A Short Hike is in These Lists
In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to A Short Hike in the following lists:
Jocelyn Brewer coined the phrase Digital Nutrition
to introduce a way of thinking about technology that went beyond screen time worries, drug analogies and detoxes. Instead, she encourages us to think about the variety, context and patterns of digital consumption.
"Digital Nutrition is a guilt-free philosophy that guides you towards healthful technology habits and improving your digital literacy and wellbeing. Rather than digital detoxing and unplugging, Digital Nutrition is about intentional and intelligent use of devices and the conscious consumption of news, media and information."
I’ve worked with her on this list of games that provide particularly underserved aspects of our digital play diet. These are the vitamins of the gaming world. Essential to a healthy diet and easy to overlook if we just follow where video game advertising leads us.
Unlike the other lists on the site, it’s an eclectic collection of games. But this is for good reason. These are the games that supplement your digital diet with variety, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They are the “digital super-foods” as Jocelyn puts it.
Digital Nutrition is a brilliant antidote to the guilt, muddled advice and finger-pointing of screen time focus advice. Instead, we can consider what specific games have to offer our children and our family.
This leads to other questions about how, where and when we play. Grabbing a Pizza on the street isn’t the same as sitting down to share a slice around the meal table. Only eating Kale is as problematic disordered eating as eating too many sweets. The same is true with video games, so this list is here to offer a varied diet.
Video games create spaces for us to go and play. These spaces are sometimes an escape from the real world. Equally, games can help us revel and celebrate the real world.
This is a list of games that take us into the long dark months. Shorter days and long nights speak of hibernation and survival. Snow and bare branches suggest that all life has left forever.
Whether they task us with resisting this or getting lost in the dark folds of winter, games of this month are a valuable reminder that life continues (often unseen) where it seems almost impossible. With the faintest foolish hope of a tiny bud read for spring.
These games are for children under seven years old, who will, with some help, discover activities they want to try that will expand their imaginations while establishing the role of your guidance and engagement as part of the gaming world as they grow up. The more open imagination of young children lends itself to games that offer an open world. Rather than forcing the player in a particular direction open world games let players explore wherever they want. The games here offer unusual and age-appropriate experiences that are often educational but keep the emphasis on the sheer joy of interactive play rather than hard learning.
In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Open World games
Video games create space in which to play. Open World games offer a space that is very large, and possibly unlimited. As opposed to games that funnel your movement in a particular direction to create a directed experience, Open World games let you wander in any direction.
These games populate their open worlds with architecture, characters, quests, items and discoveries. The appeal of these games is that when a particularly exciting moment of play occurs it hasn't been pre-ordained by the developer but has emerged from the interactions of the player with the game world.
Open World games come in many forms. Adventures
in large open spaces invite exploration and create a sense of grandeur. Simulation
games that offer large explorable worlds offer a chance to experiment with how the games physics, political, economic or even religious models work at scale. Strategy
games played in Open Worlds are a chance to innovate techniques that take advantage of the landscape and terrain in which you find yourself.
Video games are complicated. The era of a lone developer making a hit game in their bedrooms is long gone. Or is it? We have found a swath of amazing games that have been driven into existence by just one person.
These games often stand out because of their singular vision and focused scope. Although, as the discussion surrounding this list
has uncovered, almost all games have some contribution from other people. Coding, designing, creating art, writing music, recording dialogue.
Still, these are games where there has been a single driving force (auteur) willing their creation into existence. This list aims to highlight these games not to hold up the ideal of solo development (which can lead to unhealthy work-life balance) but to uncover this deep pool of fascinating games with a singular vision.
As Lewis Procter tweeted
, it's exciting to realise that "you can make a game without needing permission or support from a big company, and many great tools are readily available." But, as he continued, in reality "games are almost always at some level a collaborative effort."
The games we are including here are those that were created by a single person. Sometimes this is in a final form, sometimes a single developers vision was released and has subsequent versions that expands this with more people. This is our thank-you to all these tireless individuals who have created something singular and pure that we now enjoy.
is a podcast about video games with a focus on a Game of Year format. Although episodes do cover new games like other podcasts, much of the content builds towards yearly Game of the Year shows, and head-to-head showdowns for best games in a series (Zelda
, Grand Theft Auto
and so on).
"It's Game of the Year meets King of the Hill as four of Earth's best friends – Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Chris Plante, and Russ Frushtick – rank and review their favorite video games. Because shouldn't the world's best friends pick the world's best games?"
