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39 Great Games Like Everything

Our experts have spent time searching for great games similar to Everything. We also offer games selected by matching genre and age rating.
 

This is an unusual game that simulates a world where you can become any object. It sounds strange and not much fun, but the enjoyment is in discovering how small or how big a thing you can become. From tiny atoms to whole planets and everything in between.

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

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @DavidOreilly

Players: This is a single player game

Costs: Purchase cost

Hand Picked Games Like Everything

These are our hand-picked games similar to Everything. We don't use automatic matching, instead, we identify games that are good to play if you have enjoyed Everything. These selections also include games that offer a different experience but address a similar theme or topic.
 

Townscaper

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/06/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Creative, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: @OskSta

Players: This is a single player game

Townscaper is a town building toy. You pick colours from the range available and click to put down a house in the sea. As you continue to add houses of different colours the game automatically orientates the architecture for you.

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: 06/11/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Action, Platform, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: @Bfod

Players: This is a single player game

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is a strange game about movement and momentum. You are tasked with climbing a mountain. However, your only means of locomotion is a hammer that can stick to objects and drag you forwards.

Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulnes‪s‬

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/02/2020

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative

Accessibility: 15 features

Players: This is a single player game

Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulnes‪s‬ is a narrative experience designed to aid sleep. Children can select stories, sounds, meditation or music and calm colours to help them drift off to sleep quickly. Once started the original stories and sounds play with...

Bee Simulator

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 12/11/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action and Adventure

Developer: @VarsavGS

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

Bee Simulator is a strategy game you play as a honey bee, flying on expeditions from the beehive to collect pollen, fight wasps and perform missions ordered by the Queen, as well as participating in races and dancing rituals. Along the way you'll learn...

Journey

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: @ThatGameCompany

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 2 players online

This is an adventure in a desert. Exploring the eerie sand-scape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other players, one...

Seasons

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and PS5

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @ScavStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Seasons is a narrative adventure where you take a bicycle road trip game. You play as a young woman leaving a secluded community, exploring the world for the first time. Collect artefacts and memories as you explore because soon, a mysterious cataclysm...

Breath of Light

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 25/03/2015

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @BreathGame

Players: This is a single player game

Breath of Light is a meditative puzzle game where you guide the breath of light through sand and water. With no score or time-limits and with all levels unlocked from the start, the focus is on relaxation and breathing rather than the challenge and its...

Metamorphosis

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 12/08/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @OvidWorks

Players: This is a single player game

Metamorphosis is a surrealist adventure game about a man turned into a small insect. It's inspired by Franz Kafka books. From a first-person view you run, jump and climb around in unusual ways on your insect legs, meet bizarre characters and solve...

Smalland

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure and Open World

Accessibility: 29 features

Developer: @PlaySmalland

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 8 players online

Smalland is a survival adventure where you are a tiny character in an overgrown wilderness. The world is dynamically changing, not only with the weather, seasons, day and night but also in response to what you do. It's as beautiful as it is intimidating...

Grounded

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 28/07/2020

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

Genres: Action, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: @GroundedTheGame

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Grounded is a survival game where you are tiny and find yourself in someone’s back garden. It’s like Honey I Shrunk The Kids meets Fortnite. Ants, cockroaches, and bees pose a threat along with environmental hazards like water, tall grass and large...

Portal
PEGI Rating 12 for Portal

Portal (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/10/2007, updated in 2011

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, Web, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: @ValveSoftware

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

You are in a science laboratory where you seem to be being tested. Watched by the artificial intelligence GLaDOS, you have a gun that can create a pair of magic portals on any surface: one is an entrance and the other is an exit. Through a series of...

Katamari Damacy Reroll

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 06/12/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action and Open World

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: @BandaiNamcoUS

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

Katamari Damacy Reroll is a puzzle game where you control a sticky ball. The aim is to roll up as much stuff as possible, making yourself as big as possible. The game starts small by simply having you pick up thumbtacks, game pieces, and caramels....

Lost Ember

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 19/07/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World and Puzzle

Developer: @MooneyeStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Lost Ember is an animal exploration adventure game. While forward progress is relatively linear, it involves beguiling flying, swimming, digging and running to explore the mysterious world through the eyes of different animals.

I Am Dead

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 07/10/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: @A_i

Players: This is a single player game

I Am Dead is a puzzle game from the creators of Wilmot's Warehouse. You play a recently-deceased museum curator trying to avert a disaster from his home town of Shelmerston.

