering customisable difficulty, like how fast a game plays (like Eagle Island) or adding invincibility (like Celeste), and other features allow tailoring the game to the player’s needs.

 
29/04/2019 / 3 years ago

These games, compiled by Christy Smith, have graphics styles or options that make the games easier to see for people with impaired vision. Many of these games include
  • Fonts: Larger, scalable font sizes and bold fonts, like Moving Out.
  • Zoom: Ability to increase the size of all objects on the screen such as in Untitled Goose Game's zoom feature.
  • Contrast: Settings to adjust contrast and brightness, as well as distinct colours with good lighting, like Splatoon.
  • Non-Visual Cues: Sounds and haptic feedback that help direct the player, like Lego games.
  • Colourblind: Modes that invert colours or change colours to accommodate different types of colourblindness, such as in Hue.
  • Screen Readers: Functions that read text and menus as they are highlighted and appear on the screen, such as in Eagle Island.

 
01/01/2000 / 22 years ago

Video games are a medium that can be enjoyed by a diverse audience, but sometimes, Deaf or hard of hearing players can struggle to enjoy a game due to information not being conveyed to them properly. Audio cues without visual indicators or captions, spoken narrative or direction without subtitles, for example.

 
11/05/2000 / 22 years ago

Being able to discern between reliable sources and unreliable sources of information is an important skill for children to develop. This starts with questions of trust and authority but then leads to decisions about how we use and share information ourselves.

 
01/01/2021 / 18 months ago

Jocelyn Brewer coined the phrase Digital Nutrition to introduce a way of thinking about technology that went beyond screen time worries, drug analogies and detoxes. Instead, she encourages us to think about the variety, context and patterns of digital consumption.

 
26/02/2021 / 16 months ago

Video games and toys are two separate things in a child's life. Online and in stores they are sold separately. At home, however, children will move from toys to video games without such strong distinctions. This list draws together all the games that cross over with toys in this way.

 
05/05/2020 / 2 years ago

The PlayStation 5 DualSense controller added new features over the PlayStation 4 DualShock controller. It added a higher-quality microphone, a larger more sensitive touchpad, longer battery and more robust USB C charger cable. That last one is a welcome addition as DualShock controllers charge cables often wore out over time.

 
23/03/2021 / 15 months ago

After the Wii's success, PlayStation added motion controls to its PlayStation 3 controller. Although a novelty at first, this continued to mature in PlayStation 4 games and its DualShock 4 controller that included motion detection as well as a Touchpad and speaker.

 
23/03/2021 / 15 months ago

The best games revealed and updated during the E3 week in 2022. Summer Games Fest, Wholesome Direct, PlayStation State of Play.

 
00/00/0000 / today

There are many reasons, stages of life and circumstances that can leave us feeling isolated and lonely. Being unable to be in the same place as loved ones. Not understanding the modern world. Barriers of mobility or impairments. Social anxiety and other mental health issues.

 
12/06/2020 / 2 years ago

Edge Magazine is a prestigious and long running print magazine. Started in 1993, it became known for good writing and a high bar for game scores. It was three years before Edge gave a game a rating of ten out of ten. These perfect scores are far and few between:
  • Elite (1984)
  • Super Mario Bros. (1985)
  • Exile (1988)
  • Super Mario 64 (1996)
  • GoldenEye 007 (1997)
  • Gran Turismo (1997)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
  • Advance Wars (2001)
  • Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
  • Half-Life 2 (2004)
  • Resident Evil 4 (2005)
  • Halo 3 (2007)
  • The Orange Box (Portal) (2007)
  • Super Mario Galaxy (2007)
  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
  • LittleBigPlanet (2008)
  • Bayonetta (2009)
  • Drop7 (2009)
  • Red Dead Redemption (2010)
  • Super Street Fighter IV (2010)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)
  • Rock Band 3 (2010)
  • Dark Souls (2011)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011)
  • The Last of Us (2013)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
  • Bayonetta 2 (2014)
  • Bloodborne (2015)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

 
18/10/2020 / 20 months ago

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.

 
23/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Eggplant: The Secret Lives of Games, is a podcast that offers a candid conversation with game creators that dives deep into the art, craft, and process of making games. It's an amazing insight into the mind of people who understand and highlight how game/play mechanics can do unexpected, magical and surprising things.

