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Worried about your children's video games? Get the book that inspired the database. This guide will grant you the confidence to understand and anchor video games as a healthy part of family life. Discover practical advice and insights from the latest research and guidance from psychologists, industry experts, educational bodies and children's charities.
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42 Great Games Like Animal Crossing

These are hand-picked games similar to Animal Crossing. Our experts have spent time searching for great games like Animal Crossing. We don't use automatic matching, instead, we identify games that are good to play if you have enjoyed Animal Crossing. These selections also include games that offer a different experience but address a similar theme or topic.
 

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 that makes it fascinating. This interconnection comprises not only how you impact the world, but how you relate to the other inhabitants and how the island changes with real-world time. Along with special events such as the Christmas and Easter festivals, you need to play in different seasons and times of day to collect particular insects and fish.

Unfortunately, Animal Crossing is not available on Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S or iOS. However, we recommend the following games that offer a similar experience or theme:

DetailsGame Details

Rating:

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

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

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @NintendoAmerica

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases

MeepCity

Rating:

Release Date: 23/02/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Creative, Open World and Role-Playing

Developer: @Alexnewtron

Players: You can play this with 50 players online

MeepCity is a popular Roblox Game. It's a social game where you role-play a character to interact with other people and customise their look. Like Toontown Online or the now defunct Club Penguin, MeepCity is an evolving virtual space for players to...

Sneaky Sasquatch

Rating:

Release Date: 30/07/2019

Platforms: Mac and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Role-Playing

Developer: @Rac7games

Players: This is a single player game

Sneaky Sasquatch is an adventure game where you sneak around in campsites and try to find food from coolers and picnic baskets without getting caught. There's a large variety of things to do. For example you can race, play golf, ski, find buried...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Expected Rating:

Release Date: 11/12/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @UsTwo

Players: This is a single player game

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. When Alba visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island, she is excited for a summer of exploring with her friend Ines. But when...

New Super Lucky's Tale

Rating:

Release Date: 08/11/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @PlayfulStudios

Players: This is a single player game

This is a platform game where you play a fox on a quest to recover pages from a magical book that will save his world. It takes gameplay in a more action-oriented direction but the islands and characters are full of quirky character and treasures like...

Littlewood

Rating:

Release Date: 18/06/2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @SeanYoungSG

Players: This is a single player game

Littlewood (coming to Switch soon) is a town and farming simulator a little like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing. Here though, the twist is that the game is set after a grand adventure. You...

Stardew Valley

Rating:

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

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @ConcernedApe

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

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 as inviting for young players to...

Zoo Tycoon (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 17/10/2001, updated in 2017

Platforms: Nintendo DS, PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Creative, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @AsoboStudio

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 4 players online

Zoo Tycoon is a zoo simulator series where you take charge of a zoo business, build the park, care for animals and attract visitors. You can build, expand, and upgrade the zoo by purchasing animals, creating suitable animal habitats, and allocate staff...

Good Pizza, Great Pizza

Rating:

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

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

Genres: Creative and Simulation

Developer: @TapBlaze

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Welcome to Bloxburg

Rating:

Release Date: 01/11/2014

Price: Free

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

Genres: Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @RBX_Coeptus

Players: You can play this with 100 players online

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...

Ooblets

Rating:

Release Date: 15/07/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure and Simulation

Developer: @Glumberland

Players: This is a single player game

Ooblets is a farming and creature collecting game where you tend your animals, explore the world and bring home new wild Ooblet animals from the wild. You can then battle in turn-based dance-offs.

Island Saver

Rating:

Release Date: 13/05/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @NatWest_Help

Players: This is a single player game

Island Saver is action-adventure about cleaning up litter and goop to make money. It's created by Natwest with the aim of teaching children how to manage money. Unusually for a game with ideological ambitions, it's also a lot of fun.

Viva Pinata

Rating:

Release Date: 09/09/2006

Platforms: Nintendo DS, PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @RareLtd

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

This game is a fantasy garden-simulation game where your tending and care encourages one of 60 different piñata animals to make it their home. You use gardening tools to plough, sow seeds, create ponds and sculpt the land. Do this well and more animals...

The Touryst

Rating:

Release Date: 21/11/2019, updated in 2020

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

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @ShinenGames

Players: This is a single player game

The Touryst is a puzzle based adventure, where you seek to unlock the mysteries of an archipelago of sun-drenched islands. That's if you want to of course, because the adventure can wait if you'd rather soak up the sun and make the most of your time...

