Timberborn 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 Timberborn in the following lists:
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.
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 are games that involve actual Lego bricks or offer an experience that has the same plug and play building and creating as the classic toy.
Success in video games is often framed at the personal level: the last person standing in Fortnite
, achieving high viewership on a Twitch stream, the best player in Rocket League
. However, many video games choose to focus players on a wider view, on working for the greater good of the world in which they live.
Games can develop a deep sense of civic identity. Civics is the study of the rights and obligations of citizens in society. Our civic identity comes from situating oneself within a larger group, often committing oneself to public action. Games give children a chance to try out taking public action within society for the greater good.
This list of games offers space for players to develop a sense of civic identity. We put it together with Barry Joseph
, who has worked in many contexts to empower children to achieve this. Whether at Global Kids, Inc, where he helped youth to acquire leadership skills and engage in efforts to address global issues through the production of digital media, in founding Games For Change, where he worked with video games as a form of youth media, or at Girl Scouts of the U.S.A, where he piloted digital engagement for girls around the country.
There are many mainstream games, not created specifically for education, that are a great way to engage with civic identity. This includes games that invite players to take control of civic space, like Alba
, One Hour, One Life
, Sim City
, Thousand Threads
Then there are games where civic space is presented as dysfunctional and in need of repair, like Papers Please
, Not For Broadcast
, Do Not Feed The Monkeys
. Other games let you take civic space in questionable or futile directions, like Headliner: NoviNews
, Bad News
and Photographs Puzzle Stories
Finally, there are some games specifically created to teach children about civics. The always-growing collection of games from iCivics explore U.S. Government functions, including Argument Wars
, Branches of Power
and Immigration Nation
. There is the novel Civics! An American Musical
that teaches US History through creating a Hamilton-style musical. Digital Compass
teaches digital citizenship through an interactive story and MP For A Week
that teaches children about being an MP in UK Parliament. Finally, the Democratic Socialism Simulator
is a puzzle game where you run for office and then run a country.
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 use the spaces they create to tell stories. Some games do this by locking you in a key moment where the time of day doesn't change. Other games let you explore and revisit places at different times of day.
These day-night cycles invite players to explore at different times not only to find different things to do but to see how different locations change visually and audibly at different times of day.
Some games, like The Long Dark
, do this to offer a different environmental challenge at night, when the sun is in and the cold wind really affects your character. Other games offer more unusual ways to tie in-game light levels to the real world, like Unmaze
that uses your smartphone's camera to determine how much light there is in the game.
Video games create worlds and then invite us to play in them. These worlds are sometimes nothing like our own. Others, however, look to recreate life-like spaces, or take the real world and bend it in interesting directions.
Weather is a big part of the experience of a video game. It can create a particular mood, a sense of changing time, or can be used to change the mechanics of your interactions.