Cloud Gardens 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 Cloud Gardens 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.
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.
Games include interactions, narratives and characters dealing with all aspects of life (and death). This means that some care is necessary if players are sensitive to losing significant people. But also, games can provide a helpful space in which to process, consider and understand death and loss.
I've come up with some games that explore this topic, along with help and suggestions from Gaming The Mind
), an organisation of UK-based mental health professionals who aim to promote positive mental health within the gaming community. By focusing on the intersection between gaming and mental health, they want to raise awareness of mental health challenges and reduce the stigma surrounding these issues.
"We express grief in different ways depending on our age," they said. "To help children cope with loss, it is important that they receive honest explanations about death, appropriate to their level of understanding. With these games, players may find valuable space in which to acknowledge grief as a completely normal reaction to bereavement."
"The games we have selected don't necessarily offer an ideal way to cope with death but tackle the topic of death openly and with a positive attitude. They can help show the player that they are not alone in what they are going through. Playing these games with young people, and answering questions they might have along the way, can be a useful starting point for important conversations about grief."
Video games and toys are two separate things in a child's life. Online and in stores they are sold separately. At home, however, children will move from toys to video games without such strong distinctions. This list draws together all the games that cross over with toys in this way.
Very young players are often drawn to games with toy-like play. Whether Toca Boca
or Sago Mini
offer video game interactions but without missions, tasks or scores. They are games that create space, characters, locations and items for children to make up their own fun.
Then there are games that import physical toys into the play-process of the game. Sometimes this is to have a figure unlock items and save progress like in Skylanders
or sometimes this is to create new ways to interact like Tori
, Hotwheels id or Anki
It’s easy to assume that video games are all about building big cities or running successful economies. There are, however, many games that offer quite the reverse. These games encourage players to consider the impact of their actions on the environment, as well as their interconnectedness to the world in which they live.
The games in this list take inspiration from Alenda Chang’s Playing Nature book
. They offer a chance to consider play from an ecological perspective. As she quotes, “games of environmental responsibility animate our capacity to respond, to affect and be affected, to engage with others: other species, other people, and the otherness of our own planet.”
This might be how a game like Terra Nil
makes the land itself a character in the experience. Or it can be how a game like Eco
establishes the connection between your actions and the other aspects of the environment. Other games, like The Wandering Village
underline how our location in the world impacts on us and others. One family told us about Final Fantasy 7 Remake's
commentary on corporations and ecology. Then there are games of dire warning that let us step into a future where humanity is all but disconnected from the wider environment and hangs on just by a thread.
Other games let us experience our connection to the environment by adventuring in it. From getting lost in Shadow of the Colossus
to finding our way in Journey
, games underline the importance of the spaces in which we play. Experiences like Cloud Gardens
or Viva Pinata
extend this by using play to put us in charge of tending to the natural world. Games like Eastshade
or The Long Dark
invite us to linger in these places and gain an understanding that is crucial to our survival.
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.
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.
We spend our lives in buildings every day. Our homes, offices, shopping malls, cathedrals, stations, bridges and even public toilets have all been designed. Video games mirror and magnify this built environment in different ways.
Some, like Assassin's Creed
, Grand Theft Auto
and Forza Horizon
recreate virtual versions of familiar places. Others, like The Witcher
, Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess
, create their own cities and buildings. Then there are games like The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
or The Last Of Us
that drop you in a once-great but now ruined architecture.
Along with these pre-built spaces, there are also games that invite you to affect and rebuilt the architecture of a world. Games like Townscaper
allow you to easily create series of buildings and consider how one structure relates to those around it -- like a street-scene generator. Then there are games like Animal Crossing
, that offer a social context in which to apply your architectural and landscaping skills.
Then there are games that build spaces that would be impossible in real life. From the Escher-like Manifold Garden
to the scale-confounding Superliminal
, these games can play with perspective and movement to not only confuse the player but open new possibilities in perceiving buildings.
Finally, there are games with breathtaking architecture. Whether it's the atmospheric lighting of Control
, the climbable buildings of the Uncharted
series or Shadow of the Colossus
vast cathedral-like structures, video games often create original spaces that stop you in your tracks.
The video games in this list create space to notice, reflect and try your hand at architecture. They are fun, but they are also important because the design of the spaces we spend time in have profound effects on how we feel, think and move.
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.
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 visitors 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.
There are many reasons, stages of life and circumstances that can leave us feeling isolated and lonely. 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.
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.
Co-operative: Some of the games are good ways to connect and play co-operatively online (like Feather, Overcooked 2, Ibb and Obb, Skylanders Children of Light).
Competitive: With some practice there are easy and fun online competitive games (like Tricky Towers, Videoball)
Asynchronous: Other games are a way to connect and play without being online at the same time (like Horizon Chase Turbo, Worms, Words With Friends, Wargroove, Animal Crossing).
Community: Then there are games that connect you with a wider player community in a gentle non-invasive way (like The First Tree, Journey, Lost Words, The Endless Forrest).
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.
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
As children get older, they develop stronger ideas of what they want to play. Friends at school and YouTube stars create popular gaming fads for the latest titles. These are a lot of fun, but children’s choices can end up being narro