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Get Children Automating

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 46 games from the last 31 years, with 579 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.


 

Wilmot's Warehouse

Release Date: 29/08/2019

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Wilmot's Warehouse is a game for people who like to organise things. You are in charge of a warehouse and must manage 100s of items of stock. These identical square boxes are labelled with rudimentary icons. On your own or with another player, you must...

Loop Hero

Release Date: 03/02/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Pieces: Cards

Loop Hero is a dungeon exploring adventure game where you use cards to create a world for your character to survive. Rather than control the hero yourself, you take the role of designer (or Dungeon Master) who use cards to create a world that is hard...

Graveyard Keeper

Release Date: 15/08/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Graveyard Keeper is a funeral-themed role-playing game where you are the caretaker of a local cemetery. You make choices about how to lay out the plot, what services to offer and generally how to make money from your unusual enterprise. The pixilated...

Stardew Valley

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you must also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is inviting for young players to try...

868-Hack

Release Date: 30/08/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

868-HACK is a puzzle game where you hack a computer program to collect as much data as you can. It's a unique puzzle as collecting data triggers more enemies to appear so you walk a delicate balance between collecting as much as possible, but not so...

Astroneer

Release Date: 16/12/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Astroneer is an open-world space adventure where you colonize planets by creating habitable structures, farming and mining resources. There is no specific story, although the challenges of each planet give rise to struggles of achievement to placate the...

Satisfactory

Release Date: 19/03/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Satisfactory is a factory building set on a foreign planet. Like the popular Tycoon and Factory games in Roblox, you start with humble beginnings, you harvest what you can by hand but steadily you build a sprawling empire of automated harvesting...

Farm Together

Release Date: 25/02/2018, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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...

Skyblock

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

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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....

Autonauts

Release Date: 17/10/2019, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

This is an adventure game where you tame new worlds. You start with a blank slate similar to Sim City, but here you must build each dwelling, tool, vehicle yourself. It’s a task that’s too complex for any one person to handle. You are soon forced to...

Forager

Release Date: 18/04/2019

Platforms: Android, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Forager is an open-world adventure where you manage resources in a simple pixel world. The collecting, crafting and consuming requires you to tap buttons. It soon becomes apparent that you need to automate your work if you are to progress effectively....

TerraTech

Release Date: 04/07/2018

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

TerraTech is a construction game where you create vehicles to explore the environment, find resources and craft upgrades. It includes a modular building element where your decisions affect the performance of what you make. Each building block has its...

Tren (Dreams)

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Tren is a puzzle platform game where you explore a hand-crafted world as a wooden train, sailing boats and helicopters. You control points, shunt trucks around, operate cranes and generally move cargo from one location to the next. Like an escape room...

Factorio

Release Date: 14/08/2020, updated in 2022

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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).

Learning Factory

Release Date: 18/02/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Learning Factory is a strategy game where you automate an old factory. Unusually, this isn't to make money and conquer the world but a round about approach to understand cats. Peculiar backstory aside, the game tasks you with renovating the factory,...

Railbound

Release Date: 06/09/2022, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Railbound is a track-bending puzzle game where you lay track, switch points and use tunnels to get the carriages to the engine in the right order. Although it's the puzzles that keep you playing, there's also a real joy in connecting tracks and seeing...

Foundation

Release Date: 01/02/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Foundation is a city-building simulation game where you create networks of supply and consumption in a medieval village. You not only develop structures, gather resources and create your own unique settlement, but also manage the individual needs of...

Ritual of Raven

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Ritual of Raven is a farming game like Stardew Valley but here you add programming code to the inhabitants of the farm to help them grow and harvest the plants. Similarly to Rabbids Coding,...

No Plan B

Release Date: 01/12/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

No Plan B is a tactical role-play game where you plan missions to neutralise various threats. Unusually, you don't directly control your team during the action. Instead, you plan orders for them ahead of time then watch as they execute your commands in...

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Release Date: 25/07/2016

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Quadrilateral Cowboy is an adventure in a 1990 retro-cyberpunk world where you take on covert mission to infiltrate buildings and security systems. You carefully explore each level hacking security by typing commands into your grey-market equipment.

Universal Paperclips

Release Date: 09/10/2017

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Universal Paperclips is an adventure game about making paperclips. It sounds simple, but behind the incremental process of clicking a button to create these paperclips is a story about how the desire to make paperclips (or anything) if fully realised...

Claustrofactory (Dreams)

Release Date: 30/11/2021, updated in 2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Claustrofactory is a time management factory simulation. You build factories on a grid to connect their processes and make products using conveyors and assemblers and pickers. It's an unusual efficiency challenge where the best system will score the...