Dorfromantik

Expected Rating:

Release Date: 25/03/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: @_Toukana

Players: This is a single player game

Dorfromantik is a peaceful village-building strategy puzzle game for one player. It's inspired by tile-based board-games like Carcassonne and Tantrix.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Rating:

Release Date: 18/07/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

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

Developer: @PridefulSloth

Players: This is a single player game

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is an adventure where you explore a world seeking out and collecting magical creatures, known as sprites, to banish an ominous shroud known as the Murk. As you do this, you make your way in the world, farming,...

Farm Together

Rating:

Release Date: 25/02/2018, updated in 0019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @Milkstone

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

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...

Terraria

Rating:

Release Date: 25/11/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo 2DS|3DS, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Stadia, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Platform, Shooting, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @Terraria_Logic

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

Terraria looks like a 2D, lesser, version of Minecraft. However, this is a game every bit as complex and creative as the better-known block building game. To the world-crafting and survival it adds hundreds of items to collect, characters to defeat and...

One Hour One Life

Rating:

Release Date: 27/02/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @JasonRohrer

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 100 players online

This is a civilisation survival game where each player lives a whole life in an hour of play and then passes away. Born as a baby into the care of anonymous other online players, you initially depend on them for food. Quickly growing, you can soon fend...

My Time At Portia

Rating:

Release Date: 15/01/2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Strategy

Developer: @PatheaGames

Players: This is a single player game

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....

Moonglow Bay

Expected Rating:

Release Date: Coming soon

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Role-Playing and Strategy

Developer: @CoatSink

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

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...

Go Vacation

Rating:

Release Date: 27/07/2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Wii

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @BandaiNamcoUS

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room

This is a resort exploration game where 50 mini-games can be discovered and played. The mini-golf, skating, surfing, volleyball, car racing, tennis and other games use the Wii and Switch motion-sensitive controllers and are simple fun for youngsters....

Untitled Goose Game

Rating:

Release Date: 03/10/2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action and Puzzle

Developer: @House_house_

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

This is another silly and funny game but with a dastardly vibe. You play a mean goose who is intent on ruining the day of the inhabitants of a sleepy English village. By stealing items, squawking and otherwise making a nuisance of yourself you slowly...

Sky Children of the Light

Rating:

Release Date: 18/07/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch and iOS

Genres: Action, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @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...

Summer in Mara

Rating:

Release Date: 15/06/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @ChibigStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Summer in Mara is a farming game with a strong narrative about an adventurous girl called Koa. With a full day-night and season cycle, you can take the challenge on at your own pace as you build your farm and explore the world around you.

Going Under

Rating:

Release Date: 24/09/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Role-Playing

Developer: @AggroCrabGames

Players: This is a single player game

Going Under is a satirical adventure game where you play an intern in a failing start-up company. The game proceeds like other dungeon adventures with enemies to defeat and quests to find items, only here it's all in aid of keeping your boss happy while...

The Sims 4 (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 04/02/2000

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @EA

Players: This is a single player game

The Sims puts you in charge of a world of characters living normal lives. By providing a home, a job, leisure, friendships and even love interest, you work to make them happy. It’s an open-ended game as well, although the altruism is focused on...

Game image Eco

Eco

3

Eco

Rating:

Release Date: 06/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @StrangeLoopGame

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 100 players online

Eco extends the resource-collecting and building of Minecraft by introducing environmental implications to your actions. Using resources like trees will erode the soil; mining might pollute the river; and each animal depends on another.

Kind Words

Rating:

Release Date: 12/11/2019

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative and Narrative

Developer: @Popcannibal

Players: This is a single player game

Kind Words is unusual because of the main interaction. You write letters to real people and receive back encouraging letters in return. Set in a cosy room with soft furnishings and relaxing music, it creates a space in which to find support and...

Little Dragons Café

Rating:

Release Date: 21/09/2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Open World, Role-Playing and Strategy

Developer: @RisingStarGames

Players: This is a single player game

Little Dragons Cafe is a strategy game about running a cafe. Unlike other farming and friendship games you don't have to earn money or toil to gain ingredients. Simply explore, collect and cook. It's a farming gaming without the stress.

