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Develop Critical Thinking

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.

We've worked with Childnet International on this list of games that help children and young people experiment with what they should trust and the potential unintended consequences. Childnet International is an online safety charity working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children and young people. They believe that the internet is a wonderfully positive tool for children and young people. Childnet are also part of the UK Safer Internet Centre and organise Safer Internet Day in the UK every February.

Some of the games, like Thousand Threads, either put them in a world where what people say and believe impacts the other characters. Other games, like Headliner, put the player in charge of information so they can see the consequences first hand of its misuse. There are even games, like Papers Please, that enable the player to police who is and isn't allowed access to information or even access to the country.

As Childnet write, "Critical Thinking is an important skill that we need in order to navigate the internet safely and find the latest news headlines or facts and information. With the amount of content that is online sometimes it’s quite easy to be reading something that is inaccurate without realising."

These games each provide different ways for players to develop critical thinking. They provide a space where trust and authority can be experienced first hand, and where the negative and positive consequences of how we handle these topics play out.

This list includes 21 games from the last 8 years, with 135 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to Critically Assess information.

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DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3+ to PEGI 18+
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Simulation, Strategy and Turn-Based
Total Likes: 135
 

 

Thousand Threads

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 30/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @ThreadsGame

Players: This is a single player game

Thousand Threads is an open world game of consequences. You are free to interact with the world, animals and people however you like, give, take, save, kill, inform, hide, befriend, betray. But how you do this will have ongoing and unavoidable...

Orwell's Animal Farm

Expected Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 10/12/2020

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @Nerial

Players: This is a single player game

Orwell's Animal Farm is an adventure game with a decent slice of strategy, all brought to life with beautiful hand-drawn storybook art. As the name suggests, the game is based on the 1945 literary classic Animal Farm by George Orwell, which uses a farm...

Seasons

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and PlayStation 5

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @ScavStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Seasons is a narrative adventure where you take a bicycle road trip game. You play as a young woman leaving a secluded community, exploring the world for the first time. Collect artefacts and memories as you explore because soon, a mysterious cataclysm...

Umurangi Generation

Expected Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 19/05/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @Veselekov

Players: This is a single player game

Umurangi Generation is an adventure you play by exploring a city and taking photographs. Unlike other games where the photography is secondary, this is the main way you progress. As you do, you discover a story about ecology, friendship and the...

There Is No Game

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 06/10/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @ThereIsNoGame

Players: This is a single player game

There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension is a comedic adventure with a strange twist. From the outset the game’s narrator insists that there is no game to play. As you inevitably ignore his instruction you go on a journey through silly and unexpected video...

Papers, Please

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 08/08/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation Vita and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: @Dukope

Players: This is a single player game

You play the role of a border-crossing immigration officer in the fictional dystopian Eastern Bloc-like country of Arstotzka. You review each immigrant’s and returning citizens’ passports and paperwork according to an increasing list of changing...

Do Not Feed the Monkeys

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 23/10/2018

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: @Fictiorama

Players: This is a single player game

Do Not Feed the Monkeys is an adventure game where you sit at a computer and spy on live video feeds of various events and characters. Your job is to gather information about "the monkeys" while also looking after your character's health and apartment...

Cart Life

Expected Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 25/04/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @RichardHofmeier

Players: This is a single player game

Cart Life is a simulation game where you play one of three street vendors. You attempt to run their shop whilst looking after their health, interests, and families. It has simple visuals, but depicts the realities of the thin-end of life.

Headliner: NoviNews

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 05/10/2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @UnboundCreation

Players: This is a single player game

Headliner: NoviNews is a narrative-driven simulation game where you play as the person in charge of the headlines and stories that are released to the public. Each article you approve from your office has a direct impact of the world outside. Which news...

HoloVista

Expected Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 11/09/2020

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @AconiteCo

Players: This is a single player game

In Holovista is an adventure game you play by taking and sharing photographs. You play as Carmen an up-and-coming architect tasked to live in and take photographs at mysterious mansion and share your thoughts via in-game social media. Your task is...

Alt-Frequencies

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 16/05/2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @AccidentalQ

Players: This is a single player game

Alt-Frequencies is an adventure game played by listen to a series of radio shows. It's a story about people stuck in a time loop without realising it and what you can do to save them.

Pilgrims

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 07/10/2019

Platforms: PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Puzzle and Role-Playing

Developer: @Amanita_Design

Players: This is a single player game

Pilgrims is an adventure game where you help the characters you meet by playing cards. As you progress you assist them to complete their little stories in different ways. It's a little like Scribblenauts, but with less focus on the breadth of options...

The Talos Principle

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 11/12/2014, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Croteam

Players: This is a single player game

The Talos Principle is a narrative driven puzzle game, praised for its cerebral and philosophical nature, where you play an android with a human conscience. You explore environments to complete complex brain-teasing puzzles to collect "sigils".

Change: A Homeless Survival Experience

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 01/05/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @DelveInteractiv

Players: This is a single player game

Change is a survival game where you play a homeless person trying to make it against the odds. It's intentionally hard to do well as you explore an endless city that's different every time you play.

Reigns (Series)

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 11/08/2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Developer: @DevolverDigital

Players: This is a single player game

Take charge of a kingdom, one decision at a time. Each choice is presented to you as a playing card with some advice or a question from one of the 38 different characters. Swipe left or right to make a decision that will impact the church, people,...

Subdefuge

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 07/03/2017

Price: Free-to-start

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Open World, Puzzle, Simulation, Strategy and Turn-Based

Developer: @RonCarmel

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 10 players online

Subterfuge is a strategy game played with human opponents. The game is designed to be played over a week or so, to give players time to talk between goes. This encourages players to team up, trick or double-cross other players to get them to make the...

Bad News

Expected Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 01/12/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Web Browser

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @GetBadNews

Players: This is a single player game

Bad News is a role-play game about building a news media organisation. It's designed to highlight bias in the news by putting you in charge of a series of decisions to build a profitable company. All you do is answer questions, but as you do the...

Disco Elysium

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 15/10/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Stadia and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Developer: @StudioZAUM

Players: This is a single player game

Disco Elysium The Final Cut is a role-playing game set in the fictional city of Revachol where you play Harrier "Harry" Du Bois who must solve a complex murder. Unusually, your choices and actions not only determine how the story unfolds but affect...

Seasons After Fall

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 02/09/2016, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @SwingSwingSub

Players: This is a single player game

Seasons After Fall is a running and jumping game where you traverse through forests in search of the lost spirits of the four seasons. As you progress, you unlock the ability to change the season at will, altering the dynamic of the level and letting...

Knight's Retreat

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 11/02/2021

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @QubyteGames

Players: This is a single player game

Knight's Rereat is a chess-themed puzzle game. It's not played on a chess board, but the pieces do move as they usually do. Rather than check-mate, your aim is to get your Knights back to their home squares in each level.

Factorio

Expected Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 14/08/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @FactorioGame

Players: You can play this with 700 players online

Factorio is a construction strategy game where you crash-land on an alien planet and must harvest resources to create industry to build a rocket to escape (or fall in love with running your factory and stay on longer).


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