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Worried about your children's video games? Get the book that inspired the database. This guide will grant you the confidence to understand and anchor video games as a healthy part of family life. Discover practical advice and insights from the latest research and guidance from psychologists, industry experts, educational bodies and children's charities.
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First Steps Into Online Video Games

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.

With the benefits and opportunities of online play come the issues and potential dangers of children interacting with people they don't know. We've worked with the Breck Foundation to create this list of games that are great for parents, carers and children to take first steps online together.

The Breck Foundation is a charity founded by Lorin LaFave after the tragic burder of her 14-year old son, Breck Bednar, in 2014, through online grooming. Breck was groomed while enjoying his passions of computing and gaming. The foundation aims to ensure that no child is harmed through grooming and exploitation while enjoying their time on the internet.

After speaking with Lorin on BBC Radio, together, we hatched an idea to offer this resource to help anchor online gaming as a part of family life. By playing online with your child from an early age you create a context where mistakes are made together. This establishes an open conversation where your child is more likely to tell you if something happens online that doesn't feel right, and more likely to listen to your ongoing advice and guidance.

This works with Breck Foundation's, ‘Play virtual, Live real’ motto that reminds children to never meet up alone in a private place with someone they have met only online, to ensure that online play is safe, enjoyable and connected to attentive adults.

The games in this list offer small steps to go from local play to online play. Some games, like Roblox are designed for young players with lots of special safety settings. Other games, like Sky, are designed to lead players into co-operating with each other with in-game purchases you give away, and interactions that start limited and expand as you gain experience. Then there are co-operative games like Ibb and Obb where you work together and communicate with gestures on the screen.

You can use Family Settings and Parental Controls on your system to limit how your child interacts with other players online. As well as finding the right games to get them started, it's also important that you play with them and keep game screens in shared family spaces so you can see what they are doing.

This list includes 30 games from the last 29 years, with 888 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to dip your toe into online games.

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DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3+ to PEGI 12+
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB TEEN
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Puzzle, Racing, Rhythm, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Strategy and Turn-Based
Total Likes: 888

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Animal Crossing (Series)

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Release Date: 14/12/2001, updated in 2020

Platforms: GameCube, Nintendo 2DS|3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Wii

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @NintendoAmerica

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

You live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game worlds, it’s the interconnected drama of the world and characters...

Game image Roblox

Roblox

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Roblox

Rating:

Release Date: 15/06/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Platform, Puzzle, Rhythm, Role-Playing and Strategy

Developer: @Roblox

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 100 players online

In this game, amateur game-makers create simple online games that often mimic real-world grown-up scenarios, like working in a pizza restaurant, surviving natural disasters, escaping prison, scuba diving or playing hide-and-seek. The library of games is...

MeepCity

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Release Date: 23/02/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Creative, Open World and Role-Playing

Developer: @Alexnewtron

Players: You can play this with 50 players online

MeepCity is a popular Roblox Game. It's a social game where you role-play a character to interact with other people and customise their look. Like Toontown Online or the now defunct Club Penguin, MeepCity is an evolving virtual space for players to...

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Rating:

Release Date: 04/08/2020

Platforms: PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Fighting and Sports

Developer: @FallGuysGame

Players: You can play this with 60 players online

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a whacky obstacle race where up to 60 people compete to get to the end of the course and advance to the next round. Drawing on TV shows like Takeshi's Castle, Wipeout or It's a Knock Out you have to control top-heavy...

Minecraft

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Release Date: 23/11/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo 2DS|3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Creative, Fighting, Open World, Platform and Shooting

Developer: @Mojang

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

Although Minecraft – where players place blocks to build structures, sculpt the landscape and create adventures – is the best-selling game of all time, some of the best aspects of it are little known. Along with the exploration, building and...