 
04/01/2022 / 5 months ago

Children talking to people they don't know in a video game rings alarm bells. In fact, even if they do know online friends, it can still feel a bit worrying what might be said. Worrying headlines about these conversations going wrong or being co-opted by adults means we rush to limit them.

 
06/01/2022 / 5 months ago

It's easy to assume video games are a disempowering experience for young players, drawing them away from more edifying activities. However there are a lot of games where young players find empowerment.

 
16/02/2022 / 4 months ago

When a young child shines at activities like chess, playing the guitar, maths, tennis, football or public speaking parents and carers are used to recognising talent and helping them develop. However, when a child rises to the top of their age group in competitive video games we are often blind to their talent and opportunities.

 
03/12/2020 / 19 months ago

Video games offer an opportunity to inhabit another body. Whether we step into the powerful frame of a trained marksman or brave adventurer, while we play we have a different sense of our physicality.

 
24/06/2020 / 2 years ago

There's a gap when children are starting to outgrow PEGI 12 rated games but aren't necessarily ready for PEGI 16 rated shooting and fighting experiences. The games in this list offer some options that are genuinely exuberant and exhilarating but with lower levels of violence.

 
17/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Games create virtual worlds where you can experience life from other perspectives. This can be entertaining and light-hearted, but also presents ethical scenarios that require you to think carefully about consequences.

 
04/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Here are our favourite family board games to play together. These offer a chance for players of all ages to gather round a table to talk, laugh, eat and compete. We will be adding to this list over the coming weeks.

 
11/03/2022 / 3 months ago

Fidget spinners burst into the hands of children a number of years ago. While that initial trend subsided, the interest and enjoyment of tactile objects to fiddle with are very much with us.

 
22/06/2021 / a year ago

These games offer ways to consciously step outside the day's stresses and pressures to create space for self-care. This may be to distract yourself with calming unpressured tasks or to visit a world that is tranquil and relaxing or maybe just spend time reflecting on your emotions in a safe space.

 
07/12/2021 / 6 months ago

Video games are not often used in mature cultural spaces. We expect to find them in bedrooms, living rooms, the chip shop and the motorway services. But we don't expect to find them in arts festivals, church services or park gatherings.

 
19/03/2021 / 15 months ago

One of the most exciting aspects of modern video games is playing with other people online. It's a big step from playing something like Mario Kart with family and friends in the same room to going online to play with people you don't know.

 
28/02/2021 / 16 months ago

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.

 
15/10/2021 / 8 months ago

Games use the spaces they create to tell stories. Some games do this by locking you in a key moment where the time of day doesn't change. Other games let you explore and revisit places at different times of day.

 
04/10/2021 / 8 months ago

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.

 
04/10/2021 / 8 months ago

Games for Change is a charity that aims to empower game creators and social innovators to drive real-world change using games and immersive media. These might be games that inspire youth to explore civic issues, learn science skills or look after mental health.

 
21/07/2021 / a year ago

When we wrote the Taming Gaming book we packed the second half with full colour game ‘recipes’ as a resource for parents and families. They are grouped in categories depending on the style of game you are looking for, whether you want to play on your own, or with your family and friends.

 
14/07/2021 / a year ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Action games.

 
18/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Adventure games.

 
17/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at big budget games.

 
15/03/2020 / 2 years ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Creative games.

 
19/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Fighting games.

 
12/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Indie Games.

 
17/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Narrative games.

 
16/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Open World games.

 
17/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Platform games.

 
16/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Puzzle games.

 
17/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Platform games.

 
16/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Rhythm games.

 
17/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Role Playing games.

 
17/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Shooting games.

 
17/11/2021 / 7 months ago

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Strategy games.

 
16/11/2021 / 7 months ago

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.

 
01/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Video games are often thought of as turning children into small cogs in a machine. Unchangeable, uncreative and demanding repetition of players. However, there are many games that offer players a chance to be the creators, inventors and instigators of some of the most marvellous machines.

 
16/06/2021 / 12 months ago

The spaces and places that video games create are often designed with a particular interaction or way to progress through them. However, because games are open to the player, how you play, the direction you move and what you do in the game is up to you.