This is a list of the games that they have picked for their final game of the year show from 2014 to the current year. In some cases we didn't have the game on the database, but generally this is a good representation of their picks over the time of the show.
Fidget spinners burst into the hands of children a number of years ago. While that initial trend subsided, the interest and enjoyment of tactile objects to fiddle with are very much with us.
Fidget toys are like the yo-yo or Rubik's cube but without the focus on skill. The enjoyment comes from doing something that isn't learning or achieving anything. It's no surprise that there are a number of video games that have picked up on this style of play.
Some games, like The Longing
, Animal Crossing
and Adopt Me
, simple slow down the need to progress, so all you do is check-in, fiddle around with the game world and then leave. Then there are other games, like Townscaper
and Pok Pok Playroom
, that let you craft your own structures but with none of the usual video game emphasis on score and winning. Other games, like Everything
, offer a huge world to poke and prod without getting embroiled with progression.
Even games that do offer a strong sense of story and development often include post-game play or side-quest distractions that are simply there for you to spend time fiddling with rather than winning or losing. Games like A Short Hike
, Alba A Wildlife Adventure
or even No Man's Sky
While a significant portion of video games focus on combat and competition, these titles offer a less aggressive way to progress and win. None of these games enable or require the player to cause harm to another living thing -- even Mario's merciless campaign to stomp on every Goomba he meets bars him from this list. Or then there's catching and selling fish in Animal Crossing that rule that one out.
Many of them are aimed at children and families, but you'll be surprised how many explore deeper, more mature themes in their narratives, or require just as much skill as a fast-paced first-person shooter. This means there's plenty of offer for parents who might lack the reflexes (or interest) to survive a round of Fortnite.
We've focused on the games you might not expect to be played non-violently here, but you can find the full list at Non-Violent Games Of the Day
curated by James Batchelor.
Independent Games Festival (IGF)
was founded in 1998 to promote independent video game developers, and innovation in video games. It cultivates innovation and artistry in all forms of interactive media. This aims to uncover how games are rich, diverse, artistic, and culturally significant.
It chooses games in a series of categories: Grand Prize, Innovation, Visual Art, Audio, Design, Technical Excellence, Best Mobile Game and Audience Award. This list highlights the games that were nominated and/or won.
The Digital Futures Commission's A Vision of Free Play in a Digital World report
that outlines the key qualities of "free play" for what "good" looks like in a digital world. The team from 5 Rights Foundation and Digital Futures LSE set out ambitious expectations for children’s free play in all contexts. To claim the label ‘Playful by Design’, digital products and services should adopt seven principles:
Be Welcoming: Prioritise digital features that are inclusive, sociable and welcoming to all, reducing hateful communication and forms of exclusion and reflecting multiple identities.
Enhance Imagination: Prioritise creative resources and imaginative, open ended play over pre-determined pathways built on popularity metrics or driven by advertising or other commercial pressures.
Enable Open-Ended Play: Provide and enhance features that offer easy-to use pathways, flexibility and variety as these support children’s agency and encourage their imaginative, stimulating and open-ended play.
No commercial exploitation: Reduce compulsive features designed to prolong user engagement or cultivate dependency on games, apps or platforms, so children’s immersive play is intrinsically motivated and freely chosen.
Ensure safety: Ensure children’s play in online spaces is safe, including by giving them control over who can contact them and supplying help when needed.
Allow for experimentation: Recognise that exploration, invention and a degree of risk taking is important in children’s play and that the burden should not fall on them always to be cautious or anxious, or to follow rules set by others.
Be age-appropriate: Respect the needs of children of different ages by providing age-appropriate opportunities for play, while also allowing for safe intergenerational play.
I asked Sonia Livingstone, lead researcher and report author, whether there were many games that already met this criteria. "Children bring a lot to their play that for them is imaginative and sociable. Where it's more difficult is in the voluntary and intrinsically motivated play. Games very rarely leave children to play at their own pace and rate. The freedom for risk taking is sometimes present but here, children themselves take on the safety burden from society at large and limit play themselves."
Inspired and challenged by the report, we searched our database to identify games that came closest to meeting these high standards. Like the report, this aims to concentrate energy on identifying opportunities for free play that should be enriched and expanded to make play online more child-centred.