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 27/08/1992, updated in 2018

Price: Free-to-start

Platforms: GameCube, Nintendo 2DS|3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Switch and iOS

Genres: Action and Racing

Developer: @Nintendo

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

Mario Kart is a go-kart racing game on Nintendo systems. You race against other Nintendo characters around different circuits, picking up power ups, attacks and speed boosts. It is frantic and chaotic, but still requires skills to do well at.

Royale High

Rating:

Release Date: 04/10/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Role-Playing

Developer: @NightBarbie

Players: You can play this with 100 players online

Royale High Roblox is a role play game about a fantasy school. You dress-up, visit different themed realms collecting items and interacting with other people. It draws inspiration from the pageantry world and integrates it with different locations to...

Super Mario Bros. 35

Rating:

Release Date: 01/10/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Genres: Action and Platform

Developer: @Arika_co_jp

Players: You can play this with 35 players online

Super Mario Bros.35 is Mario combined with Fortnite's battle royale online competition. You play a Mario game, but as you score points you send one of the other 35 players enemies and hazards. Jump on a Koopa and send it to the leader on points or...

Splatoon (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 21/07/2017

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Wii U

Genres: Action and Shooting

Developer: @Nintendo

Players: You can play with 8 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

Splatoon on the Wii U, Splatoon 2 and Splatoon 3 on the Switch are games where you shoot ink rather than bullets in this deeply skilled combat game. As well as taking out opponents, teams work together to cover the arena with their colour of ink. This...

Hotshot Racing

Rating:

Release Date: 10/09/2020

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

Genres: Racing

Developer: @CurveDigital

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

Hotshot Racing is a simple and fast racing game. You have to drift round corners, hit the apex on razor-sharp bends in coastal, jungle, alpine and Las Vegas desert environments.

Gang Beasts

Rating:

Release Date: 12/12/2017

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting and Simulation

Developer: @Coatsink

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

Gang Beasts is an over the top brawling game where you play wobbly characters who kick, throw, push, pull and pummel up to seven other rivals to win. The game models real physics so you have to work with the grappling and jelly-like bodies to both get...

Journey

Rating:

Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure

Developer: @ThatGameCompany

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 2 players online

This is an adventure in a desert. Exploring the eerie sand-scape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other players, one...

Just Dance 2021 (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 17/11/2009, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Stadia, Web Browser, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Physically Active and Rhythm

Developer: @Ubisoft

Players: You can play with 6 players in the same room and up to 64 players online

Dancing in front of each other isn’t something we often do in families. Just Dance is released with new songs and features each year. It gets parents, carers, children and even grandparents off the couch and dancing along with the on-screen moves....

Ibb and Obb

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Release Date: 01/08/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 3

Genres: Action, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @Sparpweed

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

Ibb & Obb is a puzzle game where you run, jump, land on enemies and solve momentum puzzles. The novelty is that it's a game designed for co-operation. One player controls the green creature, Ibb, and the other controls the pink creature, Obb. The world...

Farm Together

Rating:

Release Date: 25/02/2018, updated in 0019

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

Genres: Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @Milkstone

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

Farm Together is a low-pressure farm simulator. You develop your farm by yourself or cooperate with your friends. Starting with an empty plot you can grow crops, plant trees, take care of the animals, add buildings and facilities, and unlock new items...

The Crew 2 (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 02/12/2014, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Stadia and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Open World and Racing

Developer: @IvoryTowerOffic

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 8 players online

The Crew is a series of open-world racing and exploration games set in a scaled down version of the United States. The emphasis is on enjoyable and exciting driving more than realism. It's a lot like Forza Horizon, although can be played on PlayStation...

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FIFA

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FIFA (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 15/12/1993, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo 2DS|3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Stadia, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Simulation and Sports

Developer: @EA

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

FIFA is one of the two main football video games (the other being Pro Evolution). Each year it's released with improved visuals, more realistic physics and enhanced competitive play. For those that follow the game closely and play it a lot, it offers a...

Horizon Chase Turbo

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Release Date: 08/11/2018, updated in 2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Racing

Developer: @AquirisGS

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

This is an arcade racing game with the focus on competitive fun rather than realism; its graphics make it look like it was plucked from the nineties’ arcades, with a nod to Outrun and Lotus Turbo Challenge. It balances modern affordances with retro...