 
11/01/2021 / 17 months ago

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.

 
09/12/2020 / 18 months ago

Video games are usually thought of as competing with family mealtimes and healthy eating. However, there are many games that develop a good relationship with food and cooking. The games in this list have been selected because cooking is an element of the game play or because they are set in a context where meals and mealtime is important.

 
26/01/2021 / 17 months ago

Success in video games is often framed at the personal level: the last person standing in Fortnite, achieving high viewership on a Twitch stream, the best player in Rocket League. However, many video games choose to focus players on a wider view, on working for the greater good of the world in which they live.

 
09/06/2021 / 12 months ago

Video games are mostly inside experiences. However, they offer experiences that can connect players to a love of gardening and the outside. The games in this list have a garden aspect to their story, game play and interactions.

 
01/02/2021 / 17 months ago

We spend our lives in buildings every day. Our homes, offices, shopping malls, cathedrals, stations, bridges and even public toilets have all been designed. Video games mirror and magnify this built environment in different ways.

 
02/08/2021 / 11 months ago

The dream of being able to fly seems to be a universal human desire. It's not surprising then, that many video games are popular because they grant the player the ability to soar through the air.

 
16/06/2021 / 12 months ago

Video games are sometimes criticised for pillaged historical cultural contexts as places to pitch their shooting battles. Many games do treat historic periods or military battles to embellish the visuals with a realism.

 
16/11/2021 / 7 months ago

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.

 
05/10/2021 / 8 months ago

Science can be a subject that many of us see as something for other people. Physics, Chemistry and Biology is something for the nerds, geeks and highly intelligent children at school and not for us or our children.

 
12/08/2021 / 10 months ago

It’s easy to assume that video games are all about building big cities or running successful economies. There are, however, many games that offer quite the reverse. These games encourage players to consider the impact of their actions on the environment, as well as their interconnectedness to the world in which they live.

 
19/06/2021 / 12 months ago

Online games are often about immediate communication either spoken or typed in the heat of battle or survival. There are some online games that encourage communication much more like writing a letter to someone.

 
06/01/2022 / 5 months ago

Of the different senses, it's easy to overlook the importance of hearing. We encourage children to read, watch and observe. But just as important is to develop more than just cursory listening.

 
05/08/2021 / 10 months ago

Many games use rhythm as a mechanic to involve the player. But this list is devoted to the games that go one step further, and make you feel like you are creating music while you interact with the game. This may be the singing to other characters in Wandersong or Fe, or be contributing to the orchestral soundtrack in games like Flower or LocoRoco.

 
04/04/2020 / 2 years ago

Many video games let children try outside activities and sports. This can be a great way to not only find something new to do outside, but also start to gain some expertease that you can then try in the real world.

 
07/01/2022 / 5 months ago

Video games often create spaces like beautiful paintings. Designers and artists spend years crafting worlds that invite us to interact with realistic or stylised brushstrokes. The games in this list let the play take part in that painting process.

 
07/04/2021 / 14 months ago

We have partnered with the National Literacy Trust to create this resource of video games that encourage and enable reading and writing skills.

 
07/12/2021 / 6 months ago

Studies show that for inhabitants of the western world, life in the modern age has gotten progressively less dangerous and more comfortable with each passing generation. So why as parents do we all seem so afraid for our children? And how do we overcome this fear and let our kids take the necessary risks they need to take in order to thrive?

 
20/10/2021 / 8 months ago

It can seem that all children do these days is stare at their screens and play video games. We worry about screen time and what the violence, addiction and gambling is doing to their brains.

 
12/10/2020 / 20 months ago

There are lots of games that help you exercise and stay fit. We've pulled together a list of the best of these; games that don't just incentivise activity with on-screen rewards but that integrated the workout into the gameplay. We all know about Wii Sports but there are so many other ways that video games can help you stay healthy and active while you can't get out as much.

 
26/04/2020 / 2 years ago

Get Indie is a YouTube channel that aims to aid discovery of really amazing independently made video games. Their approach shuns the common promotion-led cycle of new games, and instead digs deep to fund unusual and compelling games that adults as well as youngers will enjoy playing.

