:
Layout - grid Layout - list

38 Great Games Like Journey

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

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 at a time, who appear on the horizon. You can communicate only using wordless chirps but it’s enough to create a camaraderie to take on the wild, vast landscape. This creates a beautiful journey from sand to snow and water that creates an unusual appreciation of help from unknown others.
The game works the emotions successfully and in unexpected ways. While the esoteric journey through the landscape inspires awe, the presence of another anonymous person creates surprising comfort.

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

DetailsGame Details

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

Costs: Purchase cost

Hand Picked Games Like Journey

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

A Short Hike

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure and Open World

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: @Adamgryu

Players: This is a single player game

In A Short Hike you play penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to explore the park, help other animals, find...

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/03/2015, updated in 2020

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Developer: @MoonGameStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Both Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps place you in control of a diminutive elfish spirit called Ori. You run, jump and solve platforming challenges to progress through the world. As you do new powers are unlocked that allow you...

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...

Lake

Lake

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 01/09/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @WhiteThornGames

Players: This is a single player game

Lake is a narrative adventure where you play Meredith Weiss on a career break in 1986 while she returns to her hometown and ends up delivering the mail. As you talk to locals, meet up with old school friends and even fan a few romantic flames from your...

Abzu
PEGI Rating 7 for Abzu

Abzu

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 02/11/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: @GiantSquidology

Players: This is a single player game

Abzu is an adventure in a lush underwater world. You descend into the heart of the ocean to find ancient secrets and encounter majestic creatures. This combines the beautiful weightlessness of diving with an ancient story of meaning and place in the world.

Hoa

Hoa

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 01/04/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @HoaTheGame

Players: This is a single player game

Hoa is an adventure game where you walk and jump through a hand-painted world as the mysterious main character. You solve environmental puzzles and meet magical creatures while trying to find your way back home.

Gris
PEGI Rating 7 for Gris

Gris

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 06/10/2019

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: @NomadaStudiobcn

Players: This is a single player game

Gris is a platform game where you guide a young girl through a crumbling world. Through beautiful metaphoric landscapes and soaring music, the game touches on emotions of loss and longing but doesn’t resolve to a firm narrative. Although not hugely...

The Gecko Gods

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 35 features

Developer: @Inresin

Players: This is a single player game

The Gecko Gods is a puzzle game where you control a small lizard reptile exploring a world and solving puzzles. You interact with the flora and fauna, catch insects and visit other animals. Because you have sticky feet you can climb any surface.

The Pathless

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 12/11/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5 and iPhone, iPad

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

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: @GiantSquidology

Players: This is a single player game

The Pathless is a mythic adventure about an archer and an eagle in a vast forest. You use timed button presses to use your bow and discover the open world, and unlock a mystical island and dispel a curse of darkness that grips the world.

The Last Guardian

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 28/10/2016

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform and Simulation

Developer: @SonyJapanStudio

Players: This is a single player game

The Last Guardian is a running, jumping and exploring adventure about a boy who befriends a giant half-bird, half-mammal creature, Trico. You work together to navigate the world, solve puzzles and reach new heights. Unusually, you have to build trust...

Everything

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

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.

Feather

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @SamuraiPunk

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

This game brings you, as a bird, to a beautiful island. You can explore freely, collecting items and soaring on the breeze. Often, other players will join you to create a flock of birds to fly together, making music on the wind. Communication is kept to...

Sky Children of the Light

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 18/07/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, 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...

Flower

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-11 year-olds

Release Date: 12/02/2009

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

Genres: Open World, Racing and Simulation

Accessibility: 2 features

Developer: @ThatGameCompany

Players: This is a single player game

Control the breeze blowing across fields of grass and blow petals into other flowers to make them bloom. Flower is simple and single-purpose in evoking the feeling of the wind. What starts as an awkward struggle to control the breeze soon turns into a...

One Hand Clapping

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/07/2020

Platforms: Stadia

Genres: Platform, Puzzle and Rhythm

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: @BadDreamGames

Players: This is a single player game

One Hand Clapping is a running and jumping game where you sing into a microphone to interact with the world. The game acknowledges how challenging this idea may be, and gently leads you into using your voice to create platforms, adjust the wind and...

Rime
PEGI Rating 7 for Rime

Rime

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 26/05/2017

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Developer: @TequilaWorks

Players: This is a single player game

Rime is an adventure on an island where you play a boy led a fox-like spirit as a guide. To progress through the beautiful environments you solve puzzles across five large levels. You can run, climb, carry objects, and push or pull larger objects across...