Sky Children of the Light

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Release Date: 18/07/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch and iOS

Genres: Action, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @ThatGameCompany

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 8 players online

Sky Children of the Light (Sky Children of Light) is a huge open-world online game designed to create altruism between players. From the developer of Flower and Journey, it takes you on a social adventure in an ever-expanding world with up to 8 other...

Tetris (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 20/09/2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @AlexeyPajitnov9

Players: You can play this with 100 players online

Tetris is a longstanding puzzle game where you make horizontal lines by placing different shaped tiles in a well. It's simple and fun, but as the pieces speed up it gets increasingly difficult.

Temtem

Rating:

Release Date: 21/01/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Turn-Based

Developer: @playtemtem

Players: You can play this with 100 players online

Temtem is a role-play game like Pokemon but played online against loads of other players. You collect and train Temtem creatures 9of which there are 161) while exploring the world. You encounter other creatures controlled by human or computer players...

Unrailed!

Rating:

Release Date: 23/09/2020

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

Genres: Creative, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: @IndoorAstronaut

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

Unrailed! is a co-op strategy game where you work with friends to build a train line across endless landscapes. Along with finding the resources to build track, bridges and tunnels you need to deal with local inhabitants, upgrade your train, and watch...

Feather

Rating:

Release Date: 05/04/2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @SamuraiPunk

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

This game brings you, as a bird, to a beautiful island. You can explore freely, collecting items and soaring on the breeze. Often, other players will join you to create a flock of birds to fly together, making music on the wind. Communication is kept to...

KartRider (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 31/05/2020

Price: Free-to-start

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Racing, Simulation and Sports

Developer: @Nexon_America

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

KartRider is an online kart racing game. You race and customise your kart on a variety of different circuits. Along with the usual fantasy vehicles this includes real cars. It's similar to Mario Kart and has power-ups and drift...

Bad Business

Rating:

Release Date: 29/05/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac, PC and Xbox One

Genres: Action and Shooting

Developer: @RuddevMedia

Players: You can play this with 10 players online

Bad Business on Roblox, is a first-person shooting game. It's similar to Call of Duty and Battlefield with shooting, running and sniping with different weapons.

Clash Royale

Rating:

Release Date: 02/03/2016

Price: Free-to-start

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Action, Fighting and Strategy

Developer: @Supercell

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Clash Royale is a real-time strategy game where you collect cards to gain units and powers for a player vs. player battle. It's like a simpler version of Clash of Clans.

Clubhouse Games (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 29/09/2006, updated in 2020

Platforms: Nintendo DS and Nintendo Switch

Genres: Action, Platform, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: @Clubhouse

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

Clubhouse Games, is a series that offers classic board and card games in one large bundle. It's not only great value but introduces children to a wide range of real-world games to play with the family.

Sticky Terms

Rating:

Release Date: 01/03/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @Kamibox_ph

Players: This is a single player game

Sticky Terms is a puzzle game where you construct words from other languages with portions of letters. You rotate, drag and overlap the different elements to create words, once you do you are rewarded with a drum hit and a definition of the word.

Hypercharge: Unboxed

Rating:

Release Date: 31/01/2020

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Shooting and Strategy

Developer: @DCyberCherries

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

Hypercharge: Unboxed is a shooting game where you play a small toy from the 1990s in human-sized arenas like a toy shop, back garden and a garage. It combines base defence play with exploration and collection running and jumping in a wide range of...

Forza Street

Rating:

Release Date: 05/05/2020

Price: Free-to-start

Platforms: PC and iOS

Genres: Racing

Developer: @Turn10Studios

Players: This is a single player game

Forza Street is a simpler racing game from the team behind Forza Motorsport. You race other players to earn and purchase a lineup of high powered cars. Races are quick and focus on the cinematic rather than realism.


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