Firewatch 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 Firewatch in the following lists:
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."
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.
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.
Games are often thought about as dark places to do dastardly needs you wouldn't in real life. But there are many that take us to bright summer climes. From lens flare to the struggling exposure of our eyes in the sun, video games have loads of tricks to make us feel like it's summer.
If you are fed up of the short dark days, or need to get a dose of heat and sunshine, there are loads of games for you. Whether you played them in the middle of summer, or while the days started to wane, they are a great way to remember it won't be dark and cold forever.
In a culture that often assumes that the route to happiness is with another person, it can benefit us to acknowledge that being alone is not always a bad thing. We teamed up with Courtney Garcia’s Screen Therapy channel
to curate a list of games that give us a chance to experience being alone in different ways.
Garcia’s Screen Therapy
project employs Positive Media Psychology research to highlight and interpret meaningful experiences with games and movies. “With mindfulness, there are even more benefits to gain from intentional consumption of media,” she says, “games can be tools we use to recover or grow, psychologically, and our time with them isn't wasted if they provide us insights or rest we need.”
This list was inspired by the experience of playing the unusually solitary (and long) game The Longing
and the Twitter thread
that followed. In it, you spend 400 elapsed days waiting for the King to wake up and living at a slow pace. The other games offer their own lens on loneliness and solitary seasons of life. These games offer us insight into the benefits of appreciating time alone, such as opportunities for self-reflection, self-discovery, and the chance to curate enriching experiences or environments for ourselves.
Some of the games, like Never Alone
and The Long Dark
place you in a harsh environment that emphasises your diminutive size when faced with the expanse of nature. Other games in the list, like Thomas Was Alone
and Bird Alone
offer you the chance to reflect on friendship and the need to nurture relationships. Then there are games we included like Shadow of the Colossus
that let you get lost in the vastness of its landscape. Finally, a few of the games like The First Tree
invite you to make a connection to other players, once you have come to terms with a journey on your own.
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.
These games are perfect if you’ve never played one before, opening the door to the gaming world for non-gaming parents and carers. They are short, straightforward and easy to understand, so you don’t need to commit hours to learn to play them, and they are played on technology you probably already have in your pocket or in your home. They address mature themes such as love, hope, power, homelessness and even traffic planning by inviting you to interact and play a part in these worlds and stories.
We've found that it's not just parents who have enjoyed the way these games let them in on the world of gaming, but grandparents, uncles and aunts. In fact it's a great list for anyone who's never played a game and wants to know what all the fuss is about.
The spaces and places that video games create are often designed with a particular interaction or way to progress through them. However, because games are open to the player, how you play, the direction you move and what you do in the game is up to you.
This means that you can often put video games to unusual uses. Photography is one aspect of this as Paul Buttle recently highlight on Twitter
. All modern video game consoles enable you to capture an image of the screen. At a rudimentary level this allows you to take pictures of your adventures. Beyond this, many games offer a Photo mode that allows you to freeze the action and take control of the camera -- even letting you control effects, depth of field and shutter speed in some cases.
This means you can take really beautiful and engaging pictures in the games you play. Some families have tasked their expert players with capturing a certain type of photograph as they play:
Portraiture - capture images of the people you meet.
Photojournalism - create a photo diary of the events of the game to be annotated later.
Fashion - document the different outfits and wardrobe styles your character chooses.
Sports - capture sporting moments, including not only players, but the crowd and coaches.
Still Life - capture the inanimate, mundane and overlooked elements that make the game world what it is.
Architectural - find ways to photograph the buildings in various states of build, decay and renewal.
Some examples of these projects include:
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
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.
| Bury Me My Love
| Wilmot's Warehouse
| Uncharted 3
| Alan Wake
| This War of Mine
| 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
We've worked with SpecialEffect
on this list of games which aims to highlight games that are good for people with reduced fine motor control.
Special Effect is a charity that aims to put fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games. They use technology ranging from modified joypads to eye control to find a way for people to play to the very best of their abilities.
“We discussed several conditions which can impact fine motor control such as cerebral palsy, brain injury, digital amputation, Nerve conditions, chronic pain, arthritis/RSI or high spinal injury. People with these and similar conditions might identify with some of the following phrases:
“I can hold on to things well, but I find it difficult to let go”
“I have one hand stronger than the other”
“My fingers don’t move much, but I can move my arms in big movements”
“Doing things with one hand or one hand at a time is easier than using both hands”
“Holding and using a standard controller at the same time can be tricky”
“I would find larger joysticks and buttons potentially helpful”
Along with physical input considerations like mounting your controller to access to more buttons or using peripherals with larger buttons and joysticks, this list focuses on games that meet some of the following criteria:
Require one input at a time either joystick or button: like Mario Kart, Bubbles the Cat or Sonic the Hedgehog.
Offer button remapping: Such as Marvel's Spider-Man or Stardew Valley.
fewer buttons: like Oco, Mario Kart 8, Alto's Odyssey.
Offer motion control: Such as Splatoon, Wii Sports, Arms, Just Dance, Kinect Sports.