Video games are exciting for children. Like anything popular for youngsters, many dream of being able to work in the video game industry when they get older. However, as a relatively new media it can be hard to know how to help a child inspired to move from hobby to career.

 
25/02/2021 / 16 months ago

Finding games to support and ease the challenges of illness, disorders and disabilities can be a time-consuming task. We have been working with experts in many fields to help individuals identify games they can enjoy, and potentially even benefit from.

 
07/09/2021 / 9 months ago

We've worked with SpecialEffect on this list of games which aims to highlight games that are good for people with reduced fine motor control.

 
14/09/2021 / 9 months ago

We've worked with SpecialEffect on this list of games which aims to highlight games that are good for people with reduced gross motor control.

 
10/12/2021 / 6 months ago

Video games are often considered to be a young person's pastime. These days though, people of all ages play games. The average age of a video game player is late 30's and 31% of 45-64-year-olds in Europe play games regularly.

 
25/05/2021 / 13 months ago

PlayStation 5 Activity Cards are a part of the operating system that provide a quick and easy way to see your progress, and get helping progressing (or finding what you’ve missed) in games. It’s a really neat part of the system that you can pop-up while playing by pressing the PlayStation button on the controller.

 
11/09/2021 / 9 months ago

Video games are complicated. The era of a lone developer making a hit game in their bedrooms is long gone. Or is it? We have found a swath of amazing games that have been driven into existence by just one person.

 
26/11/2021 / 7 months ago

You can aid the happiness of your brain by taking on activities that generate key experiences and chemicals:
  • Dopamine for motivation, learning and pleasure.
  • Oxytocin for trust and building relationships.
  • Serotonin for significance and importance.
  • Endorphins for euphoria and elation.

 
25/10/2021 / 8 months ago

You can aid the happiness of your brain by taking on activities that generate key experiences and chemicals:
  • Dopamine for motivation, learning and pleasure.
  • Oxytocin for trust and building relationships.
  • Serotonin for significance and importance.
  • Endorphins for euphoria and elation.

 
25/10/2021 / 8 months ago

You can aid the happiness of your brain by taking on activities that generate key experiences and chemicals:
  • Dopamine for motivation, learning and pleasure.
  • Oxytocin for trust and building relationships.
  • Serotonin for significance and importance.
  • Endorphins for euphoria and elation.

 
25/10/2021 / 8 months ago

You can aid the happiness of your brain by taking on activities that generate key experiences and chemicals:
  • Dopamine for motivation, learning and pleasure.
  • Oxytocin for trust and building relationships.
  • Serotonin for significance and importance.
  • Endorphins for euphoria and elation.

 
25/10/2021 / 8 months ago

Video games are often known for their gunplay. However, not all shooting games are the same. The simple aiming and firing mechanic is creatively combined with other aspects of play that greatly alters the experience.

 
03/06/2021 / 13 months ago

Some forms of play are timeless. Running around with a stick pretending to be in the army. Chasing each other in games of tag. And, of course, hide and seek. The games in this list offer digital ways to play hide and seek with a variety of different twists.

 
13/05/2020 / 2 years ago

Games that embed a sense of hope by playing them. Sometimes a hopeful story, sometimes a hopeful interaction, and sometimes just an uplifting aesthetic to spend time in. These are games that leave you with an uplifted spirit, maybe not immediately (like Horizon Zero Dawn) but by the time you have finished them.

 
27/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Independent Games Festival (IGF) was founded in 1998 to promote independent video game developers, and innovation in video games. It cultivates innovation and artistry in all forms of interactive media. This aims to uncover how games are rich, diverse, artistic, and culturally significant.

 
25/10/2021 / 8 months ago

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.

 
07/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Video games aren't high on the list of most people's spiritual spaces. However, many games offer experiences that invite you to explore buildings, worlds, cities and the countryside full of potential for spiritual reflection.

 
07/04/2020 / 2 years ago

Some games hold your hand and lead you forward with respect for your time and ability. This is lovely. There are some other games, though, that intentionally make the going tough.

 
20/06/2022 / 10 days ago

The Switch took the motion control Wii Remotes of the Wii and Wii U and attached them to the screen. This offers a versatile way to play on the go or on the TV (with the controllers detached. However, it also means that there are fewer games designed solely around the Joy-Con motion control abilities.

