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.
This list offers games picked out with the help of Alom Shaha, Physics teacher, author of Mr Shaha’s Marvellous Machines and father of two. His book offers playful projects that teach about the centre of gravity, toroidal vortexes, smoke-rings and electromagnetism. The games here mirror this combination of wonder and hands-on science.
Some of these, like Stormworks, offer a way to experiment with the physics of fluids and gravity. Others, like Townscaper, are a way to see the impact of the built environment. Then there are games like Chicory: A Colorful Tale, that invite players to bring a world to life with paint.
The overlap between real world messy-craft and these games can be through the inspiration of making things. But also, some of the games (like Tearaway) let you download templates to cut, stick and make the video game characters in real life.
This list includes 28 games from the last 21 years, with 494 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to use craft to learn science.