Cozy Grove

Rating:

Release Date: 19/03/2021

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative, Open World, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @SpryFox

Players: This is a single player game

Cozy Grove is a life-simulation where you camp on a hand-drawn island. You play a scout and explore the ever changing island's forest to find secrets and help the local ghosts. Like Animal Crossing, but

Ghostopia

Rating:

Release Date: Coming soon

Price: Free

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

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Strategy

Developer: @SuperSocialPlay

Players: You can play this with 50 players online

Ghostopia is a multiplayer role play game where you own a haunted mansion. The aim is to develop, build and decorate your grand residence to attract a collection of powerful ghosts. It's a more ambitious game than others on Roblox, because the company...

L.O.L. Surprise Official Party

Rating:

Release Date: 02/04/2021

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

Genres: Role-Playing

Developer: @Roblox

Players: You can play this with 2 players online

LOL Surprise Official Party is a Roblox game based on the popular collectible toy brand. You perform tasks such as opening furniture boxes to gain coin that are used to buy items linked to the toy brand, including interactive doll characters, outfits...

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

Rating:

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @theBanov

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

Chicory: A Colourful Tale is an adventure where you play a dog wielding a magic brush. The world starts black and white and you paint to solve puzzles, help your animal friends and restore colour.

Castaway Paradise

Rating:

Release Date: 08/01/2018

Price: Free-to-start

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @StolenCouch

Players: This is a single player game

This game places you on your own tropical island. Make the place your own with decorations and furniture, dress up, collect bugs, fish, grow crops and help your new neighbours. It's an open-world game that offers an Animal Crossing style experience on...

Deiland Pocket Planet

Rating:

Release Date: 09/08/2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @ChibigStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Deiland is an adventure set on a small spherical planet. You farm, craft, and build your own world. Improve your skills, craft tools, cook food, brew potions, and create tools. As you make your home, you will attract merchants to trade materials and...

Universal Paperclips

Rating:

Release Date: 09/10/2017

Platforms: Android, Web Browser and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @flantz

Players: This is a single player game

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...

June's Journey

Rating:

Release Date: 05/09/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Wooga

Players: This is a single player game

June’s Journey is a puzzle game where you search for objects hidden amongst the scenery that help you solve a murder. You play as June, a 1920s detective investigating the recent murder of her sister and her husband. Finding objects quickly enough...

#SelfCare

Rating:

Release Date: 29/07/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Simulation

Developer: @LuvTruLuv

Players: This is a single player game

#SelfCare is a companion game that aims to create space for your feelings. Unlike other apps that remind or incentivize you to take a break, breath or even just to stand up, #SelfCare offers interactions and narrative that create a context for you to...

Pine

Rating:

Release Date: 26/11/2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @Twirlbound

Players: This is a single player game

Pine is an adventure game where you play a primitive young man searching for new land for his tribe. You discover five tribes of anthropomorphic creatures that need to be understood and overcome to enable your tribe to have somewhere to live.

Hokko Life

Expected Rating:

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @RobboDev

Players: This is a single player game

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...

The Magnificent Trufflepigs

Expected Rating:

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @ThunkdGames

Players: This is a single player game

The Magnificent Trufflepigs is a narrative game where you use a metal detector to explore an old farm. As you do you retread old relationships in the English countryside. You'll find and dig up treasures to share with your friend Beth over a...

Dropsy

Rating:

Release Date: 10/09/2015

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Tendershoot_

Players: This is a single player game

Dropsy is an adventure video game where you move around and interact with the world by simply clicking. You play a clown called Dropsy in a surreal world. As you explore and interact with the environment, solve puzzles, and talk to characters you learn...

Animal Crossing 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 Animal Crossing in the following lists:

Inhabit Another World

Whether it’s a simple puzzle grid, a battlefield or a universe of planets to visit, all games create virtual spaces in which to play. Some of these are simply the background to a campaign - the game’s unfolding drama, missions or challenge. But others invite you to invest in the worlds they create, move in, tend to and inhabit in fantastical ways.

The games in this section invite you to spend time in spaces that have a sense of place, life and character. Worlds that hold history and lore in their landscapes, flora, fauna and inhabitants; environments that respond to your presence and invite you to restore them to their former glory.
 
Game image Shu

Shu

3
Game image Fuel

Fuel

2
Game image Hades

Hades

13
Game image Haven

Haven

14
Game image Ete

Ete

3
Game image Fe

Fe

3
Game image Hitman

Hitman

14

Big Budget Popular Games

These games are big, brash and popular. They have big budgets which means the visual and interactive quality is particularly high. They also have strong and wide ranging player communities.
 
