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Play At Working

Video games and work don’t usually go together. Not, that is, unless you work in the video game industry. The Safe In Our World charity addresses this world of work and video games to foster positive mental health wellbeing and deliver support for players, developers, publishers and retailers.

Image 244“The worlds we create are a refuge for many,” they say about video games, to highlight the importance of also looking after those people who make these amazing spaces. They have some excellent resources available for free and global helplines for a range of emotions and stresses people might be feeling, not to mention some great training resources for companies. Most recent is their Level Up campaign that challenges businesses within the video games industry to unite and commit to change.

The games in this list offer space to reflect and escape work for a while. But not only to get some distance, but to play something that shines a light on why we do what we do. Some address the world of work directly, while others enable us to consider our choices about how we spend our working hours.

Whether it’s escaping for a lunchtime walk with A Short Hike. Trying to manage crunch time with Going Under, or not succumbing to Tom Nook’s invitation for ever bigger mortgages in Animal Crossing, there are lots of games that can help us find some balance.

Other games, like Coffee Talk and Neo Cab help us consider the people we serve at work. This might be conversations with customers, but also the other people we work with in the office or workplace we find ourselves in. Like the game Good Job encourages us to do.

Then there are games that make us aware of our co-workers. Whether it’s collaborating to identify and store stock in Wilmot’s Warehouse or getting the furniture into the van neatly in Moving Out, how we work together and treat the people around us is important.

This list includes 88 games from the last 24 years, with 2,390 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to see work in a new light.


 

Apico

Release Date: 20/05/2022, updated in 2022

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Apico is a simulation game where you play a beekeeper and conservationist. You explore environments, breed rare bees and release them into the wild, while growing your business. There are no enemies, time constraints or set objectives so you can focus...

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...

My Time At Portia

Release Date: 15/01/2019, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

This game is set after civilization has been destroyed, and humans are emerging from underground to rebuilding society. By gathering resources, crafting and building you slowly gain the tools to collect food, store grain, chop trees and build dwellings....

Style Boutique / Savvy Style (Series)

Release Date: 23/10/2008, updated in 2017

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS and DS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Style Boutique (Style Savvy) is a role play game where you play a fashion shop owner. You work on the style of your fashion collection as well as your own clothes, makeup and so on.

Mini Metro

Release Date: 06/01/2015

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Create an ordered, efficient underground train system. It sounds like hard work, but the simple Tube-map visuals, calm music, and streamlined interactions make this relaxing, like sudoku. Dip your toe in this strategy challenge and keep the system...

Animal Crossing (Series)

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

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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...

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight Sim 2020) is the latest flight simulator game in the long running series. Along with a huge range of aircraft you can learn to fly, the game recreates the entire Earth using textures and data from data maps...

A Short Hike

Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

In A Short Hike you play penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to explore the park, help other animals, find...

Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Release Date: 28/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Stormworks is an open world adventure where you design, build and pilot your own air sea rescue service. You create programmable vehicles using it's block-building system and pilot them into dangerous situations to rescue stricken vessels or...

Welcome to Bloxburg (Roblox)

Release Date: 01/11/2014

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

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Welcome to Bloxburg is a simulation Roblox game where you take on daily activities in a fictional city. Drawing on gameplay from The Sims, you care for your character and keep their mood positive, by building and customizing your house, learning skills...

Pokémon Cafe Mix

Release Date: 15/12/2020

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Pokemon Cafe Mix is a puzzle game. Similar to the icon-connection challenge of Disney Tsum Tsum, you play as Eevee and delivering orders in a cafe by linking Pokemon icons in a ring. It's a low pressure puzzle with a swirl-to-connect interaction that is...

Bake 'n Switch

Release Date: 10/09/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Bake 'n Switch is a puzzle fighting game where 2-4 players are apprentice bakers fighting the "Mould" and taking on various Guardian bosses. It's ridiculously cute and a lot of silly fun, as you catch, merge and sacrifice the anthropomorphised dough...

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...

Mini Motorways

Release Date: 04/03/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Mini Motorways is by the same developer as Mini Metro but tasks you with planning a road network rather than subway. You lay down roads, traffic lights and motorways to ensure enough cars can get to the buildings that pop up in your city as time passes....

Moonglow Bay

Release Date: 07/10/2021

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Moonglow Bay is a role play game where you play a rookie angler. Unlike other slice-of-life games, fishing isn't tucked away as a side quest here, it's front and centre. Set along the Canadian coastline in the 1980's, you live in a fishing town that has...

Good Pizza, Great Pizza

Release Date: 05/06/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Good Pizza, Great Pizza is a simulation game where you run your own Pizza shop, fulfilling orders from customers while making enough money to keep your shop open. You can upgrade your shop with new toppings and equipment to compete against your...

Haven Park

Release Date: 05/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Haven Park is a strategy game where you build camping spots in a national park. You play Flint, who is repairing his grandma's park to attract new campers. It's an intricate open island that packs in plenty to discover. As a game made by one person,...

House Flipper

Release Date: 17/05/2018, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

House Flipper is a simulation game where you renovate old broken houses to make money. It's a blend of money management, detailed interior design and repair right down to the electric circuitry. It fosters a sense of creativity and imagination in how...

Coffee Talk

Release Date: 29/01/2020

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Coffee Talk is an interactive story about a barista working in a coffee shop in Seattle. You listen to customer's concerns about life and love, in a retro pixilated world backed with lo-fi chilled hip-hop music.

