AskAboutGames has been working with a group of families who created a Family Video Game Database to help parents and carers find the best games for children to play during this period. It's now available to use and is a great way to find brilliant games for you and your child during isolation.
What's different, compared to other sites, is that it organises games into lists that families need. Education, fun, calming, connecting. These are all things that video games can offer if you know where to find them.
Each of the results pages provides everything you need to decide if the game is a good fit for your child and home context:
- PEGI Rating linked to Examiners Details
- How long the game takes
- How many people can play
- Equipment you need to play it
- Themes and genres
- Other similar games
If there's a game your family loves you can also enter it and find similar games to try. This is also particularly useful when children aren't old enough for older rated games just yet and you would like some younger alternatives.
The database is the brainchild of our editor, who we've asked today to explain how it grew into the (helpful) monster it is today...
Over the years I've kept a note of the lists of games I've been asked to suggest for friends and family. These have been too specific for me to write about on AskAboutGames, but still really well received by the families I created them for.
There was a list for a dad who wanted a list of Xbox games for his son who had grown out of Fortnite but wasn't old enough for PEGI 18 games yet. There was the list of games a carer friend wanted for her daughter who loved solving mysteries. There was a list of Switch games for a mum of two boys who wanted games that would make them laugh. There was even a list for my brother who wanted PlayStation games that made him face hard decisions.
Each time I sent these lists off I would add them to my spreadsheet. Until it was so full of games I couldn't add any more. Then I had an idea, what I needed was a database of games that would let me create these lists. A super list of lists.
That was three years ago. With the help of a friendly website developer, and with lots of data entry from my family (as you can see) we now have a growing database of games organised into tens of different lists.
Each game page includes what families ask me about games. An overview of why it's worth playing, what is the commitment in time and how many players can you have, what age is the game for and what equipment do you need to play it. Finally, the game page suggests three or four other games you might like to play next.
It's taking a lot of work, and loads of input from 100's of families. But today we are ready to share what we've created. With the backing of AskAboutGames, we are making it public so any family or group can find lists of games that suit them. Along with the different lists, you can search for games for a particular system, PEGI rating, how long it takes to complete, the number of players online or locally.
If you have a favourite game that you like, the library will find you something similar to play next. If there are games your child isn't old enough for, the library will generate a list of similar, more suitable alternatives.
Here are some of the favourite lists of games to get you started while you have more time at home:
- Find Calm From The Storm
- Educational Games That Are Also Good Games
- Get Fit Playing Great Games
- Discover Hope by Playing
Here are some of the older lists that offer ways to find new games once you've tried the above:
- Compete on the Couch
- Exuberant Games For Pre-16s
- Bafta Nominated Games
- Step Into A New World
- Work Together To Survive
- Solve A Mystery
Here are some recent searches families have done to find games:
- Nintendo Switch games for 7-year-olds and younger with at least 2 players on the same system.
- PlayStation 4 games for 12-year-olds and younger where you can play with at least 2 other players online
- Xbox One games where you create something as part of the game
This is a project that's been fuelled by the parents, carers, guardians and children who have wanted to find games to play together. One of the things they are hoping this will do is enable families to play together. To that end they have even created a list of super accessible games for people who don't play games, to get parents can carers started.
We're all set to add lots more lists (I'm just working on one about games where you move around in unusual ways) and ready for your suggestions. My hope is that it helps you find some amazing games.