Game image Dirt

Dirt

5
Game image FIFA

FIFA

6
Game image Halo

Halo

11
Game image Hitman

Hitman

14

Find Calm From The Storm

These games offer ways to consciously step outside the day's stresses and pressures to create space for self-care. This may be to distract yourself with calming unpressured tasks or to visit a world that is tranquil and relaxing or maybe just spend time reflecting on your emotions in a safe space.
 

Hope Through Play

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.
 

Be A Good Neighbour

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-centeredness 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.
 
Game image Ico

Ico

3
Game image Shu

Shu

3
Game image Pode

Pode

2
Game image Haven

Haven

14
Game image Pyre

Pyre

2
Game image Myst

Myst

5
Game image Fe

Fe

3
Game image Gris

Gris

6

Build Personal Resilience

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves "bouncing back" from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

Games, by design, present players with adversity and much of the joy of gaming comes from taking on and overcoming unnecessary obstacles. Whether you’re saving the universe from an alien invasion or tending crops in your animal community, playing games mimics the process of resilience.

Image 163 This list of games that can help foster various forms of psychological resilience is compiled with the expert help of Take This. They aim to decrease the stigma, and increase the support for, mental health in the game enthusiast community and inside the game industry. They encourage a game community that welcomes and supports people experiencing mental health challenges, and that recognizes the humanity and mental health of game creators.

The Portal series tell a narrative that you are going to fail. You’re told to give up, but if you ignore this barrage of discouragement you can use it as a way to strengthen your resolve and complete the puzzles even if you have failed twenty times in the process. The Stanley Parable is all about trying again. You can try and re-try your decision making, reaching a variety of different endings.

Dark Souls is a hallmark for a punishing challenge that require resilience. You journey through elaborate lands to adventure, explore, and take heed lest they encounter a battle with a boss or enemy. Celeste is the story of Madeline and the enemies she overcomes while climbing Celeste Mountain. The game specifically calls out that Madeline has anxiety, and the challenges she faces in the environment reflect her own internal struggles and triumphs. Cuphead challenges players to battle relentless bosses in combat-heavy play. Cartoonish and playful, it balances challenging players to grow in skill and offers plenty of entertaining environments and aesthetics to keep you playing.

In Kingdom Hearts you meet many characters that need help - and many boss battles feel almost insurmountable. With help from friends like Donald and Goofy, the player character Sora overcomes the darkness to save his friends and bring hope back to the world. Death Squared is a co-op puzzle game where one player’s mistake makes everyone else lose. You learn cooperative resilience in trying again admits humorous judgments from the unseen “hosts” of the game.

In Animal Crossing you get help from the animal neighbours. You learn to lean on this social and environmental resilience to persevere at building social connections with computer villagers and friends online. Stardew Valley’s farming is about growing and maintaining a homestead. Interweaving the busy work are relationships with the other villagers, many of whom are social models for resilience in their storylines.
 

Ease Loneliness With Intergenerational Games

There are many reasons, stages of life and circumstances that can leave us feeling isolated and lonely (and of course at the moment this is intensified with the virus lockdown). Being unable to be in the same place as loved ones. Not understanding the modern world. Barriers of mobility or impairments. Social anxiety and other mental health issues.

Video games are one way that we can reconnect with each other, without needing to be in the same place. Finding games to play online with grandparents and carers is not only a good way to keep in touch but a lot of fun.

Image 171 The games on this page are part of the PLAY&TALK Weekend, which has launched in time for National Loneliness Awareness Week, aims to reduce feelings of isolation by getting people to talk with friends or family safely online. Backed by over 30 companies in the games industry, the Play&Talk weekend hopes to initiate 10,000 extra conversations across the UK through the power of games.

All the games have been select to be easy to play for new gamers and many of them have been used in a broad range of cultural settings, being incorporated into Cathedral services, arts festivals, well-being retreats and educational contexts.
 

First Steps Into Online Video Games

One of the most exciting aspects of modern video games is playing with other people online. It's a big step from playing something like Mario Kart with family and friends in the same room to going online to play with people you don't know.

With the benefits and opportunities of online play come the issues and potential dangers of children interacting with people they don't know. We've worked with the Breck Foundation to create this list of games that are great for parents, carers and children to take first steps online together.

The Breck Foundation is a charity founded by Lorin LaFave after the tragic burder of her 14-year old son, Breck Bednar, in 2014, through online grooming. Breck was groomed while enjoying his passions of computing and gaming. The foundation aims to ensure that no child is harmed through grooming and exploitation while enjoying their time on the internet.

