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Happy Brain with Dopamine Games

You can aid the happiness of your brain by taking on activities that generate key experiences and chemicals:

  • Dopamine for motivation, learning and pleasure.
  • Oxytocin for trust and building relationships.
  • Serotonin for significance and importance.
  • Endorphins for euphoria and elation.

Without dopamine you can be subject to procrastination, low self-esteem, inability to focus and feelings of hopelessness. It's the chemical that can give you determination to accomplish goals, desires and needs.

Along with getting outside for exercise, eating well and nurturing conversations, video games can also help. Games that generate dopamine are those where you can complete repeating tasks, like Fortnite or Rocket League, which have a lot of chances to win or excel. Other games, like Animal Crossing or Adopt Me, offer the the feeling of a job well done. This is increased in games where you are doing this not only for yourself but for the group you are a part of, like playing in a team in Sea of Thieves, Apex Legends or Sky Children of Light, where new players also need help and kindness.

This list includes 21 games from the last 22 years, with 1,120 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to generate dopamine.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to R 18+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Racing, Rhythm, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports and Stealth
Total Likes: 1,120
 

 

Sea of Thieves

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 12-18 year-olds

Release Date: 20/03/2018

Platforms: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

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

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Rare Ltd (@RareLtd)

Players: You can play this with 24 players online

Sea of Thieves is an online game where you are a pirate searching for treasure and adventure. Cast into a large open sea you work with other online players to crew your ship and find treasure. The game has a main story but really focuses on creating...

Rocket League

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/08/2018

Price: Free

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

Genres: Action and Sports

Accessibility: 33 features

Developer: Psyonix Studios (@PsyonixStudios)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 6 players online

Drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It’s another game that sounds ridiculous but is actually a huge amount of fun to play and requires a lot of expertise. What’s not obvious from the start is the level of control that...

Animal Crossing (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-16 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: 28 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

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...

Adopt Me! (Roblox)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6-10 year-olds

Release Date: 14/07/2017

Platforms: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: Play Adopt Me (@PlayAdoptMe)

Players: You can play this with 100 players online

Adopt Me is one of the most popular Roblox games. In a rudimentary way it simulates daily life. You can build a home, look after pets and make friends. Like many Roblox games, it's the combination of an avid community of players...

Minecraft

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6-16 year-olds

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

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, 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: 36 features

Developer: Mojang (@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...

Fortnite

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 9-13 year-olds

Release Date: 25/07/2017, updated in 2018

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Fighting, Open World and Shooting

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Epic Games (@EpicGames)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 100 players online

Fortnite (sometimes misspelled Fortnight) rose to popularity via its Battle Royale mode where 100 players fight against each other in online battles to the death. While they play, using shooting, evasion and building skills to survive, a storm is...

Overwatch

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 24/05/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting and Shooting

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Blizzard Ent (@Blizzard_Ent)

Players: You can play this with 12 players online

Overwatch is a shooting game but with the focus on teamwork and skill rather than violence. Along with games like Rocket League it has professional e-sports competitions where players compete for prizes.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 21/01/1999, updated in 2018

Price: 23% off

Platforms: DS, GameCube, Switch and Wii U

Genres: Action and Fighting

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

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

Super Smash Bros. in its various versions offers real-time brawling battles. The tens of characters are drawn from other video games and each has bespoke moves to learn and perfect.

Splatoon 3 (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: 24 features

Developer: Nintendo (@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...

Apex Legends

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 04/02/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Open World and Shooting

Accessibility: 25 features

Developer: Respawn (@Respawn)

Players: You can play this with 60 players online

Apex Legends is a shooting game where you work with two other players landing on an island and searching for weapons and supplies. You mission is to defeat the other 50 players to be the last team standing.

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: That Game Company (@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...

Bomberman (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 15/03/2018

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

Genres: Action and Fighting

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: Konami (@Konami)

Players: You can play with 8 players in the same room and up to 64 players online

Bomberman is the spiritual ancestor to last-player-standing battles like Fortnite and Apex Legends, but here you all play on the same screen and have the same bomb weapon. There are lots of versions, but in all of them you battle with up to eight...

DayZ

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 03/07/2019

Price: 46% off

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Open World, Shooting and Simulation

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Bohemia Interact (@BohemiaInteract)

Players: You can play this with 60 players online

Day Z (DayZ) is a post-apocalyptic open world survival game. The population are infected with an unknown virus and you play as one of the few who are immune. You fight other survivors for limited resources and weapons. However If you die there are no...

Tetris 99 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/09/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: Arika CO JP (@Arika_CO_JP)

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.

Towerfall

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8-14 year-olds

Release Date: 25/06/2013, updated in 2017

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Platform and Shooting

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: Exok Games (@Exok_Games)

Players: You can play with 6 players in the same room

Each player selects a pixelated knight and fights to eliminate opponents by shooting them with arrows or jumping on their heads. The arena is a single shared screen. What makes it so competitive is the limited resource of arrows and the ability to dodge...

Forza Horizon 5 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-18 year-olds

Release Date: 05/11/2021

Platforms: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Open World, Racing, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 42 features

Developer: We Are Playground (@WeArePlayground)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 72 players online

Forza Horizon 5 is a fast-paced racing game where you drive all manner of different vehicles in races and across the vast open landscape. Building on Forza Horizon 4, this fifth entry to the series is set in Mexico,...

Please, Touch The Artwork

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 4 features

Developer: Studio Waterzooi (@StudioWaterzooi)

Players: This is a single player game

Please, Touch The Artwork is a puzzle game that tells a story with real abstract paintings. Unconventionally it asks, what would happen if we did touch the artwork in museums? The answer is revealed over three stories each focusing on a different...

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Fighting and Platform

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: Fair Play Labs (@FairPlayLabs)

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

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a fighting game similar to Super Smash Bros. The novelty comes not only from its roster of Nickelodeon characters, but also from its fast-paced and intense rounds, rewarding skill...

Itorah

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Role-Playing

Developer: Grimbart Tales (@GrimbartTales)

Players: This is a single player game

Itorah is a running, jumping and fighting game similar to Dead Cells, where you explore a vibrant, handcrafted world, solve a mystery and defeat enemies. The game stands out with an artistic style inspired by Mesoamerican...

Call of Duty: Vanguard (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 05/11/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Open World and Shooting

Developer: SH Games (@SHGames)

Players: You can play this with 48 players online

Call of Duty: Vanguard is a shooting game set during end of the World War II. It's the eighteenth instalment in the Call of Duty series.

Just Shapes & Beats

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/06/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia and Switch

Genres: Action, Rhythm and Simulation

Accessibility: 25 features

Developer: Shapes N Beats (@ShapesNBeats)

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

Just Shapes & Beats is a two player rhythm game where you dodge bullets in time with the music. As well as this unusual premise, play extends the novelty as you have to both avoid the various shapes and move to the Beats. It’s a new spin on the shoot...

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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