Air Traffic Controller (Airport Hero)

Release Date: 01/01/1998, updated in 2020

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, PC and PSP

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Air Traffic Controller (Airport Hero) is a series of games where you take charge of an airport. You deal with landing planes, directing them to runways and gates while ensuring things run on time and without accidents. Each session is a unique set of...

Bloons TD 6 (Series)

Release Date: 16/08/2007, updated in 2021

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, DS, Mac, PC, PS4, PSP, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Bloons TD 6, the latest in a series of Bloons TD (Tower Defense) games, is a strategic puzzle game where you use various contraptions to pop balloons before they get to the end of the track. It sounds simple, but quickly escalates with faster-moving and...

Bomb Club

Release Date: 02/08/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Bomb Club is a puzzle game where you use an arsenal of whacky bombs to clear the board with a chain reaction. You place and trigger the bombs to ensure a single chain and complete the level. It's a novel combination of fun explosions and puzzle solving...

Cinco Paus

Release Date: 25/12/2017, updated in 2021

Platforms: iOS

Cinco Paus is a puzzle game where you try and get through 5 rooms picking up treasure as you go. What makes it unusual are the magic wands that help you do this. What appears to be a maze game turns out to be a challenge to discover the effects of each...

Factori

Release Date: 01/07/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Factori is a puzzle game where you use factories to create letters and words by a series of interrelated processes. You start with the letter i and chain together a system of satisfying factories to form words.

Little Fox Train Adventures

Release Date: 29/10/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Little Fox Train Adventures is an interactive narrative game about a fox who drives their train to pick up and deliver different items.

Oddworld Soulstorm (Series)

Release Date: 19/09/1997, updated in 2022

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PS5, PSP, Switch, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Oddworld: Soul Storm is a running and jumping game where you guide members of your species through labyrinthine levels to free them from brutal oppression. It's a remake of 1998's Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus and a sequel to Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty. Its...

Splitter Critters

Release Date: 15/05/2018, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Splitter Critters is a puzzle game where you cut up the world to connect platforms and get to the exit. You split and rearrange each level so you can avoid deadly lasers and create floating swimming pools to guide alien critters back to their spaceship.

Ctrl Alt Ego

Release Date: 22/07/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Ctrl Alt Ego is a puzzle game where you a disembodied character taking control of robots and electronics to move around, interact and solve the puzzles. Using a combination of stealth and problem solving to progress the story and get to the bottom of...

RoboCo

Release Date: 03/11/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

RoboCo is a creative physics-based robot-building game where you design and code robots to perform challenging tasks. With the multitude of parts and templates to build from, there are countless ways to approach each situation, be it by creating an...

Train Valley 2 (Series)

Release Date: 16/09/2015, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Train Valley 2 is a toy train puzzle game where you build a railroad company from the days of the Industrial Revolution into the future. It looks like a kids train-set but simulates real economics of the valley's cities and industries. The result is a...

Common'hood

Release Date: 10/11/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Common'hood is a squatter simulator where you craft the means to survive in an abandoned factory. You work to create a thriving community by growing food, constructing shelters, workshops, and eventually high-tech manufacturing. It stands out for the...

Dungeon and Puzzles

Release Date: 14/01/2021

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Dungeon and Puzzle is a puzzle adventure game where you move through rooms, using your limited number of turns to defeat the monsters, unlock doors and (hopefully) escape. In a novel twist on the format, the monsters don't attack, they merely block your...

Lemmings (Series)

Release Date: 14/02/1991, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PSP and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Lemmings is a series of puzzle games where you guide small (suicidal) creatures to the end of the levels. Unusually, you don't control when or how a character jumps and navigates the areas, but instead, you assign them actions that change the level to...

Megabyte Punch

Release Date: 15/08/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Megabyte Punch is run, jump and fight game where you play a customisable robot. Along with the retro visuals, as you defeat enemy robots you collect their special parts to make yourself the ultimate fighter. At the end you can then battle your robot in...

PixelJunk Monsters (Series)

Release Date: 24/01/2008, updated in 2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PSP, Switch and Wii U

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Pixel Junk Monsters is strategy game where you build defensive towers to defeat a linear march of enemies before they reach your base and kill your creatures.

Robotry

Release Date: 26/10/2022

Platforms: PC, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Robotry is an unusual platform game where you don't have a jump button. Instead you use two analog sticks to control each leg of your robot and in this way you take on a range of puzzles and challenges.

Beglitched

Release Date: 07/10/2016

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Beglitched is a puzzle game that combines Candy Crush's matching with Minesweeper's mapping challenges in missions where you foil computer hackers. Play is first traversing the computer network grid and then taking on hackers in match-three puzzles when...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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