Stardew Valley 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 Stardew Valley in the following lists:
As children get older, they develop stronger ideas of what they want to play. Friends at school and YouTube stars create popular gaming fads for the latest titles. These are a lot of fun, but children’s choices can end up being narrowed down to big-budget or on-trend games. The games suggested here go beyond the usual suspects. While offering age-appropriate alternatives to older-rated games, they are still exuberant, intriguing and create raucous gaming fun that fires the imagination of children aged 7 to 12 years old.
Cottagecore is an online term celebrating an idealised rural life. Although games are usually considered to be hard, harsh and technological, many of them play to this aesthetic that is sentimental about traditional skills and crafts such as foraging, baking, and pottery.
Games sometimes use these rural pursuits as play mechanics, like Stardew Valley
, Potion Craft
and Fantasy Life. Others use Cottagecore as a guide to how they look and feel, like Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
, The Stillness of the Wind
However it plays out in the game, Cottagecore aims to satisfy a desire for aspirational nostalgia and an escape from stress or trauma. The New York Times described it as a reaction to hustle culture and the advent of personal branding. The Guardian called it a "visual and lifestyle movement designed to fetishize the wholesome purity of the outdoors."
These games emphasize simplicity and the slow pace of pastoral life as an escape from the modern world in favour of the bucolic. Unsurprisingly this has become more popular on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. In some ways the resurgence of retro games could be seen in a similar light, although here the sentimental nostalgia is for virtual entertainment rather than rural lifestyle.
The Independent Games Festival (IGF) was founded in 1998 to promote independent video game developers, and innovation in video games. It cultivates innovation and artistry in all forms of interactive media. This aims to uncover how games are rich, diverse, artistic, and culturally significant.
It chooses games in a series of categories: Grand Prize, Innovation, Visual Art, Audio, Design, Technical Excellence, Best Mobile Game and Audience Award. This list highlights the games that were nominated and/or won.
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.
Automation is hailed as the future of work and industry is set for economic rebound. As a result, growing, managing and relating to machines are and will be important skills for children to develop.
The good news is that the process of transferring work tasks to computers and automated mechanisms is something they can try their hand at in the games in this list. Organising tasks and distributing work in the name of efficiency and effectiveness is also a common feature of many games.
We've worked with Game Academy
on this list of games that help prepare players for an era where organisations are being rewritten daily, business processes reimagined and the labour market is driven by fusion skills - humans and machines coming together to form new kinds of jobs and work experiences. Game Academy is a tech venture that helps game players make the most of their in-game talent out of game. Using new game analytics, online courses and bootcamps, they help players identify their game and life skills, develop them and link game players to new work and educational opportunities.
Some games like Factorio
look like crafting sandboxes but soon become much more than that. You discover that it will take a very long time to extract and craft the necessary resources manually, and the surrounding monsters are not ready to wait. Automated extraction/production lines come to the rescue and their creation is the main mechanic of the game. Learning Factory is a more peaceful version of factory building. You just need to repair the Martian factory to make goods for cute cats. It also provides some links to machine learning.
Other games provide you with tools to minimise your manual labour. In a game like Stardew Valley
, players spend a lot of time watering plants. A lot! But automatic sprinklers save on the grind, greatly simplifying the whole game.
At the other end of the life - and emotional scale - is Graveyard Keeper
where you manage a medieval graveyard to get your character to open a portal back to his old world. You have a dozen different activities: gathering resources, brewing drinks, farming and carrying out autopsies - hilarious rather than gruesome tasks, we can assure you. But this is all hard, hard work. Fortunately, there’s a moment when you get the opportunity to create zombies and give them the hard labour. It changes the gameplay dramatically, as well as your fortune and fate.
Video games are usually thought to be about fighting, shooting and adrenaline. As regular readers will know, there are video games about everything. Recently I've been noticing games that combine the stewardship of the land and the nurturing of resources.
These games, like Animal Crossing
, present an "ambience of bucolic" and a "reassuring mix of the pastoral and the industrial," wrote Simon Parkin
recently. They offer an escape to simpler times, that provides meaningful work along with the possibility of also working at friendships.
The games collected in this list each offer the chance to escape and absorb yourself tending to a plot of land and nurturing often surprisingly moving relationships. Whether you are diligently cleaning someone's empty flat as in Sunset
, setting up a farm after retiring from your adventures in Littlewood
, reconnecting with grown-up children in The Stillness of The Wind
, nurturing a musical garden in Mutazione
, establishing a coffee shop in Coffee Talk
or even eeking out provisions while you care for children in This War Of Mine
all these games have something to tend to and people to get to know while you do it.
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.