Support gamepads rather than requiring keyboards: Such as Luigi's Mansion, New Pokemon Snap, Kirby's Epic Yarn.
Low time pressure and give more time for larger movements: Such as Flower, A Short Hike, Alba, Firewatch, Rocket League.
Turn off the need for rapidly repeated button presses: Such as Sea of Thieves, Biomutant, Assassin's Creed Valhalla.
As well as the games we have picked out below that meet these criteria, there are some common searches on the database that are good for people with reduced fine motor control: 1 Stick + 1 button
, 1 Stick
, 1 Button
, Motion Controls
, Reamp Buttons
or Remap Keys
, Low Pressure
, Rapid Pressing Optional
We hope this list helps you discover games that work for you. If you are struggling to game due to access issues caused by a physical disability do contact SpecialEffect who will offer support free of charge, as capacity allows.
Like a good crime drama or whodunnit novel, solving mysteries and puzzles is a good way to engage in a story. However, rather than just watching these mysteries while someone else does the heavy lifting, these video games place you firmly in the role of the detective. Gathering statements, sifting evidence and making intelligent leaps of deduction requires care and attention. These investigations makes these games slower than others, but it’s worth the effort each time you find the correct conclusion and move the story on.
These games present you with a mysterious scenario to be solved. Whether with direct puzzles, locations to investigate or crime scenarios to deduce, they offer a unique, first-hand sleuthing challenge.
When we wrote the Taming Gaming book we packed the second half with full colour game ‘recipes’ as a resource for parents and families. They are grouped in categories depending on the style of game you are looking for, whether you want to play on your own, or with your family and friends.
The Family Gaming Database grew out of the book. At first it was just going to be a way to search the 60 or so games in the book. With 1000’s of parents soon using the database it became clear we should grow it to cover more games. So, today we have 1490 games.
Here are all the games from the book:
Games for non-gaming grown-ups
These games are perfect if you have never played one before. They open the door to the gaming world for non-gaming parents and carers.
Nurture child-like imagination
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.
Nourish Youthful Ambition
As children get older, they develop stronger ideas of what they want to play. Friends at school and YouTube stars create popular gaming fabs for the latest titles. The games suggested here go beyond the usual suspects.
Laugh at Silliness
Video games have their roots in fun and play. This makes them an excellent way to forget the worries of the day and dive into some silly fun together. The games on this list have been selected because they get players doing absurd activities and chuckling together.
Inhabit Another World
The games in this list invite you to spend time in spaces that have a sense of place, life and character.
Compete on the Couch
Raucous, unbounded, exuberant all-age, competitive fun is something video games are known for. These games can play a bit-part in raising children to be magnanimous in victory and generous in defeat.
Work Together to Thrive
Play is more fun when it’s shared. Along with team work the games on this list use the fact that the players are all sitting next to each other. The fun is often as much about the conversations (and arguments) that happen in the room as what’s happening on the screen.
Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes
While many games include characters to interact with, some are specifically designed to make relationships a central element. These games offer a unique way to think deeply about how we relate to each other to the games people play.
Wake up Your Emotions
Video games are known for high-octane, adrenaline fuelled entertainment, but there are many that address the players emotions as much as their dexterity. The games in the following list create emotionally rich spaces in which to explore scenarios with feelings rather than facts.
Matinee Fisticuffs and Shoot-outs
Sometimes you just want to play the hero. These games are violent and include shooting but as with B-movies and 1980’s TV series, it’s as much about the quips, characters and fantasy settings as it is about the killing.
Face Tough Decisions
Games create virtual worlds where you can experience life from another perspective. This can be lighthearted but also presents ethical scenarios that require you to think carefully about consequences. These games each place you in a challenging situation to give you a first hand experience of what it’s like.
Solve a Mystery
Like a good crime drama or whodunnit, solving mysteries and puzzles is a good way to engage in a story. The following games present you with a mysterious scenario to be solved. Whether with direct puzzles, locations to investigate or crime scenarios to deduce, they offer a unique first-hand sleuthing challenge.
While some video games revel in the density and effort required to discover the narrative in their virtual worlds, others want to make it as easy and accessible to make their story your own.
Two things come together in these games. Characters are fully voiced by actors. Choices have a tangible effect on how things turn out. For former reduces friction for the player. The latter increases engagement.
Games like the Frog's Princess
, King of Dragon Pass
and Call of the Sea
offer a story-book feel with branching narrative that can be a novel way for younger players to discover the joy of stories.
Other games like South of the Circle
, Before Your Eyes
and It Takes Two
offer fully voiced experiences with choices that don't create new endings but still add a sense of involvement.
Then there are games for older players like Detroit: Become Human
, Last Stop
, Grand Theft Auto
, Twelve Minutes
and Heavy Rain
combine branching stories and fully voiced characters. These games use the immersion of the human voice and branching stories to create engaging experiences.
Voices and choices are a large part of what it means to be human. The games in this list use these two things to create experiences that engage on a deeper level.
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 these categories:
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.