 
08/09/2021 / 9 months ago

For those learning to read, or learning to read English as a second language, video games offer an opportunity play and interact with the meaning of words. Many games include written dialogue or subtitles of the spoken performances, but more interesting in this context are games that use words and sentences as the form of interaction.

 
15/01/2021 / 17 months ago

These are games that involve actual Lego bricks or offer an experience that has the same plug and play building and creating as the classic toy.

 
14/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Not all video games are about shooting, is something we often say to parents. But also, not all shooting games are the same. As you can see in the related lists here there are many ways these games offer competition, collaboration and a challenge to players.

 
09/09/2021 / 9 months ago

Although you can play many multiplayer Switch games on the same system. There are some that let you play with or against other players in the same room but on separate devices.

 
09/02/2022 / 4 months ago

The Nintendo DS and 3DS/2DS offers a feature for some games where you can play on multiple systems with one copy of the game. This is a great way to save money for multiplayer games.

 
01/01/2019 / 3 years ago

Some games are designed to be finished in one go. Others require multiple sittings. But there are some that want to be played over and over again, Groundhog Day-style. These looping experiences are designed to slowly make sense as you repeat the same short period of time.

 
16/06/2022 / 2 weeks ago

It can seem like making a video game is only possible with a degree and lots of complicated equipment. The games on this list let you design and share your own levels just using your controller and tools like Scratch.

 
22/06/2020 / 2 years ago

Sometimes you just want to play the hero. These games are violent and include shooting but, as with B-movies and 1980s TV series, it’s as much about the quips, characters and fantasy settings as it is about killing. The drama may be peppered with cinematic gunfire but, like those TV series, the real draw is spending time with the heroes every week.

 
11/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Games offer us challenges on many levels. When someone plays a game too much it’s easy to think they are taking an easy route to something entertaining, like junk food. But video games are generally hard work. It takes time to understand their systems, mechanics, objectives and worlds.

 
17/10/2020 / 20 months ago

Founded in 1990, American Mensa’s Mind Games® has become one of the most respected national games competitions. The four-day board-game-judging marathon draws Mensans and their guests from across the country where they vote on the year’s five best new-to-market games to be awarded the coveted Mensa Select seal.

 
17/05/2022 / 6 weeks ago

Growing up playing video games has taught us that controllers with two sticks are a good way to move around a game. One controls looking and the other controls movement. Or maybe you prefer a mouse and keyboard?

 
07/12/2021 / 6 months ago

The Wii created a new genre of motion-controlled video games. But it's initially Wii Remote controller was a little limited. Nintendo shortly brought out addition that added more one-to-one detection of movement: Motion Plus.

 
03/07/2020 / 24 months ago

Video games are often known for their gun play. However, not all shooting games are the same. The simple aiming and firing mechanic is creatively combined with other aspects of play that greatly alters the experience.

 
03/06/2020 / 2 years ago

Music has been an important part of video games since specialised sound chips made composing and playing back music possible during the advent of 8-bit home computers in the 80s. This gave many games a unique sound, but it was how the music interacted with gameplay that was really interesting.

 
01/09/2021 / 10 months ago

Each year, journalist Simon Parkin picks the top games for New Yorker magazine. Along with a look back on the major events in video games, these offer a window on the games that stood out for innovation, novel interactions as well as perfect execution.

 
13/12/2021 / 6 months ago

These games are for children under seven years old, who will, with some help, discover activities they want to try that will expand their imaginations while establishing the role of your guidance and engagement as part of the gaming world as they grow up. The more open imagination of young children lends itself to games that offer an open world. Rather than forcing the player in a particular direction open world games let players explore wherever they want. The games here offer unusual and age-appropriate experiences that are often educational but keep the emphasis on the sheer joy of interactive play rather than hard learning.

 
02/03/2020 / 2 years ago

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.

 
16/12/2021 / 6 months ago

Family gaming has been a “thing” since I started writing about games around the time of the Wii. We all know about Minecraft, Roblox, Mario, Fortnite and FIFA. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg of games perfectly poised for you to enjoy with your family.