After speaking with Lorin on BBC Radio, together, we hatched an idea to offer this resource to help anchor online gaming as a part of family life. By playing online with your child from an early age you create a context where mistakes are made together. This establishes an open conversation where your child is more likely to tell you if something happens online that doesn't feel right, and more likely to listen to your ongoing advice and guidance.

This works with Breck Foundation's, ‘Play virtual, Live real’ motto that reminds children to never meet up alone in a private place with someone they have met only online, to ensure that online play is safe, enjoyable and connected to attentive adults.

The games in this list offer small steps to go from local play to online play. Some games, like Roblox are designed for young players with lots of special safety settings. Other games, like Sky, are designed to lead players into co-operating with each other with in-game purchases you give away, and interactions that start limited and expand as you gain experience. Then there are co-operative games like Ibb and Obb where you work together and communicate with gestures on the screen.

You can use Family Settings and Parental Controls on your system to limit how your child interacts with other players online. As well as finding the right games to get them started, it's also important that you play with them and keep game screens in shared family spaces so you can see what they are doing.
 

Hide and Seek

Some forms of play are timeless. Running around with a stick pretending to be in the army. Chasing each other in games of tag. And, of course, hide and seek. The games in this list offer digital ways to play hide and seek with a variety of different twists.

Hide In A Crowd: There are games like Spy Party, Thief Town, Hidden in Plain Sight and Buissons, that let you play as a range of characters and then challenge another player to find you amongst a computer-controlled crowd, from what way you move and interact. The Fruit game in Game and Wario on Wii U has the same mechanics, with one person trying to steal fruit without the other players working out who they are. Wii Party offers hiding in its Spot the Sneak mode where one player has a secret advantage in the mini-games that the other players have to spot. Another great example is Wii U Party, Lost and Found Square mode. One player stands in a crowd of identical people and uses the Wii U gamepad to look around and describe their location to other players, who use the TV to explore and find them. At the end, you see a map of where the players had run.

Prop Hunt: There are games with "Prop Hunt" modes where you can change into the items in the world to hide. Fortnite has a great Prop Hunt mode, as does Minecraft. Then there are games like Witch It designed around this idea of transforming into normal items and hiding in a game world.

Separate Screens: There games like Mario Chase and Luigi's Ghosthouse in Nintendoland, or Pac-Man Vs where one person has their own screen while the others team up to hunt for them use the main TV screen. Or games you play online where everyone has their own screen and try to hide from a particular character like in Secret Neighbor. Screencheat is a twist on this, where you share the same screen and try to shoot each other, but your characters are invisible.

Hidden Objects: Or there are hidden object games where the computer hides things that you have to find, like Hidden Folks and Hidden Through Time. There's a hidden object mode in Mario Odyssey where you hunt online player's hidden balloons. A twist on this is Here Kitty where one person hides a phone that then makes cat noises until the seeker has found it.

Open World Hiding: You can use pretty much any open-world game to make your own hiding fun. You can hide in Minecraft (having turned nameplates off), sneak around on public transport in or simply count to 10 while visitors hide in Animal Crossing New Horizons.
 

Tend and Befriend

Video games are usually thought to be about fighting, shooting and adrenaline. As regular readers will know, there are video games about everything. Recently I've been noticing games that combine the stewardship of the land and the nurturing of resources.

These games, like Animal Crossing, present an "ambience of bucolic" and a "reassuring mix of the pastoral and the industrial," wrote Simon Parkin recently. They offer an escape to simpler times, that provides meaningful work along with the possibility of also working at friendships.

The games collected in this list each offer the chance to escape and absorb yourself tending to a plot of land and nurturing often surprisingly moving relationships. Whether you are diligently cleaning someone's empty flat as in Sunset, setting up a farm after retiring from your adventures in Littlewood, reconnecting with grown-up children in The Stillness of The Wind, nurturing a musical garden in Mutazione, establishing a coffee shop in Coffee Talk or even eeking out provisions while you care for children in This War Of Mine all these games have something to tend to and people to get to know while you do it.
 

Create An Attraction

Many games let you create your own items, object or levels. But some are specifically designed for you to do this in order to attract characters and visitor to your creation in the game.

Whether it's the perfect garden in Viva Pinata, the ideal visitor island in Animal Crossing or the most thrilling ride in Planet Coaster, these games are fun because they combine creativity and management.

Then there are games where your attractions are more understated. The ideal home and live to keep your Sims happy. Or maybe create something that doesn't impact the environment negatively like in Eco.