In the report, children identify their need to play in ways that perhaps adults don’t understand or that some digital designs deny. They don't want a completely "whole-food experience", nor to turn back the clock to an offline world. They want digital products designed to enhance the qualities of play and at the same time want those aspects of design that are exploitative or invasive to be dialled down.
Examples on this list include playful offline video games. Games like Lonely Mountains Downhill
and Microsoft Flight Simulator
offer open-ended play where you can go where you want and make your own fun. Spelunky 2
, Mini Metro
enable free-play that is intrinsically and experimentally motivated without commercial exploitation. Then games like A Short Hike
and Wilmot's Warehouse
offer play that is welcoming for newcomers and specifically age appropriate. Risk taking and rule breaking play that doesn't become a burden on the child is found in games like Untitled Goose Game
and The Longing
Examples on this list also include playful online video games. Games like Journey
and One Hour One Life
offer a welcoming experience by encouraging (in some cases requiring) other players to help newcomers. Phantom Abyss
offers an unusual competitive play space that celebrates experimentation and is safe by design through minimal communication. Sea of Thieves
offer age appropriate play for older teenagers that is built around experimentation and discovery through risk taking that is lead by imagination. Stormworks
combines open ended play like Minecraft
, but offers a context more age appropriate to ambitious teenagers through its float-mechanics and boat design. Sky Children of the Light
combines many of the criteria, offering a welcoming experience for newcomers, imaginative play. It subverts the commercial feel of other app games by focusing purchases on items that are primarily to give away to other players.
In this list, provided by the LTN
(Love Thy Nerd) editors, we bring together video games that have the potential to offer more than entertainment. It starts with 12 with a challenge us to be a good neighbour, and follows with others added over time. LTN exists to be the love of Jesus to nerds and nerd culture, you can read more about them on their website
"What if video games have more to offer than just an exciting diversion into a digital battlefield, fantasy war, or alien invasion? While these types of games are certainly the loudest and most financially successful, there are a growing number of games asking important questions about life, the human condition, and even God."
"Our list is not 'Christian' games, but rather a list of games that pose important spiritual questions to those who play them. These are games that provide us with the opportunity to consider what a truly 'spiritual' life looks like by encouraging us to have empathy for the suffering, love for our neighbours and our enemies, and an imagination vivid enough to contemplate a better world."Journey's
understated yet deep mythology, lack of guidance and mysterious ways it brings players together will have players thinking about the course of their own lives. Dropsy
is, on the surface, a silly point-and-click adventure game about a creepy but misunderstood clown, dig deeper and you’ll see this a game that challenges players to love everyone, even their enemies. Kentucky Route Zero
is at its core, about rediscovery, of adventure-game mechanics and modernist aesthetics, of a more spiritual outlook on the physical world.Gris
is a platformer about the stages of grief that highlights the indelible impact of our most sacred relationships. That Dragon, Cancer
is a game where Ryan and Amy Green share their grief and their hope by drawing us not only into their lives but into the common grace of the Christian faith. Myst
, one of the best selling titles of all time, is a puzzle game about the beauty and mystery of creation. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
is a game about the spiritual impact our most precious relationships have on us. Wandersong
is a game about transforming the world with music. Heroism isn’t measured in bulk or recognition but in the melodic tones of compassion and kindness. The Last Guardian
confronts us with our own self-centredness and challenges us to give rather than merely take.Pyre
is a game about mercy that deconstructs player’s perceptions of winning and losing, encouraging them to see and meet the needs of those who are oppressed. My Child Lebensborn
is a game that challenges players to care for a child born into a fascist regime--this is a game about the power of empathy. Celeste
strikes at the centre of what it means to be a person in all of our messy humanity a wonderful reminder that even when we fall, we are lifted up again through redemptive love, forgiveness, and grace—both for ourselves and for one another.
The dream of being able to fly seems to be a universal human desire. It's not surprising then, that many video games are popular because they grant the player the ability to soar through the air.
These games can range from novel superpowers that let you swing, boost or bounce your way into the sky like Marvel's Spider-Man
, to serious experiences that simulate the complexities of flying a jumbo jet in Microsoft Flight Simulator
. Along with games where flying is front and centre, many other games offer nuanced flight as part of their experience, like Rocket League
. There are other examples that use trajectory to get to hard platforms, like Ibb and Obb
and other games like Slime Rancher
where you can unlock a jetpack.