The Gardens Between

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 20/09/2018

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

Genres: Adventure and Puzzle

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @TheVoxelAgents

Players: This is a single player game

The Gardens Between is a puzzle game set in dreamlike island gardens where you play as best friends Arina and Frendt. You work around the island levels collecting balls of light in your lantern, manipulating time to solve puzzles and removing obstacles....

Way To The Woods

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Xbox

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Tamagotchi44

Players: This is a single player game

Way to the Woods is an adventure game where you play a fawn and a deer trying to survive their long journey home after human civilization has collapsed. Interacting with the world and exploring both urban and barren landscapes leads you to discover the...

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...

Tenderfoot Tactics

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 21/08/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Accessibility: 33 features

Developer: @IceWaterGames

Players: This is a single player game

Tenderfoot Tactics is a role play adventure game where you play a young adventurer in a vast open world. The visuals and the Final Fantasy Tactics-style battles look simple but offer depth that requires you to learn the deterministic combat system and...

Deep Time Walk

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 09/12/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Physically Active

Developer: @Deeptimewalk

Players: This is a single player game

Deep Time Walk is a game where you go for a walk as you listen to a history of the Earth that's tied to each step. The game calculates your speed and distance to match your real-world progress and translates it to a journey across 4.6bn years of time,...

PiAwk

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @HiWarp

Players: This is a single player game

PiAwk is an adventure you explore as PiAwk, a little bird-like creature that is both a little awkward and shy, but also bold and curious. As you interact with the environment, architecture, landscape and other characters you realised you are enclosed in...

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...

The Endless Forest

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 15/02/2006

Price: Free

Platforms: PC

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @TaleOfTales

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 50 players online

This is a whimsical online multiplayer game where you play deer in a peaceful forest. You freely explore ruins and ponds, and meet other players, communicating in symbols. The world is like a moving painting, but one that players have a strong sense of...

AER Memories of Old

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 28/08/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Developer: @ForgottenKeySE

Players: This is a single player game

AER Memories of Old is an exploration game where you transform from a woman to a golden eagle at will. As Auk, your quest is to save the world by finding the lost keys and restoring balance.

Arise: A Simple Story

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 03/12/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @Piccolo_Studio

Players: This is a single player game

Arise: A Simple Story is a narrative game about an old man living in a pre-agricultural tribe. He has just been cremated and as get travels to the next life, begins a pilgrimage of revisiting memories of his life.

Fugl

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 14/09/2017

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @MeloDive

Players: This is a single player game

Fugl is a game that simulates flying. You play a bird and launch yourself into the sky to explore a vast world. Rather than search for things, fight, or take on challenges, all you have to do is wend your way through the air currents and glide your way...

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...

Skate Story

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Narrative, Rhythm and Simulation

Developer: @BySamEng

Players: This is a single player game

Skate Story is a skateboarding game that focuses on the skill, weight and locomotion of controlling the board. Running through the game is a story where you explore the underworld beneath New York City.

SuperFlight

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 09/11/2017

Platforms: PC

Genres: Action, Open World, Racing and Simulation

Accessibility: 12 features

Developer: @_GrizzlyGames

Players: This is a single player game

Superflight is a game where you control a risk-taking man in a flight suit. You control your flight with the aim of buzzing the landscape. The closer you come without crashing the more points you get. If you can do this a few times in a row you get...

Yi and the Thousand Moons

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 24/11/2017

Platforms: Mac and PS2

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: @UsDivad

Players: This is a single player game

Yi and the Thousand Moons is an adventure game in the form of a musical. You follow Yi who is told by the gods to bring down the moons, but then has to try and save the people of her village from the unforeseen results.

Ynglet

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 05/06/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative, Platform and Simulation

Developer: @Nifflas

Players: This is a single player game

Ynglet is an exploration game where you jump between bubbles that float in the sky making sounds as you interact with the doodled environment. Part platform game, part dynamic soundtrack, it's a game designed to let you flow through the world to...

Plasticity

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 24/05/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @PlasticityGame

Players: This is a single player game

Plasticity is a running and jumping puzzle game about a world overrun with plastic waste. You collect and recycle the plastic to transform your environment back to health. It's a short game designed to raise awareness of the long-lasting damage that...

