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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 33 games from the last 29 years, with 1,082 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: 1,082
 

 

Animal Crossing (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Price: 26% off

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

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 27 features

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...

Roblox

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 7-12 year-olds

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

Accessibility: 14 features

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

Content Rating: PEGI 7

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

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 04/08/2020

Platforms: PC and PS4

Genres: Action, Fighting and Sports

Accessibility: 21 features

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

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6-16 year-olds

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

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

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

Accessibility: 37 features

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)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3-10 year-olds

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

Price: 26% off

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

Genres: Action and Racing

Accessibility: 27 features

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

Content Rating: PEGI 7

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

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 01/10/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: 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...

Journey

Content Rating: PEGI 7

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

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure

Accessibility: 6 features

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...

Splatoon (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8-14 year-olds

Release Date: 21/07/2017

Platforms: Switch and Wii U

Genres: Action and Shooting

Accessibility: 2 features

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

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/09/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Racing

Accessibility: 19 features

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

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 12/12/2017

Platforms: PC, PS4 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...

The Crew 2 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

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

Price: 62% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Open World and Racing

Accessibility: 16 features

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...

Ibb and Obb

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3 and Switch

Genres: Action, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 13 features

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

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch 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...

Just Dance 2021 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

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

Price: 60% off

Platforms: Android, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Web, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Physically Active and Rhythm

Accessibility: 16 features

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....

Feather

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

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...

Sky Children of the Light

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 18/07/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, 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...

Bad Business

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 29/05/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac, PC and Xbox One

Genres: Action and Shooting

Accessibility: 16 features

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.

FIFA (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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

Price: 80% off

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 28 features

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

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

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

Platforms: PS4, Switch 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...

Sticky Terms

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 01/03/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Accessibility: 16 features

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.

Unrailed!

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 23/09/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Creative, Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 22 features

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...

Hypercharge: Unboxed

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 31/01/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Shooting and Strategy

Accessibility: 4 features

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...

Temtem

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 21/01/2020

Platforms: PC, PS5, Switch and Xbox Series X|S

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

Accessibility: 14 features

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 (of which there are 161) while exploring the world. You encounter other creatures controlled by human or computer players...

Tetris (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/09/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: 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.

KartRider (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 31/05/2020

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...

Clash Royale

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 02/03/2016

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.

DotA 2

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 09/06/2013, updated in 2013

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Fighting, Shooting and Strategy

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: @ValveSoftware

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 10 players online

DotA 2 (Defence of the Ancients) is a series of fighting and shooting games where you battle enemies and human-controlled characters in online matches. The aim is to destroy the other team's Ancient artefact using one of the many characters. Similar to...

Clubhouse Games (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

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

Platforms: DS and 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.

Forza Street

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 05/05/2020

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.

Roller Champions

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: Coming soon

Price: Free

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Racing and Sports

Accessibility: 12 features

Developer: @Ubisoft

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 6 players online

Roller Champions is a roller-skating sports game. It's a full-contact battle where you complete laps to score points while keeping opponents at bay. While it may sound a little goofy, considerable skill is required to manoeuvre your player and gain...

Skyblock

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 01/01/2011, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Creative, Fighting, Platform and Strategy

Accessibility: 34 features

Developer: @SkyBlockServer

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 5 players online

Skyblock is a game played on Minecraft servers where you start on a bare island floating in the sky and must gather resources to thrive and reach other players. It's the Minecraft equivalent to being washed up on a desert island and is hugely popular....


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