Horizon Zero Dawn 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 Horizon Zero Dawn in the following lists:
Sometimes you just want to play the hero. These games are violent and include shooting but, as with B-movies and 1980s TV series, it’s as much about the quips, characters and fantasy settings as it is about killing. The drama may be peppered with cinematic gunfire but, like those TV series, the real draw is spending time with the heroes every week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
We invited visually impaired video gamer, activist and campaigner Dr Amy Kavanagh
to compile a list of games with helpful, well thought out and intuitive navigation. As a streamer and disability consultant, Amy passionately advocates for gaming to be accessible for everyone...
One of the joys of gaming are the places you get to explore that you would never be able to visit in real life. This is particularly important to me as a low vision gamer. I often face barriers when navigating the world, so it’s thrilling when I get to experience driving a fast car in the dystopian London of Watch Dogs Legion
, swinging through New York as Spider-Man
or climbing a mountain on a secret pirate island as Nathan Drake in Uncharted 4
Studies have shown that gaming improves both spatial awareness and navigation skills. However, getting unintentionally lost in a game is an all too common and very frustrating experience. Not knowing where to go or feeling confused about how to move from one location to another can be a challenge for many gamers, including new or younger players, low vision gamers like me and those with cognitive impairments.
The games in this list make exploring a virtual world smoother and finding your next mission fun rather than frustrating! There are some important factors that make games easier to navigate and can support you to improve your way-finding skills:
Maps: A great starting point for being able to find your way around a game is a clear and detailed map. As in games like Spider-Man, it’s important that the world map is available from the beginning and supported by an easy to follow mini-map permanently on screen.
Head Up Displays: Heads Up Display or Navigational Display provides information about the relationship between your character or avatar and the space they are existing in. As in games like Horizon Zero Dawn features like a compass, distance counter or radar can all be used to indicate in which direction an objective is.
Objectives: Giving objectives, missions, collectables or even key interactions different colours or symbols means you can learn your way around a game quickly. As in games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it’s even better when you can customize these symbols so they are larger or appear more frequently. Alternatively, making objectives obvious using lighting, key colours or camera views can make a game more navigable without adding complicated HUD mechanics.
Directional Cues: Once you have reached your destination, prompts or clues about where you might find what you are looking for are also important. As in games like The Last of Us Part II this can include a camera view that will snap in the right direction, arrows or pointers, haptic feedback, audio cues or dialogue.
Some of my favourite games bring together these elements to make exploring a virtual world a treat rather than a chore. The standout example has to be The Last of Us Part II
, designed with blind and low vision consultants, the game is possible to find your way through even with no useful vision. The combination of audio cues and haptic feedback means you can enable constant prompts to help you navigate a dystopian and sometimes terrifying world.
A game that combines a range of directional information into a fun experience is Spider-Man
and the sequel Miles Morales
. From the option to swing through the city in high contrast mode, to the large objective icons and pinging backpacks, it’s easy to find your way around the richly detailed environment of New York city. So now it’s time to voyage into the digital unknown, here are some easier to navigate game to help you on your way.
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 1306 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.