Deathloop

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 21/05/2021

Platforms: PC and PS5

Genres: Action, Fighting, Open World and Shooting

Developer: @ArkaneStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Deathloop is a shooting game where you play an assassin stuck in a time loop. You wake on a beach while residents of Blackreef island have gathered for a party that seemingly lasts forever. At the end of each night time resets and starts again.

Shine – Journey of Light

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-11 year-olds

Release Date: 17/11/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @_FoxAndSheep

Players: This is a single player game

Shine – Journey of Light is an adventure puzzle game where you guide a ball of light through a world of light and shadow. As you delve deep into the world you discover a lost civilisation and piece together the stories of the past.

Weaving Tides

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 27/05/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Creative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: @FollowFeathers

Players: This is a single player game

Weaving Tides is a puzzle game set in a magical woven world. You ride a carpet dragon that both transports you and weaves fabric into the world to help you advance.

Games Like Journey Based on Genre

These are games of a similar genre mix to Journey. This includes games from the Adventure genre. We pick out games of a similar PEGI rating to further hone these generated suggestions.
 

Journey 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 Journey in the following lists:

Wake Up Your Emotions

Video games are known for high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled entertainment, but there are many that address the player’s emotions as much as their dexterity. Often overlooked by younger or more competitive players, these experiences can provide a helpful variety in the diet of games your family enjoys.
The games selected below create emotionally rich spaces in which to explore scenarios with feelings rather than facts. In some games this is achieved with beautiful or soothing interactive visuals; others create charged relationships and settings that invite players to take a role in processing these emotions.
 

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

DualShock PlayStation 4 Games

After the Wii's success, PlayStation added motion controls to its PlayStation 3 controller. Although a novelty at first, this continued to mature in PlayStation 4 games and its Dual Shock 4 controller that included motion detection as well as a Touch Pad and speaker.

The games in this list make intelligent use of the motion controls and other interactive features of the Dual Shock PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 controller.

This ranges from games like Journey that lets you control the direction you are looking with controller motion, to Tearaway Unfolded that uses the gyroscope and touch pad to launch objects from the controller to the screen. Then there are games like Gravity Rush that use motion to direct movement.

Some of these games use motion controls to complement traditional use of sticks for aiming and movement. You can use the Motion Aiming accessibility search to find more of these games on the database.
 

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-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.
 
Ico
PEGI Rating 7 for Ico
Shu
PEGI Rating 7 for Shu
Pode
PEGI Rating 3 for Pode
Haven
PEGI Rating 12 for Haven
Pyre
PEGI Rating 7 for Pyre
Myst
PEGI Rating 7 for Myst
Fe
PEGI Rating 7 for Fe
Gris
PEGI Rating 7 for Gris

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
 

Ease Loneliness With Intergenerational Games

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.

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.
 

Play The Seasons: Fall Into Autumn Tales

Video games create spaces for us to go and play. These spaces are sometimes an escape from the real world. Equally, games can help us revel and celebrate the real world.

Inspired by an article written by Keith Stuart about autumnal games, this is a list of games that are played while the leaves are falling.

These games offer, rather than escapism, unique ways to appreciate the season we are living in. They are an exercise in the present moment, where we find writ large, the joys of harvesting apples, warm fires, crisp walks and the breathing in before the long dark of winter.
 

Gaming Projects: Photography

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:
 

Space For Loneliness

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, Journey 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 and Sunlight invite you to make a connection to other players, once you have come to terms with a journey on your own.
 

Find God in Video Games

Video games are not often used in mature cultural spaces. We expect to find them in bedrooms, living rooms, the chip shop and the motorway services. But we don't expect to find them in arts festivals, church services or park gatherings.

Over the years Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) has worked to cross this line, brining video games to be a central part of aspects of culture usually reserved for more weighty or serious things.

This has sometimes been to great out-side video game experiences, with games like The Dragon Cancer, Passage and Jesus Run, at the Greenbelt arts festival. Other times he has set-up unusual video games like Joust Mania, in local parks. Then he has worked with the Church of England to run acts of worship in Exeter Cathedral where a video game like Flower, Journey or Abzu are a central element.

Video Resources

Church services integrated with video game:
Video game at Greenbelt art festival:
Video game devotions and discussions:
 

Games from Taming Gaming Book

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 1314 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.

 

Get Children Into The Environment

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.
 


Image of the cover of the hardback edition of the Taming Gaming book  by Andy Robertson List of logos of the supporters of the Family Video Game Database  Playability Initiative  AskAboutGames  Parent Zone  Game Well 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.

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Discord | Contact | Help