Automation is hailed as the future of work and industry is set for economic rebound. As a result, growing, managing and relating to machines are and will be important skills for children to develop.
The good news is that the process of transferring work tasks to computers and automated mechanisms is something they can try their hand at in the games in this list. Organising tasks and distributing work in the name of efficiency and effectiveness is also a common feature of many games.
We've worked with Game Academy on this list of games that help prepare players for an era where organisations are being rewritten daily, business processes reimagined and the labour market is driven by fusion skills - humans and machines coming together to form new kinds of jobs and work experiences. Game Academy is a tech venture that helps game players make the most of their in-game talent out of game. Using new game analytics, online courses and bootcamps, they help players identify their game and life skills, develop them and link game players to new work and educational opportunities.
Some games like Factorio and Satisfactory look like crafting sandboxes but soon become much more than that. You discover that it will take a very long time to extract and craft the necessary resources manually, and the surrounding monsters are not ready to wait. Automated extraction/production lines come to the rescue and their creation is the main mechanic of the game. Learning Factory is a more peaceful version of factory building. You just need to repair the Martian factory to make goods for cute cats. It also provides some links to machine learning.
Other games provide you with tools to minimise your manual labour. In a game like Stardew Valley, players spend a lot of time watering plants. A lot! But automatic sprinklers save on the grind, greatly simplifying the whole game.
At the other end of the life - and emotional scale - is Graveyard Keeper where you manage a medieval graveyard to get your character to open a portal back to his old world. You have a dozen different activities: gathering resources, brewing drinks, farming and carrying out autopsies - hilarious rather than gruesome tasks, we can assure you. But this is all hard, hard work. Fortunately, there’s a moment when you get the opportunity to create zombies and give them the hard labour. It changes the gameplay dramatically, as well as your fortune and fate.
This list includes 21 games from the last 24 years, with 181 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to automate your game world.