 
08/12/2021 / 6 months ago

Video games are often enjoyable because they task you with juggling multiple responsibilities at the same time (not unlike other parts of life). However, there are some games that focus on just one aspect of play.

 
06/09/2021 / 9 months ago

The games here can be played with a single button. Although ranging in difficulty they are a good place to start for those needing simpler controls.

 
11/05/2020 / 2 years ago

The Switch console comes with one pair of Joy Cons. These are attached to the Switch in portable mode, and detached when playing on a TV. Some games support multiplayer modes with each player only needing one Joy-Con half to play. This offers a much more affordable way to accommodate more players.

 
04/11/2020 / 20 months ago

Battle Royale games are played online against 100's of other players. They blend different genres of games: survival, exploration, adventure, shooting and scavenging while introducing the last-man-standing gameplay.

 
04/09/2020 / 22 months ago

Cottagecore is an online term celebrating an idealised rural life. Although games are usually considered to be hard, harsh and technological, many of them play to this aesthetic that is sentimental about traditional skills and crafts such as foraging, baking, and pottery.

 
22/06/2021 / a year ago

Video games where you adventure into a harsh setting, try your hardest to survive and slowly develop your abilities but then inevitably die are often called Rogue-likes. This is because one of the first games that offered this style of play was called Rogue.

 
05/07/2020 / 24 months ago

Online games are great because you have a world of opponents to take on and defeat (or be defeated by). But beyond the competitive element of these games are often a strong sense of community and camaraderie.

 
12/04/2020 / 2 years ago

Video games and work don’t usually go together. Not, that is, unless you work in the video game industry. The Safe In Our World charity addresses this world of work and video games to foster positive mental health wellbeing and deliver support for players, developers, publishers and retailers.

 
07/10/2020 / 21 months ago

Games are often thought about as dark places to do dastardly needs you wouldn't in real life. But there are many that take us to bright summer climes. From lens flare to the struggling exposure of our eyes in the sun, video games have loads of tricks to make us feel like it's summer.

 
12/11/2020 / 19 months ago

Video games create spaces for us to go and play. These spaces are sometimes an escape from the real world. Equally, games can help us revel and celebrate the real world.

 
26/10/2020 / 20 months ago

Video games create spaces for us to go and play. These spaces are sometimes an escape from the real world. Equally, games can help us revel and celebrate the real world.

 
05/11/2020 / 20 months ago

We all have a different level of experience, ability and connection to video games. Finding a game to play with another person who has less (or more) expertise of playing can be a challenge.

 
15/01/2021 / 17 months ago

Most online games only work if the person you are wanting to play against has the same system that you have, console, PC or smartphone. There are, however, a growing library of games that offer what is often called cross-play. This lets you play with people on different systems.

 
02/04/2020 / 2 years ago

The Digital Futures Commission's A Vision of Free Play in a Digital World report that outlines the key qualities of "free play" for what "good" looks like in a digital world. The team from 5 Rights Foundation and Digital Futures LSE set out ambitious expectations for children’s free play in all contexts. To claim the label ‘Playful by Design’, digital products and services should adopt seven principles:
  • Be Welcoming: Prioritise digital features that are inclusive, sociable and welcoming to all, reducing hateful communication and forms of exclusion and reflecting multiple identities.
  • Enhance Imagination: Prioritise creative resources and imaginative, open ended play over pre-determined pathways built on popularity metrics or driven by advertising or other commercial pressures.
  • Enable Open-Ended Play: Provide and enhance features that offer easy-to use pathways, flexibility and variety as these support children’s agency and encourage their imaginative, stimulating and open-ended play.
  • No commercial exploitation: Reduce compulsive features designed to prolong user engagement or cultivate dependency on games, apps or platforms, so children’s immersive play is intrinsically motivated and freely chosen.
  • Ensure safety: Ensure children’s play in online spaces is safe, including by giving them control over who can contact them and supplying help when needed.
  • Allow for experimentation: Recognise that exploration, invention and a degree of risk taking is important in children’s play and that the burden should not fall on them always to be cautious or anxious, or to follow rules set by others.
  • Be age-appropriate: Respect the needs of children of different ages by providing age-appropriate opportunities for play, while also allowing for safe intergenerational play.