Mini Metro

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 06/01/2015

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

Genres: Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: @Dinopoloclub

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Penko Park

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 23/10/2020

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure and Simulation

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @GhostButter

Players: This is a single player game

Penko Park is an adventure about exploring an abandoned wildlife park, taking photos of the weird and creepy creatures which you find. Like exploring a children's story book world, you collect these snapshots along with fur samples and fossils to add to...

The Witness

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 14/12/2015, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Puzzle

Developer: @Thekla_inc

Players: This is a single player game

The Witness combines maze puzzles in an abandoned world with its own mythology, secrets, themes and story. It’s a game with puzzles at the core, but the real mystery is solving what has happened in the world you find yourself in.

Donut County

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-12 year-olds

Release Date: 15/08/2018, updated in 2018

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

Genres: Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @Torahhorse

Players: This is a single player game

Donut County offers a simple style of play. You drag a hole around the screen; the more things you can make fall in, the bigger the hole gets. You start with bricks, road cones and bushes, but eventually you’re swallowing whole houses.

Outer Wilds

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/12/2018, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @Mobius_Games

Players: This is a single player game

Outer Wilds is an exploration space mystery about a solar system trapped in an endless time-loop. After 20 minutes of game time, you must start again – but each time brings a new opportunity to learn how you ended up on the planet and solve the...

Hive Time

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 31/05/2019

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @Hive_Time

Players: This is a single player game

Hive Time is a strategy game where you build a beehive and make honey. You command your bees to harvest resources, grow your hive, and produce a new Queen before the current one dies. It's unique for its buzzy subject matter, and because it opts for...

The First Tree

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 11/10/2018

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

Genres: Creative, Narrative, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @DavidWehle

Players: This is a single player game

The First Tree is an exploration narrative game. In a dream, you explore a forest wilderness as a mother fox looking for her cubs. Simultaneously, you revisit childhood memories in spoken reflection from two lovers remembering the dream and their...

The Sims 4 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 04/02/2000

Price: 75% off

Platforms: Android, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 7 features

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...

A Dark Room

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 10/06/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Strategy and Turn-Based

Developer: @Continuities

Players: This is a single player game

A Dark Room is an adventure where you try and survive in the wild. It has a similarly simple start – a single option to stoke a fire – but also evolves into an incrementally complex system of resource management as a larger story unfolds.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 12/08/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: @ChineseRoom

Players: This is a single player game

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture lands you in a fictional deserted English village in 1984. As you walk the streets of another era you discover bright human forms who re-enact events like a radio play. Through their eyes, you see a web of fear,...

Sunlight

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 14/01/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @Krillbite

Players: This is a single player game

Sunlight is a short adventure game where you explore an uncharted forest, guided by harmonised whispers. As you move from tree to tree you discover different voices, genders and dialects, speaking as one. Taking artistic inspiration from expressionist...

Under Leaves

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 2-8 year-olds

Release Date: 27/04/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @CircusAtos

Players: This is a single player game

Under Leaves is a puzzle game where you search for colour-filled hidden objects in scenes made of flora and fauna. Each one is a hand-drawn watercolour illustrations and accompanied with a soothing soundscape. It's a game about observation and attention...

Wattam

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 11/06/2019

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Open World and Puzzle

Developer: @Funomena

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

Wattam is an absurd adventure where characters are everyday objects with problems to solve and fun interactions to enjoy. You play as The Mayor and start on your own. As you complete simple tasks you populate the world with other strange characters.

Exo One

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @JayWeston

Players: This is a single player game

Exo One is a surreal exploration game where you guide a small transforming object to drift, flow and soar across enigmatic landscapes with a gravity based movement system. The game aims to create an out of body other-worldly experience with atmospheric,...

New Pokemon Snap

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/04/2021

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Adventure, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 5 features

Developer: @NintendoAmerica

Players: This is a single player game

New Pokemon Snap is the latest in the series of Pokemon Snap games. It's a puzzle safari where you are guided through the natural world of Pokemon creatures to take pictures of them in the wild. The aim is to time your photos to capture them in specific...

Proteus

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 4-12 year-olds

Release Date: 30/01/2013

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3 and PS4

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Players: This is a single player game

This game takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land, and rain clouds that blow in from...