The games we have collected together in this list, enable you to experience flight in some way. Educationally, this isn't only a novelty to inspire other learning but offers an embodied appreciation of gravity, air currents, g-force, pitching, yawing and how materials respond at high speed.
Games that embed a sense of hope by playing them. Sometimes a hopeful story, sometimes a hopeful interaction, and sometimes just an uplifting aesthetic to spend time in. These are games that leave you with an uplifted spirit, maybe not immediately (like Horizon Zero Dawn
) but by the time you have finished them.
There is something innocent and childlike in play, and video games each have a slice of that in different ways. Sometimes simple and sometimes complex, games can help us return to the hope we had as children, or call us on to the wisdom and perspective of older years.
We've worked with SpecialEffect
on this list of games which aims to highlight games that are good for people with reduced fine motor control.
Special Effect is a charity that aims to put fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games. They use technology ranging from modified joypads to eye control to find a way for people to play to the very best of their abilities.
“We discussed several conditions which can impact fine motor control such as cerebral palsy, brain injury, digital amputation, Nerve conditions, chronic pain, arthritis/RSI or high spinal injury. People with these and similar conditions might identify with some of the following phrases:
“I can hold on to things well, but I find it difficult to let go”
“I have one hand stronger than the other”
“My fingers don’t move much, but I can move my arms in big movements”
“Doing things with one hand or one hand at a time is easier than using both hands”
“Holding and using a standard controller at the same time can be tricky”
“I would find larger joysticks and buttons potentially helpful”
Along with physical input considerations like mounting your controller to access to more buttons or using peripherals with larger buttons and joysticks, this list focuses on games that meet some of the following criteria:
Require one input at a time either joystick or button: like Mario Kart, Bubbles the Cat or Sonic the Hedgehog.
Offer button remapping: Such as Marvel's Spider-Man or Stardew Valley.
fewer buttons: like Oco, Mario Kart 8, Alto's Odyssey.
Offer motion control: Such as Splatoon, Wii Sports, Arms, Just Dance, Kinect Sports.
Support gamepads rather than requiring keyboards: Such as Luigi's Mansion, New Pokemon Snap, Kirby's Epic Yarn.
Low time pressure and give more time for larger movements: Such as Flower, A Short Hike, Alba, Firewatch, Rocket League.
Turn off the need for rapidly repeated button presses: Such as Sea of Thieves, Biomutant, Assassin's Creed Valhalla.
As well as the games we have picked out below that meet these criteria, there are some common searches on the database that are good for people with reduced fine motor control: 1 Stick + 1 button
, 1 Stick
, 1 Button
, Motion Controls
, Reamp Buttons
or Remap Keys
, Low Pressure
, Rapid Pressing Optional
We hope this list helps you discover games that work for you. If you are struggling to game due to access issues caused by a physical disability do contact SpecialEffect who will offer support free of charge, as capacity allows.
In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Indie Games.
These are games made by small studios or individual developers. This can mean that the art and production is simpler, but because of no company constraints these games are often the most inventive and enjoyable for families. They can take risks on strange ideas and push the boundaries of play in new directions.
The games in this list offer a range of acclaimed Indie games that are a good place to start. Because the games don't have big marketing budgets they are often off the radar for families.
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.
“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.
Eggplant: The Secret Lives of Games
, is a podcast that offers a candid conversation with game creators that dives deep into the art, craft, and process of making games. It's an amazing insight into the mind of people who understand and highlight how game/play mechanics can do unexpected, magical and surprising things.
This is the list of games they have picked as their Game of the Year since 2018. These awards also include board games, escape rooms and game-like TV series. We have included video games here, where we have them on the database. (And in many cases have added video games to the database after listening to the show.)
It's hosted by:
Nick Suttner, an independent game writer/designer/consultant, who has worked on games like Celeste, Bloodroots, and Carto.
Andy Nealen, a game creator and scholar, artist and music maker, architect and structural engineer, and professor of cinematic arts and computer science at USC.
Zach Gage, who makes deep games that are easy to get into, like Really Bad Chess and SpellTower.
Douglas Wilson, who is a co-owner of Die Gute Fabrik, a games studio based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has worked on Johann Sebastian Joust, Sportsfriends, and Mutazione.
The team is usually joined by Laura E. Hall for the game of the year episodes. She is an artist, writer, puzzle-maker, immersive environment and narrative designer who focuses on the playful intersections of arts, culture, and technology, especially in gaming.