Hundred Days, Winemaking Simulator

Release Date: 13/05/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Stadia, Switch and iOS

Pieces: Cards

Hundred Days is a strategy game about making wine. You control every aspect of a new Winery, choose vines, learn how to grow them and when to harvest. You make decisions about the process with a simple interface that takes you through each day. It's a...

Moving Out

Release Date: 29/04/2020

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Moving Out is an action-puzzle game where you play a removal company. With up to four players you work together to get items out of the house and into the van. Although this starts simply you soon find furniture that is an awkward shape or needs two...

Hokko Life

Release Date: 02/06/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Hokko Life is a community simulation game like Animal Crossing. You pick a town and set up your home, before spending time helping the place develop into a charming rural idyl everyone loves. Even though it's the creation of one person, it has most of...

Escape from Tarkov

Release Date: 27/07/2017

Platforms: PC

Escape from Tarkov is an online shooting game set in the fictional Norvinsk region in Northwest Russia. You play during a war between two private military companies and join matches to fight others for loot, survival and ultimately escape.

Kill It With Fire

Release Date: 13/08/2020

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

Kill It With Fire is a fighting game where you kill spiders. Lifting objects, looking under things and generally exploring the houses means you find spiders. The challenge is then to kill them with increasingly ridiculous weapons.

PowerWash Simulator

Release Date: 19/05/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

PowerWash Simulator is a puzzle game where you clean different objects and locations using a pressure washer. It's designed to be soothing with sounds of high-pressure water and satisfyingly clean results as you blast away every speck of dirt and grime.

Evil Genius 2 (Series)

Release Date: 30/03/2021

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Evil Genius 2 is a tongue-in-cheek strategy game where you play the evil villain. You must build a detailed, functional lair from where you can take control of the world. Similar to Sim City and 2 Point Hospital, you use your resources wisely as you...

Haunted Chocolatier

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Concerned Ape’s Haunted Chocolatier is a strategy game from the creator of Stardew Valley. You explore a fantasy world gather ingredients to make different blends of chocolate that sell in your chocolate shop.

Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 (Series)

Release Date: 05/10/2012

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

Cook, Serve, Delicious! is a series of three games where you run a restaurant. You have full control over how you improve your restaurant and what food or drink you want to sell. Each game plays in a similar way, adding new locations, challenges and modes.

Good Job!

Release Date: 27/03/2020

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

You play an office employee with a difference. Together with a friend you must climb the corporate ladder to take over the family business. But rather than starting as tea boy and working up, you have a set of more bizarre office problems: building zen...

Democratic Socialism Simulator

Release Date: 20/02/2020

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Democratic Socialism Simulator is a puzzle game where you run for office and then run a country. It offers a flow of questions with a yes or no response. Each answer has consequences in the minds of the voters and the prosperity of the country. It's an...

Do Not Feed the Monkeys

Release Date: 23/10/2018

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

Do Not Feed the Monkeys is an adventure game where you sit at a computer and spy on live video feeds of various events and characters. Your job is to gather information about "the monkeys" while also looking after your character's health and apartment...

MudRunner

Release Date: 31/10/2017, updated in 2020

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

Mudrunner is an off-roading simulation where you drive ageing Soviet vehicles in extreme, muddy and unpaved environments. It's novel because of the simulated driving and that you just have a map and a compass to navigate.

Taxi Chaos

Release Date: 28/02/2021

Platforms: PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Taxi Chaos is a racing game that you play in a large open city. You're driving around the city picking up and dropping off passengers earning fares as you drive. The aim is to rush around, pick up passengers and successfully drop them off at their...

Balance - Power Grid

Release Date: 05/08/2016

Platforms: Android, Mac and iOS

Balance - Power Grid is a puzzle game about power grids. You place cables, pylons and power generators to make sure there are no blackouts. Through a series of challenges you build power grids that are functional, and that produce the right amount of...

Dwarf Fortress

Release Date: 08/08/2006

Platforms: Mac and PC

Dwarf Fortress is a longstanding strategy game set in a fantasy world where you control a group of dwarves wanting to construct a wealthy fortress. It's unusual not only for it's text-based appearance but for it's expansive scope, and intricately...

Neo Cab

Release Date: 03/10/2019

Platforms: PC, Switch and iPhone, iPad

This is a narrative adventure from behind the wheel of a cab. You play as Lina, the last human driver-for-hire on the streets of Los Ojos. Your friend and only lifeline has gone missing; with no money and nowhere to stay, your only leads are the...

Out of Space

Release Date: 25/11/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Out of Space is a co-operative game about living together on a space ship. You and your cohabitants have to build a sustainable spaceship, as well as making it a cosy home. All is not plain sailing though, as you come across deadly alien infestations, a...

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).

Ollie & Bollie: Outdoor Estate (Sokpop)

Release Date: 10/10/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Ollie & Bollie: Outdoor Estate is an adventure game in a simulated world. You help Ollie and Bollie, who are two bird-like people, look after their farm in the countryside by completing simple tasks. It may sound familiar but stands out because it gives...

112 Operator (Series)

Release Date: 23/04/2020, updated in 2020

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

112 Operator and its predecessor, 911 Operator, are strategy games that put you in control of the emergency services as they fight natural disasters, crime and terrorism. You choose how to deal with each scenarios and work your way up the chain of...

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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