Vignettes

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-10 year-olds

Release Date: 06/03/2019

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @SkeletonBiz

Players: This is a single player game

Explore shapes that change into different objects as you spin them around with your fingers. What starts as a novelty evolves into a collecting challenge where interacting with one item leads to another. Rescue a stray cat, awaken an ancient...

Dear Esther

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 14/02/2012

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @ChineseRoom

Players: This is a single player game

In Dear Esther you explore an uninhabited Hebridean island while an old man reads a series of letters to his eponymous deceased wife. Themes of love, loss, guilt and redemption intertwine with the bleak geography and orchestral music. As you explore the...

Earth Analog

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 11/02/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Strategy

Developer: @lgnkm

Players: This is a single player game

Earth Analog is a flying adventure where you take control of the exploration vessel Eurisko XI in a quest through deep space to find our new home. Unlike other space games, the focus is on the experience of other worlds rather than battling death and...

Mountain

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 01/07/2014, updated in 2018

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Creative and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @Davidoreilly

Players: This is a single player game

This is a game from the same developer as Everything that simulates a mountain. You influence how each of the rising land masses turns out by drawing different objects. The game then evolves before you, offer a gentle...

Nour: Play With Your Food

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS5

Genres: Puzzle, Rhythm and Simulation

Developer: @_Teejay5

Players: This is a single player game

Nour: Play With Your Food is an experimental music game where you create different dishes and plates of food. Unusually, the focus is on sound rather than just visuals. As you add ingredients and food elements they each add sounds.

Manifold Garden

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 18/10/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Open World, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @WilliamChyr

Players: This is a single player game

Manifold Garden is inspired by Escher drawings and the reality-bending moments in the film Inception. You play from a first-person perspective and explore a beautiful, and what seems to be an abstract world, bereft of colour. It takes time to master and...

Stacking

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 08/02/2011

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @DoubleFine

Players: This is a single player game

Stacking is puzzle game where characters are Russian stacking matryoshka dolls. Controlling the smallest doll in the game, Charlie Blackmore, you go on an adventure. Your main ability is that you can stack and unstack into larger dolls and gain their...

The Long Return

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 02/10/2019

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @MaxNielsenDev

Players: This is a single player game

The Long Return is a running and jumping game where you guide an orphaned cub on a journey to retrace the steps of the last adventure that he went on with his mother. Throughout the game, you solve puzzles to progress and learn more about the cub's story.

Games Like Everything Based on Genre

These are games of a similar genre mix to Everything. This includes games from the Simulation, Adventure, Open World and Narrative genres. We pick out games of a similar PEGI rating to further hone these generated suggestions.
 

Everything 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 Everything 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.
 
Shu
PEGI Rating 7 for Shu
Fuel
PEGI Rating 7 for Fuel
Hades
PEGI Rating 12 for Hades
Haven
PEGI Rating 12 for Haven
Ete
Pine
PEGI Rating 12 for Pine
Fe
PEGI Rating 7 for Fe

Nurture Child-Like Imagination in 3-6 Year-Olds

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.
 
Ink
PEGI Rating 3 for Ink
Kids

Unusual Locomotion

These games offer worlds you explore in unusual ways. Maybe it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, or maybe you get a chance to climb and jump athletically. These games put you in touch what it’s like to move more easily or more difficulty than real life.
 
Shu
PEGI Rating 7 for Shu
Ink
PEGI Rating 3 for Ink
Kine
PEGI Rating 3 for Kine
Fe
PEGI Rating 7 for Fe
Abzu
PEGI Rating 7 for Abzu

Educational Games That Are Also Good Games

These games have an educational element to them, but also offer experiences that are good games in their own right. This isn't busywork to trick you into learning, but clever and innovative ways to encounter history, physics, engineering, maths, geography and language subjects without feeling like you are in school. They also teach softer, deeper skills like long term strategy, planning, balancing systems, emotional intelligence, compassion, team-work and self-care.

Some of these games are aimed at younger players to play on their own, but others (as indicated by their PEGI ratings) are better for teenagers or played together in a family. Find some games that pique your interest, read through the details and decide how your child might benefit from playing them.
 
Qomp
Gris
PEGI Rating 7 for Gris
Eco
PEGI Rating 7 for Eco

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.
 
