Moving Beyond Mindless Video Game Violence


Author: Jo Robertson

As a mum reading headlines about video games; I could believe they are all about combat and violence. Video games are reported to lead people into a dark world of violent thoughts and evil behaviours. This is the reputation video games get and one that I used to be afraid of as my children got into gaming.

Discovering that there is so much more to video games than shooting and killing has been a big relief. Last week I was writing about games in comparison to the books I read, and how there is a huge breadth of genres and styles. The same goes for video games.

Non-violent, non-combat games might just make you think of cute family games like Go Vacation or puzzle games like Snipperclips but what if you want a bit more bite to your game? What if you love action or adventure, just with more depth and meaning when you play together as a family? Or perhaps you’d like some ideas of non-violent games to steer your teenager towards?

I’ve really enjoyed using the Family Video Game database to discover non-violent games with more mature themes and narratives that require just as much skill as a first-person shooter.

In The Last Guardian you wake in a ruined castle and discover an enormous, winged, cat-like creature. After removing the spears from its body and feeding it, you unchain the beast and a friendship begins. The setting feels dark and eerie but the game is more about creating trust with the creature Trico than any on-going violence.

An interesting game for teens would be Night in the Woods, which follows college dropout Mae Borowski’s return home, where there's something suspicious happening in the nearby woods. There’s no violence but there is intrigue, misbehaving and dealing with the reality of life.

In our Taming Gaming book there is a wealth of information about violence and video games in the chapter ‘The Worries Video Games Cause’. Industry expert James Batchelor expands things in the book:
“It’s important for parents to know that while some games are centred around violence, games - like any other entertainment media - can cover a wide variety of subjects...There truly is so much more to video games than guns and gore.” His non violent game of the day website is another useful resource.

The Family Video Game Database has a huge range of non-violent video games and takes a strict approach to non-violence, even ruling out Mario’s Goomba stomping and catching fish Animal Crossing!

There are other lists of games that may include violence but place the focus and interest elsewhere. Violence in the service of more important issues:
You can also search the database using the categories Commit No Violence, Adventure and PEGI 16+.

Image of the cover of the hardback edition of the Taming Gaming book  by Andy Robertson List of logos of the supporters of the Family Video Game Database  Playability Initiative  AskAboutGames  Parent Zone  Game Well Thank you for using our resource, supported by AskAboutGames, ParentZone and PlayAbility Initiative. We are editorially independent, written by parents for parents, but welcome sponsorship, partnership and suggestions. Email our editor for details on these opportunities.

The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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