 
07/12/2021 / 6 months ago

The PlayStation Move controllers look similar to the Wii Remote, although black and with more buttons and a rubber light-up bulb. They offer a different and intuitive way to control compatible games.

 
23/03/2021 / 15 months ago

Communication is a big part of why video games are enjoyable. Games provide this in different ways: voice chat, text chat or maybe just limiting it to pings or bleeps.

 
14/11/2021 / 7 months ago

We are used to books, films and radio programs challenging our assumptions on subjects. Adam Curtis, Louis Theroux and David Attenborough have powerfully used film to change perspectives and values.

 
05/03/2021 / 16 months ago

Growing up playing video games creates a strong sentimental connection to the sounds, sights and feeling those experiences gave you. Returning to these games in adulthood is a un diversion, but often the experience doesn't live up to the memory.

 
04/06/2020 / 2 years ago

Some games are designed with online play. For those that only have local multiplayer, you can use a feature on Steam called Steam Remote Play Together to play these games with a friend in another place as if they were sat next to you. You can use online chat pass the controls back and forth or each control different players to co-operate or compete.

 
26/06/2020 / 2 years ago

Top Gun Maverick has taken more than $500 million at the box office. We loved revisiting the thrill of high speed flight and the nostalgia of Tom Cruise in flight gear. So we set ourselves the task of finding the best Top Gun inspired video games of recent years.

 
13/06/2022 / 2 weeks ago

Games aren't only about quick reactions and shooting things. Many games, like the parlour games of the past, are about communication and quick wits. There is a whole group of games that are more about talking to other players than anything else.

 
05/04/2021 / 15 months ago

Like a good crime drama or whodunnit novel, solving mysteries and puzzles is a good way to engage in a story. However, rather than just watching these mysteries while someone else does the heavy lifting, these video games place you firmly in the role of the detective. Gathering statements, sifting evidence and making intelligent leaps of deduction requires care and attention. These investigations makes these games slower than others, but it’s worth the effort each time you find the correct conclusion and move the story on.

 
06/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Video games are about all sorts of things. Shooting enemies, building forts, winning races and flying to space to name a few. But somedays, you just want some games to make you laugh.

 
12/06/2022 / 2 weeks ago

We've worked with the Mermaids charity to find games that create space for gender identity including trans, non-binary, gender diverse perspectives. Mermaids has been supporting trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families since 1995.

 
11/12/2020 / 18 months ago

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.

 
07/12/2021 / 6 months ago

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.

 
11/02/2021 / 16 months ago

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.

 
06/06/2021 / 12 months ago

The Spiel des Jahres is a prestigious and longstanding award for board and card games. As you may have guessed, the name is German and means Game of the Year. It's been going since 1978 with the purpose of rewarding family-friendly game design, and promoting excellent games in the German market.

 
06/05/2022 / 7 weeks ago

Some shooting games focus on quick reflexes and super-fast reactions. Others aim to recreate a realistic feel of the battle. One way they do this is to encourage players to communicate with each other to win.

 
15/10/2021 / 8 months ago

Games tell stories about people and places. This can be similar to books and films, offering snapshots, flashbacks and poignant scenes that form a life. Because we can explore the spaces where games happen, they can also tell stories by the things we find.

 
10/11/2021 / 7 months ago

Surviving in games is often a key element. Some games, however, make it the main focus. With minimal resources and little light can you make it through to the morning? Can you prepare a shelter as the daylight dwindles in time for you to cope with the lurking creatures of the dark?

 
23/06/2020 / 2 years ago

Video games often place you in positions of power, saving the world, righting the wrongs and bringing justice. Of course, real life isn't neat and tidy like that. There are many games where you are challenged to make difficult decisions and some of those put you in situations without power, where the kindest thing to do is to lie.

 
28/05/2020 / 2 years ago

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.

 
15/05/2020 / 2 years ago

The Besties is a podcast about video games with a focus on a Game of Year format. Although episodes do cover new games like other podcasts, much of the content builds towards yearly Game of the Year shows, and head-to-head showdowns for best games in a series (Zelda, Grand Theft Auto and so on).