Whatever you create, as well as attract characters in the game, the creations you make are ideal to share with other people (parents and carers maybe) to show them what you've been doing.
 

Get Children Reading

Image 221We have partnered with the National Literacy Trust to create this resource of video games that encourage and enable reading and writing skills.

The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of children and young people who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life.

Video games have significant benefits for children who are reluctant or struggling readers. They give them access to stories through interaction and world building which they may not have been able to read in print. Video games also have benefits for families where parents may not be confident readers, meaning that sharing stories as a family is still accessible to all. The rise of video games on smartphones and tablets, as well as more affordable game consoles has made the sharing of interactive stories easier.

Image 241There are different ways that video games create this kind of collateral reading and aid literacy:
  • Reading In Games: Video games offer all sorts of reading at all levels. This can be from simple narrative in a game like Florence to dialogue in a game like Mutazione or even just identifying useful items and game mechanics with in-game descriptions in a game like Zelda Breath of the Wild. Then there are games like Thousand Threads that help players think about the power and the consequence of words.
  • Reading Around Games: Video games create worlds that often spawn secondary texts. This can be official novels that expand the world or guide books that offer instructions and help. Knights and Bikes, for example, has spin off books, a cartoon series and recipes to read.
  • Routes Into Books: Many popular book series, such as Beast Quest, offer a range of video games as an easy first step into those worlds that lead to then reading the books themselves.
  • Communication Around Games: As well as reading, games encourage all sorts of creative output. This can be to contribute to the many online forums and message boards to talk about the game. This can also be to write fan-fiction after being inspired about a game world or character. The Sims, for example, has an avid community writing and creating all kinds of content online.

 

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.
 

One Joy-Con Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Games

The Switch console comes with one pair of Joy Cons. These are attached to the Switch in portable mode, and detached when playing on a TV. Some games support multiplayer modes with each player only needing one Joy-Con half to play. This offers a much more affordable way to accommodate more players.
 

Space for Gender

We've worked with the Mermaids charity to find games that create space for gender identity including trans, non-binary, gender diverse perspectives. Mermaids has been supporting trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families since 1995.

The games in this list offer a chance to play as a wide range of genders as well as assigning various roles to characters regardless of their identity.

Some games, like Animal Crossing, offer a chance to step out of the common binary choices and instead play as a character without having to define a specific gender identity. Other games, like A Fold Apart, allow players to combine genders, roles, careers and relationships as they want. Then there are games, like The Last Of Us II, that include trans, non-binary, gender diverse characters.

The games in this list all offer space to consider these topics and themes through different lenses and experiences. They can provide parents, carers and young people with common (non-confrontational) ground and are a unique way to gain understanding of this complex area of life.
 

Play With Experts And Novices

We all have a different level of experience, ability and connection to video games. Finding a game to play with another person who has less (or more) expertise of playing can be a challenge.

This list is designed to help you find games to solve this. Some of these games, like Super Mario Odyssey or Spiritfarer, let one player help the other. Other games, like Kingdoms or Chariot let you work together to progress with enough time for one player to help the other. Then there are games, like Affordable Space Adventure or Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes where each player takes on a different role. Some games like Tick Tock A Tale For Two or Get Together let you play on separate devices and talk to each other to solve collaborative puzzles. Finally, there are single player games, like Detroit Become Human or Return of the Obra Dinn where one player can control things while the other makes suggestions.

Whether you are a parent playing with a gaming expert son or daughter, or a partner of someone who plays less or more games, these are a great place to find common ground.
 

BAFTA Nominated Games

The British Academy Games Awards are presented annually to recognise, honour and reward outstanding creative achievement in Games. The awards categories reflect the wealth and diversity of the games sector.

The awards started in 2004 and are presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). For parents, they are a great way of discovering brilliant games to play in their family. The games included here are from the:
  • The Family Games award highlights games that will work really well for parents and children. These often include multiplayer features and feature a cast of family-friendly characters.
  • The Games Beyond Entertainment award is also of interest as this highlights more unusual games with an emphasis on storytelling that addresses topics that parents may find appealing themselves.

 
Game image Hades

Hades

13
Game image Roki

Roki

60
Game image Halo

Halo

11


Image 242 Image 243 Thank you for using our resource, supported by AskAboutGames, ParentZone and PlayAbility Initiative. We are editorially independent, written by parents for parents, but welcome sponsorship, partnership and suggestions. Email our editor for details on these opportunities.

The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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