Eloh
PEGI Rating 3 for Eloh
Hoa
Shu
PEGI Rating 7 for Shu
Tint
Abzu
PEGI Rating 7 for Abzu

Commit No Violence

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.
 
Ico
PEGI Rating 7 for Ico
Hoa
Kine
PEGI Rating 3 for Kine
Pode
PEGI Rating 3 for Pode
Roki
PEGI Rating 12 for Roki
Gris
PEGI Rating 7 for Gris
Eco
PEGI Rating 7 for Eco
Portal
PEGI Rating 12 for Portal
Fez
PEGI Rating 3 for Fez

Interpret Deeper Meaning

Video games aren't high on the list of most people's spiritual spaces. However, many games offer experiences that invite you to explore buildings, worlds, cities and the countryside full of potential for spiritual reflection.

Games offer a unique way to encounter what is beyond us: other people, the world and possibly even the divine. They include themes of hope, loss and love. They invite us to reconsider how we see the outsider and the marginalised. They offer a chance for response and emotion to grow.

The games in this list have been the subject of a series of articles I have written about video games and faith. Firstly, from 2013-2015 for ThirdWay magazine, and more recently for Youth and Children's Work (YCW) magazine.

These are two publications for Christian audiences, that have invited me to shed light on what a range of video games might mean for those communities. I aim to make connections with faith, the bible and the experience of these video games. This is one way to interpret them which of course invites further and possibly counter interpretations from other perspectives.

YCW articles:
Firewatch | Everything | Bury Me My Love | Abzu | Wilmot's Warehouse

Thirdway Articles:
Proteus | Joust | Uncharted 3 | Alan Wake | This War of Mine | Journey | Limbo | Spaceteam | A Dark Room | Altos Adventure | A Year Walk | Bioshock Infinite | The Last of Us | Disney Infinity | Everybody's Gone to the Rapture | That Dragon Cancer | Spec Ops The Line | Papo and Yo
 

Bend Time To Your Advantage

Time in video games is a valuable thing. Unlike in the real world where it proceeds in a linear fashion, in a game it may speed up, slow down or even go backwards. There are some games where controlling time becomes a crucial and fascinating game mechanic. The best of these integrate your time travelling powers with both characters and narrative to create a compelling experience.
 

Digital Nutrition

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.
 

Rearrange Your Mental Furniture

We are used to books, films and radio programs challenging our assumptions on subjects. Adam Curtis, Louis Theroux and David Attenborough have powerfully used film to change perspectives and values.

Less well known is how many video games tread a similar furrow. These are games that not only tackle difficult subjects, but get beneath the usual binary perspectives to create new ways of thinking about these themes.
 

Winding Down

Children love to play exuberant and exciting video games with their friends. While these offer a wide range of benefits, it can be good to transition to something less energetic as the day draws to a close.

We have worked with Moshi Sleep on this list of games and apps that are a great way to help children wind down as they transition to night time. It creates mindfulness experiences for children to “enjoy calmer day times and quicker bedtimes”.

These are playful ways to calm the brain, ease anxiety and generally get little heads ready to rest. Some of them are ideal to play right before sleeping and even let you turn off the screen to listen along when you are finished interacting. Others, like Frost or Lifelike, offer gentle, tranquil interactions to still the mind and escape the world. Some, like Flower or Alto’s Adventure, create calm with simple repetition of tasks and process in a world where the sun slowly sets.

These games, together with some screen-free time in the lead up to sleep are a great way for children to develop healthy bedtime habits.
 

Fidget Toys

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 and Proteus, 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.
 

Games for Change Awards

Games for Change is a charity that aims to empower game creators and social innovators to drive real-world change using games and immersive media. These might be games that inspire youth to explore civic issues, learn science skills or look after mental health.

Each year Change Awards celebrates games for social impact and learning through their awards. All awards are competitive, and submissions are reviewed through a rigorous evaluation process by expert jurors. Games that win demonstrate creativity and embrace experimentation to break conventions of form or concept in a manner that may pave new ways for the sector.

This includes:
  • Best Gameplay: Recognizes games that demonstrate highly compelling, polished and engaging gameplay and which incorporate gameplay mechanics that align with and reinforce the intended impact goals of the project.
  • Best Learning: Recognizes games that offer meaningful engagement around intended learning objectives, and successfully balance the ‘learning’ with fun, engaging gameplay.
  • Significant Impact: Recognizes games that target specific social issues with proven outcomes/actions.

 


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