"It's Game of the Year meets King of the Hill as four of Earth's best friends – Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Chris Plante, and Russ Frushtick – rank and review their favorite video games. Because shouldn't the world's best friends pick the world's best games?"

 
04/01/2022 / 5 months ago

Realistic poverty isn't a subject that is commonly featured in video games. The medium rarely asks players to balance finances with real world consequences or to experience absolute economic destitution.

 
20/06/2022 / 10 days ago

The Game Awards highlight the best video games each year. It's an award produced and hosted by Geoff Keighley. Games are selected by video game news organizations who then vote on the games to choose the winners in each of the categories.

 
21/06/2021 / a year ago

These are games made by Australian game developers. Some have featured in the Australian Game Developer Awards, but others we have found by researching Australian developers online with the help of the IGEA.

 
25/11/2021 / 7 months ago

There are 2,277 active games companies in the UK employing 20,430 people. The biggest concentration spread through the country in cities and towns like London, Manchester, Brighton, Guildford, Aldershot, Bristol, Sheffield, Glasgow and Liverpool. The UK market for video games reached a record £7bn in 2020.

 
07/12/2021 / 6 months ago

All games make you think in some way or other. However, some are designed to stretch your puzzle-knowhow more than others. There are games that don't lean on reactions or visuals to tell a story. Instead, they offer a conundrum to get you thinking.

 
24/01/2022 / 5 months ago

Video games are a great way for children to play. However, they are also contested spaces often created with profit as well as play in mind. How do we empower children to play, break the rules and self-determination in light of other pressures and owners of these digital spaces?

 
06/01/2022 / 5 months ago

Shooting games are usually a challenge of targeting your enemy accurately while they are moving around. This is complex because of the quick reflexes as well as using two sticks to navigate the 3D environments you are playing in.

 
29/10/2021 / 8 months ago

Games often offer us the chance to step into the shoes of powerful and fantastical characters. These power fantasies are exciting and exhilarating. There are many games that invite us to step into the shoes of the disempowered.

 
08/12/2021 / 6 months ago

These games offer worlds you explore in unusual ways. Maybe it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, or maybe you get a chance to climb and jump athletically. These games put you in touch what it’s like to move more easily or more difficulty than real life.

 
18/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Video games take you to virtual worlds for adventures, challenges and stories. Virtual Reality games extend this experience by putting the world right in front of your eyes and then matching your motions and head movements with the game.

 
11/05/2021 / 13 months ago

While some video games revel in the density and effort required to discover the narrative in their virtual worlds, others want to make it as easy and accessible to make their story your own.

 
03/08/2021 / 11 months ago

Video games are known for high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled entertainment, but there are many that address the player’s emotions as much as their dexterity. Often overlooked by younger or more competitive players, these experiences can provide a helpful variety in the diet of games your family enjoys.
The games selected below create emotionally rich spaces in which to explore scenarios with feelings rather than facts. In some games this is achieved with beautiful or soothing interactive visuals; others create charged relationships and settings that invite players to take a role in processing these emotions.

 
05/03/2020 / 2 years ago

While many games include characters to interact with, some are specifically designed to make relationships a central element. Whether this is during the rounds of a puzzle game amidst a zombie outbreak or as we race cars around a circuit, they can offer a unique way to think deeply about how we relate to each other and to the games people play.

 
08/03/2020 / 2 years ago

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.

 
12/03/2020 / 2 years ago

Chess is a game that has stood the test of time. It's the ultimate test of strategy, forward planning and cunning. While there are some games that offer a computer chess experience, more interesting are games that use chess as inspiration.

 
24/09/2021 / 9 months ago

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.

 
01/04/2020 / 2 years ago

Children love to play exuberant and exciting video games with their friends. While these offer a wide range of benefits, it can be good to transition to something less energetic as the day draws to a close.

 
05/03/2021 / 16 months ago

Play is more fun when it’s shared. This is as true about video games as it is when building a massive sandcastle on the beach or playing hopscotch in the playground. Finding brilliant team games is a great way to involve more people in the fun and share the experience together as a family. More experienced players naturally help novices contribute to the team.
Along with teamwork, the games I’ve selected here use the fact that players are all sitting next to each other.

 
10/03/2